Sunday, September 09, 2007

Finding Nothing But Warmth At Fig Tree Bay

Do I give a fig? I do. Figs. Higos. The fig of memory was a dried part of the range of to-be-avoided Christmas fare alongside sprouts, Stone’s ginger wine and Turkish delight. The fresh fig of the present is a to-be-coveted complex nectar. The other day I was given a tray of figs from a finca close by Santa Margalida. Delicious, they are a small meal in themselves. They are just one of the fruits or, in the case of figs, false fruits that grow here, along with the pulses, cereals and vegetables.

The Mediterranean diet, of which Mallorcan food forms a part, has long been recognised as being one of the most healthy. In addition to its benefits in warding off heart disesase, the diet is now also being promoted as a means of limiting the debilitating effects of arthritis. The fibre-and-calcium-rich fig, high in antioxidants, is also believed to be helpful in preventing cancers, something it shares with the equally remarkable pomegranate (“granada”).

Medical care grows and is processed all around you in Mallorca. To the likes of the fig and pomegranate, add, for instance, the olive oil and the cholesterol-busting almond and chick pea, the latter a staple of the Spanish diet for centuries. Why do they go and mess it all up with something as downright health-malevolent as the ensaimada? Probably for the same reason as I, having gone more or less native with diet, still get a full English down my neck now and then.

Cruise holidays are growing in popularity, there having been a 25% increase in the number of passengers coming in and out of Balearic ports, Palma being by far the most popular. There has been talk knocking around of Alcúdia being a port of call for cruises. Notwithstanding the fact that it would probably necessitate some upgrading of the commercial port, it doesn’t somehow have the same ring (or should I say vista) to it as does Palma. There you are confronted by the vast marina and the splendour of the cathedral. In Alcúdia, the journey in by sea reveals the chimneys of the old power station. But I suppose if Lord Rogers gets to build Millennium Dome II on the site, that journey might be more impressive.

Of course one thing that is impressive is Alcúdia’s beach and bay. A few years back it was voted the best on the BBC’s Holiday programme. The Ultima Hora newspaper does this series entitled “Vamos a la playa” (let’s go to the beach) in which reporters check out beaches around the island. Today they report on Álcúdia, and quote some mainland Spanish tourists. The verdict: there is no other beach that equals Alcúdia in Spain.

And talking of beaches. My bit is distinctly quieter, especially for a Sunday. Gone are the local families who picnic on the beach on a Sunday. It’s not the sun, that’s still belting, but the breeze now has a slight edge to it. A fickle chap your local. Fairweather beachgoers. You can carry on going till November.

Last time - Tears For Fears. Today’s title?


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