Ibiza wellness: Bites of Bliss Plant-Based Cooking Retreat – Eat right, shine bright

Ibiza has become the European hotbed for wellness retreats and there is no shortage of holidays structured around yoga, meditation and other esoteric arts. Each of these retreats features delicious food yet none of them have made cuisine the star of the show. That is, until now. Private chef, cooking instructor and owner of 2Chefs Ibiza Chef Gee van Donselaar and nutritionist Monica Tarba of Vegi Tales Ibiza are launching the first Bites of Bliss retreat in Ibiza from April 7 to 14, 2018 and are set to change the local retreat scene as we know it.

The Bites of Bliss retreat focuses on teaching the basics of plant-based cooking and takes place in the heavenly Can Shui villa in San Miguel – the new capital of Ibiza boho chic. Hosting up to 16 people comfortably, the design of Can Shui is based on Feng Shui principles, bringing balance and peace throughout the property. Alongside the villas dedicated staff, Gee and Monica are ready to provide a program full of good food, good laughs and lots of love.

The duo originally met at a vegan cheese workshop Monica was hosting, where talk soon turned to their passions – plant-based food and how to prepare it. It wasn’t long before the idea for the Bites of Bliss retreat sprouted. “We are a good match because I know about nutrition and Gee knows so much about the technical side of cooking,” says Monica who moved from vegetarianism to vegan in 2013. “My body is much happier,” she says.

Gee started his professional life as a chef but turned to music producing. After a successful career running his own music studios, he became aware that the lifestyle was no longer serving him. Turning back to his original passion, he set up his private chef company 2Chefs Ibiza and deepened his own journey towards a plant-based diet finally turning vegan in August 2017. “The choice was about environmental responsibility, consciousness and health,” he says. “Everyone says I look so much better now.”

For those feeling dubious about the V-word, rest assured Gee and Monica are definitely not preachy vegan types. There’s a humorous and relaxed vibe around the pair, which seeps into the planned retreat program. “People always come into the kitchen. They love to taste things and ask questions,” says Monica, who has been cooking at retreats and hosting workshops since 2014.  “This retreat is for people who are curious and ready to make changes but with enjoyment,” adds Gee. “It’s a holiday as well!”

Every day starts with a shot of local aloe vera, ginger and lemon plus a freshly prepared juice. Then come yoga and breakfast followed by a workshop. “There are sessions on quick snacks, batch cooking, raw desserts, vegan cheese and that’s just to start,” says Monica. Gee hopes to inspire their guests to leave with enough knowledge of the basics to bring out their own creativity when they get back home. “I want to elevate their awareness and give them confidence in the kitchen,” he says.

Dinners will be prepared together and sound like the perfect evening – friends chatting, cooking, eating and just hanging out. “Cooking with love is the most important ingredient,” says Gee. “It’s all about passion, consciousness, joy and connection.” At this point, Monica pipes up: “But also disconnection! The villa is so beautiful and there are so many spots to relax.” Guests are encouraged to take advantage of massage and other available treatments while under the care of the Bites of Bliss team.

While the knowledge imparted will be immense, the ambience of the five-star villa combined with Gee and Monica’s easy-going attitude makes Bites of Bliss one of the most interesting and appealing retreats on offer this spring. The combination of life-changing learning and plain simple fun is irresistible. “Our guests will learn about ingredient replacements so they can prepare their favourite dishes in a vegan way,” says Monica. “Did you know you can make meringue from chickpeas?” adds Gee. “It’s amazing!”

Bites of Bliss combines everything that’s good about Ibiza – beautiful location, great food, healthy lifestyle and lovely people. It truly is a retreat made in heaven. “Even if people just take away 1-percent of what they experience with us, I will be happy,” says Gee. “Food is for sharing. It’s what we both love most about what we do.”