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The perfect Ibiza picnic

Where and what to buy

Some days you don't want to eat out in a café or restaurant and fancy doing something a bit more al fresco. Right now with the beaches a bit more deserted, it's the perfect time to spread yourselves out a little, though you can enjoy a picnic in most open spaces at any time of the year. With so many days of sunshine in Ibiza it's not uncommon to see people eating outside, even in the winter all wrapped up. Picnicking is a local pastime.

Ibiza has some great local artisanal products as well as a great many specialist shops, bakeries, fresh fruit and veg outlets, cured meat specialists, called charcuterías and all have some jewels of food for you to discover and try out. You'll find that there is an array of choices out there wherever you happen to be.


Market fresh

Some of the best places to go are the markets to get the freshest and tastiest products according to Simon Johnson of Cook Ibiza. There's one in each of the main hubs of Ibiza and Santa Eulalia. The markets are mainly open in the mornings till the early afternoon, with the exception of San Antonio, which is open early evening too. All of these have great selections of the freshest food and a good proportion of it is local, especially the fruit and veg – you can even get local tomatoes all year round according to the owner of one of the fruit and veg stalls, Tropicales y Etnicos in the Santa Eulalia market.


Look out for the independents

In the west of the island, there are two quality small independent supermarkets, which are well worth checking out for the fine quality of the products they sell. Casa Alfonso in San Antonio has been going for years and years and has lots of local Ibicenco products. The same can be said for Es Cucó on the way to Cala Conta, which also supplies meat to some of the best restaurants in the area. Private chef Michael Arthur recommends The Shack, next to the Sal de Ibiza boutique outside Santa Eulalia as being “the most indispensible shop on the island.” In all of these places you will be able to pick up just about everything you need for an entire picnic. Some of the big chain supermarkets have local products too, but not as many as some of the specialists and there's less all-round quality, better to only go to those places if you are stuck for time.


What should go into your basket?

Here's a selection of ideas using local products and what the locals eat the most.

Olives

Don't go for the ones in a jar or tin. This is where it's worth seeking out the markets. M. Perez in San Antonio sells the typical Ibiza dark green olives flavoured with fennel. You'll find all types of different marinated olives in the markets and the taste and texture are worlds apart.

Cheeses

Look out for the different flavoured goats cheeses from Companatge which are made on the island and available everywhere, from deli to big stores. Choose from those flavoured with thyme, rosemary, chilli or black pepper. There's also the well-known Manchego, which is available in lots of different brands. Mahon cheese comes from nearby Majorca and is a great more local alternative. With both of these cheeses, go for the ‘curado' for most flavour. Casa Alfonso does a great fresh goats cheese for a lighter alternative.

Cured meats

The main local thing to get would be sobrasada sausage, a spreadable pork sausage meat flavoured with smoked paprika, it's delicious. A good cured jamón is to my mind the best thing for a picnic: get the best one you can afford. Ibérico is the highest quality but there are cheaper ones and a €40 a kilo baseline price will get you something pretty good. Also try the fuet mini salamis if you see them – very tasty and addictive. Viandas de Salamanca in Ibiza Town even makes up Ibérico ham baguettes if you are feeling really lazy.

Fruit and veg

Try and visit the fruterías or markets for salads and fruit for the best flavour. Right now local figs are in season and you'll see a whole host of local products (labelled ‘Ibiza') from tomatoes to avocadoes to lettuces and all kinds of fruit. Es Tap Nou in Ibiza is a great little place as are the four side-by-side ones on Carrer Madrid in San Antonio. You'll see them dotted around in most big towns.

Breads and pastries

A good artisan baguette will give you the tastiest bread and Bonanza, a bakery on Carrer Madrid in Ibiza does a good one, if in a bakery ask for ‘pan artesano' as independent bakeries are more likely to do that. At the same place like others you'll see pastries, often home made, including savoury empanadas with fillings like with meat and peas, prawns and vegetables or red pepper. These home made pies are a yummy addition to your basket. To finish off with something sweet, we'd recommend the local flaó, a sweet tart made with soft cheese and flavoured with anise seeds. Ensaimadas are delicious too and sold plain or filled with cream or sweetened pumpkin.

Drinks

For drinks you can choose some local wines from Can Rich or Can Maymo. Most places sell local wines in red, white and pink as well as some sparkling whites. For a nice treat, get a good bottle of hierbas as a digestive. Familia Maria Mayans make amazing home made ones as do Companatge and Can Rich. Sometimes you'll see family-made hierbas at the hippy markets across the island. For local beers try the Payesa or Isleña.

And that should give you a feast to remember - buen provecho! And, don't forget to pick up your rubbish.


WORDS Julian Heathcote

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