A foodie’s trip to southern Europe

April 03, 2015

Do you find yourself following your nose to culinary delights when travelling? Yes? Then you’re almost certainly a travel foodie.

Southern Europe is packed with culinary treats, as Mediterranean food is arguably amongst the greatest in the world. From pizza to tapas to baklava, the diversity and cross cultural influences means the Mediterranean coastline dines in style.

Here’s our list of one dish that sums up the food in each of our hand-picked coastline destinations.

France

Bouillabaisse in Marseille

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVisiting the beautiful city of Marseille requires the foodie to consider one important dish – Bouillabaisse.  This rich, saffron-infused broth is loaded with juicy and tender pieces of fish and is bursting with history and flavour. Want to enjoy Bouillabaisse in Marseille like a local? Try it with pieces of red scorpion fish (rascasse).

Where to get it: Les Arcenaulx, Le Restaurant LMB Marseille

Stay at the hostel: Marseille – Chateau du Bois-Luzy

Spain

Paella in Valencia

mundo joven cancunListen up foodie – like many famous dishes, paella in Spain and paella in other countries is very different. In Valencia for instance, their specialty paella contains succulent pieces of rabbit, rather than shellfish. Scared off? Don’t be – the rabbit adds another delicious dimension to this rice dish and brings you closer to local, authentic cuisine. As a country dominated by fantastic food and drink, you’ll be hard pressed to find a dish as authentic as Valencian paella.

Where to get it: Restaurant Levante, Bodego de la Sarieta
Stay at our hostel: Valencia – Ciutat de Valencia

Italy

Baba al Rhum in Naples

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Neapolitan dining is amongst the most famous in the world due to its well-known dishes such as ragu, pioneering pasta dishes and pizza (the world’s first Pizzeria opened in Naples). One of the most popular pastries in this food obsessed city is the Baba al Rhum, a rum infused sponge generally filled with crème patisserre, ricotta cream or Nutella. Trust us when we say – you won’t eat many Italian pastries like this one.

Where to get it:  Giovanni Scaturchio, La Sfogliatella Mary

Stay at our hostel: Naples – Mergellina

Slovenia

Prekmurska gibanica in Izola

PrekmurskaGibanica1We slightly cheated with this next offering as this sweet dish is not from the idyllic southern coastal town of Izola. However, we can’t ignore Prekmurska gibanica, a ridiculously indulgent layer cake/strudel in which you can almost taste the influences of Slovenian cross culture. Originally from the Prekmurje region (northern Slovenia), not far from the Austrian border, this yummy treat is perfect for eating like a local. A layer cake usually packed with raisins, cinnamon and ricotta cheese, it’s so popular in Slovenia that it appears on a national stamp.

Where to get it: Hisa Torkla

Stay at our hostel: Koper – YH Histria Koper

Croatia

Šporki makaruli in Dubrovnik

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Sometimes all you want to do when eating abroad is sample local comfort food. Unlike the rest of the dishes on this list, Šporki makaruli is definitely a dish that locals prepare on chilly winter evenings.

Roughly translated as ‘dirty macaroni’, Šporki makaruli comprises of either minced or small chunks of beef in a Ragu style sauce (Croatian style) with the key ingredient – macaroni. Perfect local food that contrasts nicely with the sophistication and majesty of Dubrovnik’s lovely old town.

Where to get it: Restaurant Kopun, Orsan

Stay at our hostel: Dubrovnik Hostel

Greece

Bougatsa in Athens

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Apple Bougatsa

Why be a foodie who only sticks to main courses or desserts when a breakfast dish can accommodate that yearning to mix with local cuisine? Consider the Bougatsa – a popular filo wrapped pastry that Athenians feast on for breakfast before heading to the beach.

Bougatsa is an art form. Consisting of either semolina custard, cheese or meat, think of Bougatsa as a delightful strudel with layers of pastry and filling, Greek style.

Where to get it: Bougatsa Tou Pappou for hand rolled filo pastries.

Stay at our hostel: Athens – Student & Travellers Inn

Turkey

Künefe in Fethiye

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Photo credit: Merve illeux

Greece’s neighbours Turkey also have a pastry dish that local folk rave about – Künefe. Comprising of shredded filo dough, topped with ground pistachios and one surprising filling – mozzarella cheese, it’s incredibly indulgent and very Turkish.

Before you question whether adding that stringy cheese you see on Pizzas (probably in Naples) in a sweet pastry, it works surprising well. Best devoured hot (melted cheese etc); Künefe is a great addition to your foodie experience on the Turkish coastline.

Where to get it: Hanibaba Fethiye Koftecisi, Onallar Koy Sofrasi

Stay at our hostel: Fethiye – V-GO’s Hotel & Guesthouse


Got a favourite local taste to share with us? Tell us what regional cuisines we need to try below.

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