Home-grown goodness

IBIZA'S FARM FRESH PRODUCE

HOME-GROWN GOODNESS

IBIZA'S FARM FRESH PRODUCE

One of the most striking features of Ibiza’s landscape is the rich red soil. Driving across the island, it’s hard not to be struck by the remarkable velvety colour framed against the dusty greens of pine trees and the expansive blues of the sky. For millennia, this lush fertile soil has provided the island with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Local produce is celebrated as a key factor to Ibiza’s heritage and culture, and a combination of local pride and the desire for people to know more about the provenance of their food has lead to a mini food revolution across the island.

It’s unfortunate that supermarkets have overtaken the European habit of buying produce from the farmer at local markets yet in Ibiza, there are still some traditional markets around as well as a movement towards the modern-style organic farmers’ market. Anyone who loves to eat and cook should make sure they stop by one of these markets to witness the bountiful crops reaped from this beautiful land. While the quantities required to maintain a hotel such as Seven Pines Resort Ibiza means that Executive Sous Chef Andres Fernandez can’t always source produce directly from these small farms, he and his team are on constant lookout for ways to incorporate the foodie soul of Ibiza into their menus.

"Anyone who loves to eat and cook should make sure they stop by one of these markets."

The island is crisscrossed with beautiful fruit trees – almonds, olive, lemon, orange and carob all throw their distinctive shapes across the fertile countryside. Almonds have been cultivated on Ibiza for thousands of years with the budding of the almond blossoms becoming a moment of local celebration. In recent years, a concerted effort to regenerate the almond industry has catapulted the flavourful nut to superstar status. Andres is enamoured by the young green almond and is currently developing new dishes highlighting their delicate flavour and texture.

The resurgence of the almond crop paved way for the carob to take its rightful place in the pantheon of traditional island produce. Recent initiatives have seen a renewed interest in this superfood and carob products made by local growers can be found in many specialist shops. Grab some carob flour or carob syrup to take home; with beautiful packaging, they make delicious souvenirs and gifts. Seven Pines Resort Ibiza have taken the renewed in interest in carob one step further, serving their very own signature carob liqueur, which is used in desserts in addition to being enjoyed on its own. 

Fig season is apt to provoke most local chefs into paroxysms of ecstasy. Andres agrees: “The figs. They are sublime,” he manages to utter before falling into a fig-induced reverie. Enjoyed straight off the tree, with cured ham or in a dessert, no matter how you encounter an Ibiza fig you will be won over. Another favoured fruit is the caqui otherwise known as persimmon. The locally grown ones are sweetly delicate with deep pink juicy flesh. There’s little that needs doing to them except take a teaspoon and dig in.

"there is something about the alchemy of the Ibiza soil and sun that creates the most sublime, juicy and delicious fruits imaginable."

While there is a wide variety of produce grown here, there are two ingredients that most local chefs adore – the tomato and the potato. Tomatoes are prized all across southern Europe but there is something about the alchemy of the Ibiza soil and sun that creates the most sublime, juicy and delicious fruits imaginable. Hundreds of varieties are available from enormous, deeply ridged beef heart tomatoes to delicate grape shaped cherries. Each variety has its dish and you’ll often hear people ask their market vendor: “What’s good for gazpacho today?”

The humble potato doesn’t seem like the source of culinary swooning but the number of chefs that rate the Ibiza potatoes highly is overwhelming. The classic Ibiza Red is ideal for fries while the white is perfect for mash. Then there’s the Picasso, with its pink-dappled skin, which is delicious any way it’s cooked. There are some varieties grown by just a few local farmers that have an ancient heritage dating back to Christopher Columbus and others with such a short season that only the quickest cooks get to enjoy them.

"The Mediterranean is what really excites the chefs at Seven Pines Resort Ibiza."

The Mediterranean is what really excites the chefs Seven Pines Resort Ibiza. “Our menus are big on seafood and the fish and shellfish available here is unsurpassable,” says Andres. Local lobster, red prawns and Roca fish all feature throughout the Seven Pines Resort Ibiza restaurant menus. Straight from the waters visible from every angle of the hotel grounds, you really don’t get fresher than that.

Summer fruits nurtured by the warm rays of the Ibiza sun have a distinctive purity. Although apricot and cherry season may be short, both of these diminutive fruits pack incredible sweetness. The yellowish orbs of nisperos, otherwise known as loquats are ubiquitous and make for a great off-the-tree snack when on forest walks. Speaking of wild foraging, Ibiza’s forests are brimming with wild foods from rosemary and thyme to fennel, silverbeet, mushrooms and a plethora of edible and medicinal herbs.

Ancient grains have made their way back into the diets of modern humans in recent years and it’s not unusual to find a loaf of spelt bread or kamut wraps in your local supermarket. Ibiza has her own ancient grain, which is also making a comeback. Xeixa is a rustic grain that was cultivated right across the Balearics. Nutritionally, it is packed with protein and is low in gluten, making it much healthier to digest. Local folklore says that the harder the grain was to cultivate, the better the bread. The dough is darker than your average white loaf but the texture is spongy and smooth with a slightly nutty flavour. Absolutely delicious toasted with a decent dollop of homemade almond spread (made with Ibiza almonds, of course!).

" Ibiza and her bountiful produce offer something for everyone."

Whether you’re a passionate foodie, a budding chef or someone who simply enjoys good food, Ibiza and her bountiful produce offer something for everyone. Our guest relations team can organise a tour and a lunch or dinner in some of Ibiza’s best farmers’ markets, while Andres and his team are more than happy to recommend some of their favourite locally-inspired dishes when you’re dining in our restaurants. Buen provecho!

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