Gastro / 24 Sep 2020

Flavours of Sant Antoni

T

he growing interest in healthy eating based on a balanced and natural diet is a well-established trend worldwide. The concern for the quality of food and sustainability of processes and the preference for organic and local products are key factors in the purchasing decisions of more and more consumers.

In this new context, a whole range of natural products produced and elaborated on Ibiza are once again taking centre stage. Seasonal, organic, local, homegrown… The range of products on offer is as wide as it is tempting.

Sant Antoni, a municipality with abundant natural resources, has firmly positioned itself in the new agri-food panorama. The experience accumulated over decades by generations of farmers, livestock breeders and fishermen is combined with the innovation offered by new technologies and the creativity of new players who care for and pamper the products of the land.

A quick tour of our territory will provide clues to this new and promising scenario.

In the Corona area significant quantities of almonds, carob and figs are produced. Three rainfed crops that are an essential part of Ibiza’s identity and whose harvesting and marketing dates back to the beginning of the modern era. They are marketed by the Sant Antoni Cooperative, which has always been committed to the rural economy of the municipality. The different varieties of fresh or dried figs have given the Ibizan diet a distinctive Mediterranean touch. Almonds have been the basis of our dishes such as our tasty, carefully prepared Salsa de Nadal (Christmas Sauce), whose recipe varies according to the personal touch of each household; while the carob was not only a staple food for farm animals, but was also used to make a dark flour with a consistent taste that was used to make bread and chocolate with very characteristic aromatic notes.

The market garden also occupies a prominent place on the fresh produce counter. Traditional varieties are produced in Sant Antoni, many of which have been recovered and saved from almost certain disappearance. Farmhouse cabbage, peppers, onions, Ibizan red potatoes, melons (with their local variety eriçó), tomatoes (penjar and ferro), beans (palaueta and pasta reial), watermelons, citrus fruits and other stoned fruits such as plums and apricots, along with a long list of other fruits and vegetables are produced by several local holdings. Farms such as Can Micolau, Can Bernadet, Ca n’Armat and Can Tanca are just some of those that offer us the unmistakable taste of the local farmhouse product.

Organic production plays a key role in the municipality’s agri-food scene. Can Fontet, for example, promotes and recovers native varieties of fruits and vegetables as well as aromatic plants, edible flowers or ancient cereals such as xeixa. The same is true of Tierra de Ibiza, an organic farm that also promotes products such as watermelons, courgettes, basil, tomatoes, potatoes and a long list of eco-products. Other farms focus more on specific products, such as Can Llusià, which grows and markets Ibizan strawberries, of incomparable taste and flavour.

Organic farm, Tierra de Ibiza.

Continuing on our tour we come to Sant Mateu, the place where the bakery Forn Can Blay is located, producer of a product as indispensable as it is typical of the island: pan payés (farmhouse bread). Traditional Ibizan bread is made without salt, with a slow fermentation process that ensures longer life. Its dense texture, with an intense flavour, makes it the ideal companion for all the dishes of Ibiza’s cuisine. In addition, this product is undergoing a process of recovery with the use of xeixa flour, a very old variety of wheat that provides major benefits due to its high fibre and low gluten content.

Breaf of xeixa flour

In the Buscastell area we can find another example of recovery of traditional products, this time in the dairy section. We are talking about the Ses Cabretes cheese, which has set itself the goal of achieving a production based exclusively on Ibizan breed goats and sheep. The cheese is made with the help of thistle vegetable rennet (herba de formatjar) which gives it an unmistakable and delicious bitter taste.

Ses Cabretes cheese

In the direction of Forada, on the road to Can Taulell, you will find Granja Artina, a farme where they have been producing cheeses in Ibiza for more than 15 years with milk obtained from their free-range Friesian cows. Some of their most outstanding products are fresh mozzarella and ricotta or cheeses such as provolone and semi-cured cheeses. Fresh products with an authentic natural flavour.

The next stop on our journey are the classic sausages such as Ibizan sobrasada. Carnes Juan Viola produces it according to the traditional recipe and under the label “Sabors d’Eivissa”. But pork is not its only star product. It also markets Ibizan lamb, identified and guaranteed by the “Anyell d’Eivissa” label. In Sant Rafel we find the El Caragolet Pitiús farm, where they raise Ibizan snails, another delicacy in the municipality’s cuisine.

Sant Antoni also stands out for its producers of olive oil with a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). This label identifies virgin olive oil obtained exclusively by mechanical procedures from Ibizan olives, mostly Picual, Arbequina or Koroneiki. Both the Can Rich winery in Buscastell and Can Maymó winery in Sant Mateu d’Albarca engage in this activity. Both are also renowned wine producers with their respective local wines, which can be found in various stores and restaurants on the island.

Production of olive oil with a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)

From the land to the sea. Special mention should be made of the Sant Antoni fishermen’s guild, which, together with the Ibiza guild, takes special care of its catches with its Peix Nostrum quality seal. The always provide fish and seafood with the maximum guarantees, both in terms of the sustainability of their fishing and in the correct handling and marketing of the products.

Many of the products mentioned can be found in the Sant Antoni country market, in Calle Madrid and also in the market held in Buscastell on Saturdays and, more recently, in the Sant Antoni Cooperative every Friday morning outside its facilities.

And, of course, the places where the natural products stand out the most are the town’s restaurants. The culinary choice is exceptional, with all kinds of proposals, from traditional recipes to international fusion cuisine. In all of them, the local product is the indisputable star. So, without a doubt, Sant Antoni is good enough to eat!

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