By Lisa on Sep 24, 2013 with Comments 0
Last weekend was the almond fair in Santa Margalida in Mallorca.
As you know, I love going to these local fairs and fiestas in some of the tiny villages in Mallorca. The autumn fairs are just starting now and each town or village has its own theme.
Yesterday’s fair in Santa Margalida was the almond fair.
Almonds in Mallorca
In Mallorca there are seven million almond trees and almonds are widely used in Mallorcan cooking. Having said that, many of the almonds that we use nowadays do not come from Mallorca.
Despite the fact that we have so many almond trees, much of the time the almonds are not harvested, due to low profit margins. They are left to fall naturally from the trees and be eaten by animals.
In the meantime, while we are cooking many of our local dishes with almonds, we are often using almonds imported form California as it works out cheaper than harvesting our own! Crazy.
And just as a matter of interest, the man who introduced almonds to California was Fray Junipero Serra from Petra, Mallorca! And now they are selling them back to us.
Mallorcan Almonds Have Unique Properties
It has been discovered that the Mallorcan almonds have unique properties due to the climate and the soil in which they are grown.
For this reason, the local government has applied to the EU for D.O status for the Mallorcan almonds. Hopes are that with this status will return more demand for Mallorcan almonds, just as there was half a century ago when Mallorca was supplying 50% of the Spanish crop. Read more about this here.
Almond Fair in Santa Margalida
The almond fair in Santa Margalida yesterday was tiny: there were just a few stalls in the main square and a stage at one end.
But what a beautiful village! It was worth going to the almond fair in Santa Margalida as much to see the village itself as to enjoy the almonds.
It’s also very nice at these little fairs to see how the locals socialise: all the villagers, young and old get excited for their local fair, prepare dishes and dances, there are days off school and bunting is put up around the square. There is always such a sense of community at these fairs.
We walked around the few stalls, bought some toasted almonds and tasted some almond brittle. There was everything you could imagine made from almonds: cakes and desserts, almond oil, almond liqueur and all manner of jams and chutneys.
There had been dancing the evening before in the square and there was a stage set up at the end of the square for a band and for presentations throughout the celebrations.
The stage was covered in these banners that we have seen so much around the island this past week, protesting against the new law about teaching lessons in English in schools. It seem that politics penetrates everything, even the local almond fair in Santa Margalida. Actually, many classes have been suspended these days due to the teaching strike in protest to this new law.
The local restaurants in Santa Margalida were providing special dishes and creative menus featuring the almond, especially for this fair.
Around the square there were old pieces of machinery from the almond mills on display and plenty of boards with information about the origin and use of the almonds. The men were tinkering with the machinery and the children were learning how to make whistles from the almond shells.
All in all it was a beautiful day, a pleasant fair and a charming village.
Find out what other local fairs are going on in Mallorca here.
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About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....