Menorcan gastronomy springs from the contributions of various peoples and cultures that have developed throughout the centuries a cuisine as full of surprises and contrasts as the Menorcan landscape. Menorca invented mayonnaise, and has skilfully adapted many elements from other countries, making them its own.
This diversity is expressed in a multiplicity of fish, seafood, and meat dishes: creations as diverse as cuscussó, a Christmas dessert of Arab origin, British puddings, or the intelligent combination of sweet and savoury we can enjoy in sobrassada and mild cheese with rosemary honey, and the oliaigua amb figues, symbol of popular cuisine. Menorcan cooks have discovered how to take advantage of all the island's resources and bring out all the flavour and all the possibilities of fruits and vegetables, as shown by the humble but delicious apricot, cherry, tomato, or herring coques. Other specialties include caldereta de llagosta (lobster stew), reason enough by itself to visit island restaurants; Mahónes cheese, protected by its own denominación de origen; and the local gin, aromatic and sharp-scented.
In addition to the famous sauce - that always accompanies caragols, a very typical Menorcan and Mallorcan dish, made from snails boiled with aromatic herbs - there are other specialities, most notably the caldereta de langosta (lobster which is also cooked with herbs), an excellent dish with a delicious broth which should be sampled in Fornells, a village in the north of the Island.
Worthy of special mention among the fish and shellfish dishes are the cold fish pies and puddings (a legacy of the English), the caldera, the perol of baked cuttlefish, squid stuffed with potato and sweet potato and oven-baked fish in the Menorcan style.
Rice dishes are served with tomato or fish, in broth, with octopus, salt cod, rabbit or wild mushrooms. Amongst the vegetables, in addition to the panadera of asparagus or the Island soup, there is the oliaigua with tomato, and particularly splendid stuffed red peppers, stuffed courgettes a la menorquina, and broad bean ofegades.
Veal can be eaten roasted or stewed, and lamb is cooked with potatoes, garlic, onions, tomato and parsley to be served as the typical panadera. Trenzas de cordero and liver in the Menorcan style are other specialities that are made from lamb.
Poultry brings even more variety to the local dishes with chicken and potatoes with almond or pepper sauce. The most delicious of the game dishes include partridge with cabbage, stewed partridges, and rabbit and onions, with vinaigrette or baked in the oven.
Fish and seafood are prepared in many different
ways: braised, baked with potatoes and tomatoes, sautéed
with garlic, grilled, fried. With the bunyols, soups, rice broths,
seafood paellas, fish pies, and dishes such as stuffed squid and
perol of baked cuttle fish, Menorcan culinary art and technique
attain the sublime. Among the noteworthy molluscs are the famous
escopinyes (clams), mussels, date mussels, peus de cabrit (goose
barnacles), and corns, cornets, (murex) and snails, ideal as appetizers
or entrées. Among crustaceans, the most appreciated is
lobster, base of the famous stew.