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Posts tagged ‘Agrotourism’

Living off the land; moving with the seasons: The Mallorquin Huerta

I was recently lucky enough to be invited to a stunning little Huerta (kitchen garden) clinging to the terraced slopes of the Mallorquin coastline. Between the dry stone walls of terraces made long ago by arab occupiers in their magnificent process of taming the otherwise unreachable landscape, this little vegetable garden lay nestled in perfect order, with the mountains on one side and the sea on the other. From an initial sweep of green emerged vegetables the colour of which you would be hard-pressed to find in even the best quality supermarket.

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Keen to show me the fruits of his labour, the farm manager went about collecting samples of his home-grown produce. As he created a pile of the best of the harvest, the collection before me grew in both voluptuous size and magnificent colour. From super green cucumbers and a richly purple aubergine, to wonderfully fragrant basil, bright yellow peppers and startlingly intense red tomatoes, this gathering of produce was worthy of a museum piece, rather than a humble feast.

And yet feast we did, sampling flavours the likes of which I have never had the pleasure to enjoy before. The tomatoes were so sweet, and so complex in their flavour contrasts, that the sweet sticky small tomatoes might have been an altogether different fruit from the large meaty giant tomatoes which I could have feasted on forever.

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But behind the intensity of the flavour and the quality of the produce was the rationale which went with it. These vegetables were grown in alignment with the seasons. They tasted so good because they emerged from land grown traditionally, with no additives, at the time of the year when they are meant to be harvested. No tomato, artificially grown under a lamp light in the winter could ever have tasted this good. And what struck me most of all was the pride glowing from within the farm manager. Because he had presented the very best product from his intensely laboured land – the fruit of his work, with a little help from the perfect timing of mother nature’s seasons.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Mallorca’s ultimate eden: The Son Viscos Bed & Breakfast

Many may smirk when the inhabitants of paradise complain, but even we locals of Mallorca know when enough is enough. And having lived now for almost two months of temperatures in excess of 35 degrees, every so often, one just has to get away from it all. Nothing extreme mind you – I’m not talking the 20 degrees drop which a visit to London may entail, but rather a drive up into the stunning Tramuntana mountains where, at night at least, the air is notably fresher than city life in Palma and sumptuously comfortable. And as this very hot weather happened to coincide with my 32nd birthday (yesterday!) it seemed like the perfect excuse to treat ourselves a little, and book a little night away in a cooler, lusher paradise.

The location we chose could not have been more perfect. Located in the footfalls of the Tramuntana in the valley which gives the magical town of Valldemossa its name, the Son Viscos Bed and Breakfast was like a home from home, but we’re talking the kind of home which only the most avid readers of interior design magazines could wish for.

Interiors of the Son Viscos

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Owned by the proprietors of the popular interior design store, Mosaic, located in cool Santa Catalina in Palma, the Son Viscos hotel is a euphoria of design harmony, with understated muted tones and natural woods offsetting perfectly amongst carefully chosen rustic antiques and ceramic items. The west-facing kitchen, which was flooded with light in the afternoon, and filled with a bounteous feast of the freshest breakfast produce in the morning, was the beating heart of a guesthouse which maintained all of the characteristics of the most welcoming of family homes.

The Son Viscos garden

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Our room, the Menta suite, offered the very best of comfort with a lavish but pared down minimalist wooden four poster bed, together with haphazardly placed original art, design arm chairs and super soft towels. Flooded with light from an ample terrace, the room boasted enviable views of the Valldemossa monastery, and benefited from all of the freshness of the lush mountains opposite.

And it was precisely that fresh air which so loving nurtured us as we settled down for our night at the Son Viscos, finally able to escape the suffocating heat which had tampered with our dreams for months. Waking enlivened and refreshed, we had yet more pleasures to discover, for opposite the Son Viscos, the hotel’s extensive grounds extended to sun dappled woods hugging the side of the valley, and included fresh water streams, ancient moorish mills and even a dainty stone bridge which had more than survived the tests of time.

The Son Viscos’ sumptuous grounds

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The Son Viscos hotel was frankly an experience in a million, for its meticulously conceived design, its perfectly bucolic location, and for the sheer welcoming comfort it offered. As I sit here now, back in hot Palma, recounting my time there I long to return. Something tells me it won’t be long.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.