22 August 2023

The Mallorcans: A Mallorcan master baker with history

With a series of video portraits, TV journalist Sibylle Tiessen takes us on a captivating journey into a world full of exciting projects, cultural diversity and authentic stories on Mallorca. Supported by TUI, the TUI Care Foundation and Majorca Daily Bulletin, viewers learn more about the island from a whole new perspective, from inspiring stories of locals to social, artistic, ecological, scientific and political aspects.

Episode 4: A Mallorcan master baker with history

There is a smell of freshly baked bread and numerous typical Mallorcan delicacies are lined up on the counter: ensaimadas with spicy sobrassada sausage and apricots, almond cake, chocolate coulant and the Mallorcan vegetable pizza 'coca de trampó'. A long queue of people forms in the colourfully tiled bakery.

Anyone who visits the traditional Fornet de la Soca bakery in Palma's city centre is spoilt for choice. Tomeu Arbona stands behind the counter and welcomes his customers with a warm smile. Together with his wife María José Orero he opened Fornet de la Soca in 2010 as a way out of the financial crisis. Today, a total of 18 people are employed at Fornet de la Soca. Production and sales are handled at the same location. The concept has been successful: In recent years, Tomeu Arbona has received awards on several occasions, for example in 2019 as baker of the year in the "Ruta del Buen Pan" (Route of Good Bread) gastronomic tour.

All specialities are based on traditional recipes and local products. "Some I got from my mother and my aunts, other recipes come from historical records from monasteries and handwritten cookbooks, among other things. Mallorcan cuisine has a long tradition," he says. Using old records, Tomeu Arbona succeeded in reviving recipes that had almost been forgotten. His focus is primarily on savoury pastries. In addition to traditional preparation, he also values local products.

The fact that some recipes have been forgotten over the years has to do with the tourism boom on the islands, Tomeu explains. Until the 1970s, people prepared more or less the same dishes. Everything that came from abroad was viewed rather critically. With the increase in tourism, however, gastronomy also changed. "Well-tried dishes disappeared from the menu and were replaced by international dishes such as pizza, hot dogs or burgers. But you have to show international visitors what Mallorcan cuisine has to offer," he says with a laugh.

Find out more in our video below: