Encompassing dozens of languages, cultures, culinary techniques and styles, the wonders of the Mediterranean diet can be enjoyed the world over. With its olive oils, whole grains, fresh fish plucked straight from the sea, fruit and vegetables ripened in the sun and cheese from the nearby Alps, the Mediterranean is famous for its fresh produce and exquisite cuisine.
Whisk yourself away to your favourite cruising grounds with the regions' speciality dishes. From the Neapolitan flavours of the Amalfi Coast to the Provençal herbs of the Côte d’Azur, the Burgess charter experts bring a taste of the Mediterranean to your table.
Italy’s Amalfi Coast has long been associated with unbridled glamour. Once the summer playground of choice for Jackie O, its breathtaking coastline winds along between the coastal resorts of Amalfi, Sorrento, Positano and Ravello – an epicurean route filled with countless edible treasures. Neapolitan cuisine is best known for the invention of pizza, with all of the ingredients for the famous Margherita pizza, including San Marzano tomatoes and the best creamy buffalo mozzarella, produced locally.
Further south in the traditional fishing towns of Positano, Sorrento and Amalfi the gastronomic scene centres around seafood and pasta. Scialatielli ai fruitti di mare (seafood pasta) is the favoured speciality dish for this area. Create your own version of this favourite dish using mussels, prawns, clams and sea truffles, seasoned with a handful of olives, capers and tomatoes.
From Monaco to Nice to Cannes to Saint-Tropez, nowhere in the world is a coastline as rich in gourmet cuisine as the Côte d’Azur. One of the most spectacular cruising grounds in the world, the sparkling Mediterranean Sea is backed by the craggy massifs of the Alpes-Maritimes, both producing their own remarkable ingredients ranging from fresh fish to meats and cheeses.
Regional delicacies adorn the market stalls of Saint-Tropez, Nice and Antibes, and the quality of the fresh local produce is evident throughout the world-famous restaurants that line this gilded stretch of coastline. Garlic, olives, spices and seafood are the leitmotif, with Herbes de Provence complementing just about every Mediterranean dish.
From a traditional Ratatouille (vegetable stew) or Bouillabaisse (fish stew) to the legendary Salade Niçoise, all three dishes are simple to create at home. And don’t forget to finish with a Tarte Tropézienne (puff pastry stuffed with fresh cream and sprinkled with sugar) for those with a sweet tooth.
Lying in blissful sunshine off the east coast of Spain, the Balearic Islands enjoy a long summer that generally lasts from early April right through to late October. Taking full advantage of the balmy climate and local resources, local dishes on the islands are of course Spanish, but also heavily influenced by the many cultures that have passed through the archipelago over the years (Greeks, Romans, Arabs, French and English, to name just a few), resulting in a more varied gastronomic repertoire than that found on mainland Spain.
With plenty of fresh fish, an abundance of local island farms producing delicious cheeses and pork, and a passion for sweet pastries featuring almonds, it’s hard to choose a favourite Balearic dish to recreate at home. However, specialities including Ensaimada (spiral-shaped pastry), Sobrasada (like a softer chorizo), and Caldereta de Langosta (lobster stew), perfectly sum up the islands’ flavours and will take your senses back to this blissful cruising ground.
Lying in the heart of the Aegean, Greece’s most famous island group has more to offer than stunning landscapes, picturesque white villages and pristine beaches. The people of the Cyclades are traditionally sailors or fishermen and the region’s maritime history is responsible for shaping the islands’ fabulous cuisine.
Heavily influenced by Venetian rule and the various other nationalities that have passed through over the centuries, the majority of dishes here are made with a selection of local vegetables that do well in arid climates, and seafood, served with olive oil and lemon. Traditional dishes are slow cooked in clay pots, and cheeses here are usually made from sheep’s and goat’s milk rather than cow’s, and often used in desserts.
Characterised by their scrubby vegetation, the islands are thickly sprinkled with low-lying thyme bushes that produce thyme honey, a basic ingredient used in many of the dishes. Create your own Aegean Paella (seafood, chicken and sausage) and mussels topped with a tomato-basil sauce or simply serve up classic dips such as tzatziki, taramasalata and a fava bean and Greek salad, all mainstays of any Greek meal, and you will be escorted straight back to past summers cruising through the Cyclades.
Taste and smell are hugely evocative senses that can transport you instantly back to a particular place and time. Recreate one of these Mediterranean classics and go, no passport required.
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