Diversity is something Ibiza is never short on. From hippy to VIP, spiritual to hedonist, ancestral Ibicenco to fresh-off-the-ferry extranjeros, we really have got the lot. And of course it follows that such a diverse group will have wide ranging interests and outlooks too.
In that respect Ibiza Food Tours may well be unique. The brainchild of Walking Ibiza founder, the original Sole Brother, Toby Clarke, the concept is as simple as it is brilliant. Toby takes you on a guided walk around some of Ibiza’s Town’s hidden gastronomic gems. On the way you learn a bit of our island history and eat and drink lots of fabulous things.
Where it becomes unique, is that I cannot think of a single person who would not enjoy it. From clubber to conservationist, pure-bred local to lager-lout, who wouldn’t want to do it?
You will probably want to add it to your own ‘must do’ winter list, but you also now have the perfect response to every ‘what can we do’ question. From a visiting relative to a hen weekend. Ibiza Food Tours fulfil every brief. Brilliant.
This is our Claire’s report on her tour earlier in the year. There are several different tours available, mornings and afternoons. A full schedule and online booking is available on the website.
Take it away Claire …
Ibiza Food Tours
- Text & Photos Claire B
I’ve had some amazing experiences in the years that I’ve lived in Ibiza, but one of the best I’ve had to date was going on an Ibiza Food Tour in Ibiza Town. The brainchild of Toby Clarke who is behind Walking Ibiza, it’s a great idea and a natural extension to offering guided walks. Instead of heading out into the wilds of the island, you walk around parts of Ibiza Town, learning about some of the history of the areas you pass and sample some of the amazing food and drinks that are on offer along the way.
I joined a party of 4 people on a Wednesday morning with tour guide Vinny. Our meeting point was by the sailor’s statue in the corner of the port at 10.30, where after introductions, we were told all about the statue.
Heading along the waterfront to our first stop at Bar Peixet we learnt more as we went. Breakfast was provided in the form of the 4 different coffees on offer, 2 types of ensaimada (one with a delicious, sweet, pumpkin filling which was gorgeous) with a bottle of brandy on the side for those wanting to turn their coffee into a carajillo (coffee with brandy). Well, we were sampling local delicacies, so when in Rome! Next was a stroll through some of the narrow streets in La Marina, through the tree-lined Vara de Rey, pausing to hear about the statue in the middle, en route to our next stop, the delightful tea shop that is…
Owner Felix who took over what was his Aunt’s sweet shop made us an infusion from local herbs and plants – thyme, rosemary, fennel, lavender, herbas and sweet and bitter chamomile – served in tea pots and cups and saucers with a jug of local honey for those who had a sweet tooth and 2 types of turrón. The shop is a cornucopia of bits and pieces, probably handed down from Felix’s Aunt – sweet jars, boxes of tea, display cabinets full of teapots, teacups and other curios, old photos, pictures, mirrors, chandeliers and a grandfather clock – it was a feast for the eyes, just as the tea was a feast for the palate. Undoubtedly the best tea shop in Ibiza! Next we were off to …
the oldest bakery, where we had freshly made magdelenas (a kind of doughy biscuit coated in crispy bits of sugar filled with almond paste) and slices of flao, the local flan made with goats cheese and mint, both gorgeous. We were even treated to a brief peek into the kitchen where we could see the men at work rolling out dough amongst the machinery and ovens used to create their breads and pastries – fascinating! Having indulged in pastries and coffee and tea, it was nearing midday, and time to head off to the Mercat Nou (New Market) for some savoury snacks. Our first stop was …
Su and Lu’s Pescadería
where we marvelled at the array of fish in front of us – everything from lobsters, to tuna, sardines, boquerones, salmon, oysters, octopus and lots more – until our beautifully prepared snacks came, beautifully presented on a piece of slate. There was 2 types of salmon, one cured with beetroot and vodka, the other with whisky, boquerones (anchovies in vinegar) and some smoked sardine, which was my favourite (although it was all delicious). A short walk up the isle and we arrived at …
La Casa de la Jamones
where Margarita offered sobrassada and butifarra for the meat eaters amongst us and slices from a lovely handcrafted goats cheese with a slice of membrillo (quince jelly) and a small cup of local white wine – all lovely. Another short hop and we were at …
for some bacalao (dried salted cod), which was served with tomato, green olives and drizzled with olive oil. It wasn’t to everyone’s taste in our group, but I liked it and the tomato and olives served to take away some of the saltiness. From there it was a short 5-minute walk to …
for some jamón (cured ham) and cheese tasting. Half of our group were vegetarians so we were lucky to be able to sample both the jamón and cheese, served with a drink of our choosing, in my case a glass of vino tinto, which was the perfect accompaniment to the food.
We were given 3 types of jamón which was cut freshly for us and you could see and taste the difference from the cheaper Serrano to the more expensive Iberico and Bellota where the black pigs roam and feed naturally in the woods and eat a lot of acorns. As a result, I now understand the difference and what I’m getting and paying for when I buy jamón.
We also had 3 types of cheese – an aged Manchego, a smoked cheese and another one that I can’t remember, but it was all beautifully mature. Our taste-buds were well and truly awakened by this time and we were whisked off to …
Bar le Bodeguilla
With drinks on order, pinxtos of seafood cocktail arrived, as we marvelled at the array of old farming implements, photographs and other paraphernalia adoring the small but perfectly formed bar.
A dish of hot pulpo frito (octopus – their best-selling dish) and a huge portion of freshly-made tortilla arrived before us. We liked the place so much we decided to stay for an extra drink and were rewarded with another plate of food – the waitress didn’t know what they were called and we couldn’t locate them on the menu, but they were like a cross between a croquette and a Spanish-style scotch egg – a filling of chopped cooked egg, minced pork and some finely chopped vegetables, wrapped in a thin piece of pork loin and coated in breadcrumbs and lightly fried – different and very tasty.
A stroll to the edge of the Plaza del Parque meant we could walk off some of our food, ready to sample the delights of the …
the Asturian cider bar. We were taken outside and shown how to pour the cider from a great height to aerate it to improve the flavour. To our relief we didn’t have to do that ourselves – they have ingenious little machines where you put the bottle in place, press a button and it siphons out the cider and delivers it into a glass at just the right height to serve the perfect glass of cider.
Not only did it taste great and smell beautifully of apples, but it was such fun to take it in turns to our your next glass. At 6% it was quite strong, but some jamón croqetas (croquettes) arrived and a plate of fried potatoes with 2 types of sauce – a strong ali oli (garlic mayonnaise) and a very spicy bravas sauce to balance the strength of the cider.
It was all great, but I loved the spicy sauce – think Spanish-style chips and curry sauce (I’ve already been back to the bar to get another fix). And we all enjoyed the cider so much that we stayed and ordered some more.
Slightly behind schedule now, it was time to go up into Dalt Vila for a quick ice cream at …
where their homemade ice-creams (some are vegan) went down a treat in the July heat. My pistachio and chocolate were both spot on and apparently they have a shop in Playa d’en Bossa too, which I’ll have to seek out.(ed – it is next door to Hotel Garbi, highly recommended, and readers of a certain age will remember it as being Lynn’s Tea Shop.)
Our tour ended with a shot of local hierbas (an aniseed flavoured liqueur) in the Mercat Vell (Old Market) by the entrance to Dalt Vila. A lovely ending to what had been a fantastic tour around the town.
We visited 11 establishments in 5.5 hours – normally the tours take about 4-5 hours but our group loved some of the places so much that we stayed a little bit longer than was scheduled. Ibiza Food Tours organise morning/afternoon tours and afternoon/evening tours and some of the places you visit may change depending on the time of day and day of the week (some are shut at certain times).
The tours are limited to about 6 people to keep them manageable and by the end you’re sure to become pals with your companions, so it’s a great way to meet like-minded food-loving people. What I liked is that you are taken from place to place and in each establishment the food just arrives (you are asked when you book for specific dietary requirements and the food on offer is adjusted accordingly) so you get to sample things that you might not know about or would normally chose. Plus you learn a lot about Ibiza and its history and food as you go.
I thought I knew Ibiza Town pretty well, but having done the tour I realised that I didn’t. But I now know some great new places for buying food in and places that I can hang out in when I’m in town. And one of the things that I love about this little amazing island is that there are new, fantastic places to be discovered all the time if you take the opportunity.