On the trail of the best ensaïmadas on Mallorca
If you're thinking of spending a few days on holiday in Mallorca and you have already read up on what the guidebooks have to say about the island, then you've probably found out that the ensaimada is the Mallorcan pastry par excellence. However, what you may not know is that this traditional pastry can be eaten in an infinite number of ways. You simply mustn't leave the island without tasting the most typical sweet in Balearic gastronomy; it's one of the island's hallmarks, just as famous as the sobrassada!
The island's most iconic bakeries have been making the ensaimada recipe for centuries. The secret of the recipe has been passed down from generation to generation. Join us as we hit the ensaimada trail!
Can Joan de s'Aigo is the oldest chocolate/ice cream parlour on the island. It's located in Palma, where there are three different outlets in the Can Sanç, Baró de Santa Maria del Sepulcre, and Sindicato streets, and has more than 300 years of history.
During the Christmas holidays it's very typical for Mallorcans (and tourists too!) to queue up at one of its premises to eat an ensaimada with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. In fact, queuing up at these three establishments is almost a tourist attraction.
In winter, the ensaimada is combined in Can Joan de s'Aigo with hot chocolate and, in summer it's served with traditional homemade ice cream, in such typically Mallorcan and utterly delicious flavours as almond, hazelnut, strawberry, vanilla, and apricot. Whatever time of year you visit Mallorca, we recommend you stop off at Can Joan de s'Aigo.
In Fornet de la Soca, in Plaça Weyler, we find one of the most Instagrammed shop windows in the city of Palma. This bakery, which dates back to 1916, has a picture-postcard window display. It’s one of the most famous "temples" of Mallorcan confectionery, where you can read the words read: "Arqueología Gastronómica Local" (Local Gastronomic Archaeology). Don't miss the chance of tasting Tomeu Arbona's delicious ensaimadas.
At Horno Santo Cristo, one of the oldest establishments in the sector, you can also try some delicious ensaimadas, made according to the original recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation since it was founded in 1911. If you like to experiment with new flavours, they also make ensaimadas with a different twist - filled with white chocolate or dulce de leche (caramelized milk).
There's no excuse for not trying their pastries, as the Horno de Santo Cristo has two large branches at Son Sant Joan international airport, where you can buy ensaimadas without having to check them in!!
At Forn Fondo, also located in Palma's Plaça Weyler, you can try up to 20 different types of ensaimadas! All of them are handmade and made using fresh seasonal produce. You'll find them made with figs, cherries, peppers, marzipan and even black chocolate with orange. The sobrasada ensaimada is very popular at Carnival time; fig and apricot ensaimadas are recommended in the summer, and at Christmas they're filled with nougat.
The name ensaimada comes from saïm, which means “butter” in Catalan, the language of the islands. Its ingredients also include flour, yeast, eggs, a little water and a pinch of salt, as well as a thin layer of icing sugar to cover the pastry. The most popular version is the plain ensaimada, which has nothing more than the dough and a little sugar on top. However, there are many ways of combining and eating it.
Apart from the plain ensaimada, the angel hair ensaimada is the most traditional. They can also be made with apricots at Carnival time, and with sobrasada and quince jelly on top just before the beginning of Lent. Some places, as we have seen, fill them with chocolate, cream, custard, or dulce de leche - a real treat for those with a sweet tooth!
Ensaimadas can be individual, medium-sized (for approximately six people) or large (for between 8 and 10 people). In the island's bars and restaurants they're usually served for breakfast, or as a dessert after meals. And in the typical family meals on the island, they usually share a large one as dessert.
If you try one, you'll come back for more! In fact, if you're travelling to Mallorca to spend a few relaxing days on the island, then, at the island's Son Sant Joan international airport, you're bound to see the typical sight of hordes of tourists laden with ensaimadas in boxes and knotted with string.
It's very common to see tourists returning home with these typical ensaimada boxes. These octagonal cardboard boxes, with a very distinctive design, can be used to transport these highly prized pastries without running the risk of damaging them.
From all of us here at the hotel Predi Son Jaumell we wish you bon profit!