A FOODIE WEEKEND IN IBIZA
Autumn in Ibiza is the best — a little extension of the summer, I like to think, all whilst enjoying the pleasure of a bit of knitwear. Nick and I headed out for a long weekend to coincide with the island’s first Amorevore Food Festival. What is Amorevore you ask? I thought the same thing too. Pronounced like “herbivore,” “omnivore” or “carnivore,” an “Amorevore” is defined as someone who only eats food made with love, so taking this into account, we enjoyed four days of some of the best produce and dishes the island has to offer.
We stayed at Atzaro, a rural, agrotourism hotel set amongst the orange groves in Ibiza’s countryside. It was the perfect venue to sample the wide array of vegetables grown on the island, both harvested from the hotel’s vegetable patch and sourced from surrounding local farms. They were so fresh, colourful and unbelievably tasty that it provided undeniable proof that organic, seasonal and local is always best. For breakfast I loved local peppers, roasted and dished up with plenty of extra virgin olive oil on local bread, and sipped on fresh-pressed beetroot juice sweetened with fresh pomegranates picked from the tree by the waiter right outside our window. For dinner at Atzaro’s new restaurant, La Veranda, we had the most delicious dish of lobster served “caldereta”-style — meaning stew in Spanish, a word that I was familiar with as it’s also used in the Philippines for a number of dishes.
In true Balearic style, the Amorevore Food Festival featured a community of local venues and brands serving up an array of culinary delights. Highlights included Singapore-style noodles with plenty of homemade fermented condiments, from kimchi to salsa from Los Fermentistas, the buckwheat crêpes at La Vie en Rose served with chestnut purée and local honey, and specialities from Bali at Sukasa, complete with tempeh homemade on the island, and traditional tasty, hearty Iberican stews from Casa Maca made of tomatoes, potatoes, green beans and chickpeas as well as the best paella.
The festival also hosted feasts with chefs both local and from across the pond. After my “Living La Vida Veda” talk on the Friday, we ducked into the Wild Botanicals Feast with Justin Alexander-Horne of Tiny Leaf. We sat down in a beautiful orchard and enjoyed a seven-course seasonal foraged menu including a delicious dish of BBQ tenderstem broccoli with a malted mash, crisp kale, hazelnut and nettle, and pine-infused CBD chocolate mousse with a mushroom and thyme crumble topped with a toasted fig ice cream and sipped on natural wines.
There wasn’t much room for dinner that night but since the locals eat dinner a good four hours past my usual suppertime there was time to work up an appetite for a little Ibiza secret that I hadn’t yet discovered. My friend and Ibiza local Susie Pearl gave me the heads up and Nick and I were whisked away by friends old and new to a tiny three-table restaurant in the island’s old town. Taller de Tapas is the latest concept by the Ibiza Food Studio crew, including Boris Buono of Noma fame, who live for the magic of nature. Case in point, half the kitchen-cum-dining room work surface is covered by an embedded rose pink quartz crystal, a beautiful surprise as your eyes adjust to the dimly lit room and take in the authentic rustic apartment. The dishes were delicious, delicate and flavourful — this was a dining experience that warranted full mindful attention.
The following day, we attended another feast (on the evening of one of the island’s infamous storms) at one of my favourites — the romantic La Paloma where I caught up with Prasuna and her daughter Mouji and son-in-law Amit, the Italian-Israeli family who run this romantic, fresh as a daisy restaurant. Hard to find (even with a Sat Nav if you haven’t worked out that the road names are in Catalan while everyone speaks Spanish) but well worth it. Everyone has a tale about how they found this place. On previous occasions I’ve had the pleasure of eating lunch under the surrounding fruit trees, but this time I was happily tucked into one of the many rooms of the house, cosying up with other guests as we told stories over daal soups, roasted aubergine, pasta (made that morning as part of a food demo) served with local herb pesto and the most delicious yeast and soy sauce butter that goes with everything, whilst all around us was thunder and lightning!
Before jetting back off to London, we headed to Wild Beets for a quiet brunch — a local restaurant famed for its innovative raw menu. Recently, they've reinvented their offering to include delicious cooked dishes through the cooler months, which I was particularly grateful for given that the temperature plummeted from 28°C on arrival to a cool 17°C on the last day. Nick and I tucked into rostis served with slivers of smoked carrot that was reminiscent in look and taste to smoked salmon, thick pancakes from a blend of gluten-free flours with a turmeric latte and delicious truffles with assorted superfood powders accompanied us to the airport for the flight home.