It should be noted that the eclectic character of Menorcan cuisine did not come about by chance. Several civilisations such as the Moors, the Catalans, the French and not forgetting the English have contributed considerably to the island’s gastronomy, served in the many Menorcan restaurants.
Cheese has been produced since very early times and, proudly, every town in Menorca has a cheese factory. Today, Menorcan cheese has received considerable local and international recognition having gained many accolades such as the INTERFROM Award in Paris, France. Menorcan cheese comes in a wide selection of strengths and flavours dependent on specific region and strength. For example, the cheese from Mercadal cheese resembles a mild cheddar taste while others resemble the texture and strength of a good parmesan.
It is not widely known that Menorca has a long history of wine making which fizzled out during the 19th century due to recession and vine disease. In recent years this industry has been revived and vineyards have begun to cultivate different varieties of grapes and open wine cellars combining an old tradition with new methods and enthusiasm.
There are now several established wineries on the island, including Vinya Sa Cudía in Es Grau, Viñas Binifadet near Sant Lluís, Ferrer de Muntpalau in Es Mercadal and Bodega Vi de S’Illa in Alaior. Each of these vineyards offers a guided tour around the wine cellars and vineyards, as well as wine tasting.
In addition, the local specialty drink Gin Xoriguer is distilled at Mahon harbor and is certainly worth a try. Previously unknown on the island, gin was introduced by the British during their occupation in the eighteenth century who wanted to drink the fashionable drink of that time. Made from grapes and perfumed with juniper, the Gin Xoriguer distillery has been making this drink now for almost a century. Menorcan Gin can be drunk neat, with tonic water, with soda and lemon peel or with lemonade, which has become the popular fiesta drink known as ‘pomada’.