From Paradise To Plate: Cas Costas’ Organic Garden

Posted on August 30, 2019

Words: Olivia Ebeling

Images: La Skimal

Opening its doors three years ago, the renowned Nassau Group’s grill restaurant Cas Costas gave a new lease of life to la popular local gathering point. Previously a traditional Ibicencan bar and supermarket, owner Christian Braun and his team were determined to maintain the authenticity and welcoming air of the original venue. With much love and attention to detail, they have created a rustic chic eatery that serves up the finest grilled meats complemented by fresh, home-grown vegetables and salads on its bustling terrace. An onsite ecological supermarket completes the offering, making Cas Costas a popular destination for everything from a morning coffee to leisurely lunches and atmospheric dinners – or a one-stop-shop to stock up your cupboards.

Determined to wow guests with only the freshest, most flavoursome ingredients, Christian Braun entrusted Nicholas French Videla with creating an organic garden from which the kitchen team can supplement the restaurant’s premium meats. The Argentinian garden guru, who perfected his craft in New Zealand and California, welcomed us on a sunny afternoon to show us around the oasis he has created amidst the local carob trees and striking red soil of the island.

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He told us, “We started with just a small patch three years ago. The reason was that Christian wanted to have fresh produce as close to the restaurant as possible so guests can enjoy the best flavours. I’m very grateful to him, because he showed me the space and let me do what I know best without any restrictions. He put his full trust in me. I designed the garden from scratch and it took me around two months.”

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Located just a short stroll from the main building behind the children’s playground, Cas Costas’ fruit and vegetable garden is an idyllic haven full of flowering green patches and aromatic herbs. During a guided tour, Nicholas proudly showed us the fruits of his labour: rows of cucumbers and zucchinis, multi-coloured varieties of tomatoes, spicy chilli peppers and crunchy lettuce to name just a few. He explained that the crops have to be carefully planned and rotated so the garden doesn’t run out of key ingredients. It is also important to place the right vegetables together so they can grow in symbiosis and don’t fight each other for nutrients.

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As the ground is quite dry and hard in this part of the island, Nicholas has to work with his own composting system to produce the kind of strong, aromatic ingredients that Cas Costas is known for. He explained, “Every morning, the first thing we do is collect the organic waste from the kitchen and we add it to our compost pile. This is the most important part of the garden, because to get strong plants this is the best fertiliser.”

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Protected by scarecrows from prying birds, we marvelled at the smorgasbord of leeks, aubergines, kale, oregano, rosemary, thyme and edible flowers thriving around us. Spending around eight hours in the garden every day, Nicholas manages this little slice of paradise completely on his own. As he plucked spicy red chillies and sweet figs for us to try, it was obvious how much joy and pride the garden brings him. He said, “Looking after the garden can be challenging sometimes, but I like that no day is the same. And when the earth gives you fruits and vegetables like this, it makes you smile. Caring for the plants is a big responsibility, but it’s also very rewarding.”

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Cas Costas’ offering of ‘km0’ ingredients not only benefits the flavours on your plate, but also appeals to environmentally conscious clientele. With climate change and global warming now a stark part of our reality, it’s more important than ever for businesses and individuals alike to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible. Nicholas told us, “Even making little changes is better than not doing anything. Five years ago, when you spoke about the impact of mass agriculture, no one cared. Fortunately, now people are becoming more and more educated about where their food comes from. To find good produce, you have to look as close to you as possible. Something that has travelled 10,000km or has been treated chemically doesn’t taste as good.”

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Part of his long-term vision for the garden, Nicholas has also planted a variety of trees including avocado, lime and nectarine. They will still take several years to grow, but patience is a big part of gardening. As he sees us off, he once again reiterated that Cas Costas’ guests are very much encouraged to come and visit this little oasis. He smiled, “It’s nice when parents take their children to the garden and show them where the food comes from. Eating fresh and seasonal is the best way to nourish our bodies, so people should learn from Mother Nature – she knows best!”

Further Information & Reservations
t: +34 971 308 755
fb: www.facebook.com/cascostasibiza

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