TOQUE DE QUEDA, MALLORCA

 

Spending a few days in Palma, Mallorca before cooking on board with the Sailing Collective was a total treat! It was my first time exploring the cobblestone alley ways and pavements of this quaint town and I kept repeating over every step how much I craved to live in a cute terrace apartment overlooking the water fountain with a large balcony and perfect silhuoette. The sun on the buildings and the romance of the streets soaked in history got to me and damn! I was so in love. Whilst dream walking in Palma, we stumbled across what seemed to be a hole in the wall turned dinner party. Let me explain, at first glance through the door, we saw a long communal table of merry diners toasting and passing plates of glistening jamon and olive oil drizzled carpaccios. At second, we realised looking through the tiny entrance with 'Champaneria' handpainted above the doorway, we were outside a tapas bar with quite the cool, young and off-beat vibe we wanted. 

This original 14th century Forn Cremat or street oven was one of the first and main ovens in Palma, particularly famous for the Mallorcan Ensaimada. After its close in 2009, the bakery remained exactly as it was and untouched until it was renamed Toque De Queda in 2014 by new owner Alicia Arduini. Andrea Cavaletti 34, was originally a skateboard importer studying language while Alicia Arduini 33, had dreams of carrying the female legacy of cookery in her family. Young, ambitious and super sweet they decided to move to Spain from their hometown of Modena, Italy to create a very special place for food and history. I had the pleasure of dining here 3 times! yep, 3 times! And then got chatting to Andrea about how this whole concept began.

"TOQUE DE QUEDA MEANS 'CURFEW'"

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR MOVE TO SPAIN?

We moved to Spain 11 years ago and were looking for a change of scene. Our original move was to Barcelona and back then, it was a much more lively place with many places just like us, we were excited to start our own thing so Alicia worked in kitchens and I kept importing skateboards to make ends meet while we started to develop our big idea. But then soon we found the food and dining in Barcelona to change and it became very focused on 5 star and fine dining which was not our vibe. So with what we had we looked on the internet for a place to start making our mark. Which is how we came across this bakery in Mallorca. As soon as Alicia saw it, she felt it was the right place, her mother and her grandmother are well known bakers back home, so it made sense and it was perfect.

TELL ME ABOUT THE NAME TOQUE DE QUEDA AND HOW YOU CHOSE IT.

The name Toque De Queda means 'curfew'. Because being a young couple and opening a bar and deli amongst residential environment, locals thought we were going to have big parties and make loud noise through the neighbourhood. So we wanted to make a point of saying that we are serious about our work and we also have a curfew!

"ALICIA WORKED IN KITCHENS AND I KEPT IMPORTING SKATEBOARDS TO MAKE ENDS MEET"

 

 

THIS SPACE HAS AN INCREDIBLE HISTORY IN PALMA AND LOOKING AROUND YOU HAVE CREATED A VERY PERSONAL DINING ENVIRONMENT IN IT. I LOVE THAT IT'S A TRUE REFLECTION OF WHO YOU BOTH ARE. HOW HAVE LOCAL MALLORCANS RESPONDED TO TOQUE DE QUEDA'S FUSION STYLE IN TERMS OF MENU AND SETTING?

Yes, well we moved to Mallorca bringing all our Italian traditions as well as picking up our life experiences along the way. Living in Barcelona, we liked the idea of the Champaneria serving Cava and tapas. Along with that, we love the idea of fusion, so it is not only Italian nor is it only Spanish nor only Mallorcan. We serve Spanish produce and weave through our Italian touch. So for the locals it is simple. We are known by word of mouth. We have locals come all the time and they know that if they want good boards of cheese and meats and new Italian imports, they come to us! If they want relaxed dining they come to us! It's funny, when we first opened, a lot of people who knew the bakery before it was Toque De Queda, recognise a lot of the chairs and tables and equipment we still keep. I think in a way that makes Toque De Queda very familiar and {locals are} excited to try different things when they see we have respected the history of this well known bakery. 

"WE ARE KNOWN BY WORD OF MOUTH"

YOU OBVIOUSLY MUST HAVE GREAT RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR ITALIAN MEAT AND CHEESE IMPORTERS! WHERE ARE YOU SOURCING ALL OF YOUR MEATS, CHEESE AND TAPAS ESSENTIALS?

Well my father back in Modena works closely with small producers and farmers and is sending me new things to try all the time. When there is something that we love, we try and get it over to Mallorca. For example there is this one delicious truffle Pecorino cheese only from home so we always have to get that imported to us and people love it. And we get a Boar Mortadella which is very interesting for here. We always want to source things that you couldn't find here for people to try. And then here in Spain, I get specialities like Sobrassada and cheeses from markets and distributers that I've built a great relationship with. There are lots of specialty wines and grape varieties like Callet made and only found right here in Mallorca.  But I also look for wines and Cava from Catalunya. And then similar with Alicia, she is using inspiration from old recipes all the time, putting a fresh take on traditional tapas. All the cakes and sweets and tapas she invents and makes here.

"IF THEY WANT GOOD BOARDS OF CHEESE, MEATS AND NEW ITALIAN IMPORTS, THEY COME TO US!"

 

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR PERSONAL FAVOURITES ON THE MENU?

The Truffle Pecorino is a favourite and also everyone will always order the zucchini carpaccio because it looks interesting and is beautiful. But then there are too many...everything, especially the cheese and meat are so different! Thats why the way our menu is designed, we hope that it helps people pick a variety of tapas and charcuterie. Otherwise it would be too hard to decide. Also, we don't change the menu too often, we keep the vegetables seasonal but we try to focus on keeping everything simple and approachable. Like our dining room, the table is communal and it is just like walking into a home. We don't want to be 'trying too hard', we want to create food that people know and love and will always return to have.

 

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF AND WHERE CAN YOU SEE THIS PLACE IN 5 YEARS TIME?

I am most proud of that fact that we have worked so hard, and we have a small team which is our family. We are able to do what we love in a place that is so different from home but people are coming all the time. We get people from all over the world and we have a great community of regular diners who love what we do. That is something.

And in 5 years? I dont know! I think we just keep going and as long as there are people coming through the door, we are able to keep doing our thing 5 years from now, 10 years from now. And if not then, this has also been beautiful. ^

 

"WE GET PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD AND WE HAVE A GREAT COMMUNITY OF REGULAR DINERS WHO LOVE WHAT WE DO. THAT IS SOMETHING."

TOQUE DE QUEDA

CARRER DE CAN CAVELLERIA 15B
07012 PALMA DE MALLORCA
TOQUEDEQUEDAMALLORCA@GMAIL.COM