k Sid Shanti k
Sid, your book ‘Glorious Ibiza Food (& Music!)’ has been on my bedside table for the last two years to the point where Dan has said there are three people in our marriage! You are the food legend of Ibiza! How long did it take to create and did you ever expect the kind of success it has had, even Harrods stock it!
“Hi Tess, thank you for your kind words and the compliments on my book, although I never imagined it would facilitate a three-way relationship. I’m flattered! To be honest, I didn’t consider the success or failure of my book when I wrote it. I had an idea for the concept and acted on it literally within months. I started to write in September, in October I pulled the team together: photographer, graphic designer, translator, copy editor and illustrator and by April the following year it was completed. I didn’t have time to think about anything other than the book itself. But saying that, of course I’m bowled over by the reception it received both on and off the island and really that is the ultimate reward.
In particular I have found the ‘wild section’ in your book such good reading – like an Ibicencan Noma – but I think you might have been ahead of the game…before foraging became dare I say it, trendy. Your angle is more of an education and appreciation of nature. What are your thoughts on this emerging fashion for foraging?
It’s ironic that we have come full circle with regards to eating and our perception of food. From industrialization and factory farming methods, we now have a more natural sentiment when considering what we eat, in the west of course. I’m all for it and whether it’s a trend or not it has to be a good thing right? For me living on Ibiza facilitates walks and picking wild produce, if I lived in a city it may well have been a very different story.”
I missed the boat this year with the wild asparagus and the growing spots seem to remain a guarded secret on the island, Is there a risk of the beautiful countryside being over foraged? Would you like to see restaurants including these on their menus…or should mother nature be left alone?
“Well firstly you haven’t missed the boat, wild can continue into May. Try a walk down to the furthest point of Salinas beach – towards the watch-tower. Asparagus grows there in abundance, but be aware, it’s a popular spot so you may not get lucky. It’ll give you a taste as to what to look out for and at the very least, it’s a fantastic walk! Also this time of year, wild garlic is starting to flower so keep your eyes peeled for that. Great in salads to add color and aroma. I’d like to see restaurants including some of the wild produce on their menus, of course. However the problem is that a lot of produce is out of season for the tourist calendar. Lemons for example, can you believe we have to import all our lemons for the tourist season as they don’t fruit during summer? I’d like to see more products utilizing produce from the island, which is something I have been developing over the last couple of years. This summer should hopefully see my branded range of confectionary hitting the shelves incorporating wild ingredients such as thyme, orange, salt, chili, almonds and other local flavours”
The great charm and appeal of Ibiza is the fantastic array of individual food shops and food markets. Alarmingly we have seen the growth of the commercial supermarkets cropping up on the island. The indoor food market in Santa Eulalia for instance is severally under pressure with more and more stalls closing. I’m sure that this concerns you as well, what do you think can be done about this…or is it too late?
“It’s a sorry state when this happens. We have seen much of the UK overrun with huge supermarkets at the expense of local traders. And it’s much the same across Europe. Ibiza is sadly no different in the fact that consumers want the best price for the least amount of effort and travel. I try to support local shops and business’ and I would urge anyone living on the island to do the same. I find it much more pleasurable to walk around the local markets and shops – often meeting the farmers, the families and the traders – than I do walking around a generic supermarket.”
I appreciate the fact that you have included the Ibizan traditions of the ‘Matanza’ – the ritual family slaughtering of the pig and ‘Caza’- rabbit hunting…traditions that to me are far more ethical and sustainable than buying pre packed intensively produced meat. Have you come across any negativity for this section of the book for showing a raw and real side to these traditions?
“This section of the book was very well received. Both foreign nationals and Ibicencos gave positive feedback. Many local Ibicencos actually praised this section as it showed a real side to the island, one that is not documented in all the foray of coverage that Ibiza enjoys. Personally as I wrote in the book, if you cannot face the reality of where meat originates then you really should not be eating it.”
From the early Hippy days Ibiza has always embraced healthy eating and now it seems to have commercially exploded with a plethora of health food shops, juice bars, raw food cafes, vegan restaurants and detox retreats. Do you think Ibiza is becoming a real health destination that can be taken seriously now?
“Absolutely, there are many retreats and offerings for the more discerning individual now on the island. I think it’s a natural progression. Many of us would come to party here, health and food more often than not being second on the to-do-list. But people grow older, their desires and aspirations change. And with it, offerings and career paths, palates and to-do-lists! I think it wonderful that just a decade ago there were half the reasons to come to Ibiza than there are today!”
In your book you mentioned that the growing trend towards ‘locally sourced food’ is a phenomenon, which is in danger of becoming commercialised, does this apply to Ibiza?
Well of course, it applies everywhere. Even on this island I see restaurants selling “organic” food or “local” produce with 0KM carbon impact, where if you go in the morning you can see the deliveries arriving from un-organic sources. It happens the world over. Misinformation and sad to say it – lies. However as this current food trend expands and with it the retail sector, I believe it will become less and less apparent.
I absolutely applaud the organic farms section of your book, in particular Ca’n Pere Mussona – which is dedicated to the regeneration of rare endemic livestock, such as the Ibiza Black Pig, Mollorcan Cow, Ibicencan Sheep and Chickens that are in danger of extinction.
“Well Ronnie at C’an Pere Mussona does a fantastic job. Not only with the regeneration projects that are supported by local and national authorities, but also in promoting the work they do. They regularly have open days and charity events and every week children from local schools come to learn about the important work they are doing.”
Ibiza really does have it all; organic farms, vineyards, olive oil production, artisan bakeries, home grown fruit and vegetables, almonds, carob, sea salt, fresh seafood and not forgetting hierbas. Wouldn’t it be lovely to become a self-sufficient island like in the 70s….will this time ever return?
“This time still exists on the island in small pockets, however it is becoming more and more scarce. The biggest problem the island faces is the continued efforts in farming and tending the land. Because of the increase in populous and steep spike in property values, the younger generations of the Ibicencos don’t want to work the land or continue with many fading traditions. Instead they want to travel, with the onset of technology, the world is literally at their fingertips and with the resources they have bound in land and property, this current young generation have the desire and the means. Local desire for this seems to be replaced by wealthy outsiders now and only time will tell how the island overcomes this problem.”
It seems that there is a new trend toward growing your own and in the UK allotment spaces having huge waiting lists! Do you do grow anything? Do you have any green finger advice…?
“I’m not the best gardener in the world, that said I did grow up on an old farm where we grew pretty much everything and had chickens supplying eggs. I grow a few herbs and this year I’ll plant some interesting chilis and tomatoes, but like I said earlier, I’m quite happy supporting local farmers!
Like myself, you embrace all cultures and cuisines and your recipes have a fantastic mix of Mediterranean ingredients and a hint of eastern influence, is this a style you still gravitate towards when cooking?
“Yes most definitely. I studied Classical French Cuisine but my personal taste veers towards MediterrAsian.”
Refined sugar has now been deemed big bad boy in our diets and we have seen an emergence of healthier sugar alternatives such agave, maple syrup, coconut sugar and raw honey, what do you like cook with the most?
“I don’t use many sweeteners in my cooking. I like raw palm sugar to sweeten a Thai curry, or apple juice, reduced, acts as a very good sweetener. Again I think all in moderation. It’s fine to use a little sugar here and there. It’s when sugar addictions come to roost. Fizzy drinks, over processed foods and such like are the worst enemies I feel. And generally I don’t partake in them. In my book all my recipes for desserts are fruit based, mostly because they suit the Mediterranean climate, but also because why not use them? Healthy, delicious and naturally sweet, sometimes one can’t see the wood for the trees! As I mentioned earlier I have a confectionary range coming hopefully for this season so I’m not entirely against refined sugar, all in moderation is the key.”
Some quick fire questions….
What restaurants on the island impress you the most?
“Local restaurants serving basic ingredients prepared properly with fire, good oils and vinegars and lots of love in the process.”
Breakfast would be taken at where…and would be the perfect plate?
“At home, bruschetta with pan-fried raff tomatoes, garlic and fresh smashed basil leaves. Scrambled eggs with cumin powder and coriander. Juice and coffee.”
What food shop could you not live without in Ibiza?
“Hmmm…difficult. Both my butchers Los Galegos and Can Ros, I couldn’t live without them. The vegetable stand in Santa Gertrudis is also a firm favorite.
Best tapas on the island…
“If you like fried, Los passajeros terazza in Placa del Parque. Around the corner from Hostal Parque. Try the breaded fried aubergine or the calamari romana.”
“Clandestino or Bar 1805.”
Dinner on a budget…
“Comida San Juan.”
Dinner on no budget…
“Sa Caletta fish restaurant.”
What DJ is the best cook on the island and what have they cooked you?
“Ali Shirazinia from Deep Dish / Dubfire. His passion for cooking is only equaled by his passion for music. We cooked together at the Traktor cookery school events in 2013 alongside El Bulli chef Sebastian Mazolla and we cooked…
Sangria-infused Watermelon with Mint and Lime Zest
Vodka and Lime-infused Strawberries with Lime Zest
Oysters with a Trio of Sauces (Ponzu-Yuzu, Kimchi and Ceviche)
Aburi Salmon on Avocado with Sesame Salt and Spring Onions
Spanish Wagyu Beef with Duo of Sauces (Salsa Criolla and Pine-nut and Raisin Vinaigrette)
Grilled Corn with Goat Cheese Butter
Tomato-Onion Salad with Basil Oil
Grilled Pear with White Sesame and Lime Sauce Topped with Caramel-Iced Puffed Quinoa and Aji…”
After club chill at…
The finest host on the island…
“Jon Moon Bambuddha.”
Best sushi in Ibiza…
Your guilty pleasures dish in Ibiza…
“Grilled local caught Squid.”
The most delicious seafood is where…
The best pizza in Ibiza is at…
“Macau Santa Gertrudis.”
The best Hierbas on the island…
“Mari Mayans because they are the only ones who distill 100% of the ingredients, although I’m very partial to the one they sell at Bar Anita in San Carlos.”
The perfect sunset tune…
“Chris Rea – On The Beach.”