Loyal to tradition and undaunted by the encroachment of the modern, urban world and ever growing arrival of new visitors, Mallorca's artisans have lived on regardless and the island continues to produce its age old arts and handicrafts, traditional food specialities and local Mallorca artisan products in the same way as it always has.
The local Mallorca artisan market is now living an unprecedented revival as demand for natural, handmade and artisan products grows and the inherent benefits to our health and local economy are increasingly understood. You can see and buy most Mallorca artisan products at local village markets and specialist craft fairs.
The most authentic markets for Mallorca artisan wares are those held weekly in Pollensa, Artá and Inca. While some of Mallorca artisan products are so commonly used and consumed they need no presentation, others have remained virtually unknown. Mallorca artisan markets for food specialities take place primarily after the autumn harvest but can still be acquired at local Mallorca artisan markets throughout the year.
From textiles to olive oil, leather, wine, pearls and spicy sausage, glass, basketware and almond oil...Mallorca artisan icecream and sea blossom sea salt, there is a wealth of traditional Mallorca artisan products to sample, taste and carry home with you. Here we have chosen just a few of our favourite Mallorca artisan foods and traditional local hand made products.
Mallorca artisan textiles are still produced by three local companies on the island. Teixits Vicens is one of them, a family run artisan textile factory in Pollensa old town which has been making the traditional artisan cloth "Robes de Llengües" since the mid 19th century. The cloth making technique, reminiscent of the Indonesian Ikat patterns, made its way to Mallorca from the East on the ancient silk routes and was adopted by Mallorca artisan textile producers because of its durability and unusual design.
Produced from a combination of natural cotton and linen, the traditional Mallorca artisan fabrics are extremely versatile, used for all kinds of upholstery, bed linen, tablecloths, shoes and bags and can be seen in most households, from the most humble to exclusive luxury pads outside town.
Much of Mallorca's bucolic beauty and particular Mediterranean character is thanks to the gnarled, century old olive trees that dot the land, and the olive and its oil that have shaped the island's economy, history and landscape and infused its gastronomy with its rich and highly distinctive flavour.
Mallorca artisan oil presses, known locally as Tafones, produce over 100,000 tonnes of olive oil a year, and like much of the Mallorca artisan foods which have survived and prospered, it has become a highly celebrated, gourmet product.
To sample the new olive oil straight from the press, you can visit the tafones by prior arrangement, or alternatively, book a visit over to the island for the fabulous Mallorca artisan Caimari Olive Fair during the third weekend in November.
When you talk about leather in Mallorca you invariably have to talk about Inca, the island's leather hub, home to the now internationally reknown Camper shoes but also many other Mallorca artisan leather manufacturers and producers of handmade shoes, jackets, bags and belts.
Much of the town's Mallorca artisan leather production has sadly moved away but there are still a few die-hard Mallorca artisan leather shoemakers working out of small studios and able to produce custom shoes to order, a luxury not easily found nowadays.
The ancient glass blowing technique was first brought to the island by the Phoenicians in the 2nd Century BC and then later perfected by the island's many residents, Moors, Romans and most recently, by the Mallorcan artisan glassblowers.
The Gordiola factory near Algaida was the first artisan glassware factory to be established in Mallorca as early as 1719. The other two Mallorca artisan glass factories are La Fiore on the Palma-Valldemossa road and Menestralia in Campanet, in the north of Mallorca.
You can visit the factories and watch the glass blowers at work. The Mallorca artisan glassware is blown into shape and then finished by hand in the age old fashion. Mallorca artisan glassware is available at the factory stores and in most craft markets on the island.
Between Montuiri and Manacor, on the far southern side of the island, there is a small collection of Mallorca artisan artificial pearl factories, most of which have been producing pearls for over a century. The main companies are Majorica, Orquidea, Crisali, Ordina and Madreperla, though a few smaller Mallorca artisan operations operate in the area as well. Mallorca artisan pearls have become well known and highly sought after due to their beauty and resilience.
Mallorca artisan pearls are stunning replicas of the real thing, produced by layering a solution made from fish scales and other marine products around a crystal nucleus until the pearl gets to the desired size and shape.
Ses Salines of Colonia Sant Jordi on Mallorca's southeastern most tip are said have been in operation since pre-Roman times in the 4th Century BC. Purified sea water is pumped from nearby Es Trenc to create man made salt lakes, where the hot windy conditions allow the salt to crust on the surface, producing Mallorca artisan sea blossom gourmet salt.
Flor de Sal as it is known, is harvested, packaged and labelled at source, by hand. The most accomplished Mallorca artisan sea salt producers are Mar Blau, whose Flor de Sal salt comes in a range of sizes, from small easy to fly home packages to 600g catering tubs, and in an array of flavours, with added herbs, olives, lemon, lime, aromas and spices.
15000 tonnes of salt are produced every year in the Mallorca artisan salt pans and demand is growing along with awareness of its many health benefits.
The are two kinds of Mallorca artisan bread. One is the dense unsalted wholemeal bread used for the ubiquitous pa amb oli and the other is the sweet buttery egg bread, fluffy in texture known locally as ensaimada.
The artisan bread in Mallorca is one of the food staples of the island's Mediterranean diet, along with tomatoes, olive oil and salt. Baked in traditional wood burning ovens, Mallorca artisan unsalted bread is an essential element of the island's favourite bread and oil snack, the pa amb oli, served in practically every establishment on the island. Every village produces a slight variant on the bread, with marked differences in size and density,
There are many more...
To learn more about artisan Mallorca and see its products first hand, visit the Pollensa Fair which takes place on the second weekend of November, which falls on the 10th and 11th of November this year (2019).