Eat & Travel Weekly Food Tour – Episode 2
For our next visit we walked across the centre of Palma as the sun was coming up.. and crept into the oldest part of town.. the old Jewish quarter. We wandered past large imposing churches and made our way past the old Montesion school (where my father went to school and recited rosaries under the watchful eye of rather unfriendly monks). We turned left just after the entrance to Montesion school onto Calle Pelleteria and arrived at our next destination: the baker’s ‘Forn de Sant Miquel’, one of the oldest bakeries in town and home to a huge wood oven, one of the few in inexistence in fact, and where Miquel, the eccentric and friendly baker, has been making ensaimadas for over 40 years.
The Hong Kong team couldn´t come to Mallorca and not try an ensaimada. The spiral shaped sweet is the Mallorcan sweet ‘par excellence’ and perhaps even the ‘Mallorcan product’ par excellence… it is the only product we can truly say is unique to Mallorca. Of course you will find it on the Spanish mainland now.. but the fact of the matter is, that the ensaimada originates here. I had arranged our visit beforehand with Miquel and he promised to show us how he made an ensaimada from scratch. And we were not disappointed.
Now if you haven´t yet visited the Forn de Sant Miquel, you must go! (Take my car! Well, actually don´t, there is nowhere to park in the area). You must visit this place before it is too late. Miquel has been looking for someone to take over the business now for some years, and has so far been unsuccessful. He is planning to retire next year, and in all likelihood, the bakery will shut down. It is due a bit of a facelift to be fair, but I think if you visit you will agree, that that only adds to the charm of the place. It is like walking into the past.
And Miquel makes ensaimadas in the same way he has always made them, slowly and with pride. A couple of customers came in while we were there and they were told they were ‘too early! Come back later!’.
Once the ensaimadas are ready for cooking Miquel puts them into the piping hot oven for little more than 5 minutes and then, there they were, fresh and ready to be eaten. He wrapped some up for us and we ate them on our way back through Palma, just as the city was beginning its day.
-For more information about Ensaimadas, read my previous article.