A Mediterranean feast
There really is no better place to savour fresh produce than in its place of origin, and the Mediterranean is famous for both its fresh produce and the wide variety of regional cuisine. From traditional Provençal dishes to the Neapolitan flavours of the Amalfi Coast via the tastes of the eastern Med, dive in and savour the Mediterranean during a superyacht charter with Burgess.
No coastline in the world is as rich in gourmet cuisine as the gilded shores of the French Riviera. Encounter the tastiest vegetables ripened in the Mediterranean sun, fish plucked straight from the sea, and cheese and meat fresh from the craggy massifs of the Alpes Maritime.
Superyacht chefs cruising along this stretch of coastline are spoilt for inspiration, with an enormous variety of delicacies adorning stalls in markets like the Place du Lices in Saint-Tropez, the Marché Provençal in Antibes and the Cours Saleya in Nice. Join your chef for an early-morning trip to local markets where you can savour every local delicacy, and see, smell, feel and taste the ingredients chosen for your chef to later transform into a gastronomic delight.
A superyacht chef will be adept at creating menus from whatever ingredients are in season, and although the nomadic nature of a superyacht chef demands considerable skill in every region he or she may visit, it is often the simplest dishes that can also be the most memorable. From a traditional Ratatouille (vegetable stew) or Bouillabaisse (fish stew) to the legendary Salade Niçoise made with fresh tuna, all three regional dishes use the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. And for those with a sweet tooth, your chef can perhaps create a Tarte Tropézienne – a puff pastry tart stuffed with fresh cream and sprinkled with sugar.
Of course, the South of France is also well known for its fine wine, and during a French Riviera charter you will be conveniently located near to some world-class wineries. When in Saint-Tropez, head inland to the Château de Berne vineyard for a cellar tour and guided tasting session followed by garden-to-table dining in the beautiful gardens.
While in Cannes, head ashore to experience the beautiful views, vineyards and tastings at Château St. Martin. The winery here dates back to Roman times, and the Domain has belonged to the same family since 1740. Alternatively, your charter broker can organise a private wine tasting on board, coupled with a special dinner cooked by your chef and with local wines paired with every course.
Oozing with authentic southern Italian hospitality and charm, the Amalfi coastline is an epicurean delight filled with countless edible treasures. A combination of old-world charm and Italy’s appreciation of the finer things in life, this is quite literally the land of flavours.
Step aboard your yacht in the bustling Bay of Naples, home to Neapolitan cuisine and culinary traditions that have trickled down the coastline over the centuries. It’s obligatory to have at least one slice of pizza when in Naples, after all it is where the favourite Italian dish was invented. Rest assured, with all the ingredients for the famous Margherita pizza, including creamy buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes, produced locally, it will certainly be a good one.
Once you have had your fill of Naples, it’s time to head south to the traditional fishing towns of Positano, Sorrento and Amalfi, where you will discover a gastronomic scene centred around seafood and pasta. Journey through the Campania region via plates of anchovy-packed Colatura Pasta, Insalata Caprese and Torta Ricotta e Pere (pear tart).
While ashore stop for a Cuppetiello di Pesce – a classic Amalfi street food comprised of fried anchovy, calamari, prawns and scallops, all spritzed with lemon. Speaking of lemon, the best lemons in the world come arguably from the Campania region and they appear in just about every regional dish, including the region’s favourite dessert – Delizia al Limone.
The dome shaped sponge cake is soaked in limoncello and then filled with a lemon cream and covered with a lemon zest frosting. Heaven! And if you want even more lemon flavours then head to the Profumi della Costiera distillery, to smell, taste and experience the eminently palatable citrus liqueur of limoncello. Mind the hangover though, that sugar and alcohol combination can really hurt the next day!
Limoncello isn’t the only thing on the menu in Campania. While cruising along the Amalfi Coast you will always be within cork-popping distance of a vineyard. For expansive views of Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples, step ashore to the Abbazia di Crapolla vineyard. Named for the 11th century abbey that houses the winery today, taste local varietals alongside international grapes, accompanied by alfresco dishes with seasonal produce from the estate’s vegetable garden in their restaurant.
Alternatively, if your Amalfi charter encompasses the fashionable island of Capri, head ashore to the Scala Fenicia’s vineyard. Tour the family winery, marvelling at the 200-year-old-vines, and sampling wine produced the old way, and stored in an ancient Roman cistern.
Staying in the Western Mediterranean, the Balearic Islands lie in blissful sunshine off the east coast of Spain. Enjoying a long summer season that generally lasts from early April right through to late October, the islands’ traditional cuisine takes full advantage of the balmy climate. There’s always a good supply of fresh ingredients, from homegrown vegetables, local farms producing pork and cheese, and of course, the fresh seafood caught straight from the sea every morning by the fishing boats in Palma harbour.
The Balearic archipelago boasts a more varied gastronomic repertoire than that found on mainland Spain, influenced by the many cultures which have settled throughout here over the years (Greeks, Romans, Arabs, French and English, to name just a few). Discover traditional, regional foods such as Ensaimada (pastry) and Sobrassada (salami) in Mallorca, and while in Menorca be sure to try the famous Caldereta de Langosta (lobster stew).
It is not just the West Mediterranean that boasts a flavoursome gastronomic scene. Though not necessarily known for its cuisine, you will still find a diverse range of cuisine along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. With hints of the Black Sea fused with ancient Ottoman cuisine, savour a Mezze of light dishes that begin with cold selections, followed by lightly spiced rice dishes, and finish with a selection of sweet delicacies accompanied by a glass of Turkish raki.
Whether cruising through the Ionian archipelago or through the Cycladic islands in the Aegean, the Greek Islands’ fabulous cuisine is heavily influenced by a rich maritime history. Although the islands all have their own traditional delicacies (Ionian cuisine for example has a distinctly Italian flavour owing to the islands’ long Venetian rule), many dishes combine a selection of vegetables that do well in arid climates, with seafood, often slow cooked in clay pots.
Cheese is usually of the sheep or goat milk variety – think Greek salads using the freshest feta cheese and big juicy olives. Of course, classic dips such as taramasalata and tzatziki are perfect for a light lunch on board (the lighter the better on hot summer days). Rest assured, come the evening you will be delighted to have an appetite for a traditional Aegean Paella (made from seafood, chicken and sausage). Enjoy it on the decks of your superyacht, with the scents of the low-lying thyme bushes infusing the air.