By Lisa on Jun 12, 2013 with Comments 0
This weekend was one of village fairs here in Mallorca. As you know, on Saturday I was eating all things potato at the Feria de la Patata in Sa Pobla.
The following day, during siesta time Toni and I went for a drive to the picturesque village of Selva where they were having their hierbas fair.
Hierbas literally means herbs. So essentially, the fair in Selva was a herbs fair.
But in Mallorca, hierbas means much more than aromatic plants: Hierbas is a drink. In fact, it is the drink of the Balearic Islands. Every town has its own hierbas and some taste quite different to others.
There’s a saying in Mallorca that through the vains of every Mallorcan runs Hierbas not blood!
In Selva they make the real deal: they pour the anise into the bottle and then add the different herbs. Each maker of Hierbas chooses his own herbs to his own taste and that’s what makes the drink such a personal one.
But there are always certain plants used, including rosemary, thyme, fennel, leaves from lemon and orange trees and sometimes a bit of zest, and mint. Basically you can chuck in whatever you want, but it’s more the hardy herbs that are favoured rather than softer or more delicate herbs.
Normally when you buy a bottle of Hierbas it is ready to drink but in Selva they do it differently: when you buy it, the liquid is clear, instead of being that murky green-brown of commercial Hierbas, and the herbs inside look crisp and fresh. You have to leave it for six months before you can drink it, observing how, over time, the herbs inside the bottle give their colour to the liquid.
Have you tried hierbas? It’s delicious. Personally I prefer the sweet version, which is great after a meal and acts as a digestive too. In fact, there are records in Mallorca dating from as far back as the Roman times of the Romans drinking Hierbas, or a version of it, for digestive purposes.
Click here to read more about Mallorca’s rich and diverse gastronomy.
Selva is a delightful village just after Inca and just before Caimari, approaching the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana Mountains. Its has a privileged location on top of a hill and the views of the mountains, surrounding villages and countryside are absolutely breath-taking.
Of the small villages in the Raiguer area of Mallorca, Selva is one of the largest with a population of just over 3000, and is the main town of the Selva municipality too, which covers other villages of Caimari, Moscari, Binibona and Biniamar. This means that Selva has its own town hall.
It also has a church: the church of Sant Llorenç, which is a beautiful, grand affair, on top of the hill dominating the town, with a great wide stone staircase leading up to it. From the church are the best views for miles around.
In the square in front of the church is where a lot of the festivities take place whenever there is a party, celebration or fiesta. This is where, on Saturday night there were midnight dances representing old superstitions of devils and demons. The dance they dance nowadays is the same one that they used to dance to ward off the demons.
Unfortunately I didn’t get there on Saturday night as I was so busy stuffing my face at Sa Pobla’s potato fair, but I have seen the dance before and it’s well worth going to enjoy the eerie atmosphere full of anticipation for the demons… and to drink the Hierbas that they serve afterwards!
If you want to know more about the Hierbas Fair in Selva, I recommend you read the post that Toni wrote on his blog Que Visitar En Mallorca (What to Visit in Mallorca). It is written in Spanish, but it’s well worth the patience of translating if you don’t understand Spanish.
See some of my photos from earlier this year when I did a tour of all the charming villages in the Selva Municipality: In My Shoes on Flickr.
Or discover more of the typical fairs from around the island of Mallorca: In My Shoes at the Ferias.
What about you? What do you like about fairs and fiestas? Which is your favourite? Have you been to any of the fairs in Mallorca?
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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....