Bringing Ibiza into your home
Text: Cat Weisweiller
Buying local produce comes with many personal and wider benefits. Firstly, by supporting local traders, it bolsters the country’s internal economic structure no end. Secondly – with perishable foods – reducing travel (i.e. the time from harvesting to reaching the end user) curbs the need for preservatives; which are both harmful to the environment, and us. Decreasing the need for foreign imports also brings the carbon footprint caused by short and long-haul transportation down significantly, again protecting our environment.
One local produce shop, in the harbour of Ibiza town, had an added reason for starting up. The owner of ‘La Casita Ibicenca’, Anja Moewes, was determined to fill a gap in the market: “Every year visiting Ibiza, we would trail around the island seeking out all the local products to take home as mementos or gifts. We had to run around the whole island, getting one thing here, another there – it was an exhausting process! So, a couple of years after moving here in 2003, we decided that it was time to create a one-stop of a large variety of local produce under one roof.”
The quaint boutique style shop – a former fisherman’s hut which Anja and her partner Snakeman lovingly transformed to echo an authentic old-style Ibicencan dwelling – is now bursting with locally produced merchandise; ranging from wine, honey, olive oil, marmalades and herbal liqueurs including Hierbas and absinthe, to natural soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, jewellery and footwear. It is not only the Ibicencan products on sale, but the environment, that makes a visit here akin to a welcomed immersion into all that is celebrated of original Ibiza.
No local produce shop would be complete without ‘SAL de IBIZA’. Who hasn’t given one of their familiar blue pots pride of place, as both souvenir and culinary accompaniment, on their return from holidays? What you may not have realised is that salt is one of the most recognised and prided products of the island for good reason: Ibiza’s renown for salt production dates back to 800 BC. A real commodity back in the day, as salt was the only means of preserving food. As early as 1235 AD, 25,000 tons of Ibiza salt were being sold annually – making Ibiza the other half of the most highly regarded and prosperous trading partnerships of the Middle Ages, including Genoa, Florence and Venice. In 1871 AD, the salt-works were privately acquired by two Majorcan businessmen. By 1886, they were boasting a yield of 50,000 tons per year from the salt plains of Salinas. Some say that Ibiza’s nickname, ‘the white isle’, is in fact derivative of the days when salt was worth its weight in gold, long before tourism hit the island…
What is not in doubt is that a trip to a dedicated local produce shop – of which ‘La Casita Ibicenca’ is not only the original, but arguably still the most comprehensive – plus a visit to one of the local markets or shops for some home-grown and locally reared or produced fruit, veg, cheese, meat and fish, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a healthier, more environmentally-friendly and altogether more rewarding lifestyle for both yourself and local traders – all courtesy of our illustrious white isle. •