Thursday, 29 May 2014

Restaurant Beluga Loves You in Maastricht

I did not intend to write another restaurant review. In fact the only restaurant I blogged about so far was Beluga in Maastricht. That was last summer, just before they changed their concept.

Last weekend I finally got back to Maastricht to see and taste the new concept 'Beluga Loves You'.
Because my first post about Beluga is still very popular on my blog. And even more important, because visiting this restaurant always makes me very happy, I decided to share my experiences again.
The 'old' concept; a 2-Michelin star restaurant working hard to get 3-stars with an average price range for this level. The 'new' concept; a 2-Michelin star restaurant with less fuss, aiming to continue their service for a more affordable price.

Let me start with saying I had no intention to write a new blogpost about Beluga. Actually I must admit I was suffering from a bit of a foodwriters/bloggers block since the beginning of this year. But already 10 minutes after arriving at Beluga Loves You, sitting in the lounge area, I regretted not taking my DSLR camera for some decent food pictures. The pictures you see here were made with my Samsung Galaxy S4 mini camera, and therefore not as clear or sharp as I would like them to be. But good enough to share here anyway.

Toast with Cava and a mocktail at Beluga Loves You

So what about the 'new' Beluga Loves You concept? I loved it! And except for some extra appetizers I did not miss anything at all. Lots of recent reviews online complain about the loud music and the rushed service. Almost all of the people who wrote those reviews visited during dinner time and took a 10-course menu.
We went for lunch, took the 4-course all inclusive menu (plus 1 extra dish), didn't notice any loud music (while I'm very sensitive to sounds) and did not feel rushed at all.

Off course there is a big difference between serving 5 courses in one seating or 10 in about the same amount of time. But that wasn't any different from the old Beluga. And I cannot give an opinion about the volume of the music during dinner time, because we were there at lunch time. 

So what about the food; still tasty, innovative and little pieces of art on your plate. Hans van Wolde continues to aim for the best. That's also what you read through the lines of his very personal (cook)book; 'Moods' (in Dutch). He loves food, he loves to entertain people, he loves light and tasty dishes with some Asian influences. And that's exactly what I love about eating in his restaurant.

We started with a stunning looking amuse bouche of 4 different preparations of black olive. Surprisingly served on a plate together with a small herbal plant; in Dutch this plant is called 'Olijvenkruid' which is translated as: 'olive herb'.

Amuse boche of black olives at Beluga Loves You

The 4-course all inclusive lunch menu we ordered consisted of three fish-dishes and a sweet dessert.
As an extra (main)dish we had veal. I did not wrote down the exact ingredients of the dishes,  but here's an impression:

4-course lunch menu at Beluga Loves You

Veal main dish at Beluga Loves You lunch

The service, with less waiters than before, is still flawless and relaxed. And I never met a more enthusiastic sommelier than Mathijs Vranken. Even though I wasn't as impressed with the wines this visit than in the former Beluga restaurant, his enthusiasm and knowledge are worth a visit on it's own.

Included in the price are coffee or tea and a plate of sweets. From which the Beluga candy bar was absolutely to die for. I wish I could have taken a few back home.

Tea and sweets at Beluga Loves You lunch

For an idea of the prices check out the Beluga website. We paid € 108,- per person for a 5-course lunch menu including pairing wines with all the dishes, and including Cava, unlimited mineral water and coffee/tea with sweets (excluding tip).

So in a nutshell; Beluga Loves You is still worth the long trip down to the South of the Netherlands.
Great food & great ambiance at a great price /quality ratio for a 2-Michelin star lunch.

Monday, 24 March 2014

New cookbooks

As I have written before; I admit I have a cookbook addiction. So it's proabably no surprise that to me local cookbooks are the best souvenirs to bring home. From my recent trip to South Korea and Australia this was the 'catch':

Korean Family Foods
I only bought one cookbook about Korean food, even though I knew nothing about it before we visited Seoul. There were just not so many cookbooks in English available plus you can find so many information about recipes and typical Korean ingredients online nowadays. But I do think it's nice to have a book with some basics to look at now and then. One of the best things about the book is the fact that the ingredients are written in both Korean and English names. That makes it more easy when looking for the right ingredients in Asian foodstores.

The Ultimate Masterchef Part Three
Besides the fact that this little cookbook was only $ 6,95 the main reason for buying it was because Peter Gilmore's famous Snow Egg recipe was in there! And since we had dinner reservations for Quay restaurant, where it was still on the menu, I wanted to know how it was made. Although I must admit that for me it was not the highlight of the evening as I expected it to be; way to cold and a not matching with the wine. But I do think it's nice to know the techniques that are used. By the way; you don't need to buy this recipebook if you want to make it at home. You can also find it online.

Produce to platter; Victoria's High Country
More a book about all the terrific local produce that is found in this area than just a recipe book. We only visited the Milawa gourmet region, and that alone is a reason wanting to go back here. Reading about the regional products, the restaurants and some of their recipes gives me a bit of the holiday feeling back at home.

Oh yes, this is the right exit ;-)

Bil Grangers 'Sydney food'
This book was a birthday gift from my foodie friend SarahKate. This book reminded her of Sydney when they were living in the UK for a few years so she figured it was a perfect gift for me. And it is! Sydney is a lovely and relaxed city with great food and this book is a good reflection of that. Ever since we got back I have been craving toast with avocado and tomatoes every now and then ;-)

I had been looking at this cookbook already a few times in the bookstores in the Netherlands. It was only while travelling in Australia I realised it's a famous Melbourne based tapas restaurant. Without looking very well I assumed it were tapas recipes from a restaurant in Spain. But I'm glad I found out before we went to Melbourne, this way we were able to get a bar table in between lunch & dinner since we didn't had a reservation. But that worked out perfectly as a late afternoon snack with a glass of wine, as the portions were so incredibly little! And this way we could still taste some of their tapas.

Recipes from an Indian Kitchen
Although it has nothing to do with my vacation to South Korea and Australia, travelling always reminds me of my love for Indian food. Because there is no Indian restaurant in the city we live and no good ones close to Tilburg, we almost always try and eat Indian food while travelling other countries (especially big cities).
It was pure coincidence that we happened to be within walking distance from Dal restaurant in Seoul, and we just couldn't resist going there. And off course it was no surprise to find many Indian dining options in Australia. Because it was so expensive to go out for dinner in Australia we enjoyed some Indian curries a few times for lunch in the food courts instead.
So when I saw this Indian cookbook discounted for $10,- I bought it and immediately made a New Years resolution for 2014  to finally make an effort learning to cook tasty Indian food myself.

Adriano Zumbo
Another gift from friends we met while travelling Barossa Valley and  who immediately invited us for dinner at their house in Adelaide. I have been wanting to try some of Adriano Zumbo's famous macarons (he calls them 'Zumbarons') while in Sydney. But unfortunately the shop we went to in Manly was just closed the month before.  When I saw this book standing in our new friends' kitchen I was immediately excited about the Vegemite macarons! Since they never used it anyway they wanted me to have it. Can't wait to actually try this recipe with the tons of Vegemite I brought back home :-)

So far I only have been cooking Indian recipes from my new bought cookbooks. Which is quite a challenge with so many different ingredients included. But for a first attempt in Indian cooking the meatballs in creamy cashew sauce from the Indian Kitchen cookbook worked out great! Definitely gonna make these more often.

Even though they were delicious; the meatballs were not so appropiate for nice food pictures.
But here is the recipe anyway. Serve it with Jeera rice.

Rista Meatballs in creamy cashew nut sauce

‘Recipes from an Indian Kitchen’

Serves  4 / makes 20 meatballs

For the lamb meatballs:
-          450 grams fresh lamb mince
-          1 tablespoon plain yogurt
-          1 large egg, beaten
-          1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
-          1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-          1/2 teaspoon pepper
-          1/2 teaspoon dried mint
-          1/2 teaspoon salt
-          300 ml cold water
For the sauce:
-          1 cinnamon stick, 1-inch/2,5 cm piece
-          5 green cardamom pods
-          5 cloves
-          2 bay leaves
-          3 tablespoons sunflower oil
-          1 onion, finely chopped
-          2 teaspoons garlic paste
-          1 teaspoon ground ginger
-          1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
-          1/2  teaspoon ground turmeric
-          ½ - 1  teaspoon chili powder
-          1 cup/ 125 gram cashews
-          100 ml boiling water
-          2/3 cup/ 150 ml heavy or double cream
-          1 tablespoon pistachio nuts, crushed for garnish

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine lamb, yogurt, egg, cardamom, nutmeg, pepper, mint, and salt; use your hands to knead until well combined and sort of velvety. Soak the cashews in the boiling water for 20 minutes.

2. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 to 40 minutes to rest; divide mixture into quarters, then make 5 meatballs out of each quarter.

3. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves, and meatballs in a single layer; reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook 15 minutes.

4. Remove meatballs and keep covered; strain cooking liquid, discarding solids and reserving liquid.

5. Wipe out saucepan, heat to medium heat, add oil, onion, garlic paste, ground ginger, fennel, turmeric, and chili powder; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Stir in the reserved liquid, meatballs, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 10 to 12 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, process cashews with their soaking water to a paste in a blender or food processor; add to the meatball mixture along with the cream.

8. Simmer 5 to 6 minutes, then remove from heat; garnish with crushed pistachios.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Foodie Valentine dinner; Mont d'Or Cheesefondue

If there is anything I dislike it's commercial holidays. It looks like Christmas is more about how much presents and expensive food you buy your family than about just being together. With Easter nobody is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ; who would even think about that if there are chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies and more chocolate around?

So it's probably no surprise that on Valentines Day I don't go out to have a 'romantic' dinner, in a loaded restaurant packed between other lovers. But off course there is nothing wrong with celebrating love ;-)

And to me there is only one perfect meal for two; Vacherin Mont d'Or cheesefondue!
If you never heard about this raw milk cheese that's riped in wood you should definitely check out this article from David Lebovtiz

In a nutshell: it's a soft, seasonal (sold between October and March) cheese made from cow's milk.

There are big cheeses where you buy a wedge from but I prefer to buy the little ones. These weigh about 500 grams and are sold in a little wooden box. Off course you could eat it like this at room temperature, but it's so much better if it's baked in the oven and served as a cheesefondue!

As I said before; it's the perfect Valentine dinner for two. Served with some bread and wine there is nothing more easy and romantic then dipping in this lovely melted cheese together.

But I sometimes also serve it for friends, after dinner, instead of a cheese platter.
Served this way one little Mont d'Or is enough for 4.

Here is how to make it:

Vacherin Mont d'Or Cheesefondue
adapted from David Lebovitz

- 1 Mont d’Or cheese, room temperature 
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced (otherwise you will have a too strong garlic flavour) 
- about 60 ml white wine
Extra: aluminium foil

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC ( 390ºF)

2. Wrap the wooden box of cheese securely in aluminium foil, making sure to enclose it so the foil goes up to the top of the outside of the container, but leave the top exposed. Set the wrapped cheese on a baking sheet.
3. Poke eight-to-ten slits in the top of the cheese with a paring knife and slide the slivers of fresh garlic in them. Pour white wine over the cheese, do this slowly to make sure the wine goes into the slits and into the cheese.  Bake the cheese until it’s very hot – it will take between 20 and 30 minutes.
Serve with a crusty French baguette and pair with a good flavorful white wine, Champagne or beer.
I prefer to drink a bit of an oaky Chardonnay with it. 

Mont d'Or cheese with garlic slivers and white wine, ready to go in the oven

Yummy Mont d'Or cheesefondue!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Foodie Destination: Lille

My husband and I have been travelling all over the world. And when asked about destinations I would recommend it's really hard to make a choice.
But if people ask me for a nice weekend trip in Europe I don't have to think twice. I always highly recommend going to Lille in the North of France. (Flemish name: Rijsel). It has a beautiful old centre (Vieux Lille), easy and very cheap public transport, some nice museums (Palais des Beaux Arts), lovely little shopping streets where you can definitely shop 'till you drop, but most important; it's France! Which means you can taste and buy all those typical French delicacies that are more difficult to find outside of the county. Plus it's just a 2 hour drive by car from where I live, but also easy to reach from Paris or London by train!

Chamber of commerce and Opera House in Lille centre

Lille is not what you call a French metropolitan city. Cities like Paris, Nice, Marseille or Lyon are much more famous for a weekend break.
But believe me; Lille is a hidden gem! 
I visited Lille the first time 'by accident'. My best friends father worked in Lille and was living there in an apartment during the week. But in the weekends he drove home and my friend and I decided to go their for a weekend trip!

That was a few years ago. Since then I came back lots of times. In the apartment of my friends father and when he retired in a hotel in the centre (which is really affordable compared to other French cities) And sometimes I just make a daytrip out of it! Drive to Lille in the morning. Do some (food) shopping. And drive back home again to make a nice dinner with some of the groceries ;-)

My absolute number 1 reason to drive all the way to the North of France and back in one day are the macarons from Patrick Hermand. And not only the macarons, also their divine pastries.
You probably understand why when you see these pictures:

Those pastries, plus the ones from famous patissierie Meert, are probably also the reason I don't have any restaurant recommendations in Lille. Especially the merveilleux from Meert is a killer for your appetite ;-) After eating to many of these delicious treats I just don't feel so hungry anymore.

Merveilleux at Patisserie Meert, Lille

And I have a weak spot for Paul Brasserie, a chain of bakeries with roots in Lille. They now have shops all over the world (but not in the Netherlands yet) and sell sweet and savoury pastries plus fresh baked bread and baguettes.  But the main reason for coming here over and over again are their lemon pies (tarte au citron). They are just perfect; not too sweet not to acid.

In the middle; Tarte au citron at Paul Brasserie, Lille

Another highlight on a trip to Lille is located on the way back; the mega supermarket Auchan in Roncq.
I can easily spent 2 to 3 hours here; just by walking along all rows! There are separate rows for sparkling, white and red wines from all France wine regions for just a fraction of the price we pay in the Netherlands. And many typical French ingredients like dried mushrooms, Confit de canard, lentils from le Puy and Merquez sausages. And the section I probably spent most time before heading to the cash register is the cheese department ;-)

Although that's just the 'easy' way of buying French cheeses. If you want a bit more advise, and that's only if you speak French!, you should visit the lovely little cheese shop in the centre of Lille: Philippe Olivier.

Cheese shop Philippe Olivier, 3 Rue du Cure Saint- Etienne, Vieux Lille

And if you decide to visit Lille you just can't miss Alice Delice; a cooking store with every cooking utensil you can wish for. I actually try and avoid this shop now because every time I end up spending too much money on stuff I think I really HAVE to buy. At that time anyway. Though I still want to go back there to buy a Madeleine mold ;-)

More tips for foodies who want to visit Lille check out these posts:
A Lille Adventure, from Eat Like a girl
Lille's culinary heritage from Just About Food
To Lille and back from London Eater

The old stock exchange, la veille bourse in Lille, France. From July to September, every Sunday between 19.00 and 23.00 dancers from all around Lille gather to dance the tango. 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Little Aussi Beef & Beer Pies to celebrate Australia Day

It's been a while since I have written my last decent post. Not without reason; I was travelling South Korea and Australia for 7 weeks! There was either no decent wifi connection or just no time to write about all the great food that came along. But I'm back now, for quite a while since I don't have many holiday hours left, and can't wait to share my foodie travel tips.

We are home now for a bit more than a week and I still feel like I have a bit of Australia in me.
Feeling relaxed and an appetite for summer salads and Vegemite on toast ;-)
Unfortunately I could not bring home a bit of the warm, Australian summer sun. But I found out that the most iconic Australian food  is very easy to make at home, plus also perfect to eat during cold Dutch winter days ;-)

I'm talking about the Aussie meatpies! As with a lot of things down under the Aussie meatpie is heavily influenced by Great Britain where they have the steak pie.
Hand-sized they are often eaten as a takeaway food snack but are also extremely popular while watching a rugby or football game.

We ordered them for lunch several times and were very enthusiastic about the meatpies at Trappers Bakery in Goulburn.  If you ever happen to be in the neighbourhood (driving from Canberra to Sydney); it's really close to the Goulburn exit on the highway and next to a big sheep. You can't miss it! And I'm glad we didn't thanks to tip from one of the great new friends we met along this trip.

We also really loved the meatpies from Hamlets, close to Manly wharf & beach in Sydney. Our foodie friend SarahKate (from the Mi Casa Su Casa supper club)  told us to go there and off course we couldn't resist after a morning on the beach. We ordered several flavours like; pepper steak (with lots of pepper!), pumpkin/feta/coriander, steak & cheese and our favourite: Thai Chicken (meat) pie. Absolutely delicious and we were very happy to get a few more for lunch on my birthday the next day.

Hamlets meatpies in shop

A week after we arrived back home it was Sunday 26th of January and the celebration of Australia day.
I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try and make some typical Australian food in my own kitchen.
Because of the big temperature difference I felt like making a beef stew with dark beer. I used a Dutch recipe from the MissFromage blog which also contained pieces of carrot, mushroom,onion and bacon.
Half of this recipe was enough to fill 6 little muffin cases. It was only after reading this lovely post about Aussie meat pies from the Eat Little Bird blog that I realised it is a perfect idea to us a muffin tray instead of pie tins. First of all; you get lovely two-bite size little meatpies. And second, maybe even more important, I don't possess any pie tins ;-)

Because it is difficult to buy shortcrust pastry in Dutch supermarkets, and I didn't feel like making my own, I only used puff pastry. It worked out great; blind bake them for about 10 minutes. Then the filling inside and the pastry lids on top. Some egg wash on top of each pie and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

I totally forgot the dollop of Heinz tomato sauce on top, but it was tasty enough anyway.
The perfect meal to remember a perfect holiday!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Foodie New Years resolutions for 2014

Since I have not completed all of my 2013 New Years resolutions  I will start with that on my list for 2014:

1) Roast a leg of lamb;  I'm still a bit afraid that it will be either to dry of still raw. And questioning if it will fit in my oven?! 

2) Continue to blog weekly; Even though I have a lot of recipes, cookbooks and foodie travels to write about, I find it really difficult to find the time and actually post a blog about it. 

3) Learn to cook Indian food; Because I really love a good curry, naan bread or kulfi and there is no descent restaurant nearby. 

4) Attend the Basic Pastry course at Bij Robert; Robert van Beckhoven is a famous Dutch pastry chef and ever since our friend Frank told about all the delicious and beautiful deserts he learned I have been wanting to go there. 

5) Learn more about wine; because drinking wine (which I'm really good at ;-)) is not the same as actually know something about wine. I have been searching for a good wine course to attend but so far the problem is that there are none that I can reach with public transport... And it's just no option to spit it all out. Or is it?

6) Buy less cookbooks; I know it's an awful resolution but they start to take over the place. So either I have to buy less new cookbooks, sell some of the old ones or clean up the house and make some room!

7) Continue eating Low Carb; I started eating less carbs since October last year and I feel really good about it. Not that I'm losing any weight but I feel more energetic. It does take some extra effort in planning my breakfast and lunches, since I eat them at work. So with the exception of travelling, I do find it to difficult then, I love to keep eating carbs only 1 time a day. 

Happy New Year! 

I'm really curious about other foodies resolutions for 2014; you're welcome to share them in the comments.

This is me on New Years day doing a wine tasting at Gemtree Winery in McLaren Vale, Australia; working on New Years resolution number 6 ;-) 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Top 5 Most Popular Crazy Dutch Foodie Posts in 2013

With the end of 2013 coming closer I thought it was a good idea to share the most popular Crazy Dutch Foodie blog posts from last year.

Number 5 and 4 are about my foodie travels:

5) Foodie destination: Andalusia 

4) Foodie destination: Sicily

3) Apparently I'm not the only one with a cookbook addiction! Number 3 best viewed post of 2013 is Confessions of a cookbook addict.

2) Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my favourite restaurant (ever!) changed their concept this year. Or maybe it's because they have start posting news on Twitter and Facebook in English (instead of Dutch) but at number 2 is my review about Restaurant Beluga in Maastricht. I can't wait to go there again in 2014 and check out the new menu.

1) And with three times (!) more pageviews than number 2  my most visited post is still the one about Top 10 Typical Dutch Food to try. Apparently a lot of tourists visiting the Netherlands google 'Dutch Food' and find my blog. Or maybe just foreign people who are interested or curious about Dutch food read it.
I'm definitely gonna write more about this topic in 2014 with a focus on more regional delicacies and Dutch recipes.

The first 2013 post was about my New Years resolutions; the only thing I didn't do was roasting a leg of lamb. So that's the first one of my 2014 resolutions ;-)

I have found it pretty difficult to post every week. I really don't understand how some foodbloggers can post almost every other day! But it's still just a hobby for me and a place to share my foodie thoughts with other foodies.

For now I'm travelling a few weeks in South Korea and Australia, but as soon as I'm back I will start blogging weekly again!
Have a wonderful and tasty Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!
Greetings from Down Under

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Low Carb Foodie; Part 2

Three weeks ago I decided to start eating less carbs. Mainly to eat less bread, potatoes, pasta and rice.
I experienced some headaches in the first 2 days. But after that I just felt more energetic and I didn't crave sugary snacks anymore.
As I wrote here before; I was very amazed about the fact that I did not miss the carbs as much as would have thought.

For me the most difficult part of eating low carb is the fact that you have to plan meals more ahead.
Taking a sandwich and some sandwich fillings or spreads to work is so easy to do. And don't forget I'm used to this habit for more than 30 years already. Bread for breakfast and bread for lunch. It's really common in the Netherlands to eat like this.

In the third week I almost panicked about the fact that I was going to be home late because of a traffic jam and didn't have anything planned for lunch next day. Because if you eat low carb it will be mostly salads and soups for lunch  (I don't eat low carb bread; it feels a bit like cheating to me). Which means you have to do some preparations the night before.

And because I'm still a foodie I don't want to eat the same things again every week. So after 2 weeks of delicious salads for lunch (see my first Low Carb Foodie post) I called my husband and asked him to get a bag of precut vegetables and 2 sausages to make a quick Dutch vegetable soup with little meatballs in it.
Ready in 15 minutes and enough for 2 lunches!
Last week I tried this thick Red Lentil Tomato Soup after reading the recipe on Simone's Kitchen blog.
Also easy to make, tasty and perfect to make ahead and reheat for lunch.

I think it's funny that my husband, who has absolutely no reason to watch his weight, doesn't miss the carbs either. He just enjoys eating tasty food, whether it's with or without carbs.
We both liked the lowcarb quiche with broccoli and bacon with a green salad on the side. For this dish I was inspired by this recipe from the blog Nutty About Health. I made it in a smaller amount, because it was just for the two of us, in a round baking tray and replaced the heavy cream with creme fraiche.

For breakfast I tend to eat oatmeal with milk, cinnamon and some dried figs.
Or Greek yoghurt with honey and walnuts. I could eat this every morning; so delicious!

And I started experimenting with green smoothies. Which make me feel even more healthy. But it doesn't give me the same satisfied feeling as a salad or soup. But as a quick breakfast it's fine.

Green smoothie; 2 bananas, 2 apples, 2 hands of spinach and 2 glasses of water

I honestly don't feel hungry in between meals. But if I do want to snack something or if I'm having lunch or dinner later than normally I eat a cooked egg, some cheese, nuts or something sweet like dried dates or pure chocolate (minimum 70% cacao).

I always have this little snackbox in my bag

If you tell people you eat less carbs they automatically think you're on a diet. I don't see it like this. I still eat carbs if I want to. But now it's more likely that I eat carbs only one meal a day instead of three. Believe me; I will never give up on a good pasta dish. Nor would I want to miss eating baked potatoes with mayonaise. And I don't even think about stop eating things as home made cupcakes ;-)

And because I do not see it as a diet I really think I will manage to keep eating less carbs. Not gain weight and maybe even slowly loose some weight as a benefit.  But most important of all; feeling healthy and more energetic.

Tasty low carb recipes and tips are welcome. Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Foodie destination: Mallorca

When booking our next holiday I normally check the destination we have in mind on two points: 
Food & Wine. As in; What are the local specialties? Which restaurants should we definitely try? Are there any cooking courses we can attend? And are there local wineries that can be visited?

From there the accommodation is booked and we try to taste as much as possible in the time we have.
Almost any destination is a Foodie Destination as long as you do some research. 
So is Mallorca. Just not Cala D'or.

But our last holiday was not chosen and booked according my Food & Wine considerations. It was a family holiday together with my parents, brother, sister in law and 1-year old little niece. So most important was the fact that it had to be a family friendly resort. Because of this we ended up in Cala D'or which is perfect for those kind of holidays. Just not for foodies. It was packed with tons of Dutch spoken and owned (!) restaurants that all served pizza, pasta and steak...
And although these were not that bad it's not my idea of vacation.

But no worries; we had a great holiday. The apartment was perfect, the weather was great, my little niece was lovely, there were happy hours with 2 cocktails for the price of 1 and we rented a car for 3 days so we could drive around and taste a bit of the real Mallorca.

Here is a list of my Top 10 foodie things on Mallorca:

1) Lunch at Simply Fosh, Palma de Mallorca

Great service, great food and a great ‘Menu of the day’deal with only € 21,50 for 3-courses!
The menu changes every week and you get to choose from 2 starters, 3 mains (fish/meat/vegetarian) and 2 desserts.

Caponata Simply Fosh style with Buffalo Mozzarella
Beef Cheeks with Blackberry Puree, fried garlic and red onions
Fresh Cheese icecream with Prickly Pear marinated in Passion Fruit syrup

2) Dinner in restaurant Sa Teulera, Arta  

This restaurant is specialised in typical Mallorcan food.
Unfortunately we did not had dinner in this restaurant. But we were really lucky to have found a stall with their local specialties on the market in Arta by accident. We couldn't not see it; there was whole pig roasting on the street… !
The tumbet was soft and delicious. And I could not stop eating from a paella-like noodle dish; so tasty! Downside of all this great food was that I totally forgot to make pictures of it... 

3) Try Sobrassada

A raw traditional Balearic sausage made with ground pork, paprika, salt and other spices.  
Before I tasted it I thought that is was a 'hard' sausage. But instead it's soft and you have to spread it on toast. 
I have to admit it´s not my favorite specialty. But I guess you just have to get used the to specific taste a bit more. It´s funny that in ´tourist´shops they are sold neatly wrapped in paper. And I can understand why: if you see them without the paper they don't look as tempting!

Sobrassada neatly wrapped in tourist shop

Sobrassada sausage as sold on Olivar Market, Palma de Mallorca

4) Order Ensaimadas in Ca'n Joan de S'Aigo, Palma de Mallorca

One of the funny things about being a foodie is that in search of the best local delicacies you discover neighbourhoods and streets you would have otherwise missed.
We walked past this absolutely beautifull courtyard while looking for Ca'n Joan de S'Aigo.

Courtyard close to Ca'n Joan de S'Aigo
We almost missed it because it's tucked away in one of the narrow streets in the old quarter.  Stepping into this restaurant is like taking a step back into the past. It dates from 1700 and inside it looks like there is nothing changed ever since. It's also full with locals and almost no tourists.

Ca'n Joan de S'Aigo is famous for it's 'quart' (a really fluffy and soft sponge cake) and almond ice cream.
We ordered the quart and a few different ensaimadas to share. 
The prices are more than reasonable; € 0.95 for a basic ensaimada and € 1,- for a quarto

From left to right; quarto, basic ensaimada, ensaimada with cream and sobrassada

5) Wine tasting at Bodegas Castell Miquell, Alaro-Lloseta

Although it's a German owned winery and they don't grow the more local grapes from the Balearic Islands like Prensal Blanc, Callet and Manto Negro, this winery is definitely worth a visit. The views from here are amazing and they make high quality (and also pretty expensive!) prize-winning wines. At the time of visiting they were out of white, but we were more than happy to bring home a few bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon.

View during wine tasting at Castell Miquell

6) Board the Mallorca Wine Expres

A tourist train which takes you from Santa Maria through 8 different wineries, vineyards and cellars.
Unfortunately we didn't have time to plan this in our trip. But it sounds like a great wine tour with some good reviews and I will definitely book a spot if we ever go back to Mallorca.

7) Try Coca de Patata at Ca'n Molinas, Valdemossa

Typical sweet of Mallorca and the local specialty of Valldemossa.
Much more explained and better photographed by Cowboys and Cappuccinos blog! 

8) Stroll Olivar Market (Mercat d'Olivar), Palma de Mallorca

An indoor food market with stalls full of fresh fish and seafood, cheese, fruits, vegetables and delicious first class (plus expensive!)  Iberico and Serrano hams. We strolled the market together with my parents. My dad was so amazed about the prices of these cured delicacies; he could't stop saying: '€ 170,- per kilo? Per kilo? Really?'

Olivar Market at Plaza de L'Olivar
Beautifull cured Iberico hams, Olivar Market
Fresh Anchovies, Olivar Market

9) Mahon cheese from Menorca

A tasty white cow's milk cheese with an orange rind. Available from just a few months (soft) to aged (hard). Although from their neighbouring island Menorca, Mahon cheese is widely available in supermarkets on Mallorca.

10) Dinner at Spice of India, Cala d'or

And if, by some reason, you do get stuck in Cala D'or and are looking for an authentical place to eat; try Spice of India. Not authentically Spanish off course but the only place I found that didn't have a menu including pizza. All the staff was from India plus they serve some tasty curries!