Ibiza wellness: Cotton Fitness Club – Stars of the health food scene

For those familiar with the cuisine concepts at the famed Cotton Beach and Lounge venues in Cala Tarida and Figueretes respectively, it should come as no surprise to hear the gastronomic offerings within the brand’s latest outpost, Cotton Fitness Club in San Antonio, is equally world-class. Christian and Merete Marstrander, the couple behind the brand, scoured the world in search of the finest culinary talent with the aim to deliver healthy and nutritious meals with five-star finesse.

This global search led them to Karen Acevedo Palpan, a Peruvian chef with a flair for health food that is as mouth-watering as it is nutritious. Having worked at the fourth best restaurant in the world, she also trained with the world-famous Virgilio Martinez at Central Restaurante in Peru, worked in the three-Michelin starred Azurmendi in Bilbao, and alongside Rodolfo Guzman at Borago in Chile. Such is the level of her pedigree that when Christian and Merete heard about her skills, they actively sought to bring her to the island prior to the launch of the fitness club, just to secure her services.

As a result, Karen began working at Cotton Lounge Club in Figueretes last summer. “One of our friends was working at Cotton Beach Club,” she explains. “He got in touch with my partner, Sergi, while we were still in Peru to tell us about the concept so we came!” After a year spent sprucing up the menu there, the opportunity arose to start something fresh at Cotton Fitness Club, so she and Sergi made the move together and worked on the new concept of the menu alongside one another.

“It’s a fusion of super healthy, beautiful, fresh food for people who love to eat well,” she says of the menu, and naturally, this ethos is weaved throughout every breakfast, lunch and dinner option on display. The Cotton Fitness Club kitchen is a place where the highest quality ingredients are combined with cutting edge techniques to create dishes with a difference. When you consider Karen’s training and background, plus the plethora of fresh, healthy and organic produce on offer in Ibiza, you’d expect no less.

“We have a variety of raw vegetable dishes plus lots of options for people with specific diets,” Karen says. “There’s also a range of fantastic juices to complement the menu.” A shared food philosophy between Karen and Sergi lies at the heart of it all, as well as an uncompromising passion for their craft. Freshness and colour practically jump off each plate, with every dish and drink presented as if it were a work of art. “We try to take advantage of all the excellent produce we have on the island to maintain a healthy, ecological and sustainable gastronomy,” Karen explains.

Open from 7am until midnight daily, Cotton Fitness Club caters to healthy breakfasts, juices and smoothies on the go, long lazy lunches and sunset suppers alike. Workout friendly brekkie options include egg white omelettes or a lean turkey-packed version chock full of broccoli, courgette and cherry tomatoes for the ultimate fuel-up. Sugar-free and gluten-free quinoa pancakes sit alongside huge platters of fruit served with kefir, muesli and unbelievably delicious homemade cacao paste, tasty tostadas, plus chia puddings, Açai bowls and more. “All the recipes are completely unique to Cotton Fitness Club,” says Karen proudly of her creation.

From midday onwards, the a la carte menu is introduced, where many of the dishes on the menu are made entirely from scratch. “We even make a lot of the ingredients ourselves,” says Karen. “We cook at low temperatures because it keeps all the ingredients moist and maintains their natural taste,” she elaborates. “We also dehydrate our vegetables so they retain their minerals.” This means when you tuck into steamed broccoli bread made with mushrooms, soya and red onions, you experience true flavour as well as a health kick.

Standout starters include salmon ceviche (you’d expect nothing less from this born and bred Peruvian duo), sea scallop carpaccio and a hearty, healthy root vegetable salad. For mains, quinoa is packed with more health-boosting ingredients than you can imagine: mixed greens, spinach, chlorophyll, cucumber, avocado, beans, broccoli and more. Salads can be topped with grilled chicken breast or salmon, vegan cheese or smoked vegan cheddar for an extra protein boost, while beach and poolside classics like the burger and tacos take on a healthy, homemade twist.

In addition to its high-end, healthy menu, Cotton Fitness Club introduces a brand-new luxury health club concept with a unique approach to fitness and wellness to Ibiza. Set on the banks of Calo des Moro in San Antonio, the stylish venue offers a first-class gym and complete schedule of fitness and yoga programs, massage therapy, a cutting-edge, functional Fitbox training suite, luxury change rooms and facilities plus a pool with panoramic views that just get better and better as the sun begins to set before your very eyes.

Undoubtedly serving up the best possible food you could fill your body with, pre and post workout, Cotton Fitness Club is now set to become a foodie destination in its own right, thanks largely to the fact food here is infused with love passed down to Karen from previous generations. “There is a long history of cooking in my family,” she says. “If you go to Peru, you’ll find standards are exceptionally high – it’s authentic, traditional cooking, and all the tastes are unique to my country.” In essence, Karen is pioneering South American style on the shores of Ibiza, and it won’t be long before the secret gets out.

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