Is there anything better than walking through the hustle and bustle of a busy market place and selecting fresh produce? The colours of fruit and vegetables adorning the market stands like a glorious edible rainbow, the sweet smell of pastries filling the air, and handmade trinkets glinting in the sunlight - I used to wake up to this every Tuesday and Sunday morning when living in Alcúdia old town, and it was quite simply magical. As well as the experience of market shopping being lively and exciting, the knowledge that you are supporting local people and their businesses is also a wonderful feeling, not to mention that shopping locally is often far more cost effective than shopping in supermarkets and chain stores. Across the entire island there are wonderful markets, each with their own individual charm and specialities, and in this guide I will let you in on my personal favourites on the island.
For Fruit and Veg #
Felanitx is known to hold one of the largest markets on the island, attracting tourists and locals alike. Although their weekly market has a little bit of everything, their main focus is local fruits and vegetables where hundreds of local suppliers display their goods every Sunday. From the famed Sa Pobla potato, to various varieties of local pears, apricots and apples, the stalls are full to the brim of tasty treats, all grown here on the island. Prices are competitive and you can guarantee to get the tastiest products around by purchasing them here at Felanitx market.
Affordable Mallorca Tip: Although Felantix has the best veggies around, Mancor de la Vall in the Raiguer region of the island is famous for its fabulous mushrooms, and holds an annual fair at the end of November, the ‘Festival de la Seta’ where you can sample the best local mushrooms about.
For Meat #
The indoor market in Palma's Santa Catalina neighbourhood is fabulous for just about anything, but for me it’s the carnicerías (butchers) that have me going back time and time again. There are 4 of them set up within the marketplace; Carniceria Avesa, Carniceria Juanita, Sa Carnisseria de Jaume and Pollería Santa Catalina (specialising in poultry products only).
The three traditional butcher's shops serve just about any cut of meat you could wish for, with both local products and imported (such as Angus beef) and all are happy to debone your purchases there and then, and even vacuum pack the products (Carniceria Avesa) so they last longer and don’t lose any flavour.
The pollería serves some more unique poultry products such as quail and capon, alongside homemade croquettes (which are divine). The owners began this venture so that those who don’t eat red meat are not forced to be surrounded by it in a butcher’s shop, and instead can make their white meat options in a shop solely dedicated to those.
For those of you who are burger lovers there is also a dedicated hamburger stall, ‘La Fabrica de Hamburguesas’. Every day there are 12 fresh burgers (vegetarian options, too) to choose from, traditional flavours and exciting and innovative combinations such as veal and caramelized onion, or beef and goats cheese. Juan, the owner, also makes homemade buns, in a variety of flavour combinations, making these burgers the ideal treat for lunch or dinner.
For Fish #
There is one incredibly famous fish market here on the island and that is Llotja del Peix in Palma. Monday-Saturday, starting at 6 a.m., this enormous fish market sees last night’s catch go on sale to the public, meaning that only the freshest of fish are available to purchase.
From island favourites such as gambas rojas de Soller (red prawns from Soller) seabass, bluefin tuna, hake, squid and sole; to more obscure catches such as lobster, mussels and scallops- you can simply find anything you’re looking for. For a small additional price, the fishmongers will gut and fillet your fish in front of you, and package everything up so that it stays fresh and flavoursome during its journey from market to fridge.
For Bread and Pastries #
The twice weekly Plaça Carlos V Market in Alcúdia market is brilliant for lots of things, but the real speciality here are the local cakes and pastries. As many people will know, Mallorca is famed for its ensaimadas locals describe as a ‘snake cake’ due to the way it loops round in rings, to form this round pile of deliciousness. They are available either plain or with a range of exciting fillings such as chocolate, fresh cream, angle filling (almost like and egg custard) and fruits. The coca de patata (potato cake) and bunyols (hot potato based donuts) and other artisanal bakes such as tarta de almendra (almond cake) you shouldn't miss out on.
For Handicrafts and Artwork #
Cala Ratjada, a small fishing town on the east coast of the island holds a spectacular market every Saturday morning. Unlike other markets across the island, the focus is far less on food, and more on handicrafts and artwork.
Traditional objects made from olive wood are very popular here, as well as an array of original oil paintings and watercolours sold by local artists. Also to be found are several stalls selling clothes and soft furnishing with handsewn items made from the local roba de llengues ('tongue fabrics'). The name relates to the way in which the materials are dyed before weaving, creating the distinctive blue and white patterns that simply cry ‘I am Mallorca.’
For Antiques #
Consell Antiques Market holds the island’s largest second-hand and antiques market, every Sunday. Hundreds of people come together to flog ancient items, or simply swap vintage or second-hand objects, such as clothing, homeware and artwork. If that doesn’t appeal to you, it’s simple awe-inspiring to look at the sheer scale of this weekly event, and there’s live music and edible things to keep you amused on your way round.
The market is so large it has to be held on the industrial area between Inca and Palma, and if you want a chance of parking, I recommend you arrive well in advance of 8 a.m. Perhaps the best way to access the market is via train from Palma’s city centre.
Make it to the Market. #
No matter what takes your fancy, there is guaranteed to be a market for you somewhere across the island of Mallorca. All you need to do is hop in the car and find it.
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By Zoé Holmes
28 October, 2019