When you get invited over to the white isle obviously you say yes. When you get told it’s to experience EAT Retreat my first thoughts were 1. Ibiza. Really? isn’t it the non-stop party place. 2. A retreat. Hmm do I really need to ‘find’ myself and 3. Will there be sunshine?! It was October!
Ibiza is quickly becoming one of the leading well-being retreat destinations of the world. With growing detoxing and retoxing weeks available across the island, focusing on mind, body and soul. Depending on which part of you needs some self lovin’ there are endless energising and life enhancing week-long retreats ready to revitalise and rejuvenate you.
We spent 7 days at the wonderful EAT Retreat Ibiza. Our week was scheduled as following.
DAY 1 : Arrive at the villa Can Verru.
DAY 2 : Yoga – Knife Skills cooking class.
DAY 3 : Yoga – Korean cooking class with Celebrity chef Jordan Bourke – HIIT training
DAY 4 : Morning Market trip – Sushi cooking class – Pilates
DAY 5 : Yoga – Honestly Healthy cooking class with Celebrity chef Natasha Corrett – Healthy gut chat – Boat trip
DAY 6 : Morning Beach walk – Traditional cooking class with Ibizan chef – Beauty treatments around the pool – Last supper out
DAY 7 : Goodbye brunch
Now, being first time retreats a la us! This itinerary can seem quite off-putting. However, it is simply there for you to enjoy and take part in at your leisure. EAT Retreat Ibiza is by their own account a cookery holiday with a little wellness and a sprinkling of frivolity. It is a week where you can focus on yourself whilst aiming to become a relatively good or improved cook. It is a week that is purpose-built for Y O U. Staying in a villa that really has the WOW factor, hostess’ that are there to cater to you whilst bringing you opportunities to cook with Celebrity chefs and enlist the islands very best yoga, pilates and HIIT training instructors. All this teamed with added extras including boat trips, horse riding or really anything your heart desires on the island.
Villa of dreams
Villa Can Verru is an exceptional villa set in the idyllic rural Ibizan landscape. It is a villa that has had the likes of Kylie Minogue to stay and boy can you see why. From the minute you walk into the entrance hall, it is a maze of white washed walls that curve and twist round the modern villa. They lead to over 6 bedrooms including the Moroccan style cottage that’s detached from the main villa but only a stone throw away across the pool, outdoor kitchen, bbq area and extended wooden dining table. As most retreaters opt to holiday alone, every guest has the option of a private room or shared. The options obviously alter the price and your experience at the retreat.
The villa is situated just 20 minutes drive from Ibiza Town and only a short walk away from Cala Bassa, a chic beach club complete with cocktails, water sports and the crystal clear sea. Absolutely anything you could want is found at this villa, with private yoga deck, a hiit training area and hammocks to snooze by the pool in, it truly is a villa you won’t want to leave.
When you think of a retreat, you often think yoga and exercise. This is where EAT Retreat differs from the norm. As it states it is a retreat focusing on cooking, however it has optional yoga classes every morning for you to attend. At the purpose-built yoga deck that has tented sides that open up in the summer to truly experience yoga in the wild. Every morning was a different type of yoga from Vinyasa to Hatha to Zen. These kept both the early wake up call varied but also enriched your personal knowledge of yoga. Helping you develop in something you enjoy or perhaps you had only tried one version of yoga and thought it wasn’t for you. Yoga can be for everyone both in body but also in mind.
Not as Healthy as you think
Don’t worry if the thought of a week with no fat, not sugar, no alcohol fills you with dread. With a retreat named EAT you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s based on changing eating habits and detoxing your body. You can opt to do the week without alcohol or equally if you have dietary requirements you can opt for a gluten-free, dairy free, wheat free week, these modifications are easily catered to. It is an EATing week based on healthy eating however it is generously mixed with everything in moderation. (Aka the wine and chocolate fridge)
For the entire week all your meals are prepared either for you or by you in the cooking classes. They is a wonderful on site chef who teaches the knife skills class on day 2. He has a diverse knowledge of cookery and chef-ing, put into practise as he prepares healthy, balanced breakfasts and evening meals for you all. He takes the time to explain where the ingredients were grown (some in the vegetable garden at the villa) or sourced and how it’s been cooked to bring out the best for you. Mixed with the odd treat, for us this came in the form of an indulgent chocolate and salted caramel brownie one night. An extra special treat for us and for one of the retreaters whose birthday it was during our week together.
During our week we were in the company of 8 others. 4 of which came alone, the other 4 made up of two sets of friends. At first, the thought of a week-long retreat with a set timetable in the company of strangers can feel a little unnerving. Especially if the idea of a blissful week away is time spent with your partner or family. Well, if all retreats were in the company of these 8 people I’d say we were pretty lucky. Some were long time retreaters, they had been on many, varied retreats to enhance their body, lifestyle and mind. It was time they used to make new friends and learn new things. Others were first timers like ourselves who wanted to explore a different side of Ibiza and learn cooking skills. As the week progressed we got to know each other pretty well, what a great way to make new friends and ones that fundamentally have the same core interests as you.
Take time out of your life
A week to yourself. Heaven. Ok, well as we’ve established not completely to yourself but you make your own week. You tailor the package on offer to suit you. If morning yoga isn’t your thing enjoy a lazy morning swim in the pool. If HIIT classes are too full on, enjoy a leisurely walk down to the beach. This week is really emphasised that it is a retreat for YOU. I opted to get involved with everything as I’m an active bunny who is keen to get the best out of everything. In doing all the activities, I still had more than enough time to soak up the sunshine and read a book, what more do you need. This retreat is perfect for Mums or Dads. It is a wonderful week to learn new cooking skills, tips and techniques. Whilst ensuring you have some me time. Take a ‘timeout’ from day-to-day life and breath. In Ibiza of all places.
Become a chef (sort of)
The real treats of the week are the Celebrity chef cooking classes. Jordan Bourke, a creative chef that has a deep knowledge in Korean cooking. A very on-trend food type at present and a version of cooking most aren’t familiar with. Natasha Corrett of Honestly Healthy was fantastic. She indulged us with numerous recipes from her book, all of which we helped make and then eat with her. Both chefs then gave us their signed books, books which included the recipes of what we had cooked that day plus many more to try. The retreat is set up and ran by Anne Marie Duperouzel, a private chef and sushi extraordinaire in her own right. She guided the morning market trip to get fresh fish for the sushi masterclass she also taught. A great lesson and by the owner herself. Finally, the local chef that teaches you traditional Ibizan cooking is wonderful. She is extremely enthusiastic, grows a lot of her own produce and has cooked and catered for some of the worlds elite. It is a privilege to be taught by these chefs and come away with knowledge and expertise in cooking. Sort of.
If you’ve never done a retreat or you have done many, I recommend trying EAT Retreat. It is unlike others in its laid back approach and emphasis on cooking. Take a week to yourself, learn a new skill and relax in a villa that Kate Moss has enjoyed. What else could you want?