Cuisine to suit every taste
nThe hospitality sector in Ibiza and Formentera has changed drastically in the last five years, thanks to the promotion of the local cuisine, products and ingredients, at a local, national and international level.
Food fairs, contests, gastro shows and tasting events have all been instrumental in promoting the islands’ cuisines, wines, liqueurs, and natural products from the sea and land, thus incentivising their consumption among the locals.
Traditional cuisine has been given a big boost thanks to a series of promotional initiatives carried out by the Consell d’Eivissa (Ibiza Island Council) with its ‘Sabors’ programmes, including forums and wine, olive oil and spirit tasting events. The town councils have also become involved with popular events incorporated into the local festivities and cooking contests of local dishes including: cuttlefish, arroz de matances (a classic rice dish) and seafood paella, among many others.
The large variety and quality of products from the islands has also become a powerful tourist attraction, with two dedicated events held throughout the year. The IbizaSabor Spring Food Fair, which runs from April to the end of May and which incorporates the Professional Mediterranean Gastronomy Forum.
The Consell d’Eivissa and the SME business association of Ibiza, PIMEEF, also organise the Sabor Autumn Food Festival, which takes place from the middle of October until the end of November, with the participation of around thirty restaurants that offer special menus of traditional dishes or tapas. Another unmissable event designed to promote local restaurants and indigenous products, attracting large numbers of visitors.
Other gastronomic events and tasting sessions of locally produced products include shows such as: Patrimoni Gastronòmic (Gastronomic Heritage Festival); Gastrojueves; Pintxa Sant Antoni; the Gerret Fish Fair; the Cuttlefish Gastronomic Festival; the Ibizan Lobster, Prawn and Fish Gastronomic Fair in Sant Antoni; the Peix Nostrum seafood paella contest; the Squid Fair in Sant Joan; the Autumn Fish Fair and the Concurso Interestelar de arroz de matances, a contest of a classic rice dish traditionally made during the pig slaughter and which takes places during the celebrations of Sant Jordi.
The Professional Mediterranean Gastronomy Forum is the most prominent fixture on this culinary programme. In the last three years it has attracted top national and international gastronomy professionals and counted on the participation of national and Balearic Island Michelin-starred chefs such as: Susi Díaz, Jean Louis Neichel, the brothers Sergio and Javier Torres, Paco Pérez, Pepe Solla, Begoña Rodríguez, and María José Sanromán.
he fourth edition of the forum was held in May at the restaurant Casa Maca in Ibiza, and once again attracted leading Michelin-starred chefs: Elena Arzak, Susi Díaz, Fina Puigdevall, Eduard Xatruch, Óscar Calleja and the best pastry chef in the world, Paco Torreblanca, as well as Balearic Island chefs such as: Teresa Montesinos and Marta Roselló.
The event was also attended by renowned chefs from Ibiza and Formentera such as: Jose Migel Bonet, Oscar Molina, Iñigo Rodríguez, David Grussaute, Rafa Zafra, Ricardo Acquista, Joan Yern, specialist Spanish food journalists such as: José Carlos Capel and Julia Pérez Lozano, who hosted the event, and Silvia Castillo, one of the coordinators. The facilities of Casa Maca were converted into a marketplace for the principal producers of olive oil, honey, wine, island herbs, dried fruits and other local products.
There are also a whole host of regional events for promoting seasonal products, normally coinciding with town and regional festivities, outside of the summer season.
Sponsored by the Consell d’Eivissa, PIMEEF, the town councils and neighbourhood associations, the objective is to attract the participation of the local residents with the aim of keeping genuine flavours and traditional recipes alive. The prominent recipes and flavours are Mediterranean paella and rice dishes, and fish and shellfish from the coasts of Ibizan.
The private sector has also contributed to the promotional activities, in close collaboration with the municipalities, these initiatives are in the form of tapas or tasting sessions at events such as: Pintxa, Gastrojueves, Cañas & Roll, Tapa Vi and the Vi Pagés contests.
Beverage and alcoholic drink distributors promote local wine and spirits as well as national and international brands at professional events held at the start of the tourist seasons, such as: Viniterraneus, Tastavins, and Be Day.