Many interesting and tasty dishes are eaten in Menorca during Semana Santa (Holy Week) that reflect Spain’s religious and cultural traditions. Back in the Middle Ages, as well as meat, milk, cheese and eggs were also forbidden during Lent. It was therefore traditional to use up the household's eggs before Ash Wednesday, which established the custom of Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. However, this did not stop the chickens from laying and so eggs were often hard boiled or otherwise preserved and then used for cooking. This general prohibition of eggs and milk probably gave rise to some of the delicious recipes and giving of gifts using eggs at Easter.
Today, the strict rules of abstinence and fasting have become more lenient, but meat is often still not eaten on Fridays or during Holy Week and especially not on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday when great meals using fish and vegetables are served.
The Menú del Día or Menu of the Day is generally offered for the midday meal and is the most economical way to eat in a Menorcan restaurant.
Menús del día are normally served only at lunchtime - and usually only on week days. They also tend to change every day, so it’s a great way to taste what the locals are eating and will probably include dishes that you wouldn’t normally have ordered if left to choose. Some restaurants may assume that if you are not a local and on holiday you wouldn't want the Menu del Dia, even though they probably have one. So, if you aren't offered the menu and can’t see it on a blackboard, do ask – it’s well worth it.
The menu will normally include 2 courses plus dessert and may include bread, a drink and coffee – all for one price. The 'primer plato' (first course) will usually consist of carbohydrates or vegetables, and the 'segundo plato' (second course) will be the meat and fish. You may be able to choose from either coffee or dessert for your final course, but do ask first. Most menus will say 'con pan y vino/agua' (with bread and wine/water), but it is usually possible to order a different soft drink - but not always the case, so again, ask.
Bocaddillos: for a simple snack why not try a ‘Bocadillo’ or ‘Bocci’ – a fresh crusty filled baguette available in most bars, cafes and bakeries. Fillings tend to be simple – tuna (atun), queso (cheese), jamon (ham), jamon de serano (cured ham), sobrasada (Menorcan sausage), salmon ahumado (smoked salmon), tortilla (Spanish omelette) or a combination of ingredients and can be ordered with or without salad. Sometimes fresh tomato flesh many be used instead of butter which makes a tasty and healthy alternative. Perfect with a beer for lunch.
Tapas: available in most bars where there may be a wide selection of traditional dishes displayed along the top of the bar counter. Served in small portions, tapas make a great appetiser or choose several to make up a meal.
Some of the most typical include albondigas (meatballs), higado (liver and garlic), rinones al jerez (kidneys in sherry), calamares a la romana (fried squid rings in batter), carne con salsa (meat in a rich sauce), and of course Tortilla as well as serano ham, garlic mushrooms, salads etc.
Veranza – Chardonnay 2009, white, bodega Nuviana, Huesca, Spain.
€3.50 approx from Supermarket Hiper Centro, Poligono, Mahon. – a real bargain stock wine and great to enjoy on a hot lazy afternoon
Yellow colour of a typical chardonnay, young wine with hints of exotic fruits, ideal served well chilled with fish, shellfish paella, salads and gazpacho.
Masia Peralada, Dry White 2007, Macabeo & Garnatxa grape variety, Bodega Cadelamsa, Girona. Catalunya.
€3.25 Local area supermarket Coves Noves amongst others, also Hiper Centro when available.
This has to be the best ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ style dry white wine available for the price. (also medium sweet for those who like it, same style label) Perfect for all occasions and a real bargain.
Gran Feudo, Red (Crianza) 2005, Tempranillo, Garnacha & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, Bodega Julian Chivite, Cintruenigo, Navarra.
€5.50 Stocked in most supermarkets, Island wide.
Softer on the palate than a Rioja, Crianza is stored in barrels made from American oak for 12 months before being bottled where the flavour develops further, great with dishes other than meat i.e. pasta, white fish and planched vegetables. Can be served a little chilled for those who prefer it as an aperitif.
Here we bring you a list of the most popular meats, fish and cheeses you will find readily available at the major supermarkets, with their English translation for easy reference.
Popular Beef Cuts – Ternera / Buey
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