Love Food Ibiza

Posted on April 7, 2015

Words: Karon Dunn
Images: Tamara Sini

I first had the pleasure of meeting Tess a couple of weeks ago in Santa Gertrudis and I found her naturally pretty, enthusiastic and charming and I warmed to her immediately. I felt like I had known her for years and knew instantaneously that she would be the ‘hostess with the most-ess’. We chatted for some time about her food concept which she has since put into action. Her recipes are pure brilliance and her private party catering for groups is priced at extremely affordable rates. LoveFoodIbiza launches in May, a collaboration with her husband Dan (who I have known for many years) will be focusing on recipes and produce sourced from the island, including healthy eating guidelines and informative knowledge on foodie events, restaurants and not forgetting DJs and music…all an integral part of the Ibiza lifestyle.

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Tess has been living in Ibiza for some three years and has really mastered her art of creating menus from sourcing ingredients on this beautiful island. She is a true magician of her craft and conjures up delicious, drop-dead gorgeous food. Classically trained in the UK, Tess has studied the nutritional value of food as well as being a troubleshooter for restaurants and a style guru. I couldn’t wait for an invitation to sample one of her menus which, having met her, I can say with great confidence is clearly a labour of love. She eats, lives and breaths food and jokingly even mentioned that the main present requirement on her Christmas list last year was a mincer.

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Tess and Dan’s home is set in one of the most beautiful locations on the island with a view to die for. As I walked up to the entrance I was overwhelmed with the heady scent of jasmine wafting through their garden. The rustic table is positioned perfectly to admire the backdrop of the azure blue sea and the majestic view of Tagomago island in the distance. It was jaw dropping, as was the food so beautifully laid out before us. The gorgeous serving plates and boards were presented on different eye levels, giving the table an authentic look, tantalising and very stylish. Tess creates a real sense of drama around her food with vintage teapot and cups, candelabra and wild flowers that Tess collected earlier that day whilst out foraging. She has a meticulous eye for detail, evoking a sense of je ne sais quoi. Licking my lips, we had the enviable task of tasting today’s brunch menu and as our eyes wondered around the banquet of delights we were spoiled for choice on where to begin our culinary adventure. Let the joy commence!

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I headed straight for the papaya (as large as a butternut squash) laden with granola, banana, blueberries, yoghurt born and bred in Santa Gertrudis, raw honey and sprinkled with chai seeds which is sweet and succulent and mouth-wateringly delicious. There was also homemade strawberry, goji berry and blood orange jam bursting with flavor (watch out WI ladies)), with chunky juicy berries and slow cooked without sugar to ensure the natural sweetness emulated from them. I could have easily eaten straight from the pot, without spreading it across the warm Ibiza artisan bread.

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The home made crunchy nut butter with almond presented in a wooden bowl rolled around the tongue and hit the roof of the mouth as you savored the stickiness of it, with the pleasure of knowing it didn’t come out of a Sun Pat jar. Next up was the parmesan rye bread with my all time favorite of asparagus wrapped in Iberico ham topped with a perfectly poached egg with yummy, runny, oozy yolk paired with a side portion of beans…not just any old beans – chickpeas, cannellini and haricot which are a staple amongst the islanders, marinated with blushed tomatoes, slowly cooked in wine with a dash of this and a dash of that. In my opinion, it was truly exceptional and according to Tess, not a difficult recipe to make.

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The sweet potato, chorizo, roasted peppers, spinach was next as we worked our way around the feast in no particular order – exceptionally good with flavors that epitomize the wonderful taste of the Mediterranean. The garlic mushrooms stuffed with sun blushed tomatoes, basil pesto and burrata were incredibly moreish with a crunchy breadcrumb topping. The tower of buckwheat and cinnamon blinis perfectly balanced with raspberries and red currants were screaming for us to eat them, so of course we duly obliged. They were laced with crème fraîche with lashings of vanilla and amaretto and were scrumptious.

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Sticking with the dessert theme and the fruity carrot, orange and spelt muffins were the next thing to catch our eye and proved to be incredibly sweet and moist, made with prunes and again cooked with ingredients that you cannot believe are healthy and not so calorific, information that only makes you want to reach out for more. Finally we finished off our delicious marathon with local cheese and Iberico ham, sliced to perfection. All of this wonderful food was washed down with a crisp cold rose wine. Tess’s food is truly an inspiration and makes us ‘wannabe cooks’ venture into our kitchen to try out her recipes. She tries to cut back on wheat, dairy and refined sugars and I love her approach to truly gorgeous food, which is not over complicated or pretentious, with wonderful ingredients that achieve the balance of being healthy and seriously tasty.

You must look out for her website www.lovefoodibiza.com which launches in May. Everything about eating and food in Ibiza along with her fabulous recipes.

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