Eat Local – Gabrielle Gambina #cucinagambina

LOCAVORE /ˈləʊk(ə)vɔː(r)/: noun: a person who prefers to eat foods which are grown or farmed relatively close to the places of sale and preparation.  

Local food represents an alternative to the global food model, a model which often sees food traveling long distances, to the detriment of its nutrients, before it reaches the consumer.

Until recently, Ibiza’s food chain consisted of exchange of fresh produce between farmers and fishermen. And the majority of artisanal food products were created for private consumption. Today, the island boasts a number of wineries, cheese dairies and bakeries (using the native Xeixa grain in their bread) that supply restaurants and food markets.

The food community, however, is still relatively small and requires a boost to help sustain the small-scale producers of low impact primary ingredients. Challenges include lack of water, high input costs, limited financial assistance, strong price competition from imported produce, high distribution costs, lack of commitment from restaurants and lack of a clear label for local Ibiza products.

Farmers seek to overcome distribution challenges by working together either officially under a structured umbrella like Eco Feixes (the cooperative that represents 11 organic farms) or as a loose collective. Can Moreno, for example, has a weekly vegetable delivery scheme called Es Senallo (which is the name of the typical Ibiza straw shopping basket). Rosalina and her husband Toni have been working on the organic farm for the past 6 years. “In our shop and weekly distribution list we feature our produce alongside produce from other organically-certified farms on the island, that way we are not only offering customers a wider range of produce but also helping other farmers to increase their supply,” Rosalina explains. To further help increase production at the farm it would be ideal to have the forward commitment of one or more restaurants which would guarantee an income for the farm, help the farmers plant the necessary quantities of seeds while also allowing the chefs to have an influence on the quality and quantity of crops they require.

With over 2000 restaurants in Ibiza, it is hard to believe that only 2% of the food consumed on the island grows on the island. The majority of produce used in Ibiza’s restaurants is imported from mainland Spain (and mass produced at a fraction of the cost in Ibiza) with negative implications on the environment. Given the strong signs of increased gastronomic tourism in Ibiza, it is imperative that chefs engage in an open and honest dialogue with local farmers.

As consumers, we need to appreciate that if we want to eat healthy, fresh meals, we need to opt for seasonal produce which is grown with love by local farmers. Given the small scale production and the manual effort involved, we need to be prepared to pay a premium and fair price for this produce. We have a choice…health over wealth. The best way for us to learn about our food is by asking the retailer, the waiter in the restaurant or the market vendor, where the produce originates from.

In spite of the significant growing interest in local products, there are relatively few places where you can buy them directly from the farmer or producer. And when you look for them in shops, the labelling can be confusing, sometimes deceptive, and unclear.

Enter Farmers & Co. Made up of 14 farmers’ cooperatives from Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, Farmers & Co is a franchise model for products from the Balearic lands. It has already opened ten stores both inside and outside the archipelago with plans to roll out an additional 15 Farmers & Co retail corners over the next year.

“Farmers & Co is a concept born out of the necessity to give visibility to the local product in a coherent, commercial and, above all, attractive way. Farmers & Co is a commitment to authenticity because it is born of the producer. Without credibility Farmers & Co would not exist.” Bartolome Mercadal, Commercial Director at Farmers & Co.

Amorevore’s ambition is to create awareness about issues surrounding Ibiza’s local products and to create connections between the various stakeholders for the long-term sustainability of the island.

To connect with a local farm and/ or a producer, please get in touch with us. You will also have the opportunity to meet farmers and producers at the Amorevore Producers Market.

Photo credit @kellycunningham

Rory Spowers

A Forest Garden by Rory Spowers

Extract adapted from A Year in Green Tea and Tuk-Tuks by Rory Spowers, Amorevore’s Head Curator.

‘Modern man talks of a battle with Nature,

forgetting that, if he won the battle,

he would find himself on the losing side.’

  1. F. Schumacher

My passion for trying to grow and source high quality organic produce, evolved from a passion for cooking, which in turn evolved from my passion for eating. Maybe it all just comes down to greed.

I started to cook when my parents separated. My father’s culinary talents stretched to opening tins of baked beans, or throwing pre-cooked meals in the oven. I began to dabble, moving from oven-ready chips to a level of over-ambition, spending entire weekends assembling rare ingredients for the longest, most involved recipes I could find.

At university, I would spend hours walking the length and breadth of Edinburgh, looking for particular cheeses, hams and wines. With my ‘foodie’ friends, I roasted whole suckling pigs over open fires, smoked haunches of venison inside overturned dustbins and baked whole salmon coated in salt and buried under turf. While cycling through Africa with friends in my early twenties (the subject of my first book, Three Men on A Bike), we had perfected Bicycle Spoke Kebabs and ‘Peaking’ Duck, stuffing the cavity with potent local herbs. Back in England, I invited friends for absurdly ambitious dinner parties, taking on complex recipes for unfeasible numbers of people. Slowly, I learned to simplify my tastes.

Friends offered me a job as the chef in a pub they were opening on London’s Fulham Road. I had a lot to learn. I had no idea how to cook an omelette, or make a burger. (For more on these abortive culinary forays, please see The Fig Tree Diaries.) Over the following years, I cooked in a number of London restaurants, learning the basics of running a restaurant kitchen while living on a diet of espressos, red Marlboros and red wine. This proved far from healthy.

During a particularly destitute phase, I was offered a job as a waiter at the River Café in Hammersmith. The restaurant had been open for a couple of years and was just starting to gain fame. The waiters and waitresses all worked with the kitchen staff to prepare ingredients. We picked tiny leaves of thyme off the stalks, shaved parmesan into wispy curls, stripped large red anchovies off the bone. We were handling exceptional ingredients, many of them organic and sourced from small artisan producers. The finest prosciutto, exquisite fresh porcini, stalks of wild rocket.

Soon I was ensconced, applying Zen-like concentration to the art of chopping vegetables, slicing gloves of garlic so thin they were transparent, learning to make some of the restaurant’s signature sauces. My attention to prep work did not go unnoticed and, when a vacancy appeared in the kitchen, I was offered the job. Rose and Ruth, the dynamic partnership that had started the restaurant, were patient and long-suffering as I grappled to come up to speed.

I learned a lot about this style of cooking. The rustic simplicity, the emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce, the robust Mediterranean flavours, all resonated well with me. This was real food, authentic, not messed about with.

As my love of food grew, so did my desire to grow it. Part of what propelled me to go and live in Wales for four years was the fanciful notion of growing fruit, herbs and vegetables. The conditions were challenging to say the least. The growing season for most things was a tiny window of two or three months at the height of summer. Slugs were vast and prolific, gobbling up prize lettuces overnight. Rabbits razed whole beds when we went away for the weekend. I was not deterred.

If we had stayed in Wales, my long-term plan was to create a ‘forest garden’. Yet we had barely made stage one in this process when the decision was made to move to Sri Lanka…

The forest garden is, of course, a much more viable proposition in the tropics, where more time is spent cutting things back than encouraging them to grow. On one trip to India in the mid 80s, I spent time in the hills of Kerala, living in a small mud hut surrounded by a thriving forest garden. Papayas, passion fruits, pomegranates and pepper vines were all within arm’s reach of the window. Never in my life had I seen such abundance. I could have spent the rest of my days there, feasting on the exotic tropical bounty that encircled the hut.

The forest garden concept is well established in various parts of the world. Some ethnobotanists now believe that the complexity seen in parts of the Amazonian rainforest was caused by people intercropping the jungle with useful trees and plants. There are many examples of the high productivity that can be achieved. Rather than felling the existing trees, the Chagga settlers on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro planted bananas, fruit trees and vegetables in their shade. Now the individual plots, which average 0.68 hectares, fully sustain a family of 10.

Kerala, the most densely populated area in India, has some 3.5 million forest gardens. One plot of just 0.12 hectares has been found to support 23 coconut palms, 12 clove trees, 56 bananas and 49 pineapples, with 30 pepper vines trained up the trees. Associated industries in the area include the production of rubber, matches, cashews, furniture, pandanus mats, baskets, bullock-carts and catamarans, along with the processing of palm oil, cocoa and coir fibres from coconuts. Many families meet their own energy requirements through biomass systems fed by human, animal and vegetable waste, while the forest gardens provide full-time occupations for families.

Kerala contradicts many of the current assumptions made about wealth, quality of life and standard of living. On an average annual income of around $350 – 70 times lower than his American counterpart – the life expectancy for a Keralan male is only two years less. Kerala’s birth rate is reducing from 18 per 1,000 to fall in line with the US figure of 16. Kerala is now considered 100 per cent literate. According to the Physical Quality of Life Index, Kerala rates higher than any other Asian country except Japan.

Much of the success of forest gardens lies in diversity and intercropping. Many traditional agriculture systems controlled pests through diversification, planting a mixture of crops rather than the intensive monocultures of the modern agri-business. Companion planting, or intercropping a variety of species, has many benefits: it protects against pests; makes use of synergistic properties, like deep-rooted crops that bring water and nutrients up from below; modifies micro-climate conditions; encourages cross-pollination and preserves genetic diversity.

For me, this has all the qualities of a genuinely ‘intelligent’ approach. Monocultures of GM crops cannot compare in sophistication, howver ‘clever’ they may appear. Diversity in an ecosystem is what builds resilience. Left to itself, the traditional paddy field will yield for thousands of years, maintaining inherent fertilization and insect control processes. The introduction of just one chemical however, will unravel the entire system.

Few things connect people more than food. Food brings us together, unites us in a common experience that is perhaps our most direct contact with the rest of the natural world. It comes as no surprise to find that most of the people I meet who share a passion for the issues in this book, should also share a passion for food.

It is only natural that we should be concerned about the levels of toxic chemicals we are ingesting, or the additives linked to hyperactivity in children, or the provenance of the meat we serve at Sunday lunch. Food is part of our essence. One only has to look at the revolution in British attitudes to food over the last two decades to see the direction of public opinion – the rise of the celebrity chef, ‘foodie’ TV programmes, the endless supplements in Sunday papers. More and more people now accept the link between healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people. Good nutrition is recognized as an important aspect of preventative medicine and the rapid rise in allergies has forced many to reconsider their diets.

Through informed shopping and eating choices, the consumer has increasing influence over corporate global decision-making. Despite the bleatings of government and corporate funded scientists defending research budgets, the case for GM is unravelling. Overwhelming research has shown that not one GM crop has made commercial sense to date, none has produced the promised high yields and farmers across the world are suffering as a result. Far from being the hysterical over-reaction of an ignorant public to so-called Frankenfoods, the GM debate has shown that the power of activism is forcing a major re-evaluation throughout the biotechnology industry. It is concrete evidence of our power.

Biotechnology is just one of myriad issues. Most of us are now aware of the many other horrors caused by mass production: the legs of over-fed chickens breaking beneath their own weight; pigs or farmed salmon in atrocious cramped conditions; the prolific use of hormones and antibiotics in the meat industry; the over-exploitation of fisheries by inappropriate technologies; the food miles inherent in globalized trade. The average UK Sunday lunch travels 26,000 miles, or once round the equator.

Many of these problems are daunting. But, as we have seen with the GM debate, they are far from insurmountable. There are many things we can do to bring food back under our control. Local food initiatives, like using farmers markets and organic box schemes to connect the producer directly with the consumer, reduce food miles and leave us with a clear conscience about the provenance of our food.

Food is the area in which, as consumers, we have perhaps the greatest power to effect change, simply through our shopping patterns. If we shop only at supermarkets, even if we are buying organic produce, we are always contributing to food miles, the embodied energy that has gone into the processing, packaging and transport.

But if we buy most of our food locally, we not only reduce food miles and our overall Ecological Footprint, but support the local economy. We are also ensuring a higher level of nutrition, since our food will be fresh, seasonal and free of chemical preservatives. As ever, the rule is: ‘Think global, act local.’

Farmers markets have been springing up in the US and Europe for some years. The ethos of farmers markets is that growers and artisans are selling produce direct to their local public. ‘In terms of accountability and transparency there’s no better way to shop,’ says the UK’s champion of ‘real food’, British TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

There are legitimate excuses for not boycotting supermarkets and relying purely on farmers markets and organic box schemes. The area in which you live may not be serviced by such enterprises and, even if they are, supermarkets still provide products that you cannot find easily elsewhere.

One way to overcome this is by starting or joining a local food group. The idea is that, by pooling together with neighbours, you can make bulk purchases at wholesalers. A study once conducted by The Ecologist compared the costs of a wholesaler with Tesco’s online store over a range of 10 basic products and found the wholesaler’s price 29 per cent cheaper. Not only will you be saving nearly a third of your average spend, you will also be saving the planet by cutting down on food miles, processing, packaging and, as a result, on carbon dioxide emissions. These sort of initiatives just make sense – both economically and ecologically.

Rory Spowers is a writer and campaigner who first came to live in Ibiza and work with BBC presenter Bruce Parry, on the recently released and highly acclaimed feature documentary, Tawai.

In addition to curating Amorevore, Rory is Creative Director of the Tyringham Initiative, a new paradigm think-tank specialising in consciousness research.

This article was adapted from one of Rory’s books, A Year in Green Tea and Tuk Tuks, which tells the story of creating Samakanda, an ecological sanctuary and ‘forest garden’ in Sri Lanka.

For more on Rory and his work, please see his website at Fig Tree Diaries.

Eve Kalinik – Gut Health

Eve Kalinik wholeheartedly believes that having a healthy attitude and approach to eating well isn’t about unnecessary restriction but having an entirely inclusive, wide and diverse repertoire with our food. A self-confessed gut enthusiast she believes that maintaining good gut health is at the core of our health and wellbeing and published her first book BE GOOD TO YOUR GUT in September 2017.

Her philosophy is working towards an authentic life-long positive attitude of eating well. No quick fixes, fads, rules, detoxes or diets but rather a balanced and functional approach that supports the gut and the body on a deeper level to increase vitality and a consistent feeling of well being. Most importantly not forgetting to wholeheartedly enjoy the process of eating.

We caught up with Eve to find out more.

– What does the expression ‘food is medicine’ mean? 

I think this can be interpreted in many different ways but for me I consider nutrition one of the crucial underpinnings of creating a healthy body or ’system’. Of course it isn’t just as simple as eat well and you will be well but certainly, I believe, its one of the factors that can help us to be in optimum health “With that I also think that when we have good food it is to be savoured and enjoyed and not to think of it as too ‘prescriptive’ so to speak. We don’t want to take the joy out of eating after all! However if one isn’t investing in things like daily movement, mindful practises and having joy in their life alongside a healthy diet then it’s only addressing one part of this. All of these contribute to our overall health and longevity in my opinion.

– What do you feel are the greatest global health challenges facing us today?

I think many people living in a more affluent society forget that there are those who suffer starvation and extreme poverty every single day. There is still a lot of work to be done to help address this massive imbalance and the huge amount of food we waste. Clean running water is also another luxury that many of us take for granted as well. Even basic healthcare is such a privilege that is often taken for granted. I don’t really know where to start with that question. However, I do think we need to acknowledge how much lifestyle choices play in the role and development of chronic diseases that include poor dietary choices, lack of movement, stress and overuse of certain meds that I hope that with more accessible knowledge this can start to shift but it will take time and investment on many levels. With that though I think that a lot of the ‘fake’ health headlines can be damaging and misinformation can lead to misguided self diagnosis so there is definitely a balance to be had there as well. I also think that mental health is something that needs more attention and even though the stigma is being lifted it is a slow process and with the onslaught of daily social media that we have now I think that can also have a pretty significant contributory effect.

– Please share your top 5 tips on keeping a healthy diet on a daily basis. 

INCREASE YOUR REPERTOIRE I’m all about diversity in the diet as this increases our range of nutrients and fibre, the latter that crucially helps to feed the microbiome (aka the trillions of micro-organisms that live in the gut). Often we stick to the same foods and dishes on rotation but a little bit more daily diversity does wonders particularly when it comes to veggies. Get them in…in all colours and in abundance.

BE INCLUSIVE – avoid self diagnosed intolerances and buying into fads and instead eat without the temptation to scape-goat or label foods as ‘bad’ or ‘good’. Food is food at the end of the day. If you genuinely have an allergy thats one thing but to forgo foods with little knowledge I think can be bordering on dangerous from a nutrient perspective but also the negative effect it can have on your relationship with food. Don’t waste a day restricting when you don’t need to.

A LITTLE OF WHAT YOU FANCY DOES YOU GOOD – one of THE most common questions I get is ‘what is the healthiest sugar’ and in short there isn’t. So my point is this…if you are going to have something sweet or sugary then have straight up sugar rather than artificial sweeteners. Just do it in moderation, as in not daily or in excess. Boring but I think true. Artificial sweeteners that you find in many diet products and such like they can negatively affect the microbiome, and in case you hadn’t realised, I’m a fan of nourishing the gut, so avoid those types of chemicals where you can.

EAT FATS – having saturated fats such as organic butter, coconut oil, ghee and even pastured lard have myriad benefits to the body including providing direct sources of anti-inflammatory substances so I would encourage having these regularly, almost daily, in the diet. Unfortunately saturated fats have had a bad rap in the past when thats simply not the case. And not to forget about including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as avocados, olives, oily fish, nuts & seeds and cold pressed oils such as olive oil.

CHEW WELL – before we even get into WHAT we are eating its important to look at HOW you are eating. Movement through the gastrointestinal tract and even optimum absorption can be affected by simply not chewing enough. We do have teeth for a reason and it costs nothing to take time to eat each and every meal.

– Why is it important for us to have a healthy gut? 

There are so many reasons why we need to support gut health and the more research that is coming out on the subject makes this even more apparent. Gut health isn’t just about managing digestion but it has a significant role to play in the immune system (80% is located in the gut), production and synthesis of certain vitamins, nutrient absorption, managing inflammation, weight and hormone balancing. Even conditions such as depression and anxiety could have some links to compromised gut health mood since it is believed around 90% of serotonin dubbed our ‘happy hormone’ is produced and managed in the gut.

– How will you be sharing your knowledge at Amorevore? 

I hope that I will be able to ignite some real passion and interest around the subject of gut health. I think that once someone starts on a journey of discovering more about the gut it is a bit like going down the rabbit hole but in a really exciting, truly fascinating and certainly eye opening way.

– There are some health industry myths out there misinforming people about how to be healthy – whats your thoughts on the darker side of the health industry?

I do get bored of the incessant, silly and often misguided rhetoric around health and nutrition and the obsession with diets, fads and extreme regimes that can seemingly have very intelligent people ‘hoodwinked’. However we do have our own minds and that means always being critical in our thinking and not to just take what you have read or what people are saying on face value. Do your own research and consider if something is right or not for you. It is your body after all.

 

To hear Eve Kalinik speak at the Amorevore Food & Arts Symposium get tickets here https://amorevorefoodfestival.com/book-tickets/

Boris Buono and Amorevore

Over the last few years, Boris Buono has established himself as one of the figureheads behind the revival of regional food culture here in Ibiza and will be playing a key role within Amorevore, from running guided walks and demonstrations at his Food Studio Finca near San Lorenzo, to talking part in various events at the main festival site.

Having cut his teeth under the auspices of world-famous Noma’s renowned Rene Redzepi, Boris has long had an affinity with the island and, like so many captivated by the energetic allure of the white isle, he found the mysterious magic of Ibiza too attractive and tempting to ignore – ‘it’s difficult to define precisely’, he says. ‘But we all know what it is.’

After a much needed winter break, Boris is back and busier than ever, with exciting plans brewing at both venues, his Dalt Villa Food Studio and the enchanting Finca near San Lorenzo, where we managed to catch up over coffee during a brief moment of respite.

I started by asking Boris about his childhood memories of food…

‘Pizza in Naples,’ he replied, without hesitation. ‘And fresh fish, caught off the Danish coast. My father is Italian and he was so excited by what he found in Denmark. I grew up fishing for fresh clams, mussels and crabs.’

Do you think your father was an inspiration for you becoming a chef?

Yes sure, and my two grandmothers. I think is rare to find a chef who did not have a parent, or a grandparent, who enthused them about food. I had one Italian grandmother and over very cosmopolitan Danish grandmother from Copenhagen, so I grew up amidst a diverse mix of influences. I remember going to eat falafels and hummus in Copenhagen in the 1980s, long before most people I knew had even heard of such things.

What do you love cooking the most – any particular dish, or style of cooking?

I love natural cooking – to cook fish and vegetables, over an open fire for example. That is my favourite kitchen.

If you were stuck on a desert island and had only one fruit or vegetable to work with, what would it be?

It sounds boring, but probably the potato – or the tomato. They are both so versatile. The potatoes in Ibiza are amazing. In fact, one local farmer told me that some of the potato strains here are some of the only ones that survived the phytopthora infestans disease that caused the Irish potato famine and wiped out the potato crop in most of Europe in the mid-nineteenth century. Many of the strains subsequently exported around the rest of Europe came from Ibiza, apparently.

What started you on the road to becoming a chef? Was there a defining ‘eureka’ moment?

Yes there was. I was working part-time in a pizzeria, just as something to do. But I really liked it. Then my friend knew someone opening a restaurant, almost forcibly marched me over there and told me to ask for a job. I knew from the moment I walked into that kitchen that this is what I wanted to do.

What do you think is the single most important action we can take as consumers to promote sustainable and regenerative food and farming systems?

I think it’s deciding to dedicate time to cooking. For example, if a family decided to take a day out every month to go and source their meat or fish from reputable local sources, their fruit and vegetables from local farmers markets, and manage those ingredients properly, then we could avoid using the supermarkets.  If it’s the whole family together, or a group of friends, then it doesn’t seem like an irksome task for one person on their own. It becomes fun – and it connects you with the producers of your food. Then you can go home and prepare some meat together, prep some dishes, freeze some for future use, vacuum seal it – or make pates, pickles and other preserves. This becomes an enriching and healing experience, overcoming the atomisation we see in society within our families and communities. Supermarkets are just created for junk food junkies to become more addicted.

Who are your foodie heroes and heroines and why?

My two grandmothers. Then there’s Escoffier of course; and Alain Passard, the three Michelin star vegetable genius in Paris. And of course Rene Redzepi. I was three years at Noma and I owe him a great deal.

How can Ibiza become an exemplar for regenerative ecological farming and self-reliance?

I really believe that this island has the potential to become exactly that. It certainly was at times in the past. I am now working with Jovenes Agricultores, an EU programme to encourage young farmers back to the land. If you present a viable business plan, there are grants there for machinery, salaries and other costs. Ibiza has more people living here and visiting than ever before, but fewer and fewer people farming. We need to get young people farming again. We need to make it sexy to be a farmer again.

Rory Spowers, Amorevore Curator

 

 

Graham Hancock in Ibiza

Graham Hancock in Ibiza – October 2018

World renowned visionary writer Graham Hancock will be visiting Ibiza in late October, appearing at the Amorevore Food and Arts Festival  over the weekend of 26th to 28th October and then running an exclusive, intimate retreat, hosted by the Tyringham Initiative, on October 30th and 31st.

Most famous for his controversial bestseller, Fingerprints of the Gods – first published in 1995, translated into 27 languages and sold over 3 million copies – Graham was scathingly attacked at the time by conventional archaeologists for his revisionist approach, contending that highly advanced civilisations were wiped out by a catastrophic climate change event, approximately 12,000 years ago.

However, as the years passed and technologies advanced, much of what he first speculated about has now been verified by the geological record and more recent archaeological findings from the US to Turkey and Indonesia. His 2015 book, Magicians of the Gods, provided ’the smoking gun’ for many of his theories, now accepted by an increasingly wide audience.

Along with maverick biologist Rupert Sheldrake, one of Graham’s TED Talks was famously withdrawn under criticism of pseudo-science by corporate sponsors, highlighting the deep divide in world-views held within the scientific community and the many materialist assumptions now being challenged on numerous fronts.

Graham has also become a leading spokesperson about the ‘War on Drugs’, or what he has famously dubbed the ‘War on Consciousness’, highlighting the pivotal role that various sacred, psychoactive plants have played in the evolution of cultures around the globe and even the human understanding of consciousness itself.

In his Amorevore event, Foods of the Gods, Graham will elaborate on this fascinating topic, in dialogue with fellow writer and ‘cultural change agent’ Greg Sams, while the Magical Mystery Tour Retreat will present his latest archaeological findings, soon to be published in his forthcoming book, America Before.

To purchase a weekend ticket please visit  https://amorevorefoodfestival.com/book-tickets/  or for more information on the retreat visit  https://tyringhaminitiative.com 

Daniela Prasuna Coppini and La Paloma Restaurant

La Paloma restaurant, Ibiza, is a ‘place to eat, talk, and feel the love’ – what better statement could there be to start the first Amorevore Food & Arts Festival Journal post with? Sara (Sarita) Andjelkovic, one of our wonderful Amorevore team members, spent some time with Prasuna – the enchanting co-founder of La Paloma, learning her food story.

After spending 20 years in a community in Italy, Prasuna came to Ibiza in 2000 to be with her young grandchildren, her daughter Mouji and her son in-law Amit. At the time, the only way she saw she could sustain herself financially was to cook, so Prasuna became involved with the restaurants in Ibiza. In her experience of the restaurant industry she had seen a focus on money without much care of the produce. This seeded in her a strong desire to open a new place where food was made and given with good intention – food made with love. Prasuna scoured the island introducing herself to everyone – ‘I’m an Italian cook and I’m looking for a place where I can express myself’.

A magical little house appeared in San Lorenzo and La Paloma was born. The restaurant is truly a family affair with Prasuna’s sister Sam Vega also being a co-founder, along with Mouji, Prasuna’s charming daughter and her dynamic husband Amit. Rolf Blackstadt – a prominent architect in Ibiza, supported the dream becoming a reality and designed the iconic La Paloma logo. Of key importance was to only prepare fresh food, nothing processed, so the earth was prepared and the vegetables started to grow.

This principle of using fresh ingredients informs the menu today. La Paloma does import top quality produce from Italy – such as capers from Pantelleria in Sicily, speciality ham and salami from a little farm in the heart of Chianti in Tuscany, and parmesan made in the traditional methods by a small family. Prasuna describes this produce as ‘pure medicine’. However, the rest of the food is as close to a KM0 philosophy as possible, and is guided by the seasons – reflected in La Paloma’s weekly changing menu. No butter is used in the kitchens of La Paloma – only homemade ghee, which Prasuna feels is a healthier option for cooking Mediterranean dishes such as risotto.

La Paloma restaurant opens for the season on March 21st – the new menu will feature xeixa (an heirloom variety of grain indigenous to the Balearics), peas, asparagus, wild fennel, verdura plant, edible flowers and aromatic herbs.

Amorevore Food & Arts festival is honoured to be working in partnership with La Paloma restaurant and the wonderful, warm family of Mouji, Amit and Prasuna. Visit La Paloma

“When you make good food it is a blessing. It is the basic alchemy of humanity”.
Amit, Co-founder – La Paloma