Ask a Mallorcan what foodstuff best represents the island and they are likely to reply, the ensaïmada, Spain’s answer to the croissant. This versatile, light, fluffy-textured spiral pastry is dusted with icing sugar and comes in a variety of sizes, from bite-sized portions to the cake-sized ones you see people lugging on to planes. Locals eat ensaïmadas at breakfast, spread them with sobrassada as a savoury snack or serve them stuffed with nuts and fruits and covered in cream a dessert. Other popular sweet pastries are bunyols (doughnuts) and robiols and crespells (both particularly popular at Easter).
Savoury pastries include the pies found throughout Spain known as empanadas, which come with various fillings. The islands also have their own version of pizza (coca), differing from its Italian cousin in never having a tomato sauce base or cheese or meat toppings – its most popular form covered in peppers. A sweet version of coca is made in Valldemossa.
Popular desserts include greixonera de brosat, a cream cheese tart, and gató de almendra, a light almond sponge cake. You might also want to try granissats, crushed ice flavoured with citrus fruit. Every patisseria and xocolaterie is stuffed full of local sweets such as chocolate and nougat.
Generally, though, you’ll see the same unimaginative desserts in the Balearics as you will throughout Spain. Most establishments will offer flan (crème caramel), arroz con leche (cold rice pudding), natillas (cold custard), helado (ice-cream; the local Menorcan brand, sold all over Spain), fresh fruit and a plate of cheese with membrillo (quince jelly).