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Pa Amb Oli

Pa amb oli is in all probability the quintessential Mallorcan food item. It could be compared with the Catalan Pa amb tomàquet even though it is said that the Mallorcan pa precedes its Catalan cousin by about 100 years. It is also, vaguely, comparable with the Italian Bruschetta.

The name pa amb oli means, simply, bread with oil. It is essentially the combination of pa moreno (unsalted brown bread), olive oil and tomato, the latter mostly of the Tomàtiga de Ramellet variety. A Ramellet tomato is cut in half and rubbed over the bread which then is soused with Oli de Mallorca. Any one of a myriad of ingredients can be added to this bread, be it Sobrassada, thinly sliced Cuixot (air-dried ham), a variety of embotits (a kind of pork paté), cheese, anchovies or any other food item that strikes one’s fancy, including peppers, figs, grapes or indeed, sliced tomatoes.

The other day I visited Mancor de la Vall and its Fira de l’Esclata-sang i de la Muntanya where I had pa amb oli with setas (see photo). It was simply delicious.

The best book on the subject, to my mind, is Volem Pa Amb Oli, written in Catalan by Tomás Graves, the youngest son of Robert Graves. The book is also available in English, translated by the very man himself, and is available in UK as well as US editions.

The photo was taken in Mancor de la Vall, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 29th, 2009. The time was 13:28:30.

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