My souvenir scouring skills leave much to be desired. I wander through unique shopping heavens around the globe in a wallet-closed daze. Seldom do I pick up “the” souvenir when I travel, but the Balearic Island of Mallorca made the knick-knack shopping process as easy as a bottle of olive oil. Known as a gastronomic destination, Mallorca warrants both suitcases and waistlines to grow before you head home. The expansion continues when you notice the wealth of handmade goods all over the island.
As I wedged a bottle of wine in between all of my packed clothes preparing to head back to New York on airBerlin’s flight from Mallorca, I realized I was taking a key memento home from a place, souvenir shopping challenged and all. Mallorca effortlessly sells itself in the souvenir department. If you’re off to Mallorca, don’t leave the island without stuffing your suitcase full of these items.
Natural Sea Salt: If you want a dash of Mallorca on your dinner even after you return home, you will want to pick up some of the island’s prized natural sea salts. Mallorca has been harvesting salt for over 2,000 years, meaning this island knows how to sprinkle the salt. Handmade and pure natural sea salt on Mallorca comes in many different varieties infused with everything from orange, lemon, olives and hibiscus.
Roba de Llengües: The traditional Mallorcan fabric sounds less than appealing, but in actuality it is one of the island’s most unique souvenirs to pick up. Translated as “tongue cloth” for its longish print design, these Mallorcan fabrics are a staple decoration in the Mallorcan home. Made in the same fashion as in ancient times, the Roba de Llengües come in different colors and forms, from pillows to shoes.
Wine: Perhaps to go with that Mallorcan salt, the island produces an abundance of wine to take back in your suitcase. While the Romans were probably the first to help Mallorca cultivate the grape into wine, evidence shows wine making on the island from the 6th to 7th centuries B.C. Produced all over the island, you can tour and taste from traditional bodegas or fincas. Most allow you to purchase their bottles to take home. White wines in Mallorca can range from pale yellow to golden in color. Rosés can be either pale pink to orangey pink, while red wines are generally dark and full bodied. I took home a red from the Son Ramon finca in between the towns of Inca and Muro.
Olive Oil: Sitting on a breezy patio in Mallorca, I nonchalantly dipped my bread in a trough of olive oil. After one taste and eventually wiping the plate clean, I knew the island was serious about their olive oil production. Travelers can find olive oil for purchase all over Mallorca. The soil characteristics, rugged landscape, irregular rainfall and age of Mallorcan olive trees are all winning recipes for successful olive oil production on the island. You can find two different types on the island, the sweet type from ripe olives and the fruity kind from green olives.
Avarques: While actually from Mallorca’s neighboring island of Menorca, Avarques can be found all over the Balearic Islands. The traditional footwear from Menorca used to be worn by shepherds and laborers. Today, most locals and tourists on Mallorca wear them. If you ask a Mallorcan what their go-to shoe is, they will quickly reply avarques. As one Mallorcan said to me, “We wear them everywhere.” Purchase these leather sandals and you will add to your wardrobe the American equivalent of the flip-flop.
Photo: Suzy Guese
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