After an intense couple of months under strict lockdown, these past few weeks in Ibiza have been return a joy for islanders, as they get out of their homes, back onto the beaches and back to work. After isolation, socialising is something we’ll never take for granted again, but here in Ibiza, there’s a new business offering a cutting-edge type of isolation that islanders and holidaymakers will be queuing up for when they hear about its benefits (not queuing literally of course, there’s a very civilised appointment schedule in place). The venue in question is Floatopia Ibiza – the island’s one and only floatation centre, a place where isolation is considered a necessity in the quest for Zen.
The chic Floatopia Ibiza clinic is in a super convenient location in the main shopping strip of Sant Jordi, with plenty of parking and easy access to the highway and airport. And if you’re wondering why its proximity to the airport is relevant, it’s because it’s been proven that a session in a flotation tank can help prevent, or reduce jet lag, which is great news to those jetsetters who’ve just flown into Ibiza from NYC, Sydney, Singapore or Dubai (among so many other countries!). Get picked up by your driver, swing by Floatopia Ibiza and spend an hour in the tank before checking into your villa or hotel – or vice versa, before you’re about to embark on your return trip, pass by the clinic for a pre-flight float. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here – let’s take a look at what a floatation tank is, how it works, what the experience feels like, and what the benefits are.
While floatation therapy is not exactly new – the concept was invented by neuropsychiatrist Dr John C. Lilly in 1954 as he researched the effects of sensory deprivation on the brain – its use as a commercial tool for health and wellness is rooted in much more recent history. Dr Lilly, who was quite the counter-culturist and considered controversial by his peers, spent decades refining his designs and the world’s first floatation tank was released in 1972. His basic concept was to take a full human sized vessel, add around 10 inches of water filled with enough Epsom salts to allow the body to float effortlessly. The tank should be closed, and ideally sound proofed and dark, to deprive the user of all sensory stimulation. Since then, the design and technology used in floatation tanks has far surpassed anything that was in Dr Lilly’s wildest dreams, and Floatopia Ibiza boast three top-of-the-range, high-tech fibreglass tanks that are more like luxurious king-sized space pods, where you are in complete control of your environment and any stimuli such as light or sound.
Sessions at Floatopia Ibiza are via appointment only, and are spaced out to ensure there is only ever one client in the dressing room, chill-out area and reception at any time in keeping with the current health and safety regulations. A standard float is one-hour (although regular ‘floaters’ may book for two or three hours), which means you’ll need to allow around 90 minutes for the full experience. Stepping into the stylish Sant Jordi space, it’s easy to feel instantly relaxed, as a trained professional leads you to your own private room (one person per room), where you’ll be given a demo on how to use the tank, plus Vaseline to put on any scrapes or cuts (so the salt doesn’t sting you) and earplugs (to avoid it getting inside your ears). Next, it’s time to strip down and take a quick shower to remove any moisturiser, perfume and make-up to ensure your skin is completely prepared to absorb the healing Magnesium from the water. And then, you’re ready to float…
Red, blue, orange, yellow and white glowing hues emanate from the Floatopia Ibiza pod while the lid is open. Step inside – being naked is encouraged so there’s absolutely no external stimulation such as a floating bikini string, or restrictive elastic waistbands on board shorts to distract you – and then immerse yourself into the scent-free water, which is pumped full of 1000 pounds of Epsom salts and mineral-rich Magnesium. As soon as you’re lying down, a feeling of weightlessness takes over, as if you’re defying gravity, or floating in space. Common misconceptions are that you’ll need to support your neck (you don’t – but a neck support is provided for those who may have injuries), or that you’ll need to put your feet on the floor (also no!). Your entire body rises up to the surface of the water, which is also at body temperature, which means you can’t tell the difference between the parts of your body that are underwater, and those that are exposed.
Pull the lightweight lid down and settle in, which is easy, knowing there are easy-to-access buttons inside the pod that allow you to call the Floatopia Ibiza team to your room if you need assistance at any time. Relaxing music eases you into the experience for the first ten minutes – after that, it’s pure silence (or guided meditations can also be streamed) and you can either adjust or turn off the lights for the full sensory deprivation experience, depending on your preference. From here, it’s as simple as letting go. There’s no struggle to stay afloat – if anything, your body adapts so quickly it’s like resting on the greatest mattress in the world. Some people fall asleep; others reach the theta brainwave state that takes you into the deepest state of relaxation possible as all of your senses are no longer doing any work. It’s natural during your first float to remain slightly alert – after all, you’re wondering what’s going to happen next or how long you’ve been in the tank, but the sooner you can just ‘be’, the faster you’ll reap the benefits.
The benefits of using a floatation tank range from the most obvious, which is total relaxation, to some truly therapeutic advantages. Floating can be used to treat sports injuries, or simply to help the body recover quickly after an intense workout – It’s proven so effective that professional football teams around the world are investing in floatation pods for their players to use daily. The team at Floatopia Ibiza – who are all passionate floaters themselves – and medical professionals around the world recommend sessions to help with anxiety, PTSD, depression, insomnia, mood enhancement, reduce blood pressure, improve circulation, relieve weight and pressure from pregnancy, and as aforementioned, decrease the effects of jet lag. Floating has also been proven to enhance creativity – there are some artists and musicians who have even been known to compose while inside the tank! Just like yoga and meditation, floating is a true mind, body and soul therapy – you’ll find the more you float, the more clarity you will have in your day-to-day life.
Floatopia Ibiza recommend floating a minimum of once a week to see and feel continued results, although it’s completely safe to use as often as you’d like – people such as athletes or frequent flyers may wish to float several times a week. The experience is suitable for anyone over the age of 16, and if you have any fears or concerns, there’s always a trained professional on-hand to talk you through it. If you’re worried about claustrophobia, you can leave the lid open while floating. If you’re scared of the dark, you can leave the lights on. It’s completely safe to fall asleep as your body naturally remains buoyant. There are no known side effects of Epsom Salts or Magnesium. And perhaps one of the most important thing to note in our new way of living, is that the filtration system used to drain and clean the tanks is the most highly advanced technology available. The water is purified through a one-micron system that is finer than a human hair, while the disinfectant and high Epsom salt content ensures nothing harmful can survive in the tank. In addition, each room, shower and pod is thoroughly cleaned in between each session in keeping with health and safety regulations.
Five minutes before your session is over, gentle music softly starts streaming into the pod again to bring your mind back to reality. Once you’ve stepped out of the pod you’ll need to rinse off the minerals and salt from your hair and body in the shower – high-end Campos de Ibiza products, towels and hairdryers are provided so you don’t need to worry about bringing anything with you. Then you’ll float (figuratively this time) out into the chill-out zone, where you can sip a cup of herbal tea before heading back out into the world with a clear mind, a relaxed body and an uplifted spirit. If three months of quarantine restrictions and social distancing has taught us anything, it’s that we need to take care of ourselves in order to face the challenges, as well as the excitement and possibilities, that the ‘new normal’ brings. And if that means a little more time spent in isolation, albeit self-imposed and floating on water, then Floatopia Ibiza is the ultimate place to be.
There are few things that an infusion of French sass can’t improve. A simple Breton tee paired with jeans, a thick slice of brie atop crusty bread, a glass of red wine on a cold night – these may sound like tired old clichés but they epitomise some distinctly French ideas. A certain pizzazz for style, cuisine and wine – things the rest of the world appreciates but can never replicate. On the white isle, we have Experimental Beach Ibiza to thank for the arrival of a certain inimitable French chicness on our shores a venue where couples with cosmopolitan leanings call on without question to seal the deal on their big day.
Situated among the glass-still salt flats of Ses Salines, a centuries-old nature reserve where Ibiza’s vast quantities of salt are harvested, Experimental Beach Ibiza boasts a front row location on the pebbly beach of Cap d’es Falco. Facing out towards an always sparkling Mediterranean Sea and the tip of the majestic rock known as Es Vedra, the venue is part of the esteemed Experimental Group, which has much revered outposts in London, New York, and Paris, where the team’s first cocktail club changed the face of the city’s mixology scene.
The same can be said for Experimental Beach Ibiza. Not only is this an alternative spot for watching the sun go down at dusk, it’s also a venue that seamlessly combines subtle style with the kind of bohemian free-spiritedness that Ibiza became renowned for in decades past. This combination of stunning location and elegant insouciance has made it an unrivalled hit with Europe’s globetrotting wanderers, and it has cemented its place as one of the most sought after wedding venues on the island. After all, who wouldn’t want to tie the knot as a silhouette against nature’s greatest spectacle?
Unsurprisingly then, the majority of weddings at Experimental Beach Ibiza take place at a time that allows sunset to be incorporated into proceedings. Suggestions are that guests arrive at around 5pm, which is followed by a bespoke beachside ceremony facing the Med, cocktails and tapas, and then a unique dinner on the restaurant’s beautiful alfresco terrace, just in time to see the sun dipping beneath the horizon. Following photos, speeches and food, space is made for drinks and dancing, which continues till the stars have been strewn across the sky like diamonds on a velvet blanket.
Experimental Beach Ibiza is also available for exclusive hire, which allows the happy couple and their loved ones to savour the special day in total privacy. It also means that the venue is a blank canvas on which to paint every pair’s perfect wedding day – from the decor, to the flowers, to the music, all of which can be catered for in collaboration with an external wedding planner, on which can be arranged by the venue’s events manager on clients’ behalf. The same ethos extends to food and drink, where several example menus are available, but can be altered according to taste and in collaboration with the chef after an exclusive tasting menu session.
As a part of the celebration feast at Experimental Beach Ibiza, guests are offered a selection of tapas prior to the sit down meal. Mediterranean-inspired options include pan con tomate, shrimp skewers, and vegetable tempura, as well as patatas bravas, gazpacho, and ceviche. Starters meanwhile, range from luxury lobster salad to salmon gravlax, and crayfish carpaccio. For the pièce de resistance, the couple can choose from options like grilled sea bass, summer truffle risotto, or parrillada of meats cooked in the Josper over for their guests, before finishing on fruit salad, Baba au rhum, or Moelleux au chocolat for dessert.
A nice additional touch comes in the form of the option of a late night snack to refuel guests after all that dancing, with options like Manchego cheese, ham croquettes and mini burgers providing sustenance to keep the energy flowing well into the night. And naturally, since Experimental Beach Ibiza is a world-class cocktail bar, there’s also the option to have the venue’s expert mixologists create a bespoke cocktail to mark the occasion. Sweet, salty or sour – or a concoction that comes with an accompanying story – barmen are able to transform the couple’s cocktail dreams into reality. Classic cocktails and an extensive wine list are of course also available.
An entirely unique venue, Experimental Beach Ibiza is woven together with the standards associated with French establishments and perched on a beachfront on an island in the middle of the Balearics – much like any marriage, it symbolises the unison of two seeming opposites. And yet, one complements the other, revealing something magical and unseen. As you say your vows with the sun setting in the distance and the sea lapping at your feet, may it be the first page of a long and harmonious life spent well together.
They say the only constant is change, and never has this saying been more apparent than in the Ibiza beach club scene. With each new year comes new players, new concepts, new looks, new people and new vibes – while well-established places continue to grow and evolve, building on their existing reputations to maintain their loyal. Beachouse Ibiza falls into the latter category – over the last two seasons, the renowned Playa d’en Bossa beach club has undergone a quiet evolution as it developed into a venue that is far more laid-back, gentler, quieter and, well, more grown-up than it was in previous years.
Situated toward the south end of Playa d’en Bossa, widely known among islanders as ‘the nicer part,’ of this lengthy expanse of coastline, Beachouse Ibiza is nestled into the sand dunes and accessed on foot by a sun-bleached slatted wooden walkway. Stepping through its spacious and airy entrance invites a feeling of cool calmness – a world away from its initial ‘up-for-it’ vibe. Much like the rite of passage of many Ibiza visitors, whose early trips to the island are all about high-voltage fun on very little sleep, but who then mature and come back with a more low-key agenda that involves fewer late nights and more wellness and rest, Beachouse Ibiza has relaxed into its maturity with sophistication and style.
When it opened its doors in 2014, Beachouse Ibiza quickly gained a reputation for hedonistic beach parties with top name DJs drawing a lively and fun-loving crowd of visitors – packed to the rafters and spilled out across the sand. These days, Beachouse Ibiza opens early with a 9.30am yoga class held on the sand in front of the sparkling sea. Refreshingly, there is no charge for the session, but participants are invited to make a donation, with the proceeds donated to a non-profit organisation that coordinates beach clean-up initiatives across the island. Breakfast is served from 10am until 12.30am and includes fresh croissants and sweet pancakes, muesli, granola and fresh fruit, traditional Spanish tostadas or organic local eggs that can be poached or scrambled as you like, with truffles or salmon, or served Benedict style. A vegetarian breakfast with halloumi and corn crepes, grilled tomatoes, spinach and shiitake mushrooms is a creative option for those with a larger morning appetite.
In keeping with its softer and more gentle incarnation, Beachouse Ibiza has transformed its outside space into a temple of the permanently supine. Countless loungers and daybeds invite you to remain horizontal for the duration of your visit, with rustic natural seagrass umbrellas shading the comfortable beachfront loungers, lending a distinctly Yucatan Peninsula feel, as they hiss and whisper in the coastal breeze. When you add a delicious cocktail with a similar Mexican flavour, such as the El Guru blend of tequila, dark rum, almond syrup and lime, or the zingy Ayur Vida mix of Mezcal with grapefruit, lime and passionfruit, you could easily be transported to a beach in Tulum, that favourite off-season location where many islanders head to in the winter months.
When you head inside to the spacious, cool interior at Beachouse Ibiza for lunch, you can sense that this is a place that has comfortably matured into its laid-back groove. Perfectly appointed to impress, with stripped wood, natural materials such as hessian and wicker, plush sofas laid out in social clusters and large tables that are perfect for groups having long, lazy lunches all illustrate the effortless sophistication of an established venue.
Lunch at Beachouse Ibiza begins at 12.30pm and head chef Ezequial Brazfrom has designed a menu of Mediterranean excellence; there are no tricks or gimmicks here – just an exceptional standard of quality local produce, expertly and creatively prepared and presented. It’s gastronomy purist’s dream, where authentic ingredients and concise flavours are allowed to shine. The grill section is all about the freshest of seafood, such as octopus, king prawns and lobster and sea bass, while meat-lovers can choose from prime cuts of fillet or entrecote steak, along with chuletas de cordero – Spanish spring lamb chops – or the juiciest organic free-range chicken.
In keeping with the idea that the day will be spent horizontally, the Beachouse Ibiza menu also features an inventive selection of sharing platters that are perfect to be enjoyed from a daybed or lounger. Of course, the plan for an indulgent day of pure relaxation, lounging and snoozing in the sun is easy if you’re travelling kid-free, but if you’ve got little ones in tow, take advantage of Little Beachouse – a kids’ club which is open daily with a creative programme of arts and crafts, face-painting and puppet shows and even kids yoga, to keep them amused while some uninterrupted blissful peace is had. There’s also a kids’ menu to tick the family friendly box when it comes to mealtimes.
The evolution of Beachouse Ibiza is chic and inspired, with an essence of feet-in-the-sand chill-out and lazy summer vibes. Those who feel nostalgic for the old days will be happy to know the party spirit is still there in the background – this is Ibiza, the island of hedonistic beach fun after all! Pop-up events and parties with live music take place every month throughout summer at Beachouse Ibiza – events with a distinctly global appeal, fusing international musicians, DJs and gastronomy. As well as it being a constant, they also say change is as good as a holiday, and the changes at Beachouse Ibiza reflect the ultimate in luxury holiday experiences.
For centuries, hedonism has pulsed through Ibiza’s veins. In the past, it presented itself in the form of the Carthaginians, who chanced upon this majestic island in the Med and settled here, devoting their worship to Tanit, goddess of life, love and fertility, and Bes, god of dance. In the 1930s, it became home to creatives fleeing oppression, for whom expression was the source of rebellion. In the 1960s, free-spirited hippies followed suit, bringing with them the unmistakeable beat of a pleasure-seeking drum. And today, holidaymakers from across the world are drawn to Hï Ibiza, where the dancefloor facilitates a special kind of release that brings most to the verge of euphoria.
Located in Playa d’en Bossa, a bustling resort town on the island’s south-east coast, HÏ Ibiza is the white isle’s newest and sleekest club. With world-class production in each of its two main rooms – the Theatre and the Club – and a sound system that delivers a sonic explosion with every drop, in the short time it’s been open, Hï Ibiza has become Ibiza’s must-see raving space. Add to that mix a range of show-stopping parties that cater for every taste and a line-up of the world’s most recognisable DJs and it’s no wonder clubbers still descend in their droves.
Every summer a strong sense of anticipation surrounds the club opening party announcements – people simply can’t wait to discover where this clubbing journey will deliver them next – and Hï Ibiza was the first club off the ranks to announce its official opening party. This year, the club is teaming up with sister venue Ushuaïa Ibiza to host a 24-hour season opening that’s set to return to Ibiza’s glory days, when parties lasted all night and then continued long into the following day. Entitled Odyssey, the day begins at Ushuaïa Ibiza at midday on Saturday May 18, 2019, where the sun will beat down on smiling faces and tunes will fly on the breeze courtesy of Tale Of Us, Peggy Gou, Richie Hawtin, Stephan Bodzin (live), Paul Kalkbrenner (live), and more. Then as the clock strikes midnight, the action heads indoors over the road at Hï Ibiza, where the marathon continues for another 12 hours and some of the most sought after underground acts on the planet have been confirmed to appear – this is your chance to get to grips with Damian Lazarus, Richie Hawtin and ANNA. Odyssey looks set to be an opening party to remember.
Once the season has been officially kicked off, HÏ Ibiza’s summer 2019 schedule, which features the crème de la crème of electronic music talent and a slew of new names alongside the club’s longstanding residents, is next to be rolled out. The club has confirmed the return of its superstar Saturday night resident, Black Coffee, who’s back to get the weekend off to the best possible start from Saturday May 25, 2019. The South African maestro has become synonymous with the creation of perfectly curated sets and in the two years he’s held the fort at Hï Ibiza, he’s provided some of the most memorable clubbing moments in recent memory. Expect plenty of soul-rousing, spirit-lifting tunes — this is one of the most popular parties on the island for a reason.
Summer 2019 also sees the arrival of one of the most famous DJs in the world at HÏ Ibiza, when David Guetta moves his ever-popular F*** Me I’m Famous! party to Hï Ibiza from Friday June 7, 2019. A modern-day Ibiza institution and a guaranteed sell-out, fans of VIP glamour and glitzy vibes will be right at home here. This shift in the schedule means feel-good favourite Glitterbox has moved its disco and house sounds to Sunday nights from Sunday May 26, 2019, but don’t worry, excess sequins, ferocious drag queens and bundles of confetti are all still included as part of the deal.
On Wednesdays, the trance candle burns bright thanks to the killer combination of Armin van Buuren and Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano, who merge the genre’s past, present and future in front of an often awe-struck crowd. This trio is in action from Wednesday June 12, 2019. Meanwhile, the Tuesday night slot goes to brand new party BODYWORKS, which brings together three titans of the underground scene: CamelPhat, Solardo and FISHER. They’ll be bringing their fresh new sounds to Hï Ibiza from Tuesday June 25, 2019.
In the wake of a successful summer at Hï Ibiza last year, Afterlife returns every Thursday. Expect to fall into the dark abyss of techno each week and to be lost in the sounds of Ben Klock, Maceo Plex, Mind Against, Marcel Dettmann, Rødhåd, Stephan Bodzin (live), Tale Of Us and Vaal at the opening party on Thursday June 27, 2019. And finally, RICHBITCH moves to Playa d’en Bossa this year, bringing its definitive hip-hop, r’n’b and reggaeton sounds along for the ride. If bass is your thing, Monday July 15, 2019 is the date for your diary. Hedonism is alive and well in Ibiza – look no further than Hï Ibiza to find it.
Grazie Italia! Now, what if you could eat the planet’s favourite dish in a setting that was so lovely, so romantic, so divine that people have been known to weep with joy (okay, maybe not weep but you get the picture)? Welcome to Mimì Pizza Bistrot & Cocktails by Can Domingo. The team from the celebrated Italian fine dining restaurant in San Jose have opened their delightful terrace and garden to bring a whole new pizza experience to the island. The menu features everyone’s favourite classics plus a list of toppings served separately, almost like tapas. Each member of your party can create their perfect pizza at the table and best of all you get to try combinations you might never have thought of before. Actually, best of all are the cocktails, which have been perfectly paired, like fine wine, to the pizzas.
Naturally, the philosophy of quality seasonal produce is followed as rigidly as in Can Domingo’s fine dining menu – which is presented alongside the new concept for those who cannot resist the delicate and delicious offerings. The mozzarella is delivered from a small producer in Italy every week; the sausage is handmade in the Can Domingo kitchen; the rocket and herbs are plucked directly from the garden and the cocktails are created from scratch using various homemade syrups, tinctures and flavourings. Toppings include home-grown grilled vegetables, Parma ham, Cetara anchovies, Salina capers, homemade sundried tomatoes, fresh rocket, Taggia olives – the list goes on and on. Order a classic Margherita, Bianca, Marinara, Quattro Formaggio or Spicy Salami and go to town on the toppings of your choice. Each slice designed by you. Or of course, you could do as the Italians do and simply enjoy the pizza in its simplicity. There are no rules at Mimì Pizza Bistrot & Cocktails by Can Domingo. There’s also a selection of focaccia with everything made to be shared, including the view stretching out in a kaleidoscope of greens and blues across the gardens to the sea.
Every month, Chef Giuseppe Vivacqua adds his own creations to the menu with four or five bespoke pizza combinations. The homemade dough might be topped with roast potatoes, smoked Scamorza and Guanciale bacon; buffalo stracchino cheese, mortadella and lemon zest or fresh tomatoes with avocado, buffalo mozzarella, olive oil and basil. There is also a refined list of everyone’s favourite Italian dishes such as Caprese salad, melanzane alla parmigiana and a seriously impressive lasagne. On Thursday nights at Mimì Pizza Bistrot & Cocktails, pizza comes with very accessibly priced champagne – a culinary match of pure genius that blends perfectly with the smooth tunes and the sparkling stars above. And during July and August, an extra dose of magic is added to the happenings at both Mimì and Can Domingo, as the resident jazz band brings harmony to the stunning location with everyone’s favourite jazz, blues and soul classics.
Pizza night isn’t really pizza night if it’s not followed up with a classic Italian dessert (and a glass of Italian dessert wine or another cocktail, if you insist). Local strawberries with creamy vanilla ice cream, traditional pannacotta that melts on the tongue, sgroppino sorbet with vodka for a grown-up sweet treat, and a range of homemade ice creams and sorbets. However, the Mimì tiramisu is truly mind-blowing – the perfect concoction of creamy mascarpone, velvety cocoa, uplifting brandy and coffee to end the evening. Mimì Pizza Bistrot & Cocktails is set to become an Ibiza institution, creating a new island tradition amongst families and friends, locals and visitors alike. There is nothing better than pizza night – especially when the pies are made with so much love and come with cocktails and champagne served under the glittering Mediterranean skies.
The ultra stylish Experimental Beach Ibiza is the first and only beachside bar and restaurant from the collective behind the renowned Experimental Cocktail Club which boasts venues in London, Paris and New York. They serve lunch, sunset cocktails and dinner daily to their jet setting clientele on the beautiful beach at Cap d’es Falco, which means a busy kitchen, and obviously, an even busier head chef. We persuaded head chef Alexander Larrea to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk to us about the magic he’s working there this summer.
What first brought you to Ibiza? I came to visit a friend and fell in love with the island. I’m from Bilbao and I always wanted to live somewhere different. The first year I worked at Vinyl; I returned the next year, in 2013 and came to this beach for the first time in my campervan to swim in the sea. I saw the beach club and thought wow! So I dropped in my CV, started working on the hotplates soon after, and then I was promoted to head chef.
How would you define your style of cuisine? I am very inspired by my Catalan grandmother, and my style is ‘cocina de verdad’ – real cooking. I believe in preserving the essence of the best quality ingredients. Our clients want relaxed, authentic food that is expertly made.
What kind of food do you like to eat yourself? I love my native Basque cuisine, Mediterranean of course, and I recently discovered I have Peruvian heritage which is great because it’s another cuisine that influences my cooking.
What is the Experimental Beach Ibiza star dish? It’s probably the Tiradito, a Peruvian-style sashimi. The combination is amazing – the acidity of the passion fruit, the crunch of the fried rocket and the delicious tiger milk marinade is really special. I am also particularly proud of the Marinated Sardines Terrine and the Charcoal Grilled Black Cod.
What are the best and worst things about being a chef? There’s a lot of pressure. I always want to deliver the perfect service. You have to juggle lots of things at the same time and the clock is always ticking. The best thing about my work is that it’s very gratifying, to do what I do here in this wonderful location. The Experimental Beach philosophy is to encourage me to develop and be different. They believe in me. So I feel very lucky.
What are your favourite restaurants in Ibiza? I love Sa Carboneria in Santa Eularia, also La Paloma, I want to try the new Adrian brothers’ restaurant Heart, and I like the restaurant at Destino.
Where do you go when you are not working? I love to go the cliffs at Pou des Lleó; I go there with my dog on almost all of my days off. I also like to have drinks and tapas in the old town.
What do you like most about living in Ibiza? It allows me to travel a lot. Every winter is different. This winter I worked in Bilbao and Paris, which was really interesting. My two passions are travelling and of course, cooking, and I love that I get to do both.
Ibiza fine dining restaurant Can Domingo is the culmination of a life lived steeped in good food and good company. Giuseppe Vivacqua was born in the northern Italian city of Turin but his parents hail from the southern province of Calabria. Beppe – as his friends call him – combines the two distinct flavours of north and south Italy in a seamless and ever evolving menu. Beppe’s life revolves around food. His spare time is spent lovingly caring for the Can Domingo vegetable garden where he finds an endless font of inspiration growing up from the earth. When he is not in the kitchen or the garden he is walking in the forests of Ibiza, reading from his ever-growing library of cookbooks and thinking, always, about food. Beppe stopped cooking for a moment to talk to White Ibiza about, well, about food of course!
Tell us a bit about your background? I grew up in my mother’s the kitchen, watching her cook and helping her whenever I could. Later an old friend asked me to join him in his restaurant as an assistant chef. From there my passion was ignited and I travelled around Italy becoming an unpaid apprentice at some of the country’s finest restaurants. Each restaurant had its own code and it was in their kitchens I picked up many useful skills. When I wasn’t working I was reading, watching documentaries about chefs and experimenting. This coming winter I hope to do another ‘stage’ at a vegetarian restaurant, an area that has become increasingly interesting to me. To me, you can never stop discovering.
What led you to work at Can Domingo? I was working for six years at Macao Cafe in Santa Gertrudis and had been thinking about opening my own place for a long time. I was looking at small places, talking to people, and I met [Can Domingo co-owner] Andrea, so we were looking together. Then we found Can Domingo. It was a bit bigger than we had originally thought of doing. We met Alessandro, who was really new to the island and then we went to see the place together, we got to know each other and then it happened. And we get on really well. We have formed a really great team.
How do you describe your style in the kitchen? I like to be involved in everything. There are chefs who expect a lot but I’m pretty normal. I like to create a relaxed ambience in the kitchen, but with concentration and passion. It’s a hard job, if someone has something going on it comes out in the food, there has to be a touch of hospitality, that people feel good to be there, to cook with me. There has to be that tenderness and love so the food is quality. Everyone is at the same level at Can Domingo – the front of house hosts, chefs, everyone feels comfortable and looked after. Every one who works for us is fantastic.
And your style of cuisine? I try never to use out of season produce. My family was from the country, they lived seasonally even in the city. Seasonal produce has the best flavours and is the best for your health. I always try my best to use ingredients that come from as close to us as possible, so that they are fresh and have not been transported too far. We try to import very few things, some things we have to get from Italy but everything else comes from the island wherever possible. In my dishes, I like the flavours to be delicate, to stand alone as well as mix well with the others. Nothing too complicated, so that the freshness is what makes the flavour.
What inspires the creation of new dishes? Here in Ibiza, every Italian restaurant serves the same thing. It’s what people think of as the classics but which are in fact not always. We make food a little differently. The new ideas come in the moment, from a trip away, from the ingredients in the garden, a film I’ve seen or a book I’ve read, a walk I’ve taken smelling the forest. The forest is full of wild plants; the smell can inspire a new dish in my mind. The scents of Ibiza inspire me a lot. I think the memory part of the brain, the hippocampus, is used more by cooks, we smell something, a spice a herb a flower and we go back to a memory from a long time ago. And boom, out of that comes the idea, from the memory comes the dish.
Can you give us an example? There is an almond tree in the restaurant garden, it’s not beautiful, it’s twisted and old, but it’s my favourite. The vegetable garden is under it, I was thinking about it, it gives shade, protects the plants and vegetables. I began to think about what this tree gives to the restaurant through this protection and that is how the dish I call Bajo el Almendro (Under The Almond Tree) came to my mind. I play in the garden, there is a story in the dish, I think about the colours, the smells, the textures. The orange tree that I planted three years ago is also in that dish. Every plant that is protected by the almond tree is in the dish.
What is your signature/star dish? Well, at the moment my personal favourite is Bajo El Almendro. It’s a puree of dry broad bean, fresh green beans and broad beans, sautéed fresh onions, roasted orange sauce, fresh chard and almond milk foam. But it will change of course, when the season changes, when my ideas change, my signature will change. I try not to identify myself with one plate so that I don’t tire of any one dish.
What are your favourite restaurants in Ibiza? This is the hardest question to answer. I’ve been here 14 years. At the moment, I have to say, La Paloma Cafe is a favourite. And O’pazo. The restaurant is not in such a great location but the food is excellent. It’s seafood, from Galicia, all the classic dishes. When I want seafood like oysters, sea truffles, lobster, percebes, I go there.
What do you like most about living in Ibiza? It’s tranquil. Not so much traffic. I can leave my car unlocked. I love the forest, the natural beauty, the countryside. It’s a simple life. I enjoy mostly the simplicity of daily life. People aren’t so stressed out. I spent six months of the winter in a few cities, where there are too many people, too much anger, too many cars. Here people are much more relaxed.
Hello October! Ahhh, how I’ve missed you. Your grey-ish clouds alternating with pure bursts of glorious sunlight. Your occasional amazing storms. Your empty roads and short supermarket queues. The way you begin with some fabulous parties, but end with three glorious party-three weeks of relaxation… The first day of the month and already I’m feeling happier and lighter – October, I think I love you!
Obviously this blog is written by someone who is desperately craving a holiday at the end of a long season. Someone who has spent a huge portion of the Ibiza summer AWAKE and switched on. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the summer. I appreciate that, in a sense, the hordes of tourists flowing through our airport gates are the ones who ensure I have a job. After all, without you coming to the island, there would be no new restaurants, hotels, parties or clubs opening and thus nothing for me to write about. So I’m not complaining. I’m just… tired.
So in an effort to combat this end-of-season-blues, and (more importantly) prevent it from coming back next summer, I thought I would come up with a list of resolutions for next summer – to refer back to when I’m all enthusiastic next March of course. Please feel free to remind me any time you see me doing anything other than the below. Old habits die hard…
1. Schedule some days off to actually enjoy the experience of holidaying in Ibiza in summer. Well in advance. I’ve seen other people in Ibiza do it – by do it, I mean, take a week’s holiday in August – and they come back to work with such joie de vivre, a renewed energy and refreshed view of the island. Rather than becoming one of those slightly bitter “I-haven’t-had-a-day-off-in-three-months” type islanders, you are reminded exactly why we do what we do. It’s a smart move. After all, it’s only FIVE DAYS away from the computer – a little pre-planning can ensure everything runs smoothly while you’re away, and if anything goes wrong, you’re still in the same time zone for a quick phone call (though it’s hard to guarantee what you can hear from the dance floor at DC10).
2. Do not, I repeat, do not drink Red Bull for breakfast. I have spent far too much money (and probably sacrificed a good portion of my liver) this summer on those little blue tins (eight hours sleep in a can, I’ve always said), but I’m starting to think it might be time to jump on the green juice/matcha tea bandwagon before next summer hits. My poor old skin is looking lacklustre and I struggle to switch on the brain (without Red Bull) before midday… but I see the condescending looks from my co-workers each morning as I slug away. I feel the judgey gaze of my ancient little corner store woman as I stagger in at 9am to collect my can. And I feel pretty guilty just watching the cans pile up in our office garbage bin between Monday and Saturday. It’s got to stop. Thank god it’s October!
3. Don’t cut yourself off from friends and family, just because you haven’t got time to communicate. This is a lesson I really learned well this summer – sure, you don’t always have time to answer a long email, arrange a long overdue catch-up lunch or attend every birthday dinner or drinks, but you DO have time to send a snappy little text, Facebook message or Instagram post that shows you still care. (P.S. Hi Mum!! Love you!)
4. Keep work and home life separate. Easier said than done when a lot of your work takes place in the casa, but what I mean is, don’t bring your work problems into your personal life. Grumbling about working overtime (and we are ALL guilty of that here in Ibiza – it feels like a competition sometimes), pesky habits that your co-workers have, or certain parts of your job that you dislike can feel like a cathartic experience sometimes, but for the person on the receiving end (who doesn’t know or care about any of the above)? Ouch. Also, complaining doesn’t help solve anything. If you don’t like it, change it. If you can’t change it, make it work for you. If you can’t make it work for you, get another job! Simple.
5. Don’t let your exercise regime slip because you’ve had a late night. Or six. If, like me, you completely ditched yoga, the gym and even walking to and from the grocery store in a bid to save more time and do more work, you’ll be feeling podgy, unhappy and finding it really difficult to muster up the motivation to get back into it now October is here. If morning classes suddenly become too difficult to attend, switch to evening – they’ll give you extra energy for the summer nights ahead. If five days a week in the gym is too much, cut it down to two or three – much better than nothing, and you’d hope all the extra dancing you do in summer will make up for the days you miss. But anything is better than nothing,
6. Go back to Spanish classes. Pronto! I felt my limited grasp on the Spanish language just slipping away from me all summer – I write in English all day (and many nights) long, my boyfriend is English and I (surprise surprise) speak English to my cats when I’m at home! I speak English with all of my friends and clients (even the Spanish and South Americans, who I should really be practicing with) and so that means the only place I really get to practice my Spanish is in restaurants and taxis. But really, I should be using it every day, wherever I can. What’s the point of living in another country if you don’t speak the language. It would be especially handy right now, when trying to negotiate new rental contracts… dammit!
7. Pre-plan a nice long November holiday before the beginning of the summer. So when you reach this time of year, you don’t start grumbling with “I so desperately need a holiday” – you just DO IT!
8. Be nice to everyone. You never know who you’re standing next to in a bar or even the bank, but the one thing you can alway do is smile and be nice. I’ve never been big on small talk personally, but I’ve come to realise that you come across as being snooty, when really you’re thinking that you’re keeping to yourself. So a quick hello is much nicer than a head down looking into your iPhone – and in true Ibiza style, you never know who you might cross paths with, who could become a potential new client, or even better, friend. I was next to Sven Vath in the bank just last week… and now we’re the best of friends*.
9. Don’t go to every single event because “you think your should”. Really, if you’re doing this, you have a serious case FOMO. Fear of missing out is a serious problem in Ibiza, but the fact is… the earth won’t stop turning if you decide to spend a night in. Sometimes a solid eight hours sleep is the solution to everything. The special ‘one-off’ parties and events will be eclipsed by new one-off parties and events next year. Some of the faces and places change, but the magic moments WILL keep happening. I promise. I’ve experienced many, and the ones I missed out on… well, no one’s talking about them any more anyway!
10. If in doubt, re-read this blog at the beginning of summer 2015.
*Disclaimer. Sven and I are not actually the best of friends. I thought I may have caught his eye at the Cocoon After Party in Destino… but then again, he might have just had something in it. Or been blocking the sun. Next time I see him in the bank, I’ll ask.Sunset shopping
Now it’s absolutely NO secret that I love fashion. And shopping. Yes, I definitely love shopping. Of course, the two go hand-in-hand and when you throw in a sunset and a cocktail (or three), well, you know who’ll end up going home with a few extra bags of clothes that night. Yes, me, despite the lack of space in my already enormous but totally overstuffed wardrobe.
I’m not going to complain – after all, there’s a reason they call it retail therapy!
Recently I discovered a secret little boutique housed within a very well known Ibiza beach restaurant… Treasure Chest at Experimental Beach Ibiza is a hand-picked collection of cool trinkets, elegant clothing, boho beachwear, stylish footwear and plenty of other fashion finds including a select range for the island’s most stylish blokes.
Of course, I don’t expect it to stay a secret for long, which is why I’m glad I stumbled across it just a few days before the official launch – July 10, 2014, in collaboration with London pop-up specialists Modern Society.
Boasting an array of fashion goodies from Ibiza, London, Paris and New York, the collections at Treasure Chest – which by the way, has a gorgeous blue treasure chest right in the middle of the displays – have got the archetypal Ibiza beach babe look covered, but also offer some more edgy pieces for those who like to stand out from the crowd.
The star of the collections (in my book!) is hot London designers The House Of Dharma – ethnic jewellery, elegant headpieces, cool swimwear and beautifully chic silk dresses and jumpsuits. A portion of the proceeds of many of the pieces goes to charity – simply read the hand-written labels to find out just which good cause your retail therapy will be helping.
Another standout is Toto Artwear – a made-in-Ibiza brand of bikini where each is hand made and painted to ensure no two pieces are alike. In addition, there are stunning long silk kaftans, beautiful symbolic jewellery and healing stones, sunglasses handmade in Barcelona, men’s swimwear that is 100% waterproof, ponchos that can be worn 12 different ways and an awesome range of espadrilles that were created exclusively for ECC Beach by Caulaincourt.
This ultimate change-room-with-a-view is open daily from 3pm until 10pm, making it the perfect pre or post-sunset cocktail shopping haunt. With more brands and collections arriving each day – plus a two-week collaboration with Modern Society, including designers Taylor Morris, Tatjana Anika and BexRox, between July 10 and 24, 2014 – there’s always another reason to pass by… With many of the pieces one-of-a-kind or strictly limited, it’s first in, best dressed… literally!