Tap de Cortí

The colour of Mallorca

Ever since 1945 the Crespí family has been growing this small, sweet, 100% ecological red pepper that only grows on Mallorca which, amongst other properties, gives sobrassada its traditional colour.

This one, for example, isn't ripe yet, it has some orangey hues, so we'll wait for it to start going wrinkly so that both the outside and the inside are an intense red colour, because then, when we crush, dry and grind it, it will make a much redder powder”.

It's 9 in the morning on a Wednesday in August. The sun is starting to get hot in Villafranca de Bonany, on the 25-hectare farm where Especias Crespí grows the Tap de Cortí, a small, sweet red pepper that only grows on Mallorca.

Juan Velasco kneels over one of the 200 thousand plants under the hat that protects him from the sun, and tells how the Tap de Cortí “is the basic condiment of sobrassada; to make it they use between 40 and 50 grams of paprika per kilo of meat”, whilst a group of workers gather them, work that goes on all through the month of August and until October.

The daily result of the harvest can be in excess of two thousand kilos of this unique pepper, a healthy antioxidant with heaps of vitamin C. Juan transports them from here to the traditional factory, located in the Son Castelló industrial estate, in 160 baskets.

“The company started with this crop. But with the advent of tourism, production stopped because it isn't as profitable for farmers as other products. Why? Because the manufacturing process takes between 8 and 9 months, from production in the greenhouse to harvest. The planting and harvesting are the most complex parts”, says Juan.

Especias Crespí came into being in 1945. It was founded by the brothers Jordi and Joan Crespí. They specialised in the sale of paprika for making sobrassada in their traditional shop in Calle Sindicato, which has been in the same place for 60 years. It has been joined by three other shops, in the Olivar market, the Santa Catalina market and in the industrial estate. At present Coloma Crespí, Joan's daughter, is in charge of the company. She is married to Juan, who is head of production.

Tap de Cortí is used exclusively to make paprika because it does not have much flesh and has a very thick, hard outer coat, which is what ultimately gives it its very particular, characteristic colour.

The drying process, which takes place in the factory, is slow, lasting 12 hours at a temperature of 50 degrees. If it is higher, the pepper loses all of its vitamin properties.

“The production has been organic since 2008. After we harvest, on this plantation there won't be any more peppers until 2022. Next year there will be nothing here, and in 2021 we will plant pulses for crop rotation. Since the farm is large, we sow the Tap de Cortí in another part. The peppers will return to where we are planting chick peas right now. As well as planting here, we have grown it in Pollensa, in the Son Ferriol area and in Binissalem. It's a product that adapts very well to any terrain”.

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