Inspired by a brilliant Cruise Critic boards post on food souvenirs from the Mediterranean, Cruise Critic will run a blog series on the best food — by region — to pick up when you’re cruising. To kick off our gourmet venture, we have suggestions on what to buy in some of the most common countries visited on Mediterranean cruise itineraries. Add your favorites in the comments below.
Spain. Practically the entire country of Spain is famous for its culinary treats, so it’s a great place to pick up gourmet gifts or staples for your kitchen. Some of our favorites are Cava, the country’s version of sparkling wine; marzipan, a candy made from ground almonds and sugar; and saffron, one of the most costly spices in the world.
Italy. Italy is almost synonymous with good food, so you’ll find plenty of goodies everywhere from Venice in the north to Sicily in the south. A few surefire winners are wine, cheeses and Modena balsamic vinegar. If your cruise stops in Naples or anywhere in Sicily, you might also want to pick up some local limoncello, a lemon liqueur produced in Southern Italy.
Greece. Foodies all over the word covet Greek olives, so you’re sure to find a variety of high-quality olive oils and jarred olives, including the famous Kalamata variety. Look for some unique varieties of honey such as thyme honey, lavender honey and lime-tree honey, which are used in many Greek desserts. Finish off your shopping list with ouzo, an anise-flavored aperitif that is a part of most Greek celebrations.
Turkey. In Turkey, you’ll find a multitude of Middle Eastern specialties. We suggest you pick up some dried fruit, nuts and coffee. Of course, there’s always the famous Turkish delight candy, but if you’d like to try some, be sure to pick up the fresh version, as the prepackaged quality can be inferior. Besides, sampling often is the best part of the souvenir food shopping experience.
Editor’s Note: Check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s list of prohibited and restricted items before purchasing anything.
Love food and cruise travel? Drool over our ultimate guide to gourmet cruising.
Want to avoid the main dining room? Check out the nine best cruise ship alternative restaurants.
Don’t miss a thing: Get your own Lido Deck subscription.