k Cicale Roots k
k Behind a food revolution k
I like to think I have a pretty comprehensive knowledge of food, gastronomy and nutrition – but recently I discovered Vegan Sattvic Food. Now I don’t want to categorise this under the ‘clean eating’ label because this is way beyond. It may be a whole new food genre to me but Sattvic principles originate from Ayurvedic kitchens and these ethics and principles date back to ancient Hindu history. I feel that conscious eating has always been bubbling under the surface in Ibiza, perhaps descending from the early hippy inhabitants that originally paved the way and we have seen a plethora of incredible health food shops, organic farms, health retreats and restaurants with kitchen gardens featuring farm to fork menus – but now along comes ‘Cicale Roots’ a new breakfast and lunch concept at Cicale, one of my favourite Italian restaurants in the middle of the island.
Vegan Sattvic chef and guru Erika Tangari has teamed up with owner Michela Primavera to make complete magic…the belief behind their eclectic vegan and raw menu is that food should heal, rejuvenate, energise and bring a higher level of consciousness where food is a medicine.
I recently had the most inspiringly insightful afternoons sampling their menu which turned out to be one of my most unexpectedly delicious lunches I’ve ever had in Ibiza. I left truly gratified and nourished but with a hunger for knowledge. I asked how this incredible and exciting concept came about? “Michy and I felt that here was a perception of change coming to the island” explained Erika. “In my mind this is not a restaurant, I am here to restore, I can see exactly what you are needing, what you are missing – just how I would cook for my friends and family in my own home. We have a different message here.”
So what is sattvic food/diet? The original Sattvic diet was devised for the development of a higher consciousness. Sattvic means literally ‘pure essence’ and is the purest diet for a consciously spiritual and healthy life nourishing the body and maintaining it in a peaceful state.
Sattvic foods are foods that are abundant in ‘Prana’- the universal life force that gives life to all beings in both plant and animal kingdoms. More specifically a Sattvic diet is not only vegan but also foods that are natural, organically grown, full of life force and enzymes and be must be as close as possible as they are in their natural fresh state. Unlike modern food processing which takes the Prana out of many foods and makes them impotent, lifeless – or simply “dead food.”
The core of Erika’s philosophy is sustainability, the entire menu has been either lovingly hand picked from her own organic kitchen garden or is sourced daily within a 1-2 km radius of the restaurant. “We are fully sustainable and once you practice these things you cannot go back. We need to read what nature is telling us and to tune into this, that is the essence. Here in Ibiza I find that am constantly inspired.”
Erika goes onto explain “my fruit and vegetables never ever see the fridge because that way you are killing the Prana – we need to put ‘life’ inside us, not dead food.” I asked her where this incredible food journey and awakening began? Who influenced her? “I used to travel all around Europe with my parents in a caravan” she fondly recalls, “and my mother would always force me to eat the local food. I would say ‘but mama I want a hamburger!’ Thankfully she taught me to try different foods from different countries and I appreciate that now, I have so many amazing food memories. Also many influences came from my Sicilian grandmother, she was a master of the kitchen.”
After training and working as a macrobiotic chef in Milan, Erika decided to broaden her horisons and headed to India, Bali and Nepal studying in kitchens which practiced Ayurvedic/Sattvic cooking principles. “I also found an invaluable way to study was from books and when I was in India there were so many amazing ancient books about the Ayurvedic kitchen that you could buy for next to nothing.” After gaining as much knowledge as she could, she moved on happy with what she had soaked up.
Other than the freshest organic fruit and vegetables, Erika lights up when she talks about the other key ingredients of an Ayurvedic kitchen: a whole host of ancient spices, Indian Asafoetida, Chinese spices, Japanese seaweeds, nut milks, grains, ponzo, miso, kimchi, fermented probiotic foods, spirulina, acai and Himalayan salt. The main point here though is that she has been using these ingredients way before they have become part of our ‘clean eating’ vocab and more impressively, she has actually handpicked many of these ingredients directly from the source itself during her early education and worldwide food pilgrimage.
Part of the education is learning about foods that destroy the mind-body equilibrium – what is decidedly off the menu are known as ‘Rajasic’ foods: caffeine, chocolate, tea and hot spices. Also note that eating in a hurry is also considered rajasic. Then there are the ‘Tamasic’ foods that are deemed the unhealthiest food of all: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, onions, garlic and other intoxicants including alcohol, drugs and tobacco. Other foods in this category are food that are no longer fresh, overripe and processed. Leftover food and overeating is also regarded as Tamasic – so no food wastage in Erika’s kitchen.
This is has been a true education for me, I could literally talk to this wonderwoman for hours. I did ask for a sneak peek into her kitchen cupboards to which she laughed and said “no no, I’m a guardian of nature and my kitchen! Sorry I cannot show you the secrets of 10 years of my life, you must understand I want to share only for love and healing”. And that is something I am definitely going to work on.
Food prepared with love will add to its Sattvic quality
The idea is to absorb what is nourishing and food should be prepared with ‘love and awareness’ – the idea behind this is that food affects our minds and when we prepare our food thoughts should be positive as negative emotions can affect our food. Erika puts this into practice with unprecedented passion and zeal – from the juice I had to the main course and dessert, you could actually feel the love in every sip and mouthful. Dehydrated fruits, seeds, micro cresses and wild flowers adorn the plates – I am all for the use of edible flowers for food presentation and dare I say it is trending on the food scene right now, but for Erika their essential oils serve a medicinal purpose and the delicate placement of the petals are used to naturally enhance and add another complexity of flavour. Whist we were chatting I explained to her that I could detect this when eating her food to which she agreed whilst reaching over and delicately picking a white flower from the grounds of the restaurant. We both take a nibble. “You see! This is full of incredible essential oil, like a peppery lemon. It is so important to use the nature that is around us.
Erika’s presentation is more than the obvious attention to detail and as basic as it sounds, it is in fact made with love…Sattvic love in abundance. She passionately goes onto explain what it is not only about the love it’s about using food as medicine and nutrition is a different way of saving the world…“We ask ourselves why are we becoming so sick? Thanks to sugar, coffee, meat and cheese our body is saying NO don’t do this! We are having to produce enzymes and hormones to digest these – the human body is not designed this way, we lose energy and power through eating these toxins…so why do we do it”?
Good question indeed. Part of the healing is in the education. I ask her what is the goal of a Sattvic Chef and she goes on to explain that it is to assist people in making food choices to aid to their physical and mental health – but also compassion towards other human beings, respect for other life forms and preservation of our planet Mother Earth. Erika has a faith that perceptions are actually changing about the way we understand life, the need to take care of the planet and ourselves. Clear the chakras! The ultimate message is that we are on the cusp of a worldwide food revolution and it’s time for us to take a bit of responsibility, open our hearts and our minds…and start to make a difference.
For me the final message is to go and experience Cicale Roots and sample Erika’s exquisite food…treat your body, educate your mind and soul and taste the love. I look forward to collaborating with Erika to bring Sattvic Ayurvedic recipes to LovefoodIbiza in the very near future…because I think it could be our future.
Cicale Roots – breakfast and lunch at Cicale, Ctra San Juan km12.
Tel +34 971 32 51 51