From shoes, jewellery and pleasure boats to cheese, cured meats, wine and gin, many visitors to Menorca are unaware of the thriving artisan industries located around the island. That is until now. ‘Made in Menorca’ is a brand new marketing initiative, developed by the Fundació Destí in conjunction with local enterprise, specifically to promote those products that are typical of the island and, in doing so, further differentiate and enhance Menorca’s attraction as a tourist destination.
For many years, the manufacturing sector has been an ‘unsung ambassador’ for Menorca worldwide. The ‘Made in Menorca’ campaign now encompasses these longstanding, skilled trades that employ traditional methods wherever possible, highlighting how they are a true reflection of the island’s culture, character and history. The objective is to let tourists know that Menorca has much more to offer than simply sunshine and beaches, with its own unique products each made with care and passion to an exceptionally high standard.
The campaign has been publicised on the island’s busses and a special booklet has been printed that explains the different artisan products and their manufacturing process. A series of promotional videos is also planned that link each product line to the island through landscapes, traditions and lifestyle. Both the booklet and the videos will be available in the island’s tourist offices and will be distributed to tour operators, travel agents, the media and via social networking. ‘Made in Menorca’ is also a main focus at international travel and specialist exhibitions to promote Menorca and its manufacturers further afield in preparation for the 2014 season.
They say, ‘to know Menorca is to know its produce’ and the new ‘Made in Menorca’ campaign with its slogan, ‘We are what we do’, encapsulates this sentiment perfectly, giving uniqueness to the island and enabling local manufacturers to sell their products with pride, not just in Menorca, but all around the world.
‘Made in Menorca’ Products
Since the 18th century, Menorcan shoe-makers face the challenge of designing, producing and selling the latest fashions in footwear. A challenge that has enabled Menorca’s most emblematic brands to carve a niche for themselves and become favourites among some of the world’s most famous celebrities. From elegant stilettos to the more practical avarcas (Menorcan sandals), a large part of the production process is still carried out by hand using skills passed down from generation to generation.
Famous for creating the popular silver mesh purse, Menorca has been a land of jewellery since the mid 19th century, its success lying in the intricacy and beauty of each handmade design.
Cheese and Cured Meats
Thanks it its rich agricultural land, Menorca is also a land of cheese and cured meats producing its acclaimed Mahón-Menorca cheese which has been awarded ‘Denomination of Origin’ status, and its tasty ‘sobrassada’, ‘carn-i-xulla’ and ‘cuixot’ cured sausages…all made using traditional production processes that have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. Some farms around the island offer tours so visitors can see the ancient processes that Menorcans are so passionate to maintain and taste for themselves why ‘Made in Menorca’ produce is so delicious. Those with a sweet tooth need not be disappointed either as the island’s love of confectionery means that the bakeries are full of interesting pastries, biscuits, cakes and sweets which bring together the island’s past Muslim, Catalan, British and French cultures.
One of the most lasting legacies left by the British following their occupation of the island in the 18th century is the art of gin-making. Not wishing to go without their favourite ‘tipple’, gin production was established using local ingredients which created an authentic yet distinctive taste. Today, the spirit continues to be made almost virtually by hand and has become the favourite drink when mixed with lemonade, known as ‘Pomada’, at the island’s local fiestas.
This brings us onto wine which, once again, is now ‘Made in Menorca’. This industry which has been revived in recent years and has already rewarded the dedication and skill of its producers with its own DO, ‘Vi de la Terra Illa de Menorca’.
The ‘Made in Menorca’ initiative also extends to the island’s shipbuilders who design and build the iconic Menorcan ‘llaut’. This traditional fishing vessel is made almost entirely by hand and today has become much more than a boat, but a lifestyle from which to discover Menorca’s spectacular coastline with its hidden coves and beaches, some only accessible from the sea.