The evolution of rural and traditional sea-based gastronomy
One of the largest surprises that Ibiza has in store for those who don’t know the island well is the gastronomy and the wide range of food and ingredients local to the island. The city has also received the best ingredients, whether grown, raised, fished or collected from across the whole island.
In the past, Ibizan farmers were practically self-sufficient and grew all types of vegetables, legumes and fruit in order to have fresh food year-round. They raised sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, fowl and pigs. With the pork they prepared traditional sausages, sobrasada and butifarra, and prepared tinned food, cheeses, etc.
The forest, at the same time, provided harvestable fresh asparagus, saffron milk caps and all types of herbs, and the sea offered true delights: grouper, sargo, sirvia, large-scaled scorpion fish, snappers, lobsters, prawns, crab, squid, octopus, etc.
These raw ingredients, which are still raised, produced and caught abundantly on the island, have produced an incredible culinary heritage, which can be enjoyed in countless restaurants and bars across the city. One of the most symbolic dishes is the bullit de peix with a banda rice, a boiled fish stew served with aioli, and accompanied by non-glutinuous rice as a second dish. Other types of rice are also prepared, seafood stew, oven-baked fish and wonderful calamari and octopus tapas.
As far as meats are concerned, the most traditional dish is the sofrit pagès a stew with different types of meat with potato, sausage and vegetables. The ‘island bread’ is also top quality and when it’s baked, crostes are also prepared. They are cooked until the bread is hard and then later softened with water. They are eaten in salads, with tomato, onion and dried fish. Pastry making is also very original and flaó stands out as one of the best, a fresh cheesecake with mint, and la greixonera, prepared with ensaimada from the day before. To round off the offering, there’s traditional Ibizan herb liqueur.
The evolution of tourism in Ibiza has also produced multicultural cuisine, surprising for a small-scale city. There are signature cuisine restaurants, pincho bars, oriental, Mexican and many other types of cuisine. Finally, there is a wide variety of pastry and gourmet shops, markets and traditional local shops. It’s worth travelling to Ibiza for the food alone.