German cuisine flavoured with the charm of South America: whenever well-built chef Gert Münstermann carries out his work in the kitchen of Son Estela, he is assisted by three lovely ladies from Ecuador. In private, the calm and warm-hearted German is caressed by Caribbean flair: his partner in life, Belkis (37), originates from the Dominican Republic. They got to know each other in Venezuela: “She makes me feel young and keeps me fit,” the 59-year-old remarks with a smile. Belkis is not only his emotional support, but an important employee. She runs the new bistro “Cafetería Croissantería” in Sineu’s marketplace. And some day, when Gert Münstermann decides to retire – this date is still probably some way off – he can picture “moving with Belkis to her home country.” Aging under the sun of Santo Domingo.
However, at the traditional “Fiesta Primavera”, the spring party held on March 22 at Münstermann´s finca Son Estela near Pina, it’s obvious how much enthusiasm the boss still has for his work. His buffet is a marvelous combination: au gratin potatoes, grapes with little cheese cubes, roast beef, German roast pork (“Schweinebraten”), shrimp and tuna salad, beetroot apple salad, dates wrapped in fried ham, and so on. Every mouthful tastes heavenly. And to help it slip down easily, the guests can drink as much Cava as they want, or fresh fruit juice, or good old German coffee from the pot. Were it not for the host´s “South American guard”, the ambience would be of a dapper German garden party. Among the 70 guests there is hardly anyone who doesn´t come from Germany. Even the waitress Maren is from “Alemania”. The average age of the attendees is estimated at over 50 years. All of them appreciate the quiet place in the countryside, paying 30 euros a head for the all-inclusive buffet. It is probably the definition of how Germans imagine a sweet life under palm trees – Münstermann makes this particular paradise perfect by offering familiar delicacies in the midst of the Mediterranean scene, accompanied by live music from a German jazz band. It is Little Germany in Mallorca.
The conservative atmosphere may not be everybody´s cup of tea, but there are good vibes in a relaxed setting. Young and old people fall easily into conversation and the sunbeams enhance the mood. Effi Briest and her Baron Geert von Innstetten of Theodor Fontane´s famous German novel could have been introduced to each other at such an event – shifted to a countryside venue near Berlin. But in the early 19th century, the guests would have arrived in carriages, and burning torches would have shown the way instead of colourful balloons.
It is not by chance that Gert Münstermann organizes outstanding gourmet events like this on the island. Anyone familiar with German specialist delicatessens knows the name Münstermann. It is Düsseldorf´s longest-established delicatessen. The main shop at Hohestraße 11 has existed for more than 100 years. Münstermann himself is not involved in the business any more, but it was there he took his first professional steps. When he was 16 years old, he began to help his parents with catering and gourmet food sales. From the beginning there was no doubt that Münstermann would always deal with the highest quality of food. Everything had to be gourmet – especially as far as venison and poultry were concerned. Münstermann underwent apprenticeships as a cook, venison butcher and retailer.
During 40 years of experience, Gert Münstermann has developed his own personal cooking style, adding the ultimate touches on the island. He describes the result as “multi-cultural crossover with Spanish, Asian and German elements”. For him, the secret of success lies in the “right purchase of local ingredients”. In 1993 he moved to Mallorca and cooked for five years for a local catering company. In 1996 he bought the plot of Son Estela near Lloret de Vistalegre (Algaida) and began the construction of a Mediterranean house for his sister Wiltrud Miethke. Finally, brother and sister decided to live in Son Estela with their families.
The finca´s garden is the perfect venue for all the outdoor events of “Cooking Team Münstermann”.
Wiltrud Miethke supports her brother by organizing a lot of things in the background, but actually she has her own completely different vocation. The retired journalist is now a Reiki master and an expert for “Karma Clearing” – a kind of spiritual psychotherapy. She´s written two books already on the subject and offers personal sessions and “clearings” alongside German kinesiologist Wiebke Grützmacher.
The company “Kochteam Münstermann” is a solid enterprise based on three pillars. To challenge the crisis, Gert Münstermann established a new third pillar, the bistro café in Sineu, which opened in December 2008: “We´re not rigid about the cuisine there and offer Thai vegetable and German curry sausage – our guests, especially the locals, really appreciate the menu.” The gourmet connoisseur is not stubborn in his own tastes and goes to Playa de Palma sometimes to sample Bratwurst and beer. “The important thing is doing what I feel like doing,” remarks the calm and humble man from the Rhineland.
The target group of the catering division and the garden parties at the finca – the first two pillars of the business – is mainly German and British residents. Both pillars offer a high-profile performance for demanding customers. Münstermann offers party catering at the Son Estela venue for weddings (maximum of 120 guests) or other events (maximum of 300 guests). With a group of 50 people the host must work on an amount of 100 euros per head, including food, beverage and the rent for the venue. Using other venues, Kochteam Münstermann can provide catering for various events for up to 1000 guests or more.
The garden parties usually take place once a month and always have a theme: “Fiesta de Rosas” (Rose Party – during which guests are allowed to pick roses at Son Estela); “Fiesta de Espárrago” (Asparagus Party – scheduled in May); “Fiesta de Primavera” (Spring Party); “Fiesta de Verano” (Summer Party); Halloween Party; 1001 Arabian Nights etc. Almost every celebration is enriched by the live performance of “Storyville”, the only original Dixieland and New Orleans jazz band in Mallorca. For 11 years Münstermann has been collaborating with band leader “Jumbo” and his German musician colleagues.
The invitations for the themed parties are sent by email to regulars. The dates are fixed at short notice and dependent on the weather forecast. The 2009 Almond Blossom Party, held in February, was a great success: “In spite of the rainy period we had a marvellous day and the guests were overwhelmed with the beauty of the white trees on our land,” Münstermann recalls with pleasure.