We are opening a section to introduce you to the personalities that make the island of Ibiza. ☀️
We are pleased to continue with Mouji, owner of La Paloma.
12 questions about Ibiza to Mouji
When did you first come to Ibiza?
I came to ibiza for the first time in 1997 and moved here in 98.
I was 19 then and had been traveling in India. That’s where I first heard about the “other side” of Ibiza.
Till then I thought Ibiza was just about clubs and raves.
What was your first impression of the island?
I was very young, but I remember the light… and thinking that this is where I want to live.
It was like arriving home from the first moment I stepped on this rock.
I think your mother has a big role in the history of La Paloma, is that right?
My mother has a big role in my life, not only in La Paloma. 🙂
She moved here in 2002 when I got pregnant with my second child.
She always had a big passion for cooking, which came from my grandmother.
The kind of wholesome, real home cooking. She never went to chef’s school, but she carries a passion for food in her heart.
We opened La Paloma together in 2004, she is the creator of the night’s menu and the heart of the place.
The lunch came a few years later with Chef Nir Cohen, who first was helping her in the kitchen at night and then came up with the Paloma cafe concept for lunch.
How did the idea of creating La Paloma come about?
We (me, my mom, and my family) were looking for a place where we could serve her food and where we could manifest our vision of a place that felt like home.
It actually became what it is today in a very slow organic way.
At first with very few tables and only us working and then slowly it grew and grew…..like a child, slowly, step by step.
We had no clear idea of where it would go or any business plan, we just opened and started serving my mum’s food.
And had a pure intention of making something simple, real, and in harmony with the island’s essence.
I think life shaped it into what it is now, and the island supported us from the very beginning. It wasn’t really us. We were blessed.
Why is the place called La Paloma?
My mom was a close friend of the late Rolph Blackstadd, and he had a dream many years before, of a white dove flying over San Lorenzo.
He gave us the name and we loved it from the very beginning. We loved the symbology of it, Paloma is peace.
Tell us about when you bought the place and how, by dint of hard work, you were able to transform it into such a beautiful place?
We opened 18 years ago and it became what it is now, in a very slow organic way, as I explained above.
A lot of work, patience, and dedication to the vision. And a lot of light blu paint !!!
We were so lucky to find the location. San Lorenzo is a very sweet town, still very untouched but also in a good central position.
The garden was nothing of what it is today. We put a lot of work into it as we all love flowers and nature so much.
How does the menu work at La Paloma?
The lunch has a more Middle Eastern vibe, Nir, our partner, dear friend, and chef of the Cafe’, is from Israel and loves to bring the flavors from the east into his dishes.
We have a small menu, to make every dish fresh and we change often.
Everything is cooked every day fresh. At Night it is my mum’s hand.
We are from Tuscany so have a lot of influence from Italy. But also she lived in India for some time and loves to integrate those flavors into the more classic
We keep it small and simple. But behind every dish, there is so much preparation.
How do you choose the ingredients, do they come from the island?
We have our own veg garden for some of the produce, and we like to choose ingredients that are mostly organic or from small local farms.
Some things come from Italy too, but always from small special places. Like the Parmesan, the capers, the olive oil….
How do you manage to reconcile local production with the expectations of customers who like to have avocado or mango even though they do not grow on the island? Same thing with seasonal products.
Of course, some products cannot be found locally and we like to offer variety and have fun in the kitchen!
Always top quality. We never compromise on that.
I cannot say we are completely local or organic, we like to be transparent about that.
It is a dream to be completely km 0 of course, but I find that lately the “farm to table” concept is used more as a marketing tool.
We really try to support locals and find many ingredients here.
And use more from our garden.
More and more beautiful farms are growing here so it is becoming easier.
I think the important thing is to definitely prioritize local and organic, but also be flexible. As long as the quality is always top, mango is also ok 😉
What makes Ibiza so charming for you?
The diversity of people, the light, the blu waters.
So many things. The fact that in any other place in the world, we would be considered weirdos, but here the locals have seen so many crazy people, we are actually “normal”.
It makes me feel free and able to be myself.
What measures would you propose to preserve the island?
I always say…. Less greed, more green!!
I think ibiza is growing so fast, sometimes I worry about this island and where it is going.
It is getting so busy and the resources are what they are.
At the same time, there are many new beautiful Eco green projects happening.
So I really wish for a balance between the big developing projects and the more eco ones.
What is your secret address?
Cala Xuclar always, for swimming and for the food in the Chiruinguito, my favorite.
La Paloma Site : https://palomaibiza.com/
Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Adress : Carrer Can Pou, 4, 07812 Sant Llorenç de Balàfia, Illes Balears, Espagne
Photo: La Paloma