Ibiza's culinary heritage is a mirror of its culture and its history. Its special dishes reflect the culinary habits of an island at the crossroads, a melting pot of different cultures where age-old recipes and techniques have been preserved in a great many original preparations.
Today's gastronomes are specially attracted by the old favorites cooked up just the way they used to come from grandmother's kitchen. This is certainly the case of peix sec, the dried fish that fishermen made after careful preparation of certain species of fish, which would then be spread out to dry in the sun next to their boats' slipways. Flakes of peix sec livening up a salad is truly a delight.
With promising results, a few island vintners have tried their hand at making wine from indigenous grape varieties, whilst incorporating modern techniques. Modest country crops such as the potato here reach unexpected heights of excellence.
Chefs have learned to prize the Ibizan potato for its texture, its creaminess, and its ability to retain its own character when incorporated into a great variety of dishes. Along with fish, pork was, until quite recently, the other main source of protein in the local diet. Sobrassada and botifarró are the traditional sausage meat products prepared in the laborious but festive rites that still mark the autumn pig slaughter. Gastronomically inclined visitors will have no trouble finding all manner of fine restaurants that specialize in traditional cooking with a master touch, using only the best quality local products.
- Pa torrat amb tomata
A slab of peasant bread lightly toasted on the grill, rubbed with the open face of a split tomato, then sprinkled with oil and salt. For centuries this has served as breakfast for the Ibizan peasant. Authentic peasant fare, but visitors who appreciate the virtues of the Mediterranean diet go for this one, too.
- Borrida de rajada
Combining the flesh of the humble skate with potatoes, this stew is one of the more sophisticated island dishes. A light broth, a touch of chopped almonds and a dash of pastis or absinthe at the finish make this fare for serious eaters.
- Guisat de peix
This local variant on the fish stew found throughout the Mediterranean is the Ibizan housewife's traditional way of serving fish. Everything depends on the freshness and quality of the ingredients, and in Ibiza you can be sure of getting the very best.
- Arròs de matances
Of all ways of preparing rice, this one is guaranteed rave reviews. A hearty rice and vegetable broth is enriched with a variety of pork products from the autumn pig slaughter. The resulting dish has become a cornerstone of the island's culinary culture. Apart from the meat (pork, to be sure, but some like to add bits of pigeon) the wild mushrooms have pride of place in this dish. The "milk mushrooms" Lactarius delicious, both scarce and highly valued, that add the sophisticated touch to the rice are known as pebrassos in Ibiza.
- Sofrit pagès
This is the most baroque of the local gastronomic
creations. The dish consists of different types of fried meat,
including sobrassada and botifarró and fried potatoes and
is eaten on high days and holidays.