Being home for the summer holidays is always relaxing, but it almost never feels complete unless you can get away to somewhere exotic. This summer, I spent my last week of freedom in Mallorca visiting my friend in her hometown. 

Mallorca (note: Ma-yor-ca) is typically seen as a tourist's paradise. The island thrives on the income of other vacation-goers. Central areas are filled with endless rows of clubs and bars, making it seem like a tourist trap at every corner. It may be the perfect getaway for your senior trip, but I assure you it's more enjoyable if you don't spend it hungover every morning on the beach. 

Having my friend as a trusty guide meant that I was able to see what it's really like to live on the island. More importantly, I got to taste the most authentic dishes. So if the Spanish sea-side is calling your name for your next trip, don't miss out on these seven foods that Mallorca has to offer.

1. Pa amb oli

meat, ham, beef, pork, bacon
Photo courtesy of Janiça Hacken

Literally translating to “bread with olive oil”, this dish features Mallorquin bread with garlic, tomato, olive oil, and cured ham and cheeses. If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian like myself, you may encounter situations that make you re-consider your life decisions.

It's a constant struggle between appreciating good food with dietary restrictions, but if you’re going to taste a traditional dish, you may as well enjoy the entire package (spoiler: the meat was bomb). 

2. Almond Cake

When life gives you almonds, make almond cake, which is what happened to Mallorca during the 19th century. The island's wine industry suffered an outbreak due to a pest that feeds on the roots of grapevines. Farmers then decided to plant almond trees, and now the island makes use of them for various sweets.

3. Turrón

When it comes to almonds, Mallorcans don't just limit themselves to cake. It's said they consume this almond nougat candy around Christmas and can be either found soft with the consistency of a nut butter, or in a thicker form as shown in the picture. It was definitely hard to miss out on this treat after spotting it in almost every store. 

4. Tumbet

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Vegetarians will be happy to see this dish on a menu. It’s loaded with eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes that are first gently fried in some olive oil, and finished off in the oven. A tumbet can be eaten with loin or fried eggs, but the flavors from the cooked vegetables definitely shine on their own. Better yet, it’s extremely easy to recreate yourself

5. Ensaimadas

It’s said that it’s common to spot the Spanish carrying loads of boxes filled with this special pastry around the holidays. I can’t say I’ve tasted anything like it before, nor can I put my finger on anything that resembles the taste. Unlike the tumbet, making this requires a bit more time and preparation, so if you get the chance, enjoy it in its purest form without any filling. 

6. Sobrasada

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The sobrasada (sobrassada in Catalan) was not something I ordered, but instead decided to try out of curiosity when I noticed free samples in a store. It's a raw, cured sausage made out of ground pork, paprika, salt, and spices. Funny enough, it was the same day I tried the pa amb oli.  

7. Cocarrois

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The cocarrois is a crescent-shaped pastry stuffed with cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, chard, pine nuts, and raisins. It's traditionally served around Easter but can be found year-round.  

Despite its tiny size on the map, Mallorca packs in a ton of tradition, history, and cuisine that is not possible to get through in one week. Tasting my way through Mallorcan food definitely got me hooked, and like any good vacation, it left me wanting more.