Breakfast

Our eating patterns on board are dictated by whether or not we’re sailing. Preferring to arrive in our next destination as early as possible and definitely before dark, often on a sailing day we are up early to get underway before we even think about breakfast.

However, whether sailing or not, we never start without a cup of tea. Being British, tea is very important to us and we have quickly learnt that it is not the same for other Europeans. Our stocks of proper tea (by which we mean proper British tea like Yorkshire Tea) have at times had to be replaced with very poor continental imitations. Before we even left Portugal we had learnt that naming a tea Nelson’s Tea or Westminster Tea does not disguise the fact that it is far too weak and insipid to meet the taste standards of us Brits. And naming after famous British sporting venues definitely doesn’t! The ubiquitous Turkish çay did live up to our very exacting taste for tea but mostly we insist that visitors pack Yorkshire tea bags in their luggage when they come out to pay for their passage. That was until we discovered the catering sized bags of Yorkshire Tea which will keep us going for a long time!

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Marmite and peanut butter are Pintail staples for a quick breakfast with toast. Thanks to a number of large jars of Marmite brought with us from home and the ability to stock up in Gibraltar we have yet to run out. Before she died in January 2017, Stefan’s Mum sought to ensure we had enough for a long, long time by ordering us the biggest tub we have ever seen! It lasted us right through until we got back in the Ionian in June 2018 and we were able to buy an albeit very expensive replacement jar.

That other British breakfast staple the baked bean has been hard to come by. In the tourist centres much loved by the Brits we have been able to stock up and we were delighted to find that Lidl did a version which proved a good match to a tin of Heinz but every now and again when we have found a jar or two on a dusty shelf we have just stomached the €3 price tag per tin for that familiar taste of home. Resort towns like Benidorm in Spain and Malia on Crete indulged us in full English breakfasts.

To complete our very English breakfasts, fresh eggs have been readily available everywhere but none tasted as good as those left hanging in a bag from the davits as a gift by our taxi driver in Katakolo in Greece.

Early on we developed a habit of going for a breakfast picnic. Getting up early, packing some simple honey or jam sandwiches and cups of coffee and taking a hike somewhere high to look out over the landscape or taking the dinghy to a deserted beach.

Our traditional breakfasts have now been augmented on board by some new firm favourites from our recent destinations. Even before we got to Greece, fruit salad with yogurt and a drizzle of honey was a regular morning snack but the yogurt got so much tastier in Greece. A ready supply of citrus fruit and honey have been available throughout the Mediterranean. Finike in Turkey provided an endless supply of oranges and most recently we were gifted an enormous bag of grapefruits by Carol and Roger in Calpe.

Some of our favourites local breakfasts have been those very Mediterranean combinations of sweet and savoury, cheese and honey filled fried bread in Greece, doughnuts with omelettes in Albania

but nothing will ever, ever beat the breakfast we had on the road to Pamukkale in Turkey with its seemingly endless tiny dishes. And yes, this table full was just for the two of us!

Our favourite local breakfast, however, is one of the most simple and one we were delighted to be reunited with once we got back to Spain recently. We’ve found it just about everywhere from bus station cafes to beach shacks and have firmly adopted it for breakfast on board too.

Tostados con tomate

Just 4 simple ingredients, readily available anywhere in the Med.

A couple of firm tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and bread (whatever is available fresh at the bakery will do – loaf, baguette or rolls)

1. Cut the tomatoes in half and grate the flesh into a bowl avoiding grating the skin. Put the grated tomato in a sieve to get rid of the excess water.

2. Slice and toast the bread. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil onto the toasted bread and spread the grated tomato over it.

4. Sprinkle sea salt to taste.

It really is that simple. There are few things that taste more Mediterranean or set you up for the day. Give it a try!

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