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Featured in: Events Reviews Nicola Henderson, Site Editor Published

The Olive Fair, Caimari Mallorca

Sometimes on a weekend, it is nice simply to laze around the house, take a leisurely breakfast and flick idly through the newspaper (or your fancy i-Pad if you are The Frenchman). But not so this weekend! For it is the annual Olive Fair, held in Caimari, in the north west of Mallorca. Named as one of the top ten gastronomic festivals in Europe by The Guardian, it is actually one of the autumn fairs on Majorca that you really shouldn't miss.

Mallorca has been growing olive trees for centuries. With over 200,000 trees scattered around the island, it is an important agricultural crop and has played an important part in creating wealth for many estates and villages. Caimari is one of those villages, and with a working olive press in the middle of the main square, it is the perfect setting for the annual celebration of the olive.

The fair actually runs over the course of nine days but the main time to visit is the third weekend of November. The village is liberally decorated with olive branches, and the main square is laid with a thick layer of olive leaves, giving a wonderful country fair feel to the event. Little stalls serving all sorts of olives, olive oils, fruit & veg, sausages and wine line the square and the very friendly stall owners invite you to taste their wares. The olive press is put into use, with a horse providing the energy to grind the olives between the stone rollers. The whole setting is utterly charming.

This is The Frenchman's kind of fair. Plenty of food items to try, and no garish funfair rides to ruin the tranquillity of the setting. Each olive oil stall has a plate of bite size pieces of bread drenched in oil for you to try, and the oils range from sweet and mild to strong, peppery, and sometimes quite bitter. The flavour relates to the type of olive used and the time of harvest. The Mallorcan olive gives rise to an oil with a high unsaturated fatty-acid content which exceeds that of oils made with any of the other varieties. This has led to the recent claims of the health benefits that Malloran olive oil could bring.

It's not only about the olive of course, we tasted some very delicious local wine and 'heirbas' - a mountain herbal liqueur which is surprisingly smooth (a good thing at 11am!). The Majorcan sausage Sobradassa was also on display, we managed to obtain a spicy variety that the King of Spain chooses when he is holidaying in Mallorca. With pony rides for the children and an artisan exhibition in one of the churches, this fair is more about the simple pleasures in life, rather than the glitz and the glam. Local children pass through the streets selling homemade cakes, and local residents rub shoulders with interested visitors. It's all very friendly and welcoming.

This is definitely one our favourite Mallorcan autumn fairs. Caimari is set in the foothills of the Tramuntana hills which creates a glorious setting for the fair. The programme for the festival is only in Spanish, but at least you can see what kind of times everything starts. If you're lucky enough to be in Majorca right now, you have tomorrows festivities to look forward to. Otherwise, get the date in the diary for next year and see this delightful village & it's olives at its very best.