Eat, Drink, Repeat, Minorca
One of my fondest memories of spending summers as a young girl in Costa del Sol, Spain were devouring the most delicious Canapés I've ever eaten in my life, swimming in the sea, and taking a hovercraft to nearby Tangir, Morocco occasionally. I had the wonderful opportunity of being invited by a friend to spend a beautiful weekend in the Island of Minorca, another beautiful place to further my love for Spain. Minorca is part of the Balearic Island and is an amazing place to eat, drink wine, and swim in endless beaches. Another plus is that it's much more laid back than its neighbors Mallorca and Ibiza. It also is a Unesco World Heritage housing ruins from the Talayotic culture dating back from the end of the second millennium B.C .
The capital of Minorca is Maó a.k.a. Mahon and is home to the largest natural harbor in the world. Its quaint stores, lovely restaurants, bars, and beautiful sunsets are a must see. Please take into consideration, the siesta, when shop owners close their stores during the afternoon and open back up in the evening. Doing a wine run during this time proved to be frustrating and left me empty handed.
Places to Stay
One of the days when I was in the old part of Mahón, I was able to visit two absolutely beautiful boutique hotels. They were gracious enough to show us the property along with their rooms . These two boutique hotels should definitely be on your list as places to stay when visiting Menorca.
There is nothing more delicious than Spanish Cured Meats. I swear to you, the three days that I was there all consisted at some point of my day a platter of assorted cured meats, cheese, and Dulce de Membrillo (Quince Paste) paired with a glass of Cava, Verdejo, or sometimes both. I was totally obsessed with all of it but the love of my life came in the form of a bright orange soft sausage, doused in paprika thus giving it its bright orange color, and spreadable consistency. I was eating it like it was going out of style. Pairing it with a raisin cracker and the spiciness of the sausage was a match made in heaven. Yeah you...Sobrassada.
Who knew that Minorca was the birth place of Mayonnaise and that it wasn't a Spaniard who invented it but a French man...not surprising. Which leads me to Paella o Fidua. Not your traditional Paella made with rice but with short noodles. It has the usual ingredients of a mix of seafood and meat or seafood alone. Guess what they like to garnish it with? A garlic Mayo. I personally didn't care for the Mayo garnish but like they say "When you are in Spain, do what the Spaniards do".
A picturesque seaside restaurant located right across the street from the sea is a must do. Take in the views while enjoying a glass of Sangria, which I highly recommend here. Chow down on Galician Octopus, Patata Brava topped with Mayo, a heap of Fried Boquerones with a squeeze of lemon, Mussels, and of course Paella o Fiuda.
Spain is one of my favorite regions to drink wine from, especially white wine. Historically, wine production was an important asset economically to the Island but like many vineyards all around the world, they too were affected by Phyloxera in the 19th Century. Phylloxera is a a grape vine eating louse originally from California that eats the roots of grape vines and caused the vines to die. Through grafting of the vines, like other vineyards with this problem, they were able to plant new vines and revitalize their wine industry.
Unfortunately I did not have the time to visit this popular local vineyard but did of course had the chance to taste two of their wines. The calcium rich soil of Minorca along with hot summer sun settling into cooler nights makes this wine growing region perfect for bringing out the right amount of essence in these wines. I was pleased to try the Merluzo White Wine which is their younger wine making it very easy to drink. It is a blend of Malvasia, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Muscat. Gama Binifadet is their single varietal wine. I enjoyed their Chardonnay which had notes of riped fruit which was indicative of their sunny days and seaside lifestyle.
I am a big fan of Verdejo which is a popular grape variety grown in Spain and one of my favorites. I had the pleasure of trying this 100% Verdejo from José Parent and it was absolutely delicious. Even though it is from the province of Vallodalid in mainland Spain, I still have to give it props. It was yum and worth a mention.
Minorca is a place to return to time and time again. A place you can easily relax and get comfortable with. Life is easy there. Reminding you always to slow down and appreciate everything around you.