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In Pictures: A hands-on exploration of Mallorca’s food culture
By Tom Adkinson
November 18, 2022

MALLORCA, Spain – Deborah Piña Zitrone is on a mission to promote and preserve the food traditions of Mallorca, a Spanish island in the western Mediterranean Sea. Her tactic is welcoming visitors into her culinary world and having them fix their own lunch or dinner, sometimes after a guided excursion to a local market to buy fresh ingredients. Her guests learn about arroz meloso de sobrassade y alcachofas (a hearty main dish with sobrassada, a pork and paprika sausage, artichokes and a Spanish version of risotto called meloso), queso de oveja roja Mallorquina (Mallorcan red sheep cheese), rubiols (a pastry filled with brossat, a cheese curd similar to ricotta) and other dishes, depending on the season. A day with Piña opens a window to an island destination with many flavors.

Ready for cooking class

mallorca food culture
Deborah Piña Zitrone, traveled the world as a lawyer, but returned to her home in Mallorca to enjoy a low-key life of cooking for others and teaching visitors about Mallorcan culinary heritage. Image by Tom Adkinson

Prepped and ready

mallorca meal prep
Island almonds, olives, capers and other ingredients await guests in Piña’s kitchen workshop. Some snacking is allowed during dinner preparation. Image by Tom Adkinson

It’s all in the wrist

dough making
Piña coaches a slightly reluctant guest how to mix the dough for a dessert pastry called rubiols. The pastry is a Mallorcan favorite at Easter. Image by Tom Adkinson

Stirring the pot

This broth is key to the evening’s main course. Piña builds the broth from scratch with spring onions, green pepper, garlic and ramallet tomatoes, a variety indigenous to Mallorca. Image by Tom Adkinson

Something special

french tapenade
At a guest’s request, Piña worked up this Mallorcan variation of a French tapenade, using green olives, almonds, sundried ramallet tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, parsley and lemon zest. Image by Tom Adkinson

The main course

Mallorcan pork sausage
After the guests are seated, Piña serves the main course. Tonight, it’s arroz meloso with Mallorcan pork sausage and artichokes. Image by Tom Adkinson

At the table

18th century bakery
Piña’s workplace and dining room are in an 18th century bakery that is part of a building that is even older. The setting is ideal for conversation about Mallorca’s food, history and culture. Image by Tom Adkinson

Saving dessert photographically

mallorca  rubiols
Only photos will be left of this tray of rubiols before the evening is over. The guest-made pastries are filled with a local cheese similar to ricotta. Image by Tom Adkinson

Trip-planning resources:, and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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