k Polen k
k Pure passion for food k
Santa Eulialia is the health food shop capital of Ibiza, on two streets alone there are no less than six in close proximity to each other. Being a sucker for branding, I was immediately drawn to Polen – the pretty light turquoise of the shop frontage is so enticing as is the beautiful presentation of their goods.
Central tables covered in sweet gingham cloth and dressers filled with gorgeous foods, sauces and many specialist health foods. They sell the most fantastic parmesan and cured meats which they supply to the likes of La Paloma. Obvious care, thought and passion have gone into the products they stock, I could quite easily buy everything on the shelves. There is an emphasis on organic and sugar/ wheat alternatives and what’s more, they sell at very competitive prices and in many cases better value than the supermarkets.
The Italian husband and wife owners – Pablo and Alice describe their shop as their ‘baby’, they both exude genuine warmth and a true and honest passion for their business – and it shows. They told me they stock ingredients that they cook with at home, no wonder they look so bloody great! Receiving well deserved respect from many of the island’s leading restaurateurs that they supply to and regular customers like myself that find it a pleasure to shop at Polen. I was intrigued to hear how they ended up in Ibiza owning such a beautiful shop…
“In years gone by we would enjoy travelling the world after a hard summer working in Ibiza. It was one particular December when we decided to go to Sicily to celebrate Pablo’s birthday and had a wonderful time exploring the island, sightseeing, eating and drinking. One day we found ourselves wandering around the 1000 year old Ballarò Market in Palermo (photo below) where dozens of colourful stalls sold mouth watering varieties of olives, herbs, cheeses, local cold cuts, fish, fruit and vegetables. A real symphony of smells, happy voices, tastes and strange shapes was everywhere to be seen! We couldn’t resist the aroma of the ricotta al forno or fresh crusty bread and so after handing over a few coins we continued our delicious tour of the senses, biting into the goodness of the food as we went. We remember that morning so well because it was when the first ideas came into our heads, ideas that would one day become Polen.
We were so inspired by the sheer pleasure that everyone was having around us surrounded by great food – we thought how amazing it would be to bring back some of this goodness to Ibiza. Once back on our island and lying on a deserted winter beach in the sunshine, we started to list all of the products that our imaginary shop would sell: great oils, pasta, wine, tomato sauces, cheese, ham and juices. When we said ‘good’ we not only meant the taste but also the origin of the product – who makes it, the ingredients, where it’s made. Everything had to be just perfect. We knew we couldn’t rely solely on other people’s recommendations…we knew we were about to embark on culinary treasure hunt! We were so excited at the prospect of visiting producers, farms and cooperatives – tasting, comparing and discussing our dream…and so that’s what we did.
This time we chose Tuscany as our headquarters and began our search for the products that belonged to my own childhood, the places where my mum and her friends would buy a certain cheese or olive oil. We decided from the start not to stick to the classics that came under the Italian flag – we also selected English teas Dragon Fly Rooibos and Earl Grey (my favourite tea!) along with gluten free products, vegetable spreads, different kinds of oils, sweeteners including date syrup, coconut water and healthy baby food – taking tips from our friends and also inspiration from our own travels around the world. We of course added Spanish and Ibizenco products to support the local market and it is true to say that 100% of what we sell is now part of our daily diet”!