Oven-baked stuffed aubergines are also a speciality. Aubergines, or eggplants, feature prominently in Menorcan cuisine and grow in abundance in agricultural areas. Whether they are cored and stuffed with meat, rice, tomatoes and spices or filled with onions, garlic, tomatoes and parsley (a dish of Moorish descent), or roasted and then layered and baked with mozzarella, tomato sauce and topped with parmesan, they are quite simply delicious.
Menorca also has a wide variety of sausages including ‘sobrasada’ (made from pork flavoured with paprika to give it its red color), a traditional sausage ‘carn i uxa’ (made from lean meat, bacon and seasoning) and ‘camot’ or ‘cuixot’ (black sausages flavored with fennel). Local sausages are usually 99% meat and are therefore very rich, tasty and filling and usually eaten with fresh bread.
Menorcans are renowned for their sweet tooth and sweet pastries are in abundance. Of particular note is the unusual yet delicious ‘ensaimada’ pastry made with either pumpkin jam or custard cream, which is typically presented in a large, flat box. A traditional Spanish breakfast would include a cup of hot chocolate and slice of ensaimada. Other favourites include ‘amargos’ (made with almond), ’carquinyols’ (little almond sweets), ‘turro cremat’ (made from nougat) and ‘coca bamba’ (eaten with hot chocolate during the local fiestas).
Menorca also has its own ice cream called La Menorquina, produced in Alaior. Its smooth, creamy taste is highly popular and it is now sold throughout Spain.
Olives are also a very popular ingredient in many traditional Menorcan dishes. The olive (Olea Europaea) comes from a species of small trees that are usually found in coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean. With the island’s rich variety of olives, this flavorful ingredient can be found in abundance in restaurants as well as supermarkets, which is reflected in its price tag – making olive oil an excellent purchase to take home.
A sumptuous roasted shoulder or leg of lamb is another of Menorca’s specialties, along with tender, plump suckling pig. Often on the menu at traditional farmhouse restaurants – great for a lazy Sunday lunch Spanish style.
And, of course, Paella has to be one of the most standard recipes every Spanish cook learns. Although a somewhat intricate dish to make, Paella is a renowned favourite throughout Spain and almost a staple feed. Widely available, many Menorcan restaurants specialise in Paella, with options ranging from Lobster, fish and shellfish, meat and vegetarian to a mixture of selected meat and fish.
Finally, it should not be forgotten that Menorca brought mayonnaise to international cuisine, allegedly prepared for the Duke of Richelieu who took the recipe back to France.