Within the old city walls

Eyes on the sky

Eyes on the sky

There were rumors of witchcraft floating around the old city walls of Palma. Nobody knew how bulthaup had managed to escape the threat of a storm, once again: after torrential rain the night before, the air cleared at dawn, with just the occasional dark cloud drifting away on the horizon. The event scheduled at the Architects’ Association building, a late 17th-century palace standing a few meters away from the Cathedral, was given a green light.

A gathering in a unique setting

We always look forward to our get-togethers with the bulthaup community. Some of those present had enjoyed the event in a vineyard last year, and this time the setting couldn’t be more different: the monumental stone walls of the old quarter of Palma de Mallorca, overlooking the arc of the bay. A dark sea. The palace. The cathedral. Both for those attending a bulthaup event for the first time and those who were back again, the extraordinary cuisine offered by Santi Taura, the good company and a splendid sunny autumn day were causes for celebration.

Gazing out to sea

The group began to gather under the high coffered ceiling of the palace. Gazing out from the balconies, we glimpsed the promise of what we would be sharing a while later: a long table covered with a white tablecloth right in the midst of the promenade above the city walls, facing the Parc de la Mar and the harbor. A couple of cargo ships were motionless in the distance. A smattering of sailboats dashed by in the noonday breeze.

On the terrace of the palace

After an initial presentation of the event, we walked over to the outdoor terrace. There, while we sipped a refreshing lemonade with mint leaves, Santi Taura told us the story behind each one of the morsels he had prepared as appetizers. And everything he announced outdid our expectations: sensational.

Climbing to the summit

There were more than enough reasons to restore our energy, because what came next was our walk over to the Seu, the immense cathedral that loomed above us to the west. We were set out on an adventure that involved climbing no less than 210 steps up several spiral staircases to reach the cathedral's rooftops... and beyond.

Among Gothic flying buttresses

As in the stations of the cross, we made several stops along the way: inside the bell tower, in a hall that had once sheltered asylum seekers; on the walkways under the huge bell with a name of its own –N'Aloi–; and between flying buttresses, until we crossed an exterior passageway right below the giant Gothic rose window measuring over thirteen meters in diameter and fitted with late 16th-century stained glass. We were breathless, both literally and figuratively. The city and the harbor were perfect, spread out at our feet.

Santi Taura's culinary surprises

By the time we returned, we were more than ready to sit down at Santi Taura's table. The chef soon told us about the dishes he would be serving and the recipes he had rescued and recast from times past, and about the different influences in traditional Mallorcan cuisine. The fragrances of ginger and saffron, cilantro and cinnamon echoed a Muslim past in the outstanding lobster manjar blanc, an aromatic cream soup that left us all in a deep silence of admiration. The loin of black Mallorcan pork with ensaïmada pastry, undeniably Christian with a French Wellington touch, was bold and extraordinary.

Old-time desserts 2.0

Although Santi first served us a rose-laced arrope grape syrup accompanied by his version of the local fried pastries known as orellanes, he didn't leave it at that: next, he topped off the meal with his particular reconstruction of a gató, an almond torte which, in this case, melted magically on the tongues of the blissful guests.

Cradled by the music

We were still blissful and the sun was still strong; we continued to exchange straw hats and chat. Suddenly, a string quartet appeared. A double bass, a cello, a guitar and a violin player make up Le Carromato, who carried us off into a moment of grace. We fell silent, feeling the breeze on our skin and following the sway of the music.

The pleasure of sharing a community

The afternoon light started to dwindle. We thanked the musicians before they left, ushering in the gin and tonics. We took off our hats and changed seats, moving around to catch up with friends from the opposite end of the long table. Our laughter probably carried as far as the empty rooftops of the nearby cathedral. The church bells rang five, then six in the afternoon. The breeze was cooler by the time we said our goodbyes, winding our way into the dark streets of the medieval quarter, with the images of a clear blue sky, the city from above and the voices, the flavors and the aromas still spinning around in our heads.

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