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Book review – Eivissa: The Ibiza Cookbook

09 August 2016 by
Book review – Eivissa: The Ibiza Cookbook

By Anne Sijmonsbergen

HarperCollins, £20

When you think of great culinary destinations, Ibiza is unlikely to be the first to spring to mind. But the Balearic island is on the cusp of a "food revolution", according to author Anne Sijmonsbergen. In her new book Eivissa (Catalan for Ibiza), she says the island's farming and fishing heritage has been supplemented by a wave of artisan producers and Michelin-starred chefs, basing their menus around the White Isle's food cycle.

Sijmonsbergen, a chef and organic tomato farmer who moved to Ibiza 10 years ago, uses this book to burrow into the island's culinary heritage, which is rooted in both Ibicene and Spanish culture. She adds a contemporary, seasonal twist while also staying true to the region's minimalist core.

The book is separated into the seasons and is dotted with local insights into Ibiza's produce and techniques. From artichokes and mahón cheese to the stripped juniper trees used to dry out fishermen's excess produce and, of course, olive oil, the book divulges each ingredient's history on the island as well as sharing local stories and modern traditions.

There's not an awful lot to be gleaned by the professional chef here, but it can serve as an inspiration to creating dishes. Mussels in a classic garlic and white wine sauce are brought alive by the addition of samphire or stuffed with brandy and almonds; barbecue ribs zing with rosemary, coriander and fennel; and a traditional roast chicken is given an Ibicene quirk when paired with Samfaina jam, a Catalan ratatouille.

Eivissa is a simple cookbook full of uncomplicated, ingredient-led recipes that could be incorporated into any spread. The juniper-encrusted pork tenderloin particularly caught my eye.

The twice-fried aubergine chips with cinnamon honey, apparently a much-loved tapa throughout Catalonia that made it over to Ibiza, were especially divine - and trust me, they won't last long on any table.

By Katherine Price

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