It was 23 years ago that Carnes Diego opened as a small butcher’s stall in Mercat Nou and six since Diego Chacón and his son Iván fulfilled their dream of opening a shop specialising in meat and other gourmet products in Ibiza. Long working days, passion and complete dedication are the reason why Carnes Diego is today a benchmark for fans of quality meat on the island. We talk to Iván Chacón, who tells us about their experiences this year and the main new products available at Carnes Diego.
How long has Carnes Diego been going and how has it evolved throughout this time?
My dad started out in ’98 with a stall in the market. Little by little, he began to attract customers from the hospitality sector and, in 2015, we decided to open the shop with more of a focus on gourmet products and quality.
What are the main new products that are available at Carnes Diego?
One of the main new products that we have is Finnish beef (Ayrshire breed), which was named the best meat in the world. We are the only distributors of the meat in the Balearic Islands, so any restaurant that would like to add it to its menu shouldn’t hesitate to contact us.
What really sets Carnes Diego apart?
We put a lot of thought into selecting our meat, because we know that not all cuts have the same quality. Our aim is to always offer the best of each breed. We try and raise the standard each year when it comes to selecting the best meat.
Our aim is to always offer the best of each breed. We try and raise the standard each year when it comes to selecting the best meat
What challenges have you had to overcome in order to establish yourselves as a benchmark in the market?
First and foremost, our service, which is 100% personalised. Other suppliers work with a particular timetable, but we are available for customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What’s a normal working day like at Carnes Diego?
The high season is when we have the most work. We start work at four in the morning and the first thing we do is collect all the orders and take them to the production room. We prepare and check the orders and organise the routes. We look over the shop side of things and select the best products to put on display in the counter. After that I’m in contact with customers all day to resolve any issues that they may have. We don’t have sales representatives. I attend to customers myself, which means we’re able to respond quicker. On a normal day I get home at about eight or nine in evening, although I continue to take calls whatever the time. I think at a certain point the company and I merged into one.
How have things been for you this year? What differences have you noticed in terms of consumption?
To talk about this year, we have to separate it into two parts: on the one hand, the shop, which has really gone through the roof in terms of work. It’s gone really well, because, at the end of the day, people don’t stop eating and while we weren’t able to go to restaurants, we took more time to cook at home. In terms of consumption, we were also surprised that people continued to opt for quality produce, such as T-bone steaks, sirloin steaks... We also saw a rise in demand for chicken, which is a more economical meat. The complete opposite has occurred with the hospitality sector. In this case, we’ve obviously been doing what we can. From day one of the pandemic we have offered free delivery with no minimum order for the whole island, an initiative that’s been received really well and remains unchanged.
What type of gourmet meats are available at Carnicerías Diego?
I’m a big fan of pre-prepared foods. I love hamburgers and it’s plain to see, because we have 30 different types in our display counter, all made by hand on a daily basis. It’s one of the products that most sets us apart from the competition. Another one of our star products is our selection of aged beef. From Finnish beef, which is the very best, to breeds such as Galician Blond, German, Dutch and Spanish beef, Angus beef from different countries, Wagyu...
I love hamburgers and we have 30 different types in our display counter, all made by hand on a daily basis
What are your best sellers?
A lot of people come to the shop for our pre-prepared items, which are all gluten-free (we have certification to prove it). I don’t think anyone makes pre-prepared products like we do. What’s more, any customer who enters our shop can see how we make our products. We are completely transparent in that respect. On the other hand, the thing that’s ordered the most from the hospitality sector is our aged beef. We also stock a lot of gourmet products in the shop and we really enjoy giving customers advice. For instance, when people buy meat, we like to recommend a good wine to go with it from those we have in the shop. We’ve also got liquor, ham, etc. In terms of ham, we work together with a Spanish ham-cutting champion, Fran Robles, and his partner Carlos Martínez, who specialise in selecting the finest ham, which allows us to offer our customers something extra in terms of quality.
Do you think Spain has a good meat culture?
I think there are a lot of foodies and people who like to eat well and are able to recognise good meat. In Spain we’re fortunate to have excellent cuisine. But for those people who aren’t very knowledgeable about food, our well-trained staff are on hand to give our customers advice and tips and explain the differences between each cut.