Mallorca. The name conjures up images of picturesque beaches, fine wines, and perpetual summer. But ask a Madrileño what he thinks, and you’ll get your answer before the words have fully formed in your mouth. Pastries. Mallorcan pastries have a sparkling reputation in Madrid. With the name of the Spanish region fixed to local bakeries like a Michelin Star. Which is why when we heard about El Fomentor, we dropped everything and were out the door in seconds.
With over 70 years of experience under their belt, Formentor (C/ Calle Hermosilla, 81 <M> Goya) is the bakery par excellence that has Mallorca running down to its roots. Opened by the current owner’s grandfather when he moved to Madrid back in the mid-50s, El Fomentor has stayed true to its roots with the passage of time. Offering ensaimadas, cabello de angel, roscones, and many many more melt-in-your-mouth delicacies from the islands.
A new look
This hasn’t stopped the place from modernising however. This year Formentor went through a spectacular renovation. Stepping through its doors we find ourselves in that same cleancut, minimalist design Madrid has been championing in recent years. Think Café Federal or Conde Duque. Through the ceiling run bare pipelines and vents, supporting lights and hanging fans. There is an undeniably postmodern, industrial theme going on, which contrasts the retro inspired bar and products on display. And the long, narrow layout, and white brick facade give us the feeling of a standing in an immaculately clean alleyway. Meanwhile, behind the scenes in the kitchen, well practiced hands whip up timeless recipes the way they have been prepared since the 19th century and beyond.
And the flavours of Formentor?
On to business. King of the cakes at Formentor is the ensaimada. Brainchild of centuries of Mallorcan baking and source of the odd tear of joy as the eater smacks the last of the powdered sugar off their lips. The pastry is light and airy. Not dry but not moist either. A perfect balance. Key to the recipe is the use of fermented dough which rounds off the sweetness of the sugar. If you haven’t had it before, this is the place to have your first.
Another unmissable miracle emmenating from the kitchen (especially now that Christmas is less than two weeks away) is the Roscon de Reyes. A dry, donut-like, sponge that is rolled out every year to celebrate the coming of the three kings. No doubt you’ll have seen one hanging out in your local Corte Inglés, Carrefour, even Día. That’s how widespread we’re talking. Made to resemble a king’s crown, roscones are decorated with sugar and candied fruits. Formentor’s personal regalia are sweet, with notes of glacée cherries and crushed almonds (I confess I may not be the biggest fan of roscones, but tucking into these turned me into a purple blooded monarchist).
Holiday hanger? You can even order whole roscones and ensaimadas to take home with you!
- Ensaimadas (6-7 people)
- Without filling: 12.50€
- Cabello de Angel: 16€
- Cream: 17.5€
- Sobrasada (Savoury): 17,50€
- Chocolate: 19€
- Crema tostada: 21€
- Roscones (600g)
- Without filling: 27€
- Cream: 33€
- Chocolate truffles: 35€ (or mix and match your fillings!)
Still on the theme of Christmas, don’t forget to pick up some turron de almendras. A popular Spanish sweet made from honey and toasted almonds, and not overpoweringly sweet at Formentor. The Cabell d’Angel (a transparent, threaded jam) is excellent. Served not in it’s usual form as a stuffing for the ensaimada but in small bite-sized squares of pure puddingy joy.
When you’re done with our suggestions, don’t forget to try the petit fours on display at the entrance. Merangues, flans, and brownies topped with chocolate cream. You can’t teach a dog new tricks. But this isn’t a dog, it’s a bakery- we say one of our favourites in the whole city.