Protected Geographical Indication
Mallorcan Almonds

"Almond from Mallorca", "Mallorcan Almond", "Ametlla from Mallorca" or "Mallorcan Ametlla" are the names by which the fruit of the almond tree (Prunus amygdalus), traditional on the island of Mallorca, is known and which is cultivated for human consumption and eaten raw or toasted, peeled or unpeeled.

 

Historically, there have been a great number of biographic references that attest to the economic importance that cultivation of the almond tree has had in Mallorca. Some examples include "Die Balearen" (1869) by the Archduke Luis Salvador, the "Chronicles of the Balearic Islands" by Fernando Fulgosio (1870), "The almond tree and its cultivation in the south of Spain and the Balearic Islands" (1907) by Pedro Estelrich, or the "Economic History of Spain, 10th–20th centuries" by Francisco Comín, Mauro Hernández and Enrique Llopis. This economic importance continues today, given that almond cultivation in Mallorca represents 49.7% of land dedicated to the cultivation of fruit trees on the island.

 

Other historical references allude to culinary uses of the almond and demonstrate that the product has had a great influence on gastronomic culture, given that it has been a traditional feature of the island for centuries. There are a great number of gastronomic references to the almond, from the "Llibre del Sent Soví" (14th c.), the recipe book from the kitchen of the Augustinian friar Jaume Martí y Oliver from the 18th century, the "Can Esteva Recipe Book" (1862) by Antonio Esteva Oliver; "Our Kitchen" by Luis Ripoll, and "Balearic Baking" by Catalina Juan del Corral (1987). In the recipe book by Mateo Jaume de Ca'n Joan de S'Aigo (1884-1885) called "Llibre de Jelats" the most traditional Mallorcan ice cream, the almond ice cream, is the highlight. The book "Die Balearen" (1869) by the Archduke Luis Salvador, cites various popular dishes in which almonds, raw or toasted, feature. The almond’s influence on gastronomic culture is an undeniable and verifiable fact as it is still the fundamental ingredient in traditional culinary dishes such as almond nougat, almond cake, almond biscuits, almond milk or almond ice cream, as well as being the base of many sauces.

 

Especially noteworthy is the high lipid content and the fatty acid profile of almonds originating from Mallorca, a profile that is characterised by the sum of the oleic and linoleic acids that make up more than 88% of the lipid content. The high lipid content and the fact that 88% of the fatty acids have a low melting point, less than 15ºC, mean that they liquefy when chewed. Both factors determine the unctuousness and characteristic aromatic intensity, features which form the basis of the product’s reputation.

 

These distinct physiochemical and organoleptic characteristics are conferred in a manner determined by the soil and climate conditions of the geographical environment in which they are produced. Calcareous soils with low organic content, average rainfall and large amounts of sunlight produce low yields per hectare, but with a high average fat content (59%), higher than almonds from other regions. This fact was established in a study by the University of the Balearic Islands in 2010.

 

 

Product description

 

Definition. Fruit of the almond tree (Prunus amygdalus), traditional on the island of Mallorca, that is cultivated for human consumption and eaten raw or toasted, peeled or unpeeled.

 

Varieties. Comprising a group of varieties and ecotypes that are perfectly adapted to the soil and climate conditions of Mallorca. They feature morphological and organoleptic differences that stem from their environment, which is why they are given the sobriquet “Mallorcan” or “from Mallorca”.

 

Characteristics. They are sold whole, healthy, dry and clean and of a size greater than 12mm in the maximum transverse axis of the equatorial section. No damage from fungi, parasites or insects and no rancidity or strange odours or flavours.

 

Types and presentation. The almond may be sold raw or toasted. In both cases, with regard to the presence or absence of the tegument, this may be peeled or unpeeled.

 

Raw: almonds that are free from the woody endocarp.

 

Chemical properties:

  • Moisture: ≤6,5%
  • Lipid content: ≥55,0% (on dry matter)
  • Oleic and Linoleic content: ≥88% of total lipid content

Organoleptic properties: the raw, peeled almond has a white or ivory surface and flesh of matt appearance. Firm, slightly sticky and oily texture. Slightly sweet taste, neither sour nor bitter. An intense flavour reminiscent of nuts. When unpeeled, the fruit is covered by its brown and rough-to-the-touch tegument.

 

Toasted: almonds that are free from the woody endocarp and subjected to a roasting process.

 

Chemical properties:

  • Moisture: <2,0%
  • Lipid content: ≥55% (on dry matter)
  • Oleic and Linoleic content: ≥88% of total lipid content

Organoleptic properties: the toasted, peeled almond has a vanilla or light brown surface and flesh, a shiny appearance and is unctuous to the touch. Hard, crumbly and crunchy texture. Slightly sweet taste, not at all sour or astringent and with a bitter taste produced by the toasting. Intense roasted and caramel flavour. When unpeeled, the fruit is covered by its dark brown tegument, which is easy to peel and characterised by its crumbliness.

 

Method of production

 

Cultivation

 

Crops destined for production have a plantation framework of 5x3 to 11x11 metres. This enables the use of water and sunlight, as well as the traditional Mallorcan Almonds - Balearic Islands - Agrifoodstuffs, designations of origin and Balearic gastronomy use of the pastures by sheep.

 

The trees are pruned in a low bush shape, which is traditional for almond trees in Mallorca. Usually, the height of the insertion of the main branches is equal to or greater than 0.8 metres, which enables tilling work to be done.

Maintenance pruning is generally carried out every 4 to 5 years in order to clear away and renew the canopy, with the aim of increasing the tree’s access to light and air and to produce a fruit of optimum quality, as well as making it easier to harvest.

 

Fertiliser is traditionally supplied by the livestock that grazes in the plantations and by green manure. Only when these practices prove insufficient are they supplemented by fertiliser that does not originate from the holding.

 

The plantations’ water supply comes from rainfall characteristic of Mallorca’s climate and/or from additional irrigation. No additional irrigation is used in the three weeks before harvest in order to ensure the quality of the almond.

 

 

Harvest takes places from the second half of August until the end of October. The work is done manually or mechanically using vibration and umbrella systems, and under the best conditions, avoiding damage to trees that may reduce the quality of future yields or cause infection. Once the harvest is complete, there must not be more than 12 almonds left on the tree in order to ensure the quality of the next harvest.

 

The membranous epicarp is removed manually or mechanically from the rest of the fruit, leaving the almond in its shell ready to be transported to the harvesting warehouse.

 

 

Processing

 

Once in the processing facilities, the almonds are passed through the following stages:

 

Receipt:

The moisture of the almonds is checked on receipt. If the moisture content exceeds 6.5%, they are subjected to a drying process to reduce the moisture down to this level.

 

Storage:

The almonds in their shells are stored in a clean and dry environment that has sufficient natural ventilation and is protected from direct sunlight.

 

The processes to which the almonds are subjected vary according to their final presentation, as follows:

 

Shelling:

Shelling consists of removing the woody endocarp or shell and is carried out following these steps:

First, the almond is moistened in a bath of water for a maximum of 24 hours.

Once moistened, it is broken using hammer or separating machines.

The seed is separated from its shell by first being sieved and then tossed by the separating machines using different sized sieves and air cyclones.

Once obtained, the seed is dried using hot air at a temperature between 40 and 60ºC until the moisture content reaches below 6.5%.

 

Peeling:

 

Peeling involves removing the almond’s tegument or skin and includes the following steps:

 

a) Pre-blanching for 3 to 4 minutes in water at a temperature higher than 90ºC.

b) Mechanical peeling by passing through two rubber rollers that   separate the tegument from the seed.

c) Removal of the tegument using a continuous blast of air.

d) Drying of the peeled seed using hot air at a temperature of 40 to 60ºC.

 

Roasting:

 

Roasting, only for toasted almonds, is carried out in ovens that allow even roasting, at a temperature of 160ºC±20ºC for 45±10 minutes.

 

Packaging:

 

Almonds regulated by the Protected Geographical Indication are sold in consignments that have uniform features and in packaging with a capacity of no greater than 25 kilos.

 

Quality assurance:

 

A self-monitoring system is used, and through sampling and analysis it is assured that consignments sold with the Protected Geographical Indication satisfy the production, manufacture, chemical and sensory properties in this sheet.

 

Link to the geographic area

 

The link between the almond, raw or toasted, and its geographic origins forms the basis of the reputation of the names “Almond of Mallorca”, “Mallorcan Almond”, “Ametlla from Mallorca” and “Ametlla Mallorquina”. A reputation that has been acquired over the course of history due to the almond’s economic and gastronomic importance.

 

This reputation is evident in the excellent rating that consumers give the almond: according to the results of a consumer study carried out in 2010 by the Institute of Agro-food Quality of the Balearic Islands, 52.4% of almond consumers consider almonds originating from Mallorca of a higher quality and, in 93.3% of cases, this higher quality is attributed to them having more flavour.

 

Further proof of this reputation are the frequent uses of the phrases “from Mallorca” and “Mallorcan” in connection with the almond, both historically in literature and currently on the internet, in the print media, or in other forms of communication.

 

How to identify them

 

The label of every packet of almonds sold under the protection of the Protected Geographic Indication must include:

  1. the name of the Protected Geographic Indication,
  2. the phrase “Protected Geographic Indication” or the IGP trademark, and
  3. a label with a sequentially numbered alphanumeric code.

 

 

Mallorcan Almonds - Balearic Islands - Agrifoodstuffs, designations of origin and Balearic gastronomy
Production data

Year 2019

Number of active holdings :  199

Surface: 3.424

Number of processors:1

Production : 638.404 kg

 

Consell Regulador de la IGP Ametlla Mallorquina
Cooperatives Agroalimentaries Parcela 27 POLIGON SON LLAUT 07320 SANTA MARIA
Tel. 971 72 51 80

cooperatives@agroalimentaries.es
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