At Finca Pedruxella. Mallorca, Spain.
We find ourselves at the foot of the hills of the Northern Tramuntana mountain range, the setting for a rural property called Pedruxella. Danica Wilcox, a New Yorker who has been living in Mallorca for some years, and I, drive up the hill to meet Deborah in the house, who is setting up to prepare an extraordinary dinner for the guests.
When we arrive, the fire in the outdoor wood oven is just being started, and the afternoon light is turning the landscape gold and misty. The setting is exceptionally beautiful. And what we are about to experience is hospitality with a whole different approach. Deborah’s cooking is rustic, connected to the earth, and wholesome. She speaks directly about what Mallorca 'on a plate' should be, and as represented by her chosen ingredients and methods.
Deborah greets Danica and I warmly, and we begin to walk together to the vegetable garden. We help her collect some tomatoes from a bountiful and carefully cared for yard, surrounded by a pretty fence. The baskets are filled up quickly, and Deborah goes on to collect a bunch of herbs from a dedicated section on our way out. Back in the kitchen, she rubs down the carcass of a whole piglet she is about to cook. I have never seen such preparation, and am intrigued and fascinated by the whole process.
Deborah is an ambassador of Majorcan cuisine, and also works part time supporting native production ventures. As well as working as a private chef, she also finds time to collaborate in an olive oil production enterprise, and other culinary businesses. She has applied her work experience across different fields, and even presented a food show on local television for some time.
She is candid and full of expression, and is happy to show me around her various chosen secret spots on the magical island of Mallorca, including incredible properties owned by friends, or people with whom she works. Here are places that have been little touched by man, and which only accentuate the beauty of the natural, lush landscape.
To talk about her projects and inspiration is such a pleasure, as we drift from one subject to another without stopping, and while watching a magnificent sunset over the rocky cliffs and the sea. Then we drive back down in her van - slowly because of the bumps on the dusty road - surrounded by sheep, donkeys and impressive century-old olive trees. It is a true Mediterranean picture.