The typical Formentera cuisine is closely linked to the traditional way of life, strongly influenced by the connection with the sea and rain-fed agriculture. It is characterised by an almost complete dependence on local products, conditioned by the isolation of the Pitiusas Islands. This scarcity of produce combined with creativity and a good use of high-quality products (such as fish), have resulted in traditional recipes which include the outstanding: Peasant Salad (with Peix Sec), Frit de Polp (fried octopus), Sofrit Pagès (with meat and potatoes), Calamars a la bruta (fried calamari in their ink), or the Bullit de Peix (fish stew with potatoes). The most typical desserts are Flaó (fresh cheese pudding with mint leaves), Orelletes (aniseed dessert) and Greixonera (ensaimada pastry pudding).
We will now give a brief description of the high-quality local products.
- Particularly outstanding is the Peix sec (dried fish). Formerly, on Formentera, the fishermen dried the fish to preserve it for consumption throughout the year. Today, this has become a gastronomic attraction on the island and has been given the “Ark of Taste” seal by the Slow Food international organisation. It is the star ingredient in the Peasant Salad, which can be enjoyed in many of the island’s restaurants. For more information visit: www.peixsec.com.
- Another remarkable product is liquid salt from Formentera, a natural salt from the sea, with no added colouring or flavouring. Its high quality is mainly due to the powerful filtration, oxygenation and mineralisation that seawater provides, and at the same time it receives the effects of the Posidonia Oceanica in the Marine Reserve.
- Honey is a local product that owes its excellent quality to the dry-land flora and the lack of chemical products. Depending on the season, rosemary or frigola (thyme) is grown.
- Dried figs were considered for a long time to the one of the basic products from the local shop, and today they are very much enjoyed for their intense flavour, with hints of aniseed and bay with which they are flavoured during the elaboration process. Accompanied with cheese and almonds, they make an exquisite dessert.
- The Formentera fresh cheese is generally mixed (goat and sheep), and because it is produced for personal consumption, the traditional elaboration methods are followed.
- The bescuit is the bread that has a long baking time, which gives it a similar consistency to toasted bread. In fact, it needs to be hydrated before being eaten. It constitutes one of the strangest components of the Peasant Salad.
- Herb liqueur is mainly commercialised in Ibiza, but many homes and restaurants in Formentera make a homemade herb liqueur using the numerous aromatic herbs on the island. The most typical is made with frígola (thyme).
Access traditional recipes in more detail in the Gastronomy Catalogue.
FORMENTERA WINE AND WINERIES
There is a deep-rooted viticulture on Formentera, dating back as far as can be remembered, and a land use of over 80 hectares of vineyards. The island wines are greatly appreciated because the majority is un-grafted, i.e. not grafted, as are the majority across Europe. This is because the phylloxera plague, which destroyed un-grafted vineyards during the second half of the 19th century, did not affect the Formentera vineyards, largely because of its geographical isolation. In many cases the traditional “Vi pagès” is also produced, but generally for personal consumption.
There are two wineries on Formentera: Terramoll and Es Cap de Barbaria. All their wines have exceptional qualities due to the exquisite treatment given to the vines and the meticulous care during the wine production process. Both wineries organise guided and informative visits, for more information visit: www.terramoll.es and www.capdebarbaria.com.
As well as traditional cuisine with its menu shaped by the maritime nature of the island, the affluence of tourism has, over recent years, developed an outstanding catering sector. In Formentera there is a wide range of hugely diverse restaurants: from signature dishes to traditional fare, prepared the way it always has been, or interpreted with a modern flare, or even introducing typical foods from other parts of the world, like Japan, Italy and Argentina.
In 2014 the exquisite Balearic gastronomy obtained a new Michelin Star, the first for the Pitiusa catering industry. The Can Dani restaurant (La Mola road, 8.5km) was awarded this recognition for its traditional cuisine that uses local, high-quality products with the utmost of care.
You can download a list of restaurants here.
During the first half of May and October, the Gastronomic Weekends are held. Over the first two weekends (from Friday to Sunday), the best restaurants on the island offer traditional menus for the set price of 20 euros. These are menus that have been especially prepared for this occasion: new interpretations of typical cuisine, innovative proposals at a very accessible price.