5 mouth-watering dishes to explore when you cruise Europe

Stimulate all your senses with these must-eat dishes whilst cruising Europe.
Stimulate all your senses with these must-eat dishes whilst cruising Europe.  

This is sponsored content for Celebrity Cruises. 

Cruising is about so much more than the sights – it's an adventure for all the senses. So close your eyes and taste the delicious essence of the Mediterranean with these regional specialities.

Destination: Croatia

Port: Dubrovnik

Dish: Brudet

Treat your tastebuds to the freshest ingredients Croatia has to offer.

Treat your tastebuds to the freshest ingredients Croatia has to offer.

Croatia's beautiful Dalmatian coast encompasses the picturesque ports of Rijeka, Zadar, Dubrovnik and Split. The region is famous for its abundant seafood and Mediterranean herbs such as sage, bay leaf, rosemary, basil and olives. All these fresh ingredients combine to delicious effect in Dalmatia's signature dish: a rich, slow-cooked fish stew called brudet (sometimes written on menus as brodet, brujet or brodetto).

A great brudet is a symphony of flavours created from the day's various fresh catch, and the very best ones showcase a chef's skill at blending and balancing the flavours in at least three types of local fish – usually scorpion fish, monkfish and other reef species – plus shellfish such as crab, lobster or scampi. With onion, tomatoes and wine in the mix and served with polenta, this honest fisherman's dish is exquisite enough for the royalty that once dwelled in Croatia's magnificent old castles.

Destination: Italy

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Port: Naples

Dish: Pizza Napoletana​

You haven't really tasted pizza until you've feasted on the real deal in its birthplace: Naples. You'll breathe the enticing aroma, wafting amid this food capital's giddy blend of culinary scents, before even stepping ashore.

This is pizza in its purest form - just dough, tomato sauce, cheese and basil, named Margherita after Italy's 19th century queen. But don't mistake it for a simple dish; its official governing body, Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana, has rules about every tiny detail of ingredients, preparation and presentation. The base must be prepared only by hand, with dough made from precise amounts of flour, water salt and yeast. Only fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, the finest mozzarella di Bufala and local tomatoes can be used, and real Pizza Napoletana must be cooked in a wood-fired oven (hence the tell-tale slightly charred crust). The rules are there for a reason. Your first bite of this fragrant masterpiece will spoil you for all lesser imitators forever.

Destination: Spain

Port: Seville

Dish: Tortillitas de camarones (shrimp fritters)

Seville, the capital of Spain's Andalusia region, is tapas heaven – a never-ending adventure of delightful little dishes served in charming, often family-run tapas bars nestling among architectural wonders such as Seville Cathedral and Real Alcazar.

Thanks to the historical port's outstanding local seafood, fried fish dishes star on most tapas menus - and one of the tastiest is tortillitas de camarones – shrimp fritters. Chickpea flour, parsley, onion and tiny local shrimp (camarones) are mixed then fried with olive oil into a crisp, light savoury pancake. The dish is simple enough to showcase the fresh flavours of the fish, and so irresistible that even larger shared platters seem to disappear as if by magic. Order more, and complement their salty tang with a glass of Andalusia's famous native drink: sherry.

Destination: France

Port: Nice

Dish: Ratatouille

This hearty dish cannot be missed on your travels to France.

This hearty dish cannot be missed on your travels to France.

Nice, in the gorgeous, glamorous French Riveria, is the home of Provencal cooking and its famous ratatouille, a hearty vegetable stew packed with seasonal goodies such as eggplant, tomato, zucchini, carrot, red or yellow peppers, onion and garlic, seasoned with Provencal herbs - thyme, rosemary, basil. The dish is often at its best in summer, when most ingredients are in season, and ratatouille purists prefer to fry each vegetable separately first to seal in its flavour, and char and skin the peppers to add a hint of smokiness. A perfect ratatouille soars from humble to heady, with a spectrum of flavours spanning earthy, sweet, deep and rich, and a comforting jammy texture.

Destination: Greece

Port: Katakolon

Dish: Midopilafo

This unmissable Greek dish encapsulates the taste of the sea.

This unmissable Greek dish encapsulates the taste of the sea.

Katakolon, a pretty little Greek fishing village on the shores of the sapphire blue Ionian Sea, has a small population and a big appetite. Take a seat beneath a bright awning in one of the friendly waterfront tavernas, and tuck into fresh dishes filled with seafood caught just minutes and metres away. Midopilafo (lemon mussel pilaf) is a perfect marriage of lemony, soft rice and plump, fresh mussels, imbued with the taste of the sea. Savour the interplay between sharp citrus and briny, creamy mollusc, the silky texture of the rice and the tenderness of the mussel meat, and the layers of extra flavour from local wine and Greek virgin olive oil cooked into the stock.

Discover the Mediterranean's local cuisine for yourself with Celebrity Cruises in 2020. For more information visit celebritycruises.com/au.