An epiphany in Ibiza: 25/12/09

While people all around the globe were busy fighting the high-street hordes in search of the perfect last-minute gifts, dealing with raging hangovers in order to have Christmas dinner with the in-laws and having to dress to deal with temps either in the minuses (or reaching 40 for those in the southern hemisphere), Miss W here had an epiphany. Yes, another one.

Why, oh why, would you ever want to experience Christmas anywhere else but Ibiza?

Ibiza Town (and all the major towns) really goes to, well, town when it comes to decorating the streets, squares, lamp posts and trees. In fact, the giant Christmas tree standing proudly at the end of Vara De Rey is actually the second largest in all of Spain. And, given that we are in the clubbing capital of the world, even the clubs get in on the action, with Space replacing all of their old faded billboards with messages of festive love and cheer (Molts Anys I Bons in Catalan) and Pacha adorning their famous palm trees with fairy lights and red baubles. Only in Ibiza!

The festive Christmas markets (despite the fact their merchandise doesn’t really change much from year to year) give you all the more reason to splash your cash, from a special night version of Las Dalias to an organic and free trade market in the main square of town. And of course, there’s the giant tent full of festive decorations, real and faux trees and thousands upon thousands of fiddly, plastic miniature nativity scene pieces, as the custom here in Spain is to build your own at home.

Shops roll out the red carpet, bars begin brewing their Gluhwein and oysters are gulped down by the dozen with a festive glass of cava as the sun goes down late each afternoon in Plaza Del Parque’s Hostal Parque. Local restaurants prepare special festive menus, and for Miss W and co, the big event itself, Christmas Dinner, was to be partaken at Boutique Hostal Salinas.

But this was to be no ordinary dinner. No wait staff. No chefs (unless you include the eight wannabes included amongst the list below). No rules. Dusi, Anita and David threw open their professional kitchen, outdoor barbeque area and hotel bar to a select group of friends without family on the island, allowing them to be in control of the cooking (and drinking) in order to create a feast that was to become a merging of cultures – English, Spanish, Austrian, Australian, French, German and Welsh!

Our Christmas Guest List included:

4 Bar owners
3 Hoteliers
3 Club Promoters
2 DJs
1 Tour Manager
1 Tattoo Artist
1 budding photographer
2 kids under the age of 5
3 dogs
Miss W herself
1 dearly departed pig dubbed ‘Lawrence’
And probably a partridge in a pear tree, though it wouldn’t surprise me if it ended up on the barbeque…

Our roast suckling pig perched rather ceremoniously (or should I say ironically?) on a crucifix over flaming hot coals, while three wise men spent over seven hours lovingly basting and turning until it was time to eat. Inside, furious debates raged over whether roast potatoes were better than jacket spuds, the reason why exactly we needed stuffing when there was no turkey or chicken on the menu, the difference between prosciutto and Serrano ham, how much brandy belongs in custard and of course, whether it was too early to crack open the vino. Actually, in retrospect there was no debate on that last point – it’s never too early on Christmas!

Dinner eventually came complete with crackers, the obligatory bad jokes and some hilarious renditions of charades through language barriers. As the night wore on, the pig’s head was passed around on a platter (to Miss W’s horror) and the charades turned into a mini-rave… and then before you know it, we were all tucked up safely in our respective lovely crisp white hotel beds – no irresponsible drink driving here folks – before traipsing down to the kitchen for a bubble and squeak brekkie the next morning.

Three cheers to the hospitality of the Boutique Hostal Salinas crew for letting us all chip in and feel like part of family, in the absence of our own – let’s hope this is a tradition we can continue in 2010!

THE LOWDOWN

THE GOOD: We may not have been able to celebrate the yuletide with our actual families, however over the course of the day (and through the bottom of a case of wine or two) the motley crew of waifs and strays assembled at Boutique Hostal Salinas today became just like a surrogate family in the end… and I do hope we can do it all again next year!

THE BAD: Can I say lack of snow? I know, I know, we were blessed with sunshine and warm temperatures all day, but just quietly, I’m still dreaming of a White Ibiza Christmas!

THE GOSSIP: The extreme weather everywhere in the world meant it was a bit of a struggle for some Ibiza residents to catch their connecting flights home, when they had been in other parts of the world just days before. From Manchester and London to Thailand and even Cairo, each one of our jet-setters managed to finally make it to the table on time – or was it all just an excuse to get out of peeling potatoes?