Ahh, old school Ibiza. I’ve heard tales of magical parties atop of mystical mountains. Unforgettable events in impossible-to-find fields, beaches or villas. You know the ones… the ‘you-had-to-be-there’ type of top secret soirees that you annoyingly hear about the day after. Those truly authentic Ibiza events that allegedly only ever took place ‘back in the day’.
Ladies and gents, I am here to tell you these events are not just a myth. They do indeed, still exist in Ibiza and they are every bit as amazing as you may imagine. So without any further ado, let me spill the beans on my latest Ibiza secret discovery: Clandesdining Club, a secret supper society popping up in unique Ibiza locations, serving up exceptional cuisine and reaffirming my faith in this island’s magical spirit.
The vision of three long-term Ibiza lovers and residents, passionate foodies, professional chefs and experienced event organisers, the idea is simple: to create a series of happy, smiling, fun, delicious alfresco Ibiza dining experiences for a select group of diners, ranging from close friends to colourful characters and holidaymakers alike.
As the name suggests, the invitations and promo leading up to the event were all very word-of-mouth and hush hush. This wasn’t the type of party that was designed to be crashed, or even worse, closed down! Thankfully, the first wave of Clandesdining Club invitees were all like-minded people, and knew the first rule of Clandesdining Club was, well, you know the drill!
After confirming my attendance, I received super detailed directions to the location (which of course I cannot divulge due to the super secret nature of the event!) and very strict instructions to be on time.
Arriving via a lumpy, bumpy, dusty path in the heart of the island, I arrived to a beautiful orange grove, with a huge clearing strung with coloured lights, surrounded by trees bedecked with twinkling fairy lights and one l-o-n-g, communal table (for 66 people no less!) plonked perfectly in the centre. The red and white gingham tablecloth won me over in seconds, and I half expected the cast of the Sopranos to sit down next to me.
In fact, it was a cleverly assembled cast of Ibiza folk (the ‘who’s who’ springs to mind here) mingling at the makeshift terrace bar, sipping on sangria – a ‘spiced albariño sangria’ that is – and marveling over the beauty of the setting in the magical Ibiza dusky light. As we took our seats and introduced ourselves to our new neighbours, there was a feeling of being part of something über special.
First up were long sharing tableaus topped with antipasti – lush, creamy Italian cheeses (a fresh Bufala mozzarella to die for – I wanted to stash it in my handbag for later, but got carried away and ate it all), the very finest Italian cured meats and the yummiest cherry tomatoes I have ever had the pleasure of popping in my mouth! Clever really, as the sharing tactic encouraged you to socialise even more and by the end of the course, I had about six new BFFs.
Next up was spaghetti vongole a la fideua, which I do believe was the specialty of the private chef, who was at the helm of the giant saffron-hued platter at one end of the field. Rich and homely, chock full of chunky clams and with a kick of chilli, one by one each of the plates were demolished (in good manners of course) to make way for the main event.
Succulent organic local lamb, marinated in wild fennel pollen and parsley seeds then cooked to perfection on an open grill (which seemed to be inside an empty swimming pool, for extra quirk factor), served with smothered fresh borlotti beans in mint and basil plus delicious little Ibiza red potatoes sautéed in garlic and rosemary.
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is at the sheer memory of this feast fit for a king (or a table of 66 kings and queens!)…
Despite being full to the brim, I still managed to polish off the quirky little dessert, an Ibiza trifle made using local almonds and apricots… the English classic with a Balearic twist.
After dinner, it was back to socialising… the laidback, food coma style that can be done from your seat at the table. You know, just 66 friends, shooting the breeze (and there was a lovely fresh summer breeze indeed) under the stars in a field… One by one, guests excused themselves and returned to their respective Ibiza homes at a very civilized hour, senses sated and ready to wax lyrical about the magical Ibiza event ‘you just had to be there’ at the next morning…