Savor the Spain’s best bites on a Windstar Cruise.
By Bill Panoff
Some might say that to truly experience a new country, you must immerse yourself in the culture. Whether that means exploring historical sights, mingling with the locals, or shopping for authentic souvenirs, to many it means simply: Let’s eat.
On a recent sailing aboard Windstar Cruises’ 212-guest Star Legend, I set out to do just that. The Spanish Serenade itinerary would make a semi-circle around the country from Barcelona to Lisbon, Portugal, calling on some of Spain’s most must-see cities along the way, as well as Gibraltar and Portimao, Portugal.
The best part about my culinary mission is that Windstar clearly recognizes that travel and cuisine go hand-in-hand, so the line makes it a point to not only serve the finest cuisine on board, but also offer a host of shore excursions to satiate these cravings on shore.
Our cruise embarked in Barcelona, one of Europe’s most intriguing cities and the perfect place to add on a few days pre-cruise. With plenty of time to explore, days were spent exploring must-see sites — from Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) Church to Park Güell — while evenings brought time to unwind with tapas and wine.
Barcelona’s Catalan cuisine goes back centuries, but still revolves around seasonal ingredients that are locally sourced from the sea, the mountains, and the produce of the region. There are plenty of places to sample culinary specialties, from renowned Michelin-starred restaurants to casual, traditional, and creative tapas and tasting platters, paired, of course, with a quality regional wine. In fact, 12 Designation of Origin (DO) areas guarantee the geographical origins and quality white, red, rosé, and sparkling wines made in Catalonia.
Another foodie favorite is to explore some of Barcelona’s 39 food markets, which are brimming with bustling, lively atmospheres. Stroll the stalls and you’ll find olives, seafood, fruit, meats, cheeses, and much more. One of Barcelona’s best-known markets, The Boqueria Market on La Rambla, has become a major landmark and after spending some time there, it’s easy to see why.
Palma de Mallorca
The capital of the Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca brings architectural highlights such as the Gothic-style Bellver Castle and the massive La Seu Cathedral, as well as a thriving arts scene and a lively café culture. A picturesque stroll of the seafront brings visitors to the historic center, complete with an abundance of eateries in the La Llonja and Santa Catalina areas.
Mallorcan cuisine is based on pork, fish, and vegetables prepared with plenty of garlic and olive oil, and while dishes are still steeped in tradition, restaurants are becoming increasingly….
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Photo: turisme de barcelona