Almendra de Mallorca (Mallorca almonds)
IGP ‘Almendra de Mallorca’/‘Almendra Mallorquina’/‘Ametlla de Mallorca’/‘Ametlla Mallorquina’ is the fruit of the almond tree (Prunus amygdalus) intended for human consumption, which may be raw or roasted, with or without the skin.
The almonds must be whole, healthy, clean and dry, and measure at least 12 mm across the transverse axis at the widest point. There must be no sign of fungal, parasite or insect damage, no rancidity or any foreign odour or taste.
The almonds may be sold raw or roasted. In both cases, they may be peeled or unpeeled. The raw unpeeled almonds are white or ivory in colour, with a mat appearance, both inside and outside. The texture is firm, with little stickiness and an oily feel. The taste is slightly sweet, neither sour nor bitter. The aroma is intense and nutty. The unpeeled almonds retain their rough, brown skin.
Chemical characteristics: — moisture: < 2 %, — fat content: ≥ 55 % in dry matter, — oleic and linoleic acid content: ≥ 88 % of total fat. —
Organoleptic characteristics: the peeled roasted almonds are cream to light brown in colour, with a shiny appearance and oily feel and have a hard, friable, crunchy texture. It has a slightly sweet taste, not at all sour or astringent, with a trace of bitterness from the roasting. Intense, roasted and caramelised aroma. The unpeeled almonds retain their rough, brown skin, which is friable and comes off easily.
Specific steps in production that must take place in the defined geographical area: Almonds covered by the protected geographical indication must be grown, stored, hulled, peeled and roasted on the island of Mallorca.
Specific rules concerning slicing, grating, packaging, etc.: Packaging at the place of origin is the last stage in the process and is essential in order to preserve the product and guarantee its quality characteristics. Isolation from the environment is essential in order to guarantee the quality of the almonds, as an increase in water content would alter their chemical composition and affect their organoleptic characteristics. The only way to preserve their quality is by isolating them in suitable, well-sealed packaging which protects them from humidity. The reason for packaging at source is therefore to preserve their organoleptic characteristics over a period of time. Almonds covered by the protected geographical indication are marketed in homogeneous batches and in packaging holding up to a maximum of 25 kg. The almonds must be packaged within the geographical production area. These operations must be carried out within the defined geographical area in order to:
1 - Preserve the product’s typical characteristics and safeguard quality: There is a very long tradition of almond production and consumption on the island of Mallorca. Packaging in the defined geographical area is crucial to preserving the almonds’ specific characteristics and their quality. This allows producers and the protected geographical indication inspection body to implement and monitor the rules on transport, processing and packaging of the almonds. Drawing on their experience they can adopt the practices that will best ensure that the final product is of the requisite quality. In other words, the producers and handlers in the defined geographical area have the know-how acquired from experience to avoid operations which could impair the quality of ‘Almendra de Mallorca’ and, in particular, to ensure that there are no bitter almonds, rancidity, mould or broken fruit.
The IGP almonds are distinguished from other almonds by their organoleptic characteristics. Mallorca is an island so if the almonds were transported elsewhere in bulk it would be by sea and the journey would be long. The almonds could be affected by humidity and temperature, which could alter their texture, taste and aroma, making them go soft and/or rancid and thereby impairing their final quality
2 - Guarantee traceability and the origin of the product: The control and certification system guarantees the origin and traceability of the product provided that it is prepared, handled and packaged on the island, but not if these operations are performed outside the area of production. Almonds can get mixed together with other almonds (from elsewhere), so if handling and packaging outside the defined geographical area were permitted, it would no longer be possible to guarantee the origin of ‘Almendra de Mallorca’.
Concise definition of the geographical area: The almonds must be grown, stored, husked, peeled, roasted and packaged on the island of Mallorca in the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands, Spain.
Link with the geographical area: On the island of Mallorca the almonds are grown on chalky soil, of medium to hard consistency, containing a large amount of coarse matter and very poor in organic material. The pH tends to be alkaline and the soil has a high calcium carbonate content and is made up of horizontal strata between which a large quantity of fine clays accumulate, which are excellent for the development of the almond trees’ root system.
Other specific characteristics are the medium levels of rainfall and long hours of sunshine. Regarding the producers' contribution, it should be noted that one of the features of almond growing on Mallorca is that the tradition of seed propagation has been maintained for longer than in the rest of Spain, and indigenous varieties were used for the first grafts. This has helped to maintain varietal diversity, with most of the varieties grown in Mallorca being different from those grown elsewhere in Spain. Traditionally, Mallorcan farmers have always selected the varieties which produce the most unctuous and aromatic almonds and are best adapted to the island’s soil and climate.
Almond growing in Mallorca goes back to Roman times and it is possible that the first trees were planted by the Romans. In the 18th century, the almond groves expanded considerably and in the 19th century the phylloxera attack on vines led to crop conversion and large-scale planting of almond trees. Today, the almond trees in bloom are a typical feature of the island's winter landscape.
Specificity of the product: ‘Almendra de Mallorca’ is distinguished by a high fat content (> 55 %), of which oleic and linoleic acid account for 88 % or more. These fatty acids have a low melting point and liquefy when the almonds are chewed. Together, these factors give the product its characteristic unctuousness and intense aroma.
Causal link between the geographical area and a specific quality, the reputation or other characteristic of the product: The link between ‘Almendra de Mallorca’, ‘Almendra Mallorquina’, ‘Ametlla de Mallorca’ and ‘Ametlla Mallorquina’ and the geographical area derives from its reputation. A reputation that is has acquired over the centuries due to its organoleptic characteristics and economic and gastronomic importance. This reputation is confirmed by fact that the almonds are highly prized by Mallorcan consumers: a consumer survey carried out in 2010 by the Instituto de Calidad Agroalimentaria de las Islas Baleares showed that 52,4 % of almond consumers believed Mallorcan almonds were of higher quality, and in 93,3 % of cases the reason for this was that they had more flavour. The limestone soils with a low organic matter content, the medium levels of rainfall and long hours of sunshine produce a small yield per hectare but the fruit has a high average fat content (59 %), which is higher than that of almonds from other regions. This fact was confirmed by a study carried out by the University of the Balearic Islands in 2010.