Mancor de la Vall – Wild Mushroom Festival

As I said in a previous post, now is the time for the local fairs in Mallorca. One of my absolute favourite fairs is in Mancor de la Vall and it’s the wild mushroom or “setas” fair. The setas that are famous in this area are called “esclata sangs” and they sell on the markets for a price close to that of gold.

Esclata sangs in Mancor

“Esclata” is roughly translated as “explode” in English and “sang” is of course blood, owing to the red colour given to these setas when they are cut into. At the end of this post I will give you a little fact about these “esclata sangs” which all the locals know but some people are still fooled by…

This is one of the last autumn fairs towards the end of November so you know that after this fair winter is on its way. Not this day though; the sun was blazing, the sky was cloudless blue and we were all strolling around with no jackets on.

Toni and I went with our usual “fair going partners”, Michael and Joan. They are friends of ours who live nearby and they love the local traditions as much as we do. We have a routine where we take it in turns to drive and the ones who don’t take the car have the pleasure of buying breakfast!

So at the fairs we are always three Brits and a local. We certainly don’t feel like outsiders though; apart from the fact that we always know exactly where to park (it’s so simple, you just drive into the town or village as near to the centre as you can until you see a policeman directing the traffic. He will then send you into a huge field which is being used as a car park. Easy) we also know what time to arrive, when to leave and which purchases can be left until the end and which should be snapped up immediately. As well as this, the locals are always friendly, if slightly amused with us, and are more than eager to show off their village and their fair.

On this day we set off from Alcudia at 09:15 in order to have the car parked and be looking for somewhere to have coffee by 10:00 in Mancor. There was loads of space in the car park (field) but the town was already getting busy.

Mancor de la Vall fair

Mancor de la Vall fair The first thing we saw (and heard) was the large group of firemen and their families who had organised a protest over pay cuts in the place where they knew they would have maximum exposure. Apparently their presence had been felt at many fairs in Mallorca this autumn. It’s a damn shame that we can’t properly pay the people who risk their lives every day to keep us safe, but that is the state that Spain is in at the moment and this post is certainly not about politics, so back to the fair…

To reach the centre of the village we had to go through a very questionable stone entrance which was basically a stone wall with a gap and a stone slab across the gap making a doorway. The problem was that the stone slab had a huge crack in it and looked like it was about to fall on someone’s head! We later found out that the whole wall and entrance were made out of polystyrene! But it had us fooled; it was very realistic.

 

Mancor de la Vall fair Mancor de la Vall fair

As soon as we were through the entrance and into the village we were instantly assaulted by the smell of smoke and homemade barbecues. All over the village drums that had been cut in half long-ways were set up as makeshift barbecues with a grill over the top and charcoal inside. They had been put there by the council for people to barbecue their own “setas” and Mallorcan sausages which could be bought raw in individual portions at posts throughout the village. These packs contained three of four setas, a piece of butifarrón (black sausage) and a piece of chorizo and it is good fun trying to barbecue it all using the enormous tongs provided as well as holding your plastic plate and plastic glass of local wine (yes it is only 10am but it’s fair day so it’s obligatory).

Mancor de la Vall fair Mancor de la Vall fair

We opted not to grill our own setas this year; it is fun but we’ve done it before and it’s tricky, plus washing the esclata sangs is sacrilege so you end up with a mouthful of grit, wine all over you which you’ve spilt and you normally lose a piece of sausage through the grill and into the fire!

So we headed straight into the main square, battling our way through groups of chattering old dears, excited children and protesting firemen and we found ourselves one of the many restaurants that were doing a special “fair” menu based on esclata sangs. We took the last available table and waited and waited, enjoying the atmosphere as we did so, for the waitress to bring us pa amb oli with setas and a glass of wine each. We were very lucky that we sat down when we did because 10 minutes later they were fighting for seats and the poor waitresses were absolutely run off their feet; they were already telling the people at the table next to us that they had run out of pork loin! And this was only breakfast time, who knew what state the place would be in by lunch time?

Mancor de la Vall fair Mancor de la Vall fair

The pa amb oli was good and the esclata sangs were excellent; not a blemish on them (and no grit either). I’ll bet that on a normal non-fair day this place would offer good service and decent food – it was certainly popular with the locals on this day anyway. It was called Bar Can Bernat so if you find yourself hungry in Mancor, give it a shot and leave me a comment on our Facebook page to let us know how it was…

Mancor de la Vall fair

Walking around a fair in Mallorca is always a pleasant experience but I especially enjoy the fair in Mancor de la Vall; it’s such a charming village and despite the fact you can get around it in half an hour, it has everything that the big fairs have: there were dancers dancing “ball de bot” in the main square, all dressed in the traditional Mallorcan dress, there were stalls selling local products like cheese, Mallorcan sausages and olives, there were many stalls selling wild mushrooms, of course, and there were stalls offering more artesian items.

Mancor de la Vall fair Mancor de la Vall fair Mancor de la Vall fair

We walked around the stalls, some of which we had seen the week before at Caimari, like the flavoured salchichones, the guy with the enormous gruyere cheese, and the recycled furniture place (if you don’t know what I’m talking about take a look at my post from last week about the olive fair in Caimari) as well as plenty that we hadn’t already seen.

Mancor de la Vall fair

we got ourselves a nice glass of black “Tramontana Beer” and went to watch the dancers and listen to the band.

It was a perfect morning in the sunshine.

As we were leaving at 1pm, as is always the case, the cars were flooding in and parking was becoming a bit trickier. To be fair, the council and the local police had it all well under control and there was space to comfortably park several hundred aircraft in that field that they had commandeered for car park.

 

Funny Fact

Want to know something about esclata sangs? What gives them the red colour is the moisture in them and when you eat them you don’t notice anything but when you go to the bathroom you can get a surprise! Doctors say that they get so many visits at this time of year from worried patients who think that they are urinating blood. The first thing the doctor asks is “have you eaten esclata sangs lately?”  The word “sangs” which means blood is actually just a reference to the red colour that passes through the body! So if you eat esclata sangs and then notice that you have red pee… don’t worry!

 

 

Filed Under: fairs in mallorcafeaturedfood and drinkLocal FairsmallorcaMancor de la VallspainWhere I Am Right Now

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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....

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  1. susan sykes says:

    Ha Ha loved the bit about the sang I didn’t know that it passed through you red, I will know in future thanks for that snip of info.
    The fair sounds really good and I think we’ll have to visit in November and try the fairs I like the sound of them all.

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