The forecast for the weekend announced heavy rains and dropping temperatures, but this last Friday in October we’re granted a truce and the autumn sunlight caresses the fields. We cross Binissalem, the wine capital of Mallorca. It’s a market day in the village, and the silhouette of the striking Tramuntana mountain range stands out against a clear blue sky. We drive up among stone houses and olive, almond, and carob groves, vegetable gardens and fallow wheat fields. Before us, at the foothills of the mountains, perched above the village, the outline of an imposing building appears, a stately Mallorcan manor built of rose-hued stone: Finca Bellveure, our destination.
Between the olive groves and the forest
Winding its way up a dirt road among olive trees, the car reaches the border between the fields and the forest. That is where the estate’s stone masonry building awaits us. We walk into the courtyard, one of the typically Mallorcan clastras, with its cobblestone pavement surrounding a stone well at the center.
An understated restoration gives the manor house its particular charm: time seems to be standing still. We are served a glass of cava while we gather and chat with the other guests. The owner’s daughters tell us that the first construction dates back to the thirteenth century, although large parts of the current building were added on in the eighteenth century. They take us for a stroll through the nearby farmland and tell us about the olives and the key role of oil in the estate’s history, although production is now limited to domestic use and a small-scale local distribution.
The oil press comes to life with bulthaup
When we return to the house, we enter through the side door leading to the huge tafona, the oil press that harks back to 1640, where we learn how it operated for centuries, from grinding the olives with a vast millstone driven by a draft animal, to extracting the oil. Next, in an adjoining room, we are told about the bulthaup motto —sight, touch, passion— and music starts to play. From inside the stone oil tanks set into the floor, the bodies of three dancers emerge, dressed in the colors of stone and oil, flowing, intertwining and separating, illustrating the three concepts.
Around the stone well
Delighted after the surprise, we walk back to the courtyard, and as we chat in the shade —the sun is now stronger— a white and gray cat appears, gives us a circumspect glance and stretches on the stone bench in the sunlight. Trays are passed around with the appetizers, which we taste as the chef, Santi Taura, describes them and their connection to the island’s culinary tradition: crispy morsels that reinterpret the classic sopes mallorquines vegetable and bread stew; sardines on endive leaves with diced ramellet tomato; small glasses of a frothy mushroom cappuccino and memorable suckling-pig croquettes with a dab of sweet potato purée.
Overlooking the Raiguer
Time slips by and we suddenly realize it’s time for lunch. Straw hats are handed out and we walk over to the long table set on a terrace overlooking the boundless landscape of the Raiguer region and beyond. Binissalem is at our feet, and in the distance we see the isolated promontory of the Puig de Randa, the mountain where, according to the tradition, the mystic and philosopher Ramon Llull received a divine revelation in the thirteenth century.
Autumn according to Santi Taura
We sit down at the table, enveloped by jazz and a soft breeze. Once again, Santi Taura surprises us with a seasonal menu which, like his appetizers, is deeply rooted in traditional Mallorcan cuisine. Following an exquisite dish of noodles with cod and chick peas, we are served the main course, a superb chicken, meatball, and mushroom stew. And last but not least, an unusual dessert with a woody aroma and a touch of candied mushrooms, evocatively referred to as Autumn in the Serra de Tramuntana.
A day of sight, touch, and passion
The delightful weather, the extraordinary view and the excellent company round off the experience. We laugh and toast to the pleasure of sharing this moment. The chef comes out to join us and receives a warm round of applause. Once again, bulthaup’s motto has come true: sight, touch, passion. A day to remember.
Photographer: Adrián Pedrazas Profumo