Refresh your mind for a moment. It’s time to cast all stereotypes aside and assume that Mallorca is not only a beautiful island with marvellous, pristine beaches. In fact, the smell I have retained is not that of the ocean breeze, but of the fresh-baked aroma that dragged me into the modest Ca’n Molinas Bakery & Café. Welcome to Valldemossa, the jewel that lies on its northwest coast.
I have to say travelling to Mallorca during the autumn season is for me even more enriching than its paradisiac summer, and Valldemossa has to be one of its most picturesque villages.
While munching away the surviving crumbs of the traditional and famed “Coca de Patata”
(lovely, fluffy potato baked buns), I turn to see my mother still by the untouched 1920’s counter, already deciding what pastries to take back home.
Ca’n Molinas has a history of 95 years at its back, and not surprisingly, it was the first ever bakery in the village. Today, as the waitresses told us earlier, there are three of their own bakeries in the village alone. Let me tell you, that’s something quite astounding for a small business that has managed to preserve its essence and colours over the fluctuating decades. For many years to come, this locale will keep evoking its special charisma.
Still sitting at the bakery, it’s 11:30AM, and thoughts start popping up. Having read George Sands’ book “A Winter in Mallorca”, I cannot but wonder how the famed writer didn’t easily bond with Majorcan villagers.
Taking the example of today’s bakers for instance, they even opened up a little section of the otherwise closed terrace for us, since the interior seating had non-surprisingly already been conquered!
Honestly, this cosy, little village doesn’t only amaze for its stunning narrow, cobbled streets, or its hanging autochthonic plants from stoned walls, but also for the exceptional people who’ve lived there past and present. The village holds a great heritage, culture and a true sense of local identity.
Having been to Valldemossa for a couple of times now, and even though it’s a small town, I can assure you you’ll always find something new or surprising each time you visit. You know, the big things hide behind the little details. Being a Majorcan myself, I sometimes forget that such beautiful hamlets do exist. Yes, I’ll let you in on a secret – us locals can get a bit carried away by the whole sun and beach vibe too!
Nonetheless, a couple of years ago I started recalling those distant, fond memories of my childhood in villages such as this one, and decided it was time to rediscover it – and oh yes I have! Little did I remember?
This unperturbed location has hosted personalities such as the prominent Frederic Chopin and George Sand, and was witness of their love away from the Parisian city. In fact, the lovers’ stay in Valldemossa during the winter of 1838 has become the settlement’s most known attraction – apart from its joyous local food and “Cocas”, of course.
The couple stayed at a former monks’ cell in the Cartoixa Reial, a perfectly preserved monastery with a special magnetism. I sip the last droplets of my rich, white coffee and off we go with our loaded bag full of pastries to the great Carthusian monastery, a definite must-see.
It may be for its beautiful turquoise belfry, the stunning gardens resembling a labyrinth, or the short but prosperous visit of the famous, artistic couple that left a deep imprint; but although not a great fan of monasteries, this one triggers an array of emotions. As the pianist put it himself: “I will live in a marvellous cloister in the most beautiful place on earth.”
Imagining Chopin’s last days here is quite intriguing, especially knowing that he composed his legendary 28 Preludes here, under the tiled roof of the Charterhouse. Tip – for the bargain price of 3.50€ you’ll able to view the original cell in which he lived, where you’ll also find his piano.
A modest, white and dark-wooden room full of religious crucifixes and Saint images is all he required. To accompany him during the stay, of course, were also his essential piano, desk and chair, bed, and a quaint window from which he could appreciate the views to the courtyard in all its wintery splendour.
It’s nearly 1 o’clock already, and seeing as the sun is accompanying us, we flop out down to Valldemossa’s little port before devouring some edible Majorcan treasures at Ca’n Pedro, one of the best restaurants around here.
A narrow, long and uneven road takes us to the small fishing harbour. The steep and staggering journey awakens our most adventurist side, as we are menaced by rock-falls ahead of us. “Batuadell!” – many locals would exclaim in disbelief (meaning something along the lines of a “Holy Moly!”). If something fascinates me, is the ability they have of saying so much in such succinct words and humorous manner.
After a series of never-ending curves we reach the tiny port, which also features an enchanting cove with light, crystal-blue waters. “Llauds”, traditional Majorcan boats, give the place its very own special touch. Undeniably, the exhilarating journey was worth it just to experience this privileged natural environment.
The port is 7km away from the main village, and as soon as we arrive we find that the weather here has altered. Mighty waves crush loudly on the shore, and rise over the port barriers just to fall back down harshly onto the Llauds.
The rustic food from Mallorca is one of its definite lures, so we find it’s wise not to have a cheeky nibble at the port’s restaurant just to leave enough space for those proximate lunch delicacies.
Walking along the streets around the harbour we find interesting curiosities. Colourful, wooden blinds paint the houses’ facades, while tiny ceramic slabs with the image of Saint Catalina Tomás –the first Saint in Mallorca- adorn and protect each individual’s home.
Being chased away by a sudden great plunge of rain in Mallorca is the last thing you’d expect, but fortunately, rain doesn’t always predict bad news. It’s lunchtime!
Cuttlefish frito, Pimientos de Padrón and a mix of Botifarró and Sobrasada sausages complete our idyllic start to the meal. Gladly, the custom of serving some warm, freshly made bread and olives from Mallorca hasn’t disappeared.
After such irresistible and abundant starters, there’s no other way to finish the feast but to dig into some traditional soup and a dish of rabbit with onion. Ca’n Pedro never disappoints, and our bellies appreciate such heavenly treats!
The Christmassy smell of burnt wood walking through Valldemossa’s charming streets in November simply livens up your senses, and that’s something you will never let go.
Truth is, those of you reading this now won’t be able to experience these fascinating aromas and goings-on, but luckily you’ve succumbed to the village’s charms and decide to give it a go.
Strolling along the cobbled paths we finally stop at what looks like a fine shop full of hand-made products and antiques called Naturalmente. Curiously enough, what first caught our attention from this place are the two sculpted pigs decorating the entrance! Inside, you’ll find all kinds of shells and starfishes, sculptures, jewellery, journals, Christmas ornaments and décor.
It’s worthy to browse through the many items before settling to something, even if it’s just to have a little snoop. Out of the various novelties discovered, we finally go for a beautiful heart-shaped, light green Christmas ornament and an extremely funny-looking blowfish sculpture. Once we get home, a lot of thought will have to go into finding a place for such unusual decoration!
It must be around 6:30PM, and darkness is quickly falling on us. A couple of days ago we heard it was still a summer-like weather, but we’ve caught the fading-in winter, which is cold and humid once it settles.
Every Sunday, the village holds its market, where its best specialties are exposed. From locally produced fruits, vegetables and Spanish sausages, to more wearable or traditional items like Espardenyas shoes and straw-made baskets. As many villagers have told us, this is something you must experience. Unfortunately, the flight back to a rainy London is on Sunday and we won’t be able to make it. But hey, that only gives us another sneaky excuse to come back: Valldemossa has already casted its spell on us.
If you go
Valldemossa Official Tourism
Ca’n Molinas Bakery
Ca’n Pedro Restaurant
Naturalmente Mallorca Shop
Es Petit Hotel de Valldemossa
Hotel Ca’s Papà
Residencial Suites Valldemossa