Using local ingredients to make French-inspired pastries and cakes
I am sitting in Lluis Perez “pastisseria”, sipping cortado served in a shot glass on a retro-style flowery saucer and waiting to talk to the man himself. The place is simple yet classy. There is not much décor, just beautiful shades of blue and cream all around and a few bright green plants. It is a complete opposite of typically chaotic bakeries and patisseries bursting with products, utensils and mementos.
A young man parks his scooter outside, smiles and says “Hi!” as he walks past me. A few moments later he comes back and, to my surprise, I realise that this handsome youngster with a broad smile is “the” Lluis Perez I was waiting for. For some reason, as I have heard of him and bought cakes and pastries at this place for years, I expected to meet someone older!? Now, I am intrigued to hear his story…
Lluis is a local guy, from Palma. He studied to become a chef and obtained a Masters in High Cuisine from the Hostelry School at UIB, but he has always been more interested in pastries – drawn to them by their artistic character. Following his studies, he moved to Barcelona to work at a Michelin star restaurant, and then on to London where he landed a job at the prestigious Nobu, starting in tempura section and working his way up to pastries and cakes.
Having learnt all that he could at Nobu, and still hungry for further improving his techniques and perfecting his style of pastry and cake making, Lluis moved back to Barcelona to train with Oriol Balaguer, a well-respected authority in the industry. He stayed there for four years, refining his cakes, chocolates, briocherie and bread making. During this time he won the Best Chocolate Piece competition at Museum of Chocolate in Barcelona and captained the Spanish team at the Patisserie World Cup.
Following all that national and international experience and success, and still only 27 years old, Lluis returned to Mallorca in 2015 and opened his patisserie on Bonaire street, in the posh part of Palma.
The place has quickly become known for great cakes and one can often spot the stylish Lluis Perez boxes full of treats being carried around town. One of their best-selling cakes, Lluis´s signature creation, is Negret: a crunchy biscuit base with hazelnuts and milk chocolate, topped with sponge made with Majorcan olive oil, 70% chocolate and 70% chocolate mousse, with a burst of colour coming from some fresh raspberries scattered on top. Another popular choice is the lemon pie: a butter and vanilla biscuit base, topped with lemon cream made from the famous Soller lemons, sponge cake soaked in lemon syrup, and meringue. Both these cakes are perfect examples of Lluis´s philosophy of combining French cake-making techniques with promoting local ingredients.
In terms of pastries – plain croissants and almond croissants (made with local almonds, of course!) are customers´ favourites. Aside from those, Lluis often makes limited editions, playing with some unique flavours. For example, I had some excellent pistachio croissants here a few years ago. At the time of writing this article, just before Easter, they made a croissant with “requeson” (curd) and cinnamon. I wasn’t too sure about it, but I was won over after just one bite!
My personal favourite, however, is their raspberry croissant, filled with artisan raspberry compote, sugar-coated and sprinkled with bits of raspberries. I have not seen this anywhere else and I love it! Lluis told me that he tried something similar in Barcelona and adapted it to his taste. It is evident that he gets his inspiration from many places, but always adds his own style, his stamp, to anything he makes. His philosophy is to never copy anyone. He says: “If you copy, people will know!” and I couldn´t agree more.
Although this is not a bakery, they do offer one type of bread (a typical Majorcan round loaf) and one kind of a brioche. Plus, a few places around Palma use their brioche buns for their burgers.
The coffee here is also very good and always beautifully presented, using an eclectic selection of glass and porcelain cups and saucers. They rotate the beans they use every two weeks and so far have been collaborating with Mistral, La Molienda and Arabay. Talking about collaborations, Lluis Perez delicacies are also sold at Café Red, a recent addition to Gallery Red, in Placa de Frederic Chopin.
Like any chat this past year, ours turns to COVID too. Lluis used these strange times to learn, to streamline business, to change little things and, basically, to survive. He spent more time on his website, developed an online shop while the physical sore was closed and got more involved with the social media. So, if you are reading this at sea – check out Lluis Perez Passtiser Instagram feed for some inspiration, and if you are in town – walk up to Bonaire street and try a Negret or raspberry croissant for yourself!
Till next month…
More cake: This month I was intrigued by some gorgeous “tree cakes” – traditional Lithuanian creations, dating back to the 15th century, and now made locally in Andratx. Each one is a unique piece of sculpture, and can be sold as an individual gift for a special occasion or incorporated into elaborate deserts in restaurants and hotels. Check out Molí D’or Pasteleria at www.molidorpasteleria.es!
Chocolate: Living in Mallorca means being able to go to Es Trenc beach whenever we feel like it. For those unable to travel, German chocolate maker Vivani created “Dark Mallorca Flor de Sal” chocolate with salt flower from Es Trenc. This vegan chocolate is made with 75% cocoa from Panama and sweetened with coconut blossom sugar. I imagine that its striking packaging is inspired by the shades of blue one can only see in Es Trenc and nowhere else.
Photos: Sandra Puric
Lluis Perez Pastisser
Carrer Bonaire 14, Palma
Web shop: www.lluisperezpastisser.com
Open: Mon-Sun 8.30-14-30
Delivery to yachts available on request.
3) Please label the team photo as: Lluis Perez, Alba Palacios and Sandra Brage
– Molí D’or Pasteleria (own photo)
– Vivani chocolate (photo from website)