After about 20 years I returned to Ibiza in September 2016 and in 3 days time the island surprised me, once again, with a gift. That gift would come in the form of a wonderful man, who to this day is my partner. The magic of the island brought our hearts together and it was love at first sight. Sascha, who lived in Ibiza prior for a couple years wanted to show me the island in all its diversity because it has so much to offer apart from all the main tourist attractions that it’s known for.
The anticipation of this trip had excited a feeling of being a kid once more in me, which was only enhanced by the great experiences I would come to gain at Ibiza.
It seems to me that the island attracts people that are just alike. And so it happened that we ended up in a little Italian restaurant called ‘La Mesa Escondida’ in the drowsy village San Rafael. This blog entry will be dedicated to this restaurant. This little anecdote shows once again just how much you should follow your heart.
Amidst the little village San Rafael on the opposite side of a supermarket parking lot, Renzo from Roma opened one of the best Italian restaurants I have been to outside of Italy. The pasta, as well as everything else, is fantastic.
The cook – an older Sicilian man –stands in an 8 sqm kitchen with an older Argentinian woman, conjuring delicious meals in such a tight space.
The selection of wines were excellent but was also our undoing on one of the last nights. We spent a surprisingly amusing night ‘til 3am with Renzo in his restaurant after all the guests had already left and there was rain coming down as if it were a myriad of buckets filled with water.
When Renzo told us his story of how he ended up in Ibiza I felt as if he was explaining my own life, the parallels were uncanny. At about my age Renzo worked with a corporation business for a long time, he was a consultant who had to travel very frequently from place to place, spending most of his time for a year at an airport.
After about 15 years he asked himself – as I do now – what’s the point of it all besides chasing money? There was something missing in Renzo’s heart, but he knew not what. He then decided to quit his job, leave everything behind and move to Ibiza where someone offered him to take over a small restaurant. It was in Ibiza where Renzo discovered his passion and got to live his dream as he wanted, and thus fulfil his hearts desire which was not satiated by his previous job. A dream come true! And after securing his personal success he will soon archive financial security as well, if the Neapolitan-Argentinian dream team keeps working the kitchen with their hearts and souls.
No matter where you are on the island: a drive to San Rafael and Renzos ‘La mesa escondida’ is always worth the journey. Make sure in advance you have a designated driver 😉
If you want to share these and other experiences on Ibiza with us at the wonderful Hotel Calador with sea view join us on our sports and lifestyle journey to the island from 22nd – 29th of September. Besides a diverse and extensive sports program a great spirit and many unforgettable experiences await you.
Renzo also send me one if his famous recipes for you:
Caserecce with pesto of pistachio
Ingredients for 10 persons
- 1 kg pasta “caserecce” or similar
- 200 g shallot
- 500 g pesto of pistachio
- 700 g cherry tomatoes
- Oil, salt, chilly
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 glass of white wine
Pesto of pistachio
- 200 g minced pistachio
- 50 g grana padano cheese
- 100 g white almond
- 100 cl water
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 100 g basil
- 300 cl extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Peel of 1 lemon
Chop finely the shallot and let fry lightly in a deep saucepan with extra-virgin olive oil, adding the chilly pepper and let fry until they are golden brown. Add some white wine and let bubble up.
Add cherry tomatoes and let cook for 15/20 minutes, adding at the end the lemon peel.
To prepare the pesto: put in the blender all ingredients and mix everything together until you get a pesto not to much smooth (you still must see the pistachio, the almonds and the basil in very small pieces).
When it is ready, cover with climb to avoid that it turns black.
Cook the pasta until it is al dente.
The last 2 or 3 minutes let cook in the sauce.
When the stove is off, mix with the pesto until it is creamy. Serve in a plate, garnishing with some chopped pistachio and, if you like, some almonds.