Each land has its own food and we could not end this route through artisan Menorca without tasting some of its gastronomic excellences; however the Archduke says that it has few characteristic features. One of the main differences from Spanish cuisine is that Menorcan people use lard or butter instead of olive oil that Menorcan have learnt from English. They love oven baked dishes, also a legacy of English people. Another very well appreciated product is fish, as must be obvious in a land surrounded by the sea, although during their meals at lunch they usually eat many cabbage, chickpeas and carrot stews with some pork fat.
We must highlight the arròs de la terra (made of wheat) as one of the main dishes of Menorcan people. Freqüent oliaigües (vegetable stews) are the equivalent to sopes mallorquines (typical Mallorcan stew) and are a main meal in most humble homes of the island. Delicious formatjades are also very typical made of meat, or cheese and eggs and honey, decorated with star-shaped hollows and modelled as in a sugar bread shape.
Now our mouths are watering, it is obvious that Menorcan gastronomy does not end here and some dishes that the Archduke tasted are still present in our kitchens although others maybe must be looked for in one of the abundant good restaurants around the Island. But, specially, we would like you to taste dishes as tasty as stuffed aubergines, crabs with escargots’, partridge and cabbage, Menorcan-style squid, octopus with onion; desserts such as amargos (made with almonds and sugar) and carquinyols; and, of course, our cheese…
Drinks deserve a special mention. Vine culture, fairly extended in old times, has been reduced due to the Oidium fungus, although more recently it has increased once again. In the days of the Archduke, vines could be seen all around the Island. In the area of Alaior, currently this resurrection of vines is even more noticeable to the extent that a label called Denominació d’Origen Vi de la Terra Illa de Menorca protection of origin has been created, with about twenty hectares devoted to the cultivation of different varieties of grapes with which high quality wine is made.
Gin, which has its origins during the ruling period of the British (18th century) is the spirit of choice of Menorcans and it can be drunk straight or with soda water (pellofa) or lemonade (pomada), which are the most popular and well-rooted combinations.