Exploring local markets is one of the pleasures of living – or holidaying – on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. Every town and village has its market and some of the larger ones – such as the huge Wednesday market in Sineu, Artà’s on a Tuesday, and the Sunday one in Santa Maria – have become magnets for tourists.
Some markets are much larger than others. Once, not long after moving to rural Mallorca, we went to a village market which comprised a total of two stalls selling fruit and vegetables. Yes, only two. Having allocated a whole morning to exploring the potential treasures of this particular outdoor emporium, we were soon searching for a café.
Gastro Market beckons…
Last week we visited a market on Mallorca that we’d never been to before, even though we’ve lived here since 2004 and it’s not too far from home. The weekly Thursday market in Sant Llorenç has, in recent months, been given a new identity: the Sant Llorenç Gastro Market. There’s nothing like a name with foodie appeal to attract new visitors…
It’s not a large market but the stalls lining the traffic-free Carrer Major certainly fitted into the category of ‘gastronomy’. We spotted organic local produce (including a contender for Mallorca’s largest cauliflower), gourmet salts, olive oils, home-made cheeses, and more. Some stalls were offering home-made Mallorcan dishes to take home, reheat and serve, and others had snacks to sustain market visitors whilst browsing.
In the square in front of the church, we found the more-usual fruit and veg stalls, and a van selling fresh fish (which had almost sold out by the time of our mid-morning visit).
We also bought some bread from the traditional bakery Forn de sa Plaça, where we had a sad little chat with the owner about the impact that supermarket in-store bakeries are having on traditional businesses like his own.
Recommended coffee stop in Sant Llorenç
A coffee stop is essential during a market visit and the delightful four-bedroom luxury B&B Can Solaies Hotelet (right at the heart of the Gastro Market action on Carrer Major) is our recommendation for a hot or cold drink in Sant Llorenç. We had delicious americanos there, after which we had a look at three of the rooms. They’re superbly decorated in Mediterranean style and we may go and stay a night so that I can write about the experience on http://www.eatdrinksleepmallorca.com.
Like traditional bakeries, street markets are also losing business to supermarkets – which is why initiatives like Sant Llorenç’s Gastro Market are important. If I hadn’t spotted the magic words ‘gastro market’ on a social-media post, would we have visited this weekly market? Probably not. But with its new name and concept, and free live music to entertain visitors, this market has reignited its appeal and is offering foodies a good reason to visit the small town.
During our visit last Thursday, we didn’t see many obvious tourists – but plenty of locals were supporting Mallorca’s market life in Sant Llorenç. We’ll be joining them again in the future.
©Jan Edwards 2018