One of the best way to get to know a culture is by tasting it. That’s why I love discovering local culinary specialities when I’m traveling and a fun, efficient and delicious means of learning a lot in a short amount of time is by taking a food tour. On my recent trip we had the chance to delve into the delectable world of Ibiza food traditions thanks to a fabulous tour by Ibiza Food Tours. Read on to whet your appetite for Ibiza…
Toby Clarke and his associates have been providing walking tours in Ibiza since 2011, first via his sister branch of the food tours, Walking Ibiza, focused mostly on half-day and multi-day hikes (a great option if you’re looking for a guided exploration of the beauty of the island, they are available in group and private formats). His story is really quite unique, having been born on the island to hippy parents and been inspired to start his company after walking around the whole island by himself in with just 1€ in his pocket! When Toby isn’t leading the food tours, they are conducted by another member of his small team of knowledgeable guides.
In our case this was Erick, a French private chef now living on the island. We met him and the other participants of our walk down by the port in Ibiza town. This location wasn’t chosen haphazardly. As we learnt at our first stop, a café located in a former warehouse, the port and the surrounding buildings have played an important role in Ibizan food history, being the island’s gateway to products from the Spanish mainland and other destinations further afield as well as the exit point of goods from the island, namely its famed salt. Wait a second… not its famed coffee? Yes, we sipped up all of these intriguing details as we sampled the different ways coffee is served on the island, using the local Cafe Ibiza brand. One of these diverse servings just might have involved a shot of brandy (shhh! we were on the afternoon tour so we didn’t have to feel guilty about getting our tour off on a double buzz).
Warmed up and raring to go, we walked a few blocks through the “new town” to reach the city’s oldest bakery in Ibiza. Run by the same family since 1923, we sampled the island’s speciality, the flaó, a flan which includes some of the local herbs. Erick then treated us to samples of several other delicacies before taking us on a behind the scenes tour of the kitchen, how cool is that? Or rather how hot… the ovens weren’t on, but it still smelt divine and it was interesting to see the vintage machinery, much of which they still use to make their scrumptious pastries to this day.
Our next stop was like going down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole. We’d been transported to a magical world at a the most enchanting tea salon. Surrounded by antiques and curiosities, we settled in at the coziest table to sample an aromatic tea made with a mix of herbs picked on the Ibizan countryside. The flavorful blend was served in refined bone china cups and along with some traditional sweet turron nougat. The shop’s owner Félix, a true Ibizan, takes impeccable care of his guests and we felt entirely at home… we almost didn’t want to leave, but further food adventures called!
We continued on to a friendly delicatessen where Erick had arranged for an ample ham and cheese tasting paired with a glass of Spanish wine. While these products weren’t necessarily all from the island, however, this gave us an opportunity to discuss Spain’s cuisine on the whole and how Ibiza fits into it.
The tempo picked up heartily as we took in the much loved Spanish tapa experience at a lively pintxos bar. Served on a piece of bread, pintxos (or pinchos) come bearing a variety of tasty goodies from cheese and seafood to egg tortilla and tuna topped with padrón peppers. Packed with locals enjoy a celebratory drink and snack after work, the bar was a nice way to temporarily step into the shoes of a socializing Ibizan.
At this point, I was already full! But there was more… Next our stomach’s actually took a break as we sample a selection of local Ibiza and Formentera wines at a swank speciality food shop. There are several wineries on the island (one which I recommend visiting in the full Romantic Ibiza Guide), the tasting gave us a good intro into the various appellations on the islands, plus we tried some Hierbas and Frigola, liqueurs, like the tea, made with local herbs… I was sort of hoping these traditional digestives would make some room in my belly for our last stops.
We then popped into another bustling evening establishment, a unique cider bar. Here we learnt how to pour our own cider, which went down nicely with some croquetas and more cheese. We proceeded to burn off some of the indulgence as we climbed through the Dalt Vila, the Old Town, so charming and romantic at night, en route to our last stop, a palate cleansing helado, home made ice cream.
Erick was a great guide and provided us with valuable insight into the culinary traditions of the island. This is a wonderful introduction to Ibiza and an alternative and delicious way to visit the city, especially to parts and places you wouldn’t likely discover on your own. This, plus the copious tastings (equivalent to a large meal), make it well-worth the cost.
Group tours are 69€ per person, last 4-5 hours and are capped at a maximum of eight people per tour. In high season April to October, their afternoon tour runs at 5pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays whereas they also have a morning tour on most days 10:30 am, which also visits the local market. Schedule subject to change. You can check it and book directly on their website here.
If you’re looking for cool other things to do in Ibiza, gorgeous secret calas to visit, romantic restaurants and fun bars, check out my Romantic Ibiza miniguide!
I was a guest of Ibiza Food Tours, however, all of the opinions above are entirely my own.