A Masterclass In Tuna At Ibiza Gran Hotel

Posted on May 15, 2018

Words: Helen Davies

Images: Tamara Sini

With the sun rising above the beautiful silhouette of the Old Town and the birds in full song, the stunning Ibiza Gran Hotel was my destination for the morning for an insightful and exciting presentation centered around one of the world’s most valuable fish: tuna! It is always an absolute pleasure to visit the five-star property, which is not only famous for being one of the finest addresses on the island, but also its incredible gastronomy offering. With a sophisticated understanding of innovative artistic trends not only in design, but also across the culinary spectrum, the invitation to the ‘Today we cook with… de Balfegó’ event offered an exclusive opportunity to look behind the scenes of the renowned kitchen manned by head chef Óscar Molina and see, quite literally, how the magic happens.

Arriving at the hotel I was in anticipation for the exciting and gastronomic learning experience presented by tuna experts de Balfegó, hopeful to equip myself with a wealth of knowledge that I hadn’t yet become accustomed to. Having been lucky enough to experience in the past the gastronomic delights of Óscar Molina myself, I was now eager to see him cooking live on stage and to find out more about the amazing Bluefin tuna that is presented on the menu at Restaurante La Gaia, Ibiza Gran Hotel’s Japeruvian foodie hotspot. Following a warm welcome from the team, I made my way towards the ‘Gran Salon’ conference room where I was amongst at least a few hundred more guests also invited to this exciting culinary experience. Once inside the conference room, the first thing that caught my eye was the most enormous fresh Bluefin tuna I had ever seen in my life!

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Over the next few hours, the experts from de Balfegó, the leading global company in fishing and cutting this variety of fish, educated us to such an extent that I can now boast to be a semi-professional expert in this field. One of the many facts I learned about the majestic sea creature is that the Mediterranean Bluefin tuna is considered a diamond of worldwide cuisine comparable to other delectable treats such as Iberico ham, oysters, truffle or caviar. These fish live in natural pools off the coast of L’Ametlla de Mar in Tarragona, where they are raised in the wild and only fished according to market demand. I also learned about its many health benefits; high in Omega 3 fatty acids and rich in minerals, it’s certainly a food that we can be happy to indulge in.

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As demonstrated before my very eyes, de Balfegó only fishes large animals, weighing approximately 150 kilos once it has reached the maximum point of fat and maturation. And with the skilful way that these fish are cut and prepared, this guarantees obtaining the highest gastronomic pleasures from each piece. With my tuna knowledge expanded, I was delighted to then sit back and immerse myself in the superb live cooking demonstration. The creative genius behind La Gaia, Óscar Molina sharpened his knives and took myself and the rest of the guests on a culinary journey. I watched in awe as he sliced, diced, mixed and cooked some of the finest local ingredients to accompany this jewel from the Mediterranean Sea.

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To a round of huge applause, the master chef finished his cooking performance with a small bow towards his audience. Following this sensational experience, we were excited to be invited outside onto the hotel’s beautiful terraces to sample the results of this cooking extravaganza. With the sun shining, and a glass of champagne in hand, we indulged in platters of his imaginative tuna creations, prepared and cooked in a variety of different ways. Delicate sashimi on a thin crispy bread with a touch of wasabi was our first taste sensation, followed by a delicious sushi roll served with a delicate sauce of soya.

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A dish to mention has to be the ceviche, made with diced tomato and red onion, a squeeze of lime and lemon juice, and finished off with an an oil sweetened with local honey, served in an attractive silver spoon. My favourite dish of all, however, was the Anticucho de Atun: diced pieces of Bluefin tuna very slightly cooked to create the perfect texture, and drizzled with a sweet and sticky sauce. This particular dish discerning gourmets will be able to find on the menu at La Gaia this summer – and after experiencing the care and artistry with which the premium ingredients are prepared, we will certainly be reserving our table at La Gaia soon so that we can experience the full, sensational array of gourmet treats created by Óscar Molina and his team!

For Further Information & Reservations:
t: +34  971 806 806
w: www.ibizagranhotel.com

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