Manacor, our nearest town on Mallorca, is at the heart of a very traditional agricultural community, which is reflected in what’s offered on menus in many local restaurants, and what’s available in food shops and supermarkets.
When we first moved here, I really missed the vast range of goods that we’d been able to find in the UK in our local supermarket – where, I confess, most of our weekly shop was done. Back then, we preferred to use our free time – a precious and rare commodity – for activities other than trawling market stalls and individual shops for the next week’s food. The one-stop-shopping culture was so ingrained in me that, just after we moved here, I would often dream about being in Sainsbury’s or Waitrose, piling much-missed delicacies and ingredients into my trolley.
Slippering out to the shop
Before long I discovered that Mallorca offers a real bounty of fresh produce and interesting local food products, and our shopping habits changed. The fruit and veg market, and shops such as baker’s, butcher’s and fishmongers are where the bulk of our food expenditure now goes.
Manacor still has a host of small independent corner shops, offering popular food necessities, and frequented by locals from the immediate community. I once saw a woman in her dressing gown and slippers, emerging from one of these places – having popped out for a few essentials for her breakfast table. Now that’s not something you see at Tesco!
There are still things we buy from a chain-owned supermarket, but it’s not as interesting a shopping experience as topping up your trolley in a UK superstore. Our local supermarket rarely changes its displays – not having learnt (unlike their British counterparts) that if you move stuff around regularly, customers might stumble across – and buy – something they didn’t know they needed/wanted, whilst trying to find what they were actually looking for in the first place!
New products on the shelves of our local supermarket are as rare as our wins on the Once lottery, and I have a kind of inbuilt radar that hones in on the rare new additions to the supermarket’s product range. And it was during our first November here that this radar picked up a rather unusual new display: rolls of red and white string, small bags of white powder (and not a sniffer dog in sight!), and large shiny bags of paprika. Back then, I had no idea why anyone would want to buy such things . . .