Tuesday 8 July 2014

Self Catering in Mallorca.

Nick and just I spent 6 nights in Mallorca and we had an amazing trip. We stayed in Puerto Pollensa, a small town on the coast in the north of the island that we discovered on our last trip to the balearics in 2011. We loved it so much that we've been aching to go back ever since. 

I love to self cater when I'm travelling, when you're in a major city sure you want to eat out all the time but when travelling for longer periods, on the cheap or to not-so-veg-friendly spots self catering wins for me. As soon as we picked up our hire car at the airport we headed for Carrefour, one of Spain's largest supermarket chains, to stock up on food for the week. First things first, fresh produce. I couldn't resist this 2kg box of cherries for just €4.40, best thing? Nick does't even like cherries so I got to eat them all myself!

On our last visit I remember being so impressed with how many exciting seitan and tofu products were sold in Carrefour, there were meatballs, flavourd tofu's, tofu fillets and many types of burgers to choose from. This time there was only one kind of seitan, a couple of burgers and some plain tofu. Slightly disappointing but no big deal, at least there was some seitan! We also grabbed some Artura margarine as we weren't sure where else we'd find a dairy free option.

We bought loads of these seitan steaks and Nick ate them for almost every meal, he's seitan obsessed! On our first night we ate dinner on the roof terrace. We made simple salads, fried the seitan in plenty of garlic oil and served it alongside delicious freshly baked bread. My salad's the one with the black olives and tomatoes!

We arrived too late to hit the beach but there was time to explore the waterfront and the pine walk before heading to bed. I love being close to the sea and the pine walk winds right along the coast.

We met a cat on our walk, s/he was super friendly. I love to stop and pet kitties when I'm travelling or, y'know, just walking around my neighbourhood in Brighton.

The next day we hit the beach around lunchtime and spent all day lying on the sand reading. It was bliss. We were starving by the time we got back to the apartment so I cooked us huge plates of pasta with butter beans, olives and marinara sauce, store-bought of course, there's no time for homemade marinara when you're travelling! We topped it off with the Vegusto cheese I'd brought from home.

The next day we went to the beach again (if you pay attention you'll being to see a pattern emerging here), rented a pedalo, and got out onto the water. Now until recently I would have been far too scared to get off of that boat, I was always happy to swim in the sea and peddling the little boat would have been a-ok but getting from the boat into the water? Nuh-uh, that would have meant water splashing onto my face which would have given me a panic attack and I'd have probably drowned. It wouldn't have been fun! Recently I had a one to one lesson followed by a full days swimming class with these people who help you cure your fear of the water, I don't know how it's possible but the teacher had me dunking my face underwater within the first 20 minutes of my first lesson. It was amazing, up until then I didn't even let water from the shower touch my face!

I'm still not 100% confident in the water, the idea of learning to dive is stressing me out a little right now and if you showed me to a diving board I might back away, but I'm a work in progress. I totally went down this slide right into the sea and you know what? It was so fun I did it twice!

We decided getting out of the mid day sun would be sensible next move, I turn pink pretty fast despite continuous applications of factor 30+, so we popped back to our super central apartment for lunch. Salad, an open topped seitan sandwich, and a bowl of gazpacho.

I freaking love gazpacho, I should really learn to make it myself. This one was very garlicky and super fresh.

After more afternoon beach time at one of our favourite spots, Formentor Beach, we headed home to shower off the sand and to relax on the balcony with our books and some fun drinks, beer for me, iced tea for Nick. Formentor beach has gotten a lot more popular since we were last there in 2011 and we liked it best in the afternoon, around 4 o'clock, when the majority of the crowds had gone home. Parking seemed to be free then too which was a nice bonus!

We threw together another easy dinner that night. Nick made himself pasta with tomato sauce and ate a hunk of bread on the side and I threw together a salad with pasta, cubed garlicy tofu, chickpeas, butter beans, black olives, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and a little more of that Vegusto grated on top.

It was delicious, I love cheese in or on salads! The balcony turned out to be a wonderful place to eat  because it has a view of the town square, as there was a saints day coming up there was a little stage set up there and people were taking a group zumba class as part of the festivities. Fun to watch but I have no idea how people do outdoor exercise when it's so hot, I found lying on the beach challenging somedays and was glad of our apartments air conditioning.

Puerto Pollensa has definitely become more vegan friendly since our last visit and we were excited to stumble upon Bio Botiga during one of our adventures. They're an organic wine shop and grocery store chock full of products from pasta and sauces to seitan fillets, tofu and vegan margarine. If we'd known this store was here I'd say that we could have probably skipped the Carrefour trip and just bought food from here and the local groceries and supermarkets.

A little further away and somewhere we made a special trip to scope out is Farmatural in Alcudia. 

They stock a wide range of vegan products including non-dairy milks, soy yoghurts, vegan cheeses, burgers, seitan sausages, tofu frankfurters, veggie burgers, cream cheese, tofu based spreads, vegan margarines and cereals. Definitely worth a visit if you're on a self catering trip in the area, Alcudia is probably too anglicised for me to want to stay there but it's busy and has a late night bar and club scene if that's your thang.

One of my fave' things to hunt down when I'm in Spain are palmeritas! These delicious sweet pastries are up there with my favourite treats. All of the freshly baked ones we found had honey but these were a-ok and I ate a lot of them! They're make perfect snacks after a long day on the beach, hell, go crazy, take them to the beach!

Another thing that makes a great beach snack is these crisps, so yummy, so addictive. I'm sure that has nothing to do with the MSG! We found both these and the palmeritas in the Eroski supermarket.

We broke out the veggie burgers for dinner the next night after a long and relaxing day at, yup, you guessed it, the beach! We ate them alongside noochy cheesy pasta which is one of our favourite easy to cook dishes.

As you know I took a block of Vegusto with me but I also took a baggie of nooch. I almost always take nooch on my travels! It perked up my salads, enlivened my avocado toast at breakfast time and made noochy cheesy pasta possible. Yum!

We had the best trip, we love the beach, we love swimming in the sea and Nick loved taking me for my first snorkel ever! It took me a while to let go of his hand but I did it and I saw fish! Big ones, small ones, medium ones and even some stripy ones. It was so great and I can't wait to travel to some further flung places where I'll be able to see exciting coloured fish, rays or even turtles, it's going to be so amazing.


  1. I love love love your accounts of your travels. :) I have temporarily left my travelling days behind as we have a young child and pressurised, location-based jobs (previously travelled for work) but you are inspiring me to plan for little trips out. A trip to Spain for us in 5 weeks. A camping trip maybe later this month.....

  2. Ok that's it... *books Puerto pollenca* ;) x

  3. How fun! I love all the home-cooked meals. Usually, when I go somewhere, I become so obsessed with seeking out all the vegan restaurants that I forget to enjoy other attractions. Maybe I should try this next time!

  4. Loooove that huge box of cherries. I usually bring enough snacks on a trip that I can skip one meal a day eating out, and sometimes I'll cobble together a meal from a market, but most of the time I eat at restaurants when away from home...

  5. ahhh all your carrefour goodness is reminding me of Malaga!! :)

    Palmaritas!! I ate so many of them last year.

    I'm glad you finally felt happy to go in the water and see some fishies, go you! You are ace!! xx

  6. Love that you take a bag of nooch with you, kind of tempted to start doing the same as it'd make some parts of our travels a little easier.

    We too had success from one Carrefour to the next whilst in France. Sometimes they had a good selection, other times nothing at all.

  7. You travel a lot! I wouldn't mind having a caterer like you when I travel, hehe! It looks like you ate great fast food, yet quite healthy. The place looks beautiful.

  8. Hehe I love petting street kitties too!

  9. We've just got back from Costa Blanca, my first holiday as a vegan. Eating out was not easy but I was surprised at all the vegan stuff in Carrefour! What brand of bread did you get? All the ones I found contained non - vegan e numbers.

    1. We just bought the freshly baked bakery bread which had ingredients water, salt, yeast, oil! Hopefully that helps for next time, if you're having no luck at a supermarket then a baguette from a small bakery is always a good bet.

    2. Thank you! We're off to Barcelona early September so hopefully we'll have more luck there. Been reading your Barcelona posts for ideas :-)

  10. That restaurant looks like vegan heaven! I need to visit soon! I'm impressed with your self catering meals too, very civilized. Looking forward to hear about your next trip! :o)

  11. What a fantastic holiday, I always love reading about the great food you find at supermarkets on your travels. I wish for that entire box of cherries!

  12. That was a great vacation!! Do you have a recommendation on where to stay, or was that a private apartment? I have been to Mallorca as a teenager, and I would love to go back.


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