Formentera´s cuisine combines the most antic flavours of the Mediterranean with the most daring variations. Many restaurants have, in the course of time, developed a specific style of cooking that outclasses the so called “international cooking” very “en vogue” during more than a decade, but at present, out of fashion.
Restaurants nowadays set on offering quality and incorporate in their menucards new dishes prepared with local products that are always available. Formentera´s diet, is based on fish, greens, cereals, legumes, lamb and pork meat. With these ingredients Formentera has composed its own gastronomy, with, as, a principle, simplicity in the elaboration and high quality products, as there are specially the innombrable species of fish and the immense choice of seafood, day after day freshly captured by the skilled local fishermen with their base in the port of la Savina.
Fishermen´s tradition here has always been to dry their fish with the purpose to conserve it and so be able to consume it all the year round. Nowadays this practice has become a gastronomic attraction, awarded with the “Arca del gusto”(the Ark of good taste)by the international organization Slow Food. The types of fish used for this typical local specialty of dried fish,” peix sec” are rays, hound shark and dogfish. The transformation process starts by cutting the fish in pieces without taking of the skin and let it marinate in brine for one hour. Later on the fish fillets are hung up on a dried juniper trunk called “parrera” to dry in the sun. Once it is dried, the pieces are toasted by fire, cut up in small portions and conserved in glass containers with olive oil.
The island offers other products like wine, honey, figs, salt and a fine herb liqueur ”hierbas”. Lately the wine of Formentera has made itself very appreciated in the world of connoisseurs thanks to the cultivation by the wine cellar Terramo in la Mola and the other one of Cap the Barberia. Both of them produce a select gamma of wines that responds to the growth of the antic autochthonous island vines with incorporation of typical Mediterranean varieties. This combination results in intensive wines with a strong body without losing their freshness. In the fields a large number of goat and sheep flocks pasture and feed on the cereal growing there. This “free and open air” cattle breeding results in a deliciously flavoured meat where the taste of nature is very present. Other gifts of the countryside are figs and almonds that are used in many dishes, above all in a large assortment of desserts.
Among the dishes that build the gastronomical identity figure f.e. the salad “farmer´s way” elaborated with the famous dried fish, fried octopus , stew “Farmer´s way” with meat and potatoes, squid fried “a la bruta” in its own ink juice and “bullit” a potage of fish and stewed potatoes. And there is more: a large range of rice dishes in all their varieties prepared with great mastery and elaboration of the local ingredients will surely satisfy the most discerning palate.
In the local restaurants fresh fish in great variety always figures on the menucard. The offer will depend on the fishing of the day before, this way the cooks can be sure to dispose of first quality products. The queen of the seafood plates is, of course, the “langosta” the lobster prepared and elaborated in all its possible forms.
The abundance of this gastronomic variety will surely be one of the most pleasant souvenirs in the visitor´s memory. He will, with all these flavours and tastes still on his palate, remember the richness of Formentera´s cuisine.