Taste the sunshine: Three of the best Mediterranean destinations for foodies
Explore the Mediterranean’s most delicious destinations with these tantalising Princess excursions
Deciding where to eat in the Mediterranean is like choosing between white, rosé or red wine: picking the 'best' is impossible. You simply have to decide which colour grape is the right one for you, right now. The same goes for culinary experiences throughout the Mediterranean: from sampling produce in lively markets to chatting with locals over regional dishes, there are infinite ways to experience the flavour-packed food of the area. Whether you want to roll up your sleeves and have a go at cooking or prefer to just sit back and sample, we’ve rounded up three Princess excursions your stomach will thank you for…
1. Jamón experience in Barcelona, Spain
Best for: Curious gourmets
Dedicated foodies will be in heaven with this delectable excursion in Barcelona, which gives you the chance to appreciate Spain’s finest ingredients first-hand at the city’s biggest food market. Once an open-air meat market, Boqueria dates back to 1217 and is a true feast for the senses. Prepare to be astounded by its mountains of ripe fruit and vegetables, freshly caught seafood, locally made cheese, chocolate and trays of tapas. Be sure to get one of the colourful smoothies to sip, too. Next you will continue on to the Santa Caterina Market, strolling through Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter to marvel at the soaring Cathedral of Santa Eulalia. Under the market’s distinctive coloured roof, you’ll rub shoulders with locals who love its sweet-smelling fresh produce and gourmet goodies. After snapping photos of nearby basílica, Santa Maria del Mar – considered one of the world’s best examples of gothic architecture – you’ll have earned an extra-special treat. Spanish ham, known as jamón, is one of the area’s most cherished culinary treasures. In the excursion’s final stop in Moniberic, you will try a delectable selection and discover why the ham made from black pigs is so much more expensive (and delicious) than the meat from white or pink pigs. Learn everything there is to know about this quintessentially Spanish product from a jamón maestro and try to resist swooning when you sample the melt-in-the-mouth meat for yourself.
I really enjoyed the jamón experience excursion in Barcelona. It was a flavour adventure!
says Phillip Schofield, Princess Brand Ambassador
2. Greek classics in Corfu, Greece
Best for: Budding chefs
Think of Greece and it’s hard to stop your mouth watering. Tangy feta, juicy olives and crisp salad are as Greek as bougainvillea tumbling down white-washed buildings. With the Bon Appétit-recommended Greek classics Princess excursion, you can relive memories of your visit to Greece long after you return home by learning to replicate those flavours in your own kitchen. First, you’ll travel to a traditional restaurant in the heart of Corfu’s rolling countryside, where you’ll be welcomed with Greek aperitif ouzo and local olives, bread and feta. You’ll then learn to prepare your own Greek banquet using traditional methods of cooking as old as this historic nation. Dishes will include creamy tzatziki made with cucumbers, yoghurt and garlic, a classic Greek salad known as horiatiki and a rich moussaka, with minced lamb in tomato sauce sandwiched between layers of vegetables and béchamel sauce. The best bit? You’ll tuck into it all afterwards, accompanied with wine. After, there will still be time to soak up this island’s extraordinary history. You’ll step back into the Middle Ages with a visit to Corfu’s fortress, then head to Corfu Town. Stroll the narrow backstreets, discover plazas lined with tavernas and peer into ornate churches including St. Spyridon. After this excursion, you’re sure to return to the ship with a full heart… and a happy stomach.
3. Rapallo and pesto tasting in Genoa, Italy
Best for: Lovers of la dolce vita
Work up an appetite in style in the chic Italian seaside town of Rapallo, where good-time holiday vibes are guaranteed. Sandwiched between the green mountains and blue sea, the village on the Italian Riviera is dreamily picture-perfect. Wear comfortable shoes on the Rapallo and pesto tasting excursion to discover more of the area’s charms on this walking tour, taking in its 16th-century castle and promenade lined with palm trees. Once the sea air has made you peckish, it’s time to try another Rapallo delight. You’ll take in the view at an ocean-front venue and sample a slice of focaccia, a regional speciality eaten here since Roman times. A tasty bread, the snack was invented in the area and is eaten any time of day, with a cappuccino for breakfast or before dinner as an appetizer. Next, you’ll travel by coach to a restaurant on the coastal road to Lavagna. There, you’ll enjoy an iconic taste of the region and tuck into a plate of pasta with zingy pesto. Made from the basil that flourishes in this area’s warm climate, the local sauce is creamier than one you may be used to at home, and so delicious you’ll likely never be satisfied with a supermarket version again.