Cheese Factories and Tasting
One of Menorca’s major exports is its Mahon-Menorca cheese, famous for its taste and quality. It is made all over the island and there are many varieties to choose from, it may be fresh, semi-cured or aged and the rind may be rubbed with oil or paprika.
Made with unpasteurised or pasteurised cow’s milk and sometimes mixed with small amounts of sheep’s milk, Mahon is easily recognized by its rectangular shape and characteristic rounded corners. The cheese has a distinctive taste that’s slightly acidic and salty, and it grows stronger and more piquant with age.
Almost every town has a cheese making factory, here are a couple of suggestions:
- Subaida is a dairy farm in Es Mercadal where you can learn about the special art of cheese making as well as sample the products. Also on sale here are sausages, honey and jams in the farm shop.
- The hub of the island’s dairy industry is Alaior, a mature market town 12 kilometers from Mahon and home to two major cheese companies, La Payesa and Coinga, both open daily until 13.00 and then again from 17.00 in the afternoon.
- The Sant Patrici cheese factory, just outside Ferreries, is a beautiful place to visit and practices the traditional art of Menorcan cheese production. There is a museum and guided tours demonstrating how the cheese is made, with the opportunity to taste the different varieties. The finest selection of homemade sausages, jams, honey and sweets as well as excellent Menorcan wines are also produced here.
Vineyards and Wine Tasting
Did you know that Menorca has several excellent wine producing vineyards? Two centuries ago, wine production was an important part of the island’s economy but tragically many of the vineyards were killed by the European vine disease, phylloxera, in the 19th century. Today, wine production is once again on the increase again as many new vines are being planted, revitalising an old trade with renewed enthusiasm.