Written by Mara Papatheodorou
As you sail throughout Spain – along its coastal mainland and its gorgeous islands – you are sure to create culinary memories to last a lifetime. Enjoy a traditional flamenco show while savoring delicious tapas in Palma de Mallorca and simple the earthy wines of the Canary Islands on an unforgettable winery tout. Take in the sights of world-renowned architectural masterpieces in Barcelona while savoring the staple dessert of Crema Catalana (Custard). Indulge in truly authentic paella in Valencia, its Place of birth and delight in the unique gazpacho of Malaga. This country is a dream for your palate!
As the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, cultural Barcelona beckons and the delights of Catalonian cuisine abound. Enjoy art, architecture, cathedrals, tapa bars, and restaurants. Revived thanks to the 1992 Summer Olympics, the traditional and modern looks blend well here and walking is the best way to absorb the unique artistic beauty of the areas. The monument of Christopher Columbus points you in the right direction to stroll the tree-lined concourse of La Rambla with its shops, cafes and pantomime artists. Explore Barri Gòtic, the city’s
All of this beauty is sure to work up your appetite, so be sure to try delectable dishes that combine fresh fish from the Mediterranean and pork and beef from its fertile plains. Sip Spanish wines like red Rioja or white Albarino while savoring tasty tapas, and don’t leave Barcelona without toasting to your journey with Cava. Catalan for “cellar”, Cava is the official name for sparkling wine produced in Spain’s Penedes area west of Barcelona. Crisp and fruity, it is Spain’s quenching answer to champagne. Before sailing away, bring the city’s flavors and flair home. Colorful ceramica with Moorish designs, Gaudí glass, pimento (paprika) de la vera (smoked) or dulce (sweet), bottles of Cava or sherry vinegar fortified from Spanish wines recreates delicious memories.
Happy memories await travelers to Málaga, Spain’s sun-kissed island along the Costa del Sol. As you tour the city and its surrounding villages, you will see elegant squares, magnificent bullrings, imposing castles, soaring cathedrals, modern art and even ancient archeology. Be sure to visit the 10th century fortresses of Gibralfaro Castle and the Alcazaba as they are truly amazing. Also see the Málaga Bullring, the Roman Theatre and the Cathedral of Málaga. As Picasso’s birthplace, view his home followed by his diverse works at Palacio de Buenavista. Take a few moments from your sightseeing schedule to seek out indigenous pottery and figurines from the barros Malaguenos (clay from Málaga), embroidered or hand woven lace tabletop linens, guitars, olives, almonds and bottles of Málaga Virgin sherry. Speaking of sherry, Málaga and the Andalucia area are renowned for their sweet golden wine that is similar to sherry. The Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel grapes are the two varietals that you absolutely must try. And while on the subject of tastings, order a pescaito (fried fish) or gazpacho blanco (cold white soup). Tiny fried fish are a mouthwatering tapa specialty as is a cup of Málaga’s unique White Gazpachopureed blanched almonds, olive oil, bread and garlic served with sweet Muscat grapes.
Tenerife has it all, from glorious beaches to a pristine valley. Vineyards and banana plantations blanket the hills, while surfers ride roaring waves along the coast. On your journey, you will see the island’s incredible landscape at Teide National Park, which is in contrast to the fantastic flowers and fauna of Jardin Botanico, Risco Bella Garden’s Waterfalls and Sitio Litre’s orchids. The monuments and churches of the city’s Plaza de España are as wonderful as nearby wine country which is abundant with apple, fig and other fruit trees. I highly recommend a visit inland to San Cristóbal de La Laguna in the idyllic Aguere Valley, not only to taste some of Spain’s best wine, but to also appreciate the beauty of these lessertraveled islands. Deemed a World Heritage Site, the city is immensely historic and served as the island’s capital until 1723. Many of the buildings of this time have been meticulously preserved, which you will see during a walking tour along the most picturesque streets and around charming plazas. La Laguna, as it is known locally, is also a cultural and religious center, as San Fernando University and the Bishop’s Palace are located here.
Yet for me, Tenerife’s draw is its food and wine. Santa Cruz de Tenerife blends the best of its history from Spanish and Portuguese influences to create its Canarian cuisine. The tapas of the Canary Islands vary from what you find on the mainland. You will certainly find small plates of traditional cheese and olives, as well as the Canarian specialty papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) with mojo picón (spicy) or mojo verde (mild green) sauce. When pairing tapas, you can’t go wrong with either red or white wines from Tacoronte. TacoronteAcentejo was the first wine of the region made from the vineyards that grace the hills of Tenerife and, appropriately, the village Tacoronte is where you will find La Baranda Wine Museum. There you can learn about the fascinating history of wine production throughout the Canary Islands. The museum is housed in a 17th-century farmhouse with a terrace offering magnificent views of the northern coastline. From the simple to the sublime, the savory to the sweet, Spain has it all.
Sail, Sip & Savor Spain’s amazing flavors and culture aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises