A visitor to Mallorca usually comes expecting to eat tons of Paella, some fresh seafood, and to drink a ton of sangria. But these visitors are missing out on the second most (behind sobrasada) beloved food on the island.
Mallorca has an obsession with crackers, or galletas. These special crackers have a similar taste to saltines, but are much less salty. The manufacturer who produces the most common galleta is named Quely, and their signature products are Quelis and Quelitas. The Quelis are about the size of a saltine, but about an inch thick, while the Quelitas are about half the size but similarly thick. Their slogan is “possibly the best cracker in the world” which is probably true, at least if we judge solely on how dedicated Mallorquins are to them.
But Quely isn’t the only manufacturer of crackers on the island. The more we look, the more producers we find. The three that we have encountered so far have been Galletes Rossellones in Porreres, Galletas Nerinas in Inca, Galetes D’oli in Arta (Galetes=Catalan, Galletas=Castellaño). But there are other bakeries out there getting in on the cracker game, in fact it seems as though many bakeries make their own in small batches and sell them right alongside their breads and pastries.
Some are experimenting with different flavors like basil, tomato, herbes de provence. Others add nuts and seeds. And still others have jumped the shark and added squid inc to make a solid black cracker.
And it can not be overstated enough, the demand for the crackers is real. People primarily use them to scoop up other foods, namely sobrasada and pâté. But we have found that they are equally delicious in soup, or used to scoop up a mixture of cream cheese and jam (usually fig). Thought they are also good plain. Actually, my go-to snack between classes is a galleta and a cherry tomato, eaten simultaneously, and it’s amazing.
My students (ages 12-18) all adore them. They usually bring some to school to snack on, and they all insisted I try them. Then Quely (the most popular producer) rolled out “Quelitos”, which are smaller versions of the same cracker coated in chocolate and everyone lost their damn minds. Actually, funny side note, my school has an annual 7 day trip to London for the 3rd ESO students. Before they took a bus to the airport they all met up at the school, and just about all of them had a bag of Quelitas with them, “for the trip”, and also to tide them over for their stint abroad. Americans have ranch, Koreans have Shin Ramyeon (신라면), and Mallorquines have Quelitas.
We’ve also seen ground up Quelis being sold as a coating for fried meat, and a local frozen pizza company uses the same ground up Quelis in their pizza crusts.
Origins and Such.
The crackers were originally made to sell to mariners of all sorts because of their resistance to humidity, mold, and pests. So basically, they are hardtack. But they avoid turning into inedible bricks (which hardtack does) thanks to the use of a copious amount of olive oil. Even reading various recipes on the internet, the authors usually make a point to say that “these crackers will last months”, which is probably true. We buy a bag about once a month (we are not as hardcore as the locals) and leave it half open in our cabinet (out of laziness) and they are as good on day 30 as they are on day 1.
I can’t really say how long these crackers have been around in Mallorca, the ingredients are so simple and inexpensive (if you live somewhere with ton of olives) that tracing the recipe’s origin is next to impossible.
Speaking of the recipe… I think we’ll put a post together sometime soon for that.
How awesome would it be to make a big ol’ batch of Mallorcan Galletas for your next house party, who else would have those? No one!