Jane Egginton falls in love with a festival that shows how we can all eat our way to a better world
“This is the first festival of its kind anywhere on the planet” Craig Sams told me over a feast at the inaugural Amorevore in Ibiza. Sams co-founded Whole Earth Foods in the 60s and Green and Black’s in the 70s, the organic chocolate phenomena that is still going strong. The festival’s unique approach of connecting producers and farmers with chefs and food lovers had the man who has been involved with almost every major sustainable food trend of the last 40 years inspired.
I was inspired too. Individuals – many of them internationally known – with a real passion for food as well as sustainability had been brought together with clear commitment and care by the organisers. The event kicked off with ‘Living La Vida Veda’, a talk by Jasmine Hemsley. I thought I knew a lot about digestion, health and Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, but Helmsley’s deep knowledge was communicated in such an accessible way that it left me and many in the audience filled with enthusiasm to change our eating habits.
“It’s all about the agni” declared Hemsley, going on to explain that when this digestive fire shines brightly we can best digest our experiences as well as our food. Stress has a big effect on this. ‘Do you eat cheese baguettes and have a glass of wine when you are in France?’ she always asks people who are dairy and gluten free. “They always say they are feeling great! That’s because they are chilled out. They are feeling very French!” Hemsley’s approach is holistic, authentic and sustainable, which could describe the ethos of the festival, which is also utterly Ibiza.
“Why am I here?” asked Boris Buono, said by some to be the darling of the Ibizan food scene, at the festival’s food symposium. Buono left NOMA in Copenhagen to set up his own restaurant on the island of Ibiza, which he describes as having its own flavour. He loves sharing conversations about food and even recipes. “Twenty years ago chefs around the world would not even let you in the kitchen with a notebook because they didn’t want you taking their ideas.”
“Let’s talk!” says Buono, as some kind of rallying cry to the food community. He wants people to ask, “where is this food coming from?” Ibiza is at the forefront of a food revolution according to Buono, who makes a plea for people to share their stories from this festival. He and others who are part of Amorevore want to do what American winegrowers did in Napa and create a sharing food community as a resistance to multi corporations and to what Buono calls ‘plastic organic’. “We can all create a better and brighter future: we can eat our way to a healthier planet!”
The talks were intelligent and inspirational. They didn’t flinch from addressing important political and spiritual questions yet were invariably enjoyable and entertaining. Graham Hancock, author of Magician of the Gods, was an inevitable joy to listen to. Tracy Worcester (farmsnotfactories.org) who worked on the important film, Pig Business, was a refreshing and powerful activist I had not heard before. They were just two of the speakers on the final day, covering subjects such as local futures, hacking fine dining and earth guardianship dedicated to a new ERA – Entrepreneurism, Regeneration and Activism.
I enjoyed tastings of Mezcal and raw wine and food served up by Casa Maca, at the lovely boutique hotel, in whose grounds the festival took place. The vegan and fermented food from Los Fermentistas was genius, but I would have loved to see more local and sustainable food and less plastic. The very reasonable price (28 Euros) of a daily ticket even included live music in the orchard but be prepared to spend around 100 Euros daily at the food and produce market as I did. Feasts are 70 Euros, although the one I attended was not open to the consumers, or even journalists, as it was more of a closing party.
There was plenty of hard-hitting information. Patrick Holford, author of the nutrition bible that was my go-to health resource over 20 years ago, performed a captivating rap that exposed the pharmaceutical companies and showed he could still pack a punch. Holford fed the audience digestible nuggets of information – non-caffeine consumers wake up more alert (our morning coffee that we think makes us feel good actually shuts down our dopamine receptors) and gamblers gamble less on amino acids.
Tess Prince from Love Food Ibiza and artist Sequin Kay are just two of the talented and dedicated creators who were part of Amorevore. I am still using Prince’s ‘Love Balls’ recipe after writing about them and a yoga retreat on the island years ago and loved the workshop she delivered about a sustainable spirulina smoothie. Kay has been inspiring me with her heart-based wisdom since she exhibited at my community space in London. As a visionary contemporary artist her Geometric Food Project, glittered and educated its way through the festival.
Food as medicine, the dying almond trees on the island and the Ibiza Preservation Fund were just some of the important topics raised at the festival that are all stories in their own right. When one farmer working with an island restaurateur said, “I love seeing the faces of people in his restaurant when they eat my tomatoes” he touched on something that is at the heart of changing our relationship with food and the people who produce it.
As the festival so beautifully demonstrated, food is important, and as the creators explain, it creates community, sustains life and connects us to each other and to our planet. Apparently, the word Amorevore means someone who eats food made with love. I could certainly feel the love at the festival and look forward to future Amorevore.
For more information on the next Amorevore Food Festival, which takes place in Ibiza from 11th to 13th October 2019 please visit https://amorevorefoodfestival.com
Jane Egginton is the author of over 40 travel guide books for publishers such as Michelin, Thomas Cook and Reader’s Digest.