The word gourmet describes a class of restaurant, cuisine, food or ingredient of superior quality, special presentation, or high sophistication. We are not talking about standard food here, but premium foods and drinks consumed for reasons of pleasure rather than necessity. If you think about it, you can drink normal water (from a tap in most countries) – or you can savour the taste of water that’s been distilled using a special process and presented in a bottle decorated with Swarovski crystals, sealed with a solid silver cap, and costing a small fortune. It’s all water and the difference in the two products has probably more to do with marketing strategies than quality.
So why is the global demand for ‘gourmet products’ growing so rapidly?
In my opinion, it is and always has been a matter of differentiation from the masses: if everyone has access to it then it’s not interesting. People want to stand out from the crowd, and one way to achieve this is by developing a refined palate and becoming knowledgeable in the art of food and its preparation. Leaving the psychology aside, other factors such as rising incomes and wealth in general, globalisation of tastes, and concerns for better health and wellness are, of course, big influences on demand.
Mallorca is rich in gourmet offerings: five Michelin star restaurants, featured in the Last Word on page 142. We speak to Katja Wöhr about the clever marketing concept behind Flor de Sal, on page 40. Benet Vicens, the renowned chef of Béns d´Avall, reveals his life story and hopes for the future on page 54. Our photographic feature this month focuses on selected products grown or sourced on the island, with useful tips and recipes to make the most of these amazing local delights on page 60.
Would you take on the challenge of assisting a top class chef for a day, with the responsibility for preparing one of the courses served to clients? Find out how our journalist got on with Marc Fosh in the ‘Master Chefs Experience’ on page 94. A new and exciting concept just available on the island is a high quality home delivery deli service from Delicioso, read more on page 100.
Helen & the abcMallorca team