When it comes to traveling, one of the most enjoyable, delicious, and long-awaited parts is, without a doubt, food. The local gastronomy of each destination is very unique and special, a gateway to its culture that will leave no one indifferent. By tasting its typical dishes, discovering its recipes, visiting its markets, and eating in its restaurants and bars, we will be savoring the essence of the town. Who doesn’t love sampling appetizing some delicacies and new flavors?
If you decide to go on an adventure and visit new countries, sailing is a special and wonderful way to do it. Even though you can prepare some of your meals onboard (whether it is you or the chef who cooks them), once you get ashore in the port you will have a whole city waiting for you to explore and taste. The coastal cuisine of your sailing destination will welcome you warmly: plenty of local greens, the freshest fish, and high-quality seafood, among many other tasty treats.
In this post, we bring you a selection of the most delicious dishes from three popular locations in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. Are you ready to find them out? Be sure to remember the names of those who whet your appetite… And try them out at the restaurant during your boat vacation!
Spain: simple yet delicious!
As we already said in one of our latest posts, among the many reasons to sail in Spain, food is surely one of the greatest! Heavily influenced by its history and the different cultures that lived for several centuries, Spanish gastronomy mixes the Mediterranean diet with Arab flavors. In addition to being a mix of modern and traditional cooking methods, it is one of the healthiest cuisines with high-quality ingredients.
This is a traditional meal from south Spain and it is usually eaten during long hot summers. Who doesn’t fancy a nice refreshing bowl of soup after a day strolling around the coastal city, swimming in crystal-clear waters, and discovering hidden beaches?
This cold soup is made of raw vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumber, all of them blended with water, olive oil, garlic, and stale bread. Although this one is usually drunk, you can also find a thicker variation which is called salmorejo and served with jamón ibérico ‘ham’ and/or croutons on the top. So simple yet so tasty, right?
2. Seafood Paella
This one is an indisputable classic — who hasn’t heard of the Spanish paella? Well, as you will discover during your weekly sailing vacation, there are many types of paellas and they can be served either as a main dish or tapas. The typical one is called ‘Paella Valenciana’, for it comes from the city of Valencia, but some others are made of vegetables, pork, rabbit, and so on.
While these ones are more of the countryside, along the coast you will be able to taste the delicious seafood paella. Usually prepared with clams, mussels, prawns, and squid, you will taste the savor of summer on your lips! Don’t miss this culinary treasure!
3. Caldereta de Langosta
To continue with seafood, a dish that cannot be missed on your holidays when visiting the Spanish islands in the Mediterranean is Caldereta de langosta (‘Lobstwer Stew’), typical of the island of Minorca.
It takes its name from the traditional casserole in which is prepared. Inside it, the different ingredients are mixed: lobster, onion, pepper, tomato, chopped garlic, parsley, bread, and some sugar. Then, you prepare the picada with garlic cloves, almonds, salt, saffron, parsley, egg yolks, and the softer parts of lobster heads and add it! Come and try it out
Italy: where tradition meets flavor
Right in front of our previous destination, we find Il Bel Paese. With a coastline running from North to South, you’ll find a wide variety of regional foods and tastes. Will you be able to try them all? We warn you that there are a lot of incredible cities to visit, each one of them special — as you will see in this previous article.
1. Scialatielli alle vongole
One of the most visited beach regions in Italy is the Amalfi Coast, and there you cannot miss the magnificent scialatielli alle vongole (‘Scialatielli with Clams’) with a glass of white wine while enjoying the breathtaking views!
Scialatielli is a type of pasta similar to spaghetti, but they should not be mistaken — in Italy each pasta is accompanied by different foods! For this dish in particular, the following ingredients are used: garlic, small tomatoes, some clams, and olive oil! Although it is a simple recipe, the result is one of the most successful and a major tourist appeal.
When it comes to vegetables, we cannot miss the queen of Sicilian cuisine: the well-known caponata. It is widely known that Italy is a country shaped by traditions, and so are its dishes. The recipe for this exquisite yet popular meal changes from family to family.
However, the ingredients that cannot be missing are the following: aubergines, pine nuts, and raisins. Then, you can also add olives, tomatoes, celery, onion, and capers and season it with sweetened vinegar. You’ll see its lovely tang is really inviting!
The arancini are one of the most popular snacks of Sicilian cuisine. They consist of a ball of rice with different fillings, coated with breadcrumbs, and then fried. Some of the most are those with cheese, peas, ham, or eggplant.
Its name comes from the Italian word arancia, which means ‘orange’ – and yes, you guessed right! It is because of its round shape and color. However, there is an arancini variety that has a more conical shaped for it is inspired by this island’s volcano, the Etna. Interesting, isn’t it? Well, we can promise you it is even tastier!
Greece: fine and exceptional ingredients
Greece is home to some of the tastiest and exceptional dishes of all the Mediterranean. Maybe it is their long cooking tradition, maybe it is their fine ingredients, or maybe it is the combination! Whatever it is, we can only encourage you to discover this enchanting country, its golden sandy beaches, and its classic recipes. You’ll love to try them out after a long morning in its beautiful turquoise waters.
We couldn’t start with any other dish than the crown jewel of the Greek cuisine – an all-time favorite both for locals and those who are visiting Greece for a holiday boat vacation. Even if there are several regional and local variations as it is prepared along the Middle East and Balkans.
The Greek version is based primarily on meat, eggplant, and fried puréed tomato, topped with a fluffy white sauce called béchamel. Some other versions also include zucchini, potato slices, mushrooms, and even and bread crumbs. However, we tell you here the secret: it is all in the spices! The more onion, garlic, and allspice you add, the tastier!
2. Kalamarakia Tiganita
It’s no surprise that in every fish tavern (also known as psarotaverna), you’ll find a crispy plate of Kalamarakia Tiganita! They serve it as a sharing dinner for two, as a snack, or even as a side dish with some salad. if we doubt whether you dare to try them out, we strongly recommend you to do so – do not expect them to be rubbery nor soggy, they are rather pleasantly chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside!
To prepare them, only a few ingredients are needed, but they must be high-quality! Freshly caught squid, flour, olive oil, salt, black pepper, fresh parsley, lemon… and voilà! You just need to season the calamari, dredge them in the flour, and fry them when the oil is hot. Once the sides get golden brown, remove them from the pan and let them drain on. But hey, wait for them to cool down a bit!
To finish up well and satisfy our sweet tooth, we need to try this amazing Greek delicacy! In fact, this one is not only typical of this country but of the Middle East regions and Balkans – it is said that the word blakava itself is a mix of the Mongolian and Turkish languages, meaning ‘to wrap up’.
Regarding its preparation, they are usually baked in large sheets and pans. There, the filo dough is layered with butter and vegetable oil, and then, it is combined with layers of walnuts, pistachios, and/or hazelnuts. Finally and after the baking, it is soaked in honey, rosewater or orange flower water. You can almost taste its sweet flavor, right?
Well, now you have no excuse to visit one of these marvelous countries located in the Mediterranean heart… Or even all of them! There is something special about sharing these plates after a long warm day strolling around a city ready to be discovered. Just imagine yourself taking a swim in crystal-clear waters, sunbathing in the most relaxing beaches… And then entering a local restaurant and immersing yourself in this delight of flavors, smells, and typical foods! Such a sailing dream, isn’t it?
If you feel prepared to indulge in traditional Mediterranean cuisine, one of the easiest ways to do so is just taking yourself there! We will be more than glad to help you with that… You’ll only have to choose which sailing destination and traditional dish comes first!