Category: Captains Log

Autism Friendly Cruising with Celebrity Cruises

Autism Friendly Cruising with Celebrity Cruises

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 27 0

We understand that cruising as a family takes extra planning. And we can only imagine the extra steps that go into planning a cruise when travelling with special needs. One of our special partners, Celebrity Cruises, offer Autism Friendly programs for all ages to help make your family cruise the best it can be.

Celebrity Cruises® offers a welcoming autism-friendly environment onboard its cruise ships. This includes sensory-friendly films and toys, dietary menu options, and overall autism-friendly training for Camp at Sea staff. In addition, Youth Staff have received autism awareness training which covers the following topics: characteristics of autism and developmental disabilities, and communication tactics, such as person-first language and terms, and skills to initiate a conversation with a parent about his or her child’s needs. Your search for special needs cruise ships ends here.

Autism-Friendly Ships

Celebrity Cruises® offers autism-friendly interactive initiatives for families, including sensory-friendly films and toys, dietary menu options, and overall autism-friendly training for Camp at Sea staff and more. Additionally, we offer a wide range of autism friendly products and services, which include:

> Priority check-in, boarding and departure
> Camp at Sea toilet-trained policy exception
> Special dietary accommodations including gluten-free and dairy-free
> Pagers/phones for parents of children while signed into the care of Camp at Sea programs (subject to availability).
> Camp at Sea flexible grouping by ability for children 3 to 12 years old

Autism-Friendly Films

Autism friendly films are presented in a low lighting, low volume environment. Guests are encouraged to freely talk and walk around during the film. These films will be offered on all autism group cruises, and cruises with at least five children with autism onboard. Dates and times will be highlighted in Celebrity Today.

Autism-Friendly Toy Lending Program

“In our efforts to deliver top-rated products with both entertainment and educational value, Celebrity Cruises® partnered with Fat Brain Toys—one of the most highly regarded toy companies among occupational, physical and play therapists—to offer an exclusive Autism Friendly Toy Lending Catalog. We also offer: non-toxic crayons, markers, water colors, building blocks, dominoes and picture books. Upon request, we will provide a tote bag with the Fat Brain Toys of your selection.

Autism-Friendly Activities

We offer activities for children of all abilities. Families are encouraged to consult with Camp at Sea staff regarding any special needs that their children may have in order to identify which activities are appropriate for their child and any possible modifications.

Cruising Social Story

“A Social Story is a written or visual guide describing various social interactions, situations, behaviors, skills or concepts. These Social Stories help individuals with autism to better cope with social situations. Celebrity Cruises® offers a Social Story Booklet about cruising to help families with autism prepare for their cruise vacation.

What Do You Offer For Teens With Autism?
• Expedited check-in, boarding and departure
• Special dietary accommodations including gluten-free
• Autism Friendly Toy Lending Program
• Autism Friendly Films
• Social Story Booklet
• Our Teen Program with teens-only hangouts and activities. Please note while some activities are hosted, supervision or one-on-one attention is not provided

What Do You Offer For Adults With Autism?
• Expected check-in, boarding and departure
• Special dietary accommodations including gluten-free
• Autism Friendly Toy Lending Program
• Autism Friendly Films
• Social Story Booklet
• Our Cruise Activities Program.
Please note while some activities are hosted, supervision or one-on-one attention is not provided (Adults are not permitted in Teen or Camp at Sea spaces)

Oceania Recipe

Recipe: Watermelon Gazpacho

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 45 0

A sweet twist on the Spanish classic, this watermelon gazpacho recipe is perfect for hot summer days and dinners on the patio. The delicate sweetness of watermelon is the perfect complement to savory tomatoes and avocado and spicy serrano pepper in this refreshing recipe. For an extra boost of flavor, try replacing olive oil with our special basil oil, recipe also below.

WATERMELON GAZPACHO – MAKES 4 CUPS

1 onion, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
1 red bell pepper
1 serrano pepper
1 head garlic, roasted, peeled and mashed
3 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup diced watermelon
1 English cucumber, peeled
Flesh of 2 avocados
8 ounces spicy vegetable juice, preferably V8
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or Basil Oil (see recipe below), plus more for garnish

 

Heat an outdoor or indoor grill to high and grill the onion and peppers until charred and softened. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl, cover and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Stem, seed and skin the peppers.

In a blender, pulse the grilled vegetables, garlic, tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, avocados, vegetable juice, lime juice and vinegar until blended to a paste. With the blender running on low speed, slowly add the oil in a thin, steady stream, blending until the soup is creamy. Add cold filtered water as needed to adjust the consistency.

Chill for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Serve slightly chilled with a drizzle of basil oil.

 

BASIL OIL – MAKES 2 CUPS

4 cups tightly packed basil leaves
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Place the basil in a strainer and blanch it in the boiling water for about 10 seconds. Transfer the strainer of basil to the ice water, swishing the basil in the water to ensure it is well chilled. Remove the strainer of basil from the water and squeeze the basil gently to release excess water. Chop the basil.

In a blender, combine the chopped basil, olive oil and salt. Blend until the basil is pureed and the mixture is frothy. Let rest for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, pressing gently to separate the oil from the solids.

 

 

Jul 19, 2019 – Posted by Oceania Cruises in Recipes and can be found here

Travelling with Kids on the m/s Paul Gauguin

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 130 0

A model on a Paul Gauguin Cruises photo shoot, Elke enjoyed her shipboard experience so much, she returned as a guest—twice. She shares some of the moments that made the voyages so special for her now 11-year-old son.

What comes to mind for you when you think of French Polynesia? Visions of stilted bungalows nestled over the crystal-clear waters of Bora Bora and Moorea? Honeymooners holding hands and strolling under swaying palm trees? For me, it’s the image of my son frolicking in sun-warmed waters, giggling, with a huge smile on his face. As a seasoned traveler, I’m always surprised when people tell me, “We always leave our kids at home when we take a vacation.” I get that couple time is important. To me, though, the amazing life lessons kids learn from travel and the enrichment they receive from local culture stay with them for a lifetime and shape who they become as adults. So, for me, the question is: why wouldn’t you take your kids?

My husband, son, and I have taken the 7-night Tahiti & the Society Islands voyage aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin twice, and to me, The Gauguin is truly the best way to experience French Polynesia as a family. So many choices filled each day! The only question is: where to begin? I think the easiest way to way to explain how wonderful French Polynesia and The Gauguin are for families is to describe our experiences and adventures in each port.

Huahine

My son loves history, and Huahine is a great first stop to take in the history of French Polynesia! Starting from the port town of Maroe, we took a tour around the island. From the dock, we stopped at Fare, a sleepy fishing village, where you can see the mountain whose ridge gave the island its name (literally, pregnant woman). At Maeva, there is Fare Pote’e, a replica of an open, traditional house that is a museum with historical and cultural information. Fare was the seat of local power for the island, so there are a host of marae (religious sites built from stone) scattered along the shoreline. This stop was very interesting to my son and transported us back in time to how life was lived here so many moons ago.

If you are interested in how pearls or vanilla are produced, you can easily visit farms for each here and be amazed by their elaborate production processes. My son was fascinated by both! The small boat ride out to the pearl farm was also a lot of fun.

Another stop that fascinated him was our visit to Faie, where you can see and even feed sardines to Huahine’s famous and sacred blue-eyed eels. My son was mesmerized by these friendly and curious creatures swimming around his feet.

Motu Mahana

French Polynesia is a water playground for all ages because of its calm waters, beautiful sandy beaches, and gently sloping shores. Motu Mahana, The Gauguin’s private islet, is just the place to dip in and enjoy some great snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming. Or you can just lounge on the sandbar or build a sand castle. My son gladly participated in all the motu has to offer! Throughout the day, The Gauguin’s troupe of Tahitian ambassadors, Les Gauguines and Les Gauguin, provided entertainment, demonstrations, and storytelling. The fascinating legend of how the coconut tree came to be was one that children and adults could enjoy equally. And everyone gets a fresh coconut to drink from while lounging under the dappled shade of coconut trees. What could be better or tastier than that?

Bora Bora

When we were on Bora Bora, my son the history buff appreciated the stories of World War II and how Bora Bora played a strategic role in the conflict.

And here’s something else he appreciated about Bora Bora: the beautiful coral reefs that make the island an ideal place to snorkel and dive. The Gauguin offers an onboard Discover SCUBA Diving class that can count toward PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification. My son took the class on both voyages so that we could all dive together as a family. The ship’s dive team is very knowledgeable, nice, and thorough, and they put my son right at ease.

Bora Bora and Moorea both have wonderful shallow dive sites for beginners (under 30 feet) where beautiful coral and fish are abundant. The clarity is wonderful to the point that you forget you are underwater! I think I have hundreds of pictures of my son giving me underwater OK and hang-ten hand signals, he enjoyed it so much. He especially loved the blacktip sharks, giant turtles, slews of colorful fish, dynamic coral, little underwater Christmas trees, and blue-lipped clams that closed up as if by magic when he waved his hand over them.

The Gauguin also has a private beach on Bora Bora—a restful spot to lounge in shallow waters with Mount Otemanu in the background. My son played a little trick on me with a coconut that looked like an eel coming out of the water. I guess he WAS paying attention when Les Gauguines told the Polynesian legend of a prince becoming the first coconut tree. If you look at a coconut shell, it really does look like an eel’s face. Uncanny!

Moorea

Moorea was our favorite island! In fact, we loved it so much, we spent another week there both times after our cruises. We loved visiting the little idyllic motus and snorkeling until our fingers and toes turned into little prunes, which was forever since the water is so warm. My son spent so much time underwater petting the gentle and graceful rays. And what little boy wouldn’t be over the moon to be face to face with blacktip sharks? He definitely had some interesting and adventurous stories to tell his buddies back home!

On our last trip to Moorea, we kayaked out to a little motu and gathered little hermit crabs along the beach and had hermit crab races, ending in a rainbow over the water. Great memories!

By land, make sure you make it up to the Belvedere lookout point, where there are lush and gorgeous vistas of Opunohu and Cook’s Bays and Mt. Rotui. Just before you get there, you can stop at Marae Titiroa to wander among the many preserved marae platforms linked by a walking track. My son loved this trek through the cool dense forest of chestnut trees that shelters these pieces of history. There are lots of signs marking and explaining everything, and the trail is easy for families to follow. The archery platform was his favorite.

Tahiti

Shopping. Shopping. Shopping. Need I say more? My son, the little shopper, loved le Marche de Pape’ete to buy friends, family, and himself beautiful black pearl and shell jewelry, monoi (coconut oils) and fragrant tiare soaps, and colorful island-y trinkets.

Aboard ship

Of course, you don’t have to be visiting an island to have a great time! Life aboard ship fleshed out the experience for our family. On each voyage, we were blown away by the kindness of the ship’s crew and how especially sweet they were to my son—always joking with him and genuinely looking after him. I don’t think there was a staff member who didn’t know my son’s name and what he liked to eat and drink.

Their attention to detail is simply incredible. My son has a severe peanut allergy, which can be very stressful when you’re eating out, especially when you’re abroad. Hernie from the dining staff went way beyond the call of duty to make sure my son was safe AND enjoyed the amazing culinary creations on board. My son has broadened his palate, developing a taste for pâté and brie with baguettes, and he ate desserts with abandon. We definitely all tipped the scales a little heavier when we departed the ship!

There’s a lot more to life aboard than just the gourmet-quality local and French foods. We enjoyed interesting lectures about the history, culture, and the environment of the region by very knowledgeable speakers. My son loves the ocean and was very interested in hearing about coral reef restoration by one of the lecturers. We also learned local stories and legends and listened to beautiful songs sung by Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins along the way.

My son and I also had so much fun immersing ourselves in creating crafts with local materials, making several different types of bracelets (shell bracelets, local bean bracelets, and textile bracelets), hand-painted bookmarks and postcards on tapas (paper made from hibiscus bark), and leis (fragrant floral necklaces) with the local mamas of Moorea.

You can also go on land/sea excursions—or simply relax and take in the natural beauty of the lush green islands surrounding you, as you listen to Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins strumming ukuleles as you sit on the pool deck or paddle around the pool.

My son made a friend on board, and we found that our voyage gave us a good mix of family and new-friend time.

It was with heavy hearts that we departed the ship. My son loved The Gauguin, the ports, the activities, and the crew so very much! The amazing people and places we visited linger in our hearts and minds with the melody of the islands, and we are all forever changed as a family by our experiences there. So, yes … definitely take your kids on a trip of a lifetime!

 

 

Post c/o the Paul Gauguin Cruises Blog April 12 2019
Original content can be found here

Top 5 Tips for Making the Most of Norwegian’s Free at Sea

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 84 0

With Norwegian’s Free at Sea offer you have a lot of choices, which one will you choose? Well, you will want to take advantage of the ones that fit best with what you want to get out of your cruise vacation. If you prefer to enjoy the sights when getting off in port then the Shore Excursion credit is perfect for you. Prefer to keep in touch with family and friends and share all your experiences, Free WiFi will keep you connected! Here are some tips from Norwegian Cruise Line to help you make the right choice!

Top 5 Tips for Making the Most of Norwegian’s Free at Sea

Feel like making a good time five times more awesome? Feel Free. With Norwegian’s Free at Sea, you can enjoy Unlimited Open Bar, Shore Excursions, Specialty Dining, WiFi or Friends & Family Sail Free. Choose one, pick two or take all five! Whether you’re looking forward to toasting each day at one of our unique bars and lounges, tasting your way through our specialty restaurants or Instagramming every perfect moment to friends and family back home, Norwegian’s Free at Sea will help you vacation your way.

1. Find Your Happy Place
If you pick Shore Excursions, you’ll receive a $50 per port credit to use for the land-based adventure of your choosing. Dog sledding in Alaska. A snorkeling and champagne catamaran tour in The Caribbean. Touring the world-famous ruins of Pompeii. The possibilities for the spectacular are seemingly endless.

Plus, once you apply your port credit, you’ll also receive the Shore Excursion discount commensurate with your Latitudes Rewards tier level on the remaining cost: 10% for Silver, Gold and Platinum, 15% for Platinum Plus and 20% for Ambassador members.

PRO TIP:
Make the most of the last shore excursion of your vacation. Put your $50 credit toward an excursion that will drop you off at the airport at the end of the tour.

 

2. Savor Every Moment
When you choose Free Specialty Dining, you and a guest will receive a dining package with up to 3 free meals on a 7-day sailing at our Specialty Dining restaurants. Kick off a romantic night with bouillabaisse and côte de boeuf at our signature French restaurant, Le Bistro or dine under the stars along our oceanfront promenade, The Waterfront, while enjoying your favorite Italian foods at La Cucina.

PRO TIP:
Wherever you decide to dine, consider reserving your table for the first night when restaurants are less crowded and it’s easier to get a reservation.

 

3. Stay Connected
With Free WiFi, you can stay connected while at sea. From posting awe-inspiring photos of Glacier Bay in Alaska to sending friends back home photos of your newfound happy place in The Caribbean, you can do it all with the Free WiFi package-a value of up to $130.

PRO TIP:
Need to tweet, post, update and email a lot? Get the best deal by selecting this package where you can then upgrade to Unlimited or Unlimited Premium WiFi for a discount.

 

4. Raise a Glass to the Good Life
Morning mimosa? Poolside margarita? Wine with your filet mignon? Coming right up. Whether you like your beverages shaken, stirred or chilled, toast the good life with Unlimited Open Bar-a savings of up to $1,400. You and a guest can enjoy all the cocktails, spirits, wine, draft beer, juice and soda you like. With multiple bars and lounges on board to choose from, no two drinks will be the same, unless of course you’d like another round.

PRO TIP:
If you savor the finer things in life, then upgrade to the Premium Plus Beverage package and only pay the difference while enjoying top shelf brands.

 

5. The More, The Merrier
Whether you’re daydreaming of planning a get together for your group of old friends or where to hold the next extended family reunion, look no further than a cruise with Norwegian. With Friends & Family Sail Free, cruising with a large group will not only save money, but our diverse selection of onboard dining, activities, entertainment and amenities ensure that everyone will have an incredible vacation. When you choose Friends & Family Sail Free, guests 3 and 4 enjoy complimentary cruise fares on select cruises-a savings of up to $1,000! So go on and start calling/texting/emailing your crew about your brilliant vacation idea.

PRO TIP:
Stretch out and relax by booking in a Suite or The Haven where the first two guests receive ALL 5 Free at Sea offers and friends and family sail free.

 

 

 

Originally shared here on Norwegian’s Official Travel Blog

Silver Origin

New Silver Origin to Sail the Galapagos

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 103 0

Silversea Cruises will open their newest luxury expedition ship for bookings on July 16, 2019. The new Silver Origin, has been designed entirely for the Galapagos t oimmerse you, the luxury guest, into the destination.

Starting on July 16, 2019, travellers will be able to reserve their suites aboard Silversea’s new ship, Silver Origin, which has been designed entirely with the Galapagos Islands in mind and will be the most elegant ship to ever sail the region when it launches in summer 2020. The all-suite, 100-guest Silver Origin will embark on her maiden voyage in July 2020, unlocking the authentic beauty of the Galapagos by connecting guests with the destination through immersive experiences.

“Our unique, industry-leading offering in the Galapagos Islands is being enhanced further still for the benefit of our guests,” says Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s President and CEO. “From July 16, 2019, we will open sales for Silver Origin, which will enrich guests’ experiences with an unprecedented level of elegance and comfort. After admiring endemic species in the wild and exploring the beautiful landscapes of the Galapagos – with the guidance of local experts – guests will continue their discovery of this unique destination on board, through regionally inspired cuisine, informative lectures and various other enhancements.”

Silversea’s new ultra-luxury ship will continue the award-winning legacy of the retiring Silver Galapagos by alternating two seven-night itineraries between Baltra and San Cristobal, unlocking varying experiences for guests, as follows:

Baltra to San Cristobal
Aboard Silver Origin for Silversea’s north central itinerary, guests will enjoy a circumnavigation of Isla Daphne Major and explorations of Darwin Bay and Prince Philip’s Steps in Genovesa; Galapaguera Cerro Colorado and Punta Pitt in San Cristobal; Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez in Espanola; El Eden, Charles Darwin Research Station and Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz; as well as Sullivan Bay, North Seymour, Rabida, and South Plaza. Highlights of this seven-day itinerary include the chance to witness captivating wildlife species in their natural habitats, including and an abundance of marine life through various snorkelling opportunities – potentially near schools of tropical fish, turtles and impressive whitetip reef sharks; and the chance to explore unusual geological features, including lava flows at Sullivan Bay, among other experiences.

San Cristobal to Baltra
Silversea’s western itinerary encompasses such points of interest as Cerro Dragon and Las Bachas Beach in Santa Cruz and a circumnavigation of Kicker Rock. The itinerary also includes Punta Vicente Roca, Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay in Isabela; Post Office Bay, Champion Islet and Punta Cormorant in Floreana; Los Gemelos, Charles Darwin Research Station and Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz; Playa Espumilla in Santiago, conditions permitting; Punta Espinoza in Fernandina; and Bartolome Island. Guests travelling westbound with Silversea will witness magnificent geological features, including Kicker Rock and Pinnacle Rock; enjoy a Zodiac ride to Buccaneer’s Cove, which once provided a refuge for pirates; and various other unforgettable experiences.

On both itineraries, Silver Origin’s guests will spend their days exploring Darwin’s “Living Laboratory of Evolution,” where they might spot giant tortoises, colourful marine iguanas, comical Blue-footed Boobies, energetic sea lion pups, Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Hawks and Galapagos Penguins. Expert local naturalists of the highest calibre—one for every ten guests, providing the highest ratio of guides-per-guest in the Galapagos—will share their knowledge and insights, as they lead complimentary excursions. A fleet of eight Zodiac crafts—the largest in the region on a per-guest basis—and kayaks will enhance the adventure with on-water exploration.

In 2020, two special extended voyages are planned for the holiday season: departing December 19, 2020, guests will be able to travel deeper into the destination on an 11-day voyage from San Cristobal to Baltra, while a 12-day New Year’s cruise will depart Baltra on December 29, 2020, concluding in San Cristobal.

“The Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s greatest pristine wonderlands,” said Fernando Delgado, Silversea’s Vice President and General Manager of Canodros C.L. “It will be our honour to unlock the authentic beauty of this region for guests, as they journey aboard the environmentally conscious Silver Origin, enjoying the ship’s understated elegance and all-inclusive comforts and luxuries.”

Thoughtfully crafted to provide superlative comfort, Silver Origin’s stylish, butler-serviced suites are among the most spacious in Galapagos cruising. Each features a private veranda or a Horizon Balcony to provide stunning views of the island landscape. Luxury amenities include a minibar stocked with local snacks and a range of soft and alcoholic drinks, in-suite fresh water purification system, large flat-screen television, choice of pillows, eco-friendly bath amenities, plush robes and slippers, 24-hour room service and in-suite dining, unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi, and complimentary expedition gear that includes a waterproof backpack, raincoat and premium metallic water bottle.

Silver Origin’s eight suite categories include one Owner’s Suite that wraps around the ship’s rear section on Deck 6, offering an unrivalled panoramic view. Situated directly below, on Deck 5, are the ship’s one Grand Suite and one Royal Suite, which are connecting suites that may be combined into one ideal suite for family and friends travelling together. Rounding out the most spacious accommodation options are two Silver Suites—located forward on Deck 5—each of which can be connected to an adjacent Classic Veranda Suite to accommodate groups. All of these top-tier suites feature a large veranda with comfortable outdoor furniture and floor-to-ceiling glass doors. A first for Silversea, the Owner’s, Grand, and Royal suites offer an ocean-view whirlpool bath and separate shower, accessible from the veranda (except in the Grand Suite). The Silver Suites’ whirlpool bath and separate shower provide exterior views and can be accessed from the veranda.

The remaining four suite categories include one Medallion Suite, seven Deluxe Veranda Suites, and sixteen Superior Veranda Suites located on Deck 6. These accommodations are most notable for their innovative Horizon Balcony, which converts into an indoor living space with a floor-to-ceiling window. On Deck 5, there are also twenty-two Classic Veranda Suites, each with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that open onto the veranda. Additionally, they offer third-guest capacity as well as several connecting suites.

With the environment in mind, Silver Origin will feature a dynamic positioning system, which will be used when the ship is positioned over a delicate seabed ecosystems to prevent the anchor from causing damage. Moreover, Silver Origin’s guests will be gifted a metallic reusable bottle that will leverage in-suite freshwater purifications system that convert seawater into drinking water, drastically reducing the use of plastic on board. The ship will also meet the highest standards of energy efficiency in the segment.

Chilled Strawberry, Basil and Coconut Soup

Recipe: Chilled Strawberry, Basil and Coconut Soup

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 403 0

C/O Ama Waterways, in celebration of their stunning cruises through Provence

Though its origins are murky, chilled Strawberry Soup is the perfect seasonal recipe for summers in Provence – or anywhere with hot weather!

Itineraries: Colors of Provence

In modern times, cold soups are more closely aligned with a meal’s amouse bouche than its hearty main dish. The idea is to excite your appetite and prepare it for what’s ahead, not satiate your hunger. Of course, given that many chilled soups, such as this strawberry, basil and coconut blend, are sweet, they are also a wonderful way to finish off a delicious meal.

Why Cold Soup?

Germany’s cucumber soup. Hungary’s sour cherry. Portugal’s ajoblanco. And France’s Vichyssoise. What do all of these delicious soups have in common? They are refreshing enough to be served in the height of summer’s heat—because they are chilled

Got a Blender?

If you have a blender or food processor, congratulations—you’re equipped to make chilled soups! Forget about fancy slicing and dicing, searing or hours of simmering. Chilled soups simply use complementary fresh seasonal ingredients for a quick and no-fuss recipe that delights the palate.

The Strawberries of Provence

Although chilled strawberry soup can hardly be called an authentic French recipe, strawberries are a seasonal ingredient in France’s Provence region from March through June. Wild strawberries, known locally as fraises des bois, thrive in Provence’s shade. Anyone attending Les Halles outdoor market in Avignon during these months will likely come across sun-kissed varieties from the town of Carpentras. So important are these seeded fruits that there is even a Carpentras Strawberry Fraternity. Annual production of the fruit is about 4,000 tons.

Whether you can pick your own or need to buy them at the market, strawberries are the delicious main ingredient of this refreshing and easy to make at home recipe!

Chilled Strawberry, Basil and Coconut Soup

Ingredients:
1 & 1/8 lbs. Frozen Strawberries (about 4.5 cups)
1/2 TBS Confectioners’ Sugar
2 TBS and 2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1¼ tsp. Sweet Basil
1/4 qt. Strawberry Ice Cream
¾ C and 2 TBS Coconut Cream

Preparation Method:

Using a blender or food processor, blend the above ingredients until a smooth pouring consistency is reached. If texture is too thick, add milk to thin it down with more coconut cream to taste. Serve immediately.

 

Tomato-Feta-Basil Macarons

Recipe: Tomato-Feta-Basil Macarons

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 79 0

Surprise your friends with this savory macaron, a twist on the traditionally sweet cookie with its mild crust and tangy center of feta, fresh tomatoes and basil. When you assemble them, be sure to spread the filling gently or even use a piping bag to prevent damaging the delicate meringue cookies. We think this is a great summer time appetizer shared by our friends at Viking Cruises!

Ingredients

COOKIE:
¾ C (64 g) almond meal
¾ C (98 g) confectioners’ sugar
2 lg egg whites
¾ C (177 ml) water
¾ C (144 g) sugar

 

FILLING:
2 T (30 g) feta cheese
2 T (30 g) cream cheese
2 T (5 g) basil, finely chopped
Few drops lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 med ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced
Individual basil leaves (one per macaron)

Directions
Preheat oven to 340°F (170°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a damp kitchen towel on counter. Place almond meal and confectioners’ sugar in medium bowl; stir to combine. Place 1 of the egg whites in another medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until firm shiny peaks form. Spoon into almond mixture, folding in gently to combine. Place remaining egg white in a medium bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Place water and granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Place over medium low heat, stirring frequently until sugar has dissolved. Continue to boil until mixture reaches a temperature of 245°F (120°C) on a candy thermometer. Very gradually pour sugar syrup into egg white, constantly beating with an electric mixer until shiny peaks form. Add almond mixture and gently fold in.

Spoon mixture into a large pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and form 24 small disks about 2 inches across, leaving an inch of space in between. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and, leaving macarons on parchment paper, move paper to damp kitchen towel. Let cool to room temperature.

To make filling, place feta, cream cheese, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl, mashing with a fork to combine. Stir in tomatoes. To assemble, spread mixture thinly between 2 macarons.

Prep time: 38 minutes.Cook time: 12 minutes.Makes 12 servings.

Recipe: Simple to Make Lemon Tiramisu

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 89 0

Shared from our friends at Windstar Cruises, this Lemon Tiramisu dessert sound like a perfect way to add some summer sunshine into a classic recipe

Before we start making a simple lemon tiramisu, we will tell you where we got this recipe.

Gorgeous seasonal produce and beautiful markets constantly inspire us to play with new spins on traditional dishes. Wandering the morning market in Antibes, France with the James Beard Foundation Awarded Chef Maxime Billet, it was easy to drool over the mounds of purple garlic, the towers of heirloom tomatoes, and the crates of just-foraged chanterelle mushrooms. Summer in the south of France is known for the bounty of its gorgeous harvest, and the market of Antibes certainly does not disappoint! But it was the massive, knotty, nearly-neon yellow lemons that drew me in the most.

In northern Italy, the perfect summer dessert is Tiramisu (literally, ‘pick me up’). Served cold straight from the fridge, there is nothing better than this creamy, caffeinated dessert. But the French lemons made us want to play with this classic recipe, switching out the traditional coffee for a tart lemon syrup, and trading the rum for a splash of bright limoncello. Perfect for those hot afternoons after a morning at the beach, or those late night sweet snack desires, enjoy this memory-invoking Mediterranean take for your next dessert craving!

Simple Lemon Tiramisu from Windstar Cruises

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 lb mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup lemon curd
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 10 lemons)
  • 1 cup limoncello
  • 20 ladyfingers
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

 

Directions

1) Whisk the whipping cream and ¾ cup sugar until it reaches soft peaks. Set aside.

2) Put the mascarpone cheese into a medium bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the lemon curd. Fold in the sweetened whipped cream. Set aside and keep chilled.

3) Mix the lemon juice and the remaining 1 cup sugar in a small pot over medium heat. Heat just until sugar is melted. Remove from heat, and stir in limoncello. Let cool.

4) Soak ladyfingers in cooled limoncello mixture for a couple seconds, rotating to coat all sides. (Do not oversoak, or else your ladyfingers will dissolve, and your tiramisu will be too wet). Place ladyfingers side by side on the bottom of an 8- by 8-inch pan.

5) Put half the lemon cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers in pan. Smooth with a spatula or spoon.

6) Apply the second layer of limoncello-soaked ladyfingers and remaining cream. Sift a light dusting of powdered sugar over the top. Cover in plastic wrap and chill.

7) To serve, cut lemon tiramisu into squares (or simply spoon it out if it is too soft to cut) and serve on plates.

 

Disney Wonder at sea

Great News For New Orleans and the Disney Wonder

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 77 0

New Orleans and Princess Tiana Take Center Stage in Enhancements Coming to the Disney Wonder

The world of “The Princess and the Frog” will come to life in new ways on the Disney Wonder with the addition of an exciting New Orleans-themed lounge that will transport you deeper into the heart of the city’s iconic French Quarter. A perfect complement to Tiana’s Place Restaurant on the Disney Wonder, the French Quarter Lounge will feature live music and themed activities for everyone in the family. Also debuting on the Disney Wonder this fall will be a sleek new space for teens and a redesigned café just for adults.

Here’s a look at enhancements sure to enchant:

“The Princess and the Frog” Comes to Life in a New Family Lounge
The French Quarter Lounge will be a perfect companion to Tiana’s Place Restaurant on the Disney Wonder, both inspired by the Disney animated feature “The Princess and the Frog.” The jazzy atmosphere of the French Quarter Lounge will evoke an airy outdoor space in New Orleans, surrounded by touches of iconic architecture such as wrought-iron balconies, classic brick walls and shutter-framed windows. Decorative details including a life-size trolley car and nods to the film, with signs and icons on the walls, add to the ambiance of the space.

Days and nights get a touch of bayou hospitality at the French Quarter Lounge, where you can enjoy live music on the gazebo stage and sip specialty drinks at an updated whimsical bar. The French Quarter Lounge will be a natural precursor to dinner at Tiana’s Place Restaurant or the perfect destination for entertainment and libations. The story will continue in the lounge all day long with New Orleans-themed family activities, trivia and character encounters. There may even be a glimpse of Princess Tiana herself as she stops by to welcome you.

Redesigned Retreats for Teens and Adults
Vibe, a club reserved for teens ages 14-17, will transform into a contemporary place to hang out with friends while at sea. The space will be given a timeless feel with an open, bright redesign, a light color palette and industrial metal work. A new coffee bar and updated virtual reality technology add to the list of activities for teens to enjoy in this exclusive club.

Adults will have an updated space all their own in the Cove Café, after a redesign that will transform the look and feel of the café into a local coffee shop, complete with warm, comfortable and trendy décor. Ample seating and a relaxed atmosphere will beckon you to indulge in this peaceful retreat. The newly redesigned Cove Café will be the perfect place to sip specialty coffee or tea throughout the day or partake in wine, cocktails and light bites during the evening.

Adult beverage tastings will be available at select times for an additional fee. Just steps away, Signals Bar is also undergoing a transformation with a similar look.

The new enhancements debut on the Disney Wonder’s four-night sailing from Vancouver to San Diego on Sept. 30, 2019. These additions are part of an overall commitment by Disney Cruise Line to invest in its ships, helping to deliver incredible family vacation experiences for years to come. While making these enhancements, crews perform regularly scheduled and wide-ranging maintenance to keep the fleet in tip-top shape, further demonstrating the unwavering commitment by Disney Cruise Line to continually elevate the experience.

The Disney Wonder offers a variety of itineraries and ports of call throughout the year, including summer sailings to Alaska, cruises to the Mexican Riviera and voyages to the Caribbean and Bahamas. For the first time, the Disney Wonder will also call New Orleans home in 2020 with Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries departing from this new home port beginning Feb. 7.

A Regional Sampling of Italian Cuisine

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 83 0

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Italy? Is it ancient civilizations and wonders of the world? Bustling metropolises and passionate people? These are all things that Italy is known for, but if you’re like us, your mind skips beyond these signature staples and focuses on one thing—the food.

Italy is synonymous with cooking. The techniques, recipes, and dishes born out of Italian kitchens are some of the most popular and influential throughout the world. No matter where you call home, odds are there’s an Italian restaurant nearby—though the slices of pizza and sizeable helpings of spaghetti they serve may be very different from what you can expect on your trip to the Bel Paese. Depending on the region of Italy you visit, you’ll sample many dramatically different (and delicious) dishes.

Why is that? It has a lot to do with the country’s fascinating history and the proud cultures that flourish in its 20 unique regions. If you have an appetite for learning more, join us for this four-course look at Italian cuisine.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ITALIAN FOOD
Italy is home to more than 2,000 years of culinary history dating back to the Roman Empire. In fact, the Roman cookbook Apicius was compiled in the 1st century and today is believed to be one of the oldest collections of recipes ever discovered. The name of the book was inspired by Marcus Gavius Apicius—perhaps the world’s first foodie—who has long been associated with a love of a good meal. There are some who say he compiled the collection, though no conclusive evidence of this exists.

What is indisputable, however, is that the diversity of regional Italian food took off after the fall of the Roman Empire. This massive political and cultural shift in the area gave rise to individual city states, each fostering distinct traditions—including in the ways they would cook and prepare their food. These city states and regions remained mostly autonomous until the late 1800s (well over a millennium) when Italian unification occurred, and the country of Italy was born. That said, even today, it’s common for Italians to proudly declare loyalty to their region—as well as their regional cooking style—before declaring loyalty to their country.

Now, this doesn’t mean similarities can’t be found throughout Italian kitchens and dining rooms. No matter the region, you’ll find emphasis placed on fresh, high-quality ingredients. Seasonal vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, and cheese, are hallmarks of dishes across the country. Simplicity is also an essential element of Italian cooking, with most recipes having very few ingredients—all of which are carefully considered.

NORTH AND SOUTH, NIGHT AND DAY

Italy’s not a large country—it runs about the length of California—but the culinary differences between the north and south can sometimes make it feel like you’re dining in two different worlds.

Resting in the shadows of the Alps and the Dolomites, Northern Italian meals take a great deal of influence from the European countries it borders. You’ll find notes of French cuisine in this area, as well as influences from Italy’s Swiss and Austrian neighbors. Meat and dairy both factor heavily in Northern Italian dishes, as do rice, corn, and cheeses. The closer you get to the water, the more you’ll notice seafood on the menu.

You may be surprised to learn that pasta dishes aren’t as popular up here as they are in the south, but there is a distinct richness to Northern Italian food—highlighted by the butter-based creamy sauces that often top a dish. Risotto, polenta, gnocchi, and stuffed pasta are all northern staples, as are cured meats such as Prosciutto di Parma.

Making your way south and deeper into the Mediterranean, you’ll find meals infused with Greek and Moorish influences. Sometimes referred to as Cucina Povera (poor-man’s cooking), Southern Italian dishes are where the elements of simplicity, minimal ingredients, and a touch of creative thinking shine. The naturally warm climate of Southern Italy means ingredients such as peppers, tomatoes, and olives are readily available, and form the basis for many of the South’s iconic culinary exports—including pasta dishes, olive oil, and Neapolitan pizza margherita. You may be surprised to learn that horse meat is considered a delicacy in some parts of Southern Italy, so don’t be shocked when it appears on the menu. Southern Italian dishes also take advantage of bountiful hauls from the Mediterranean. You’ll often see recipes that call for octopus, fresh sardines, anchovies, tuna, and swordfish.

When you travel to Italy, join us in the north for tomato tasting in Tuscany, a guided tasting tour through the seaside town of Rapallo that offers a seat at the table where locals love to dine, or a cooking class with the culinary masters of Elba. Then, in the south, uncover the secrets of Sicily’s dishes, perfect pasta making in Alghero, and stroll the fish and fruit markets of Sorrento. Along the way, you might just pick up a few of the secrets to mastering Italian cooking, or, at the very least, a new favorite dish!

SAY CHEESE
Across Italy, you’ll find more than 400 different types of cheese, ranging from iconic flavors like mozzarella and parmesan to lesser-known styles like la tur, the hard to come by bettelmatt, and the flavorful weinkase lagrein. Like other Italian foods, cheese varies dramatically by region. At the foot of the Italian Alps in the north, for example, cows graze pastures eating flavor-rich grass, and their milk is used to produce bagòss, fontina, and gorgonzola. It is said that some astute taste testers can tell which type of grass a cow ate—and exactly which pastures they grazed in—before the cheese-making process begins.

In the south, the natural landscape is much rockier, making it difficult to raise cattle. Instead, southern farmers began raising sheep and goats (Cucina Povera!), which produce milk for their cheeses, including pecorino, caprino d’aspromonte, and vastedda della valle del belice. The south is also where mozzarella originates. Tasting true Italian mozzarella, you’ll notice a distinct difference from its North American counterpart, which is typically made with cow’s milk. If sampling the cheeses of Southern Italy is top of your list, join us for wine and cheese at Quattro Passi, a Michelin Restaurant overlooking the waters of Sorrento Bay.

DIVING DEEPER: ITALIAN FOOD BY REGION
While looking at Italian cooking through the lens of northern style or southern style can be helpful, it doesn’t quite capture the diverse nature of the food. Italy is home to 20 unique regions, each of which lends its own flavor to the dishes we know and love. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect from the regions you visit when traveling through Italy with us.

SARDINIA
West of the Italian peninsula, Sardinia’s limestone cliffs rise high above crystal clear waters. The second largest island in the Mediterranean, Sardinian cuisine has largely been influenced by its history as a safe place to stop on trade routes. Phoenicians, Spaniards, Carthaginians, Arabs, and Romans would frequently dock along the shores of Sardinia, bartering their goods, as well as sharing their gastronomic culture.

Because Sardinia is an island, it should come as no surprise that seafood is in favor here. In Cagliari, visit La Scala to sample incredible handmade fregola Sarda—a signature Sardinian pasta topped with seafood sauce. Further northwest in Alghero, lobster is king. Often prepared the Catalan way (a result of Catalonian conquerors visiting the area at the tail end of the Middle Ages), expect your lobster—known as aragosta alla Catalana here, to be boiled with tomatoes and onion, then seasoned with oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.

CAMPANIA
The food of Campania is more commonly known as Neapolitan, and the region is responsible for two of Italy’s most appetizing exports—spaghetti and pizza. You’ll have no trouble finding spaghetti alla Puttanesca—a seafood pasta featuring anchovies, capers, olives, tomatoes, chili peppers, and garlic—in any restaurant, but we recommend Ristorante Pizzeria Il Mulino in Amalfi for a quiet, flavorsome experience.

For another Amalfi favorite, make your way to the Marina Grande. Beginning life a seaside bar in 1918, Marina Grande moved to Spiaggia Grande in 1935 and has been serving locally-inspired dishes using ingredients sourced from farmers and fishermen from along the Amalfi coast. Be sure to try their selection of local artisanal cheeses, including caciotta di bufala, a buffalo soft cheese this region is also famous for. This is the type of restaurant where you’ll continue to savor the meal long after the food is finished.

If an authentic slice of Neapolitan pizza is a must-try for you, you’ll find it at Pizzeria Da Franco in Sorrento. This restaurant exudes a charming Italian aesthetic—which is wonderful—but what you’re really here for is the pizza. You may have to wait a few minutes as the pizzeria is typically filled with locals, but the wait is certainly worth it.

MARCHE
Relatively isolated compared to many other Italian regions, farmers in Marche are known for overseeing their crops with a little help from lunar methods (think the Farmer’s Almanac). Legends handed down from generation to generation continue to play a significant role in when work gets done on farms throughout the region—including when their delectable casciotta d’urbino cheeses are produced.

Marche has staked its claim as the origin of porchetta, a boneless pork roast stuffed with herbs and spices and roasted on a spit. This savory and fatty dish is held in very high regard through Italy. So much so, the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Forestry named porchetta a prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale, a traditional food product of great cultural significance.

Marche is also a region where you’ll find delicious pasta, especially in the coastal city of Ancona. Wide noodles such as lasagna and pappardelle are preferred here, and you must try the region’s signature dish, vincisgrassi. This pasta casserole is highlighted by a rich meat ragù and a creamy bechamel sauce. If you ask us, any chance to sample authentic vincisgrassi makes a trip to oft-overlooked Marche essential.

PUGLIA
The heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia is not to be walked away from when it comes to food culture. For many, Puglia is their first stop on any culinary tour. Considering we’re in Italy, that’s saying a lot. But there’s no denying just how special this agricultural haven is—especially when you sink your teeth into their fresh fruits and vegetables for the very first time. They’re so flavorful, they transform antipasto from an appetizer to a full-blown meal—you simply won’t be able to help yourself from going back for seconds (and maybe even thirds).

Orecchiette is the pasta of choice here, which translates into “little ears.” A quick look at the shape of this pasta—made with just flour and water—should clear up any confusion on the name. Typically served with cime di rapa, or aged ricotta and fresh tomatoes, orecchiette is ideally shaped for soaking up and enjoying sauces (chefs were clearly “listening” to what their patrons wanted when they created orecchiette).

Puglia is also where much of Italy’s olive oil is produced, which you can sample for yourself on our ancient tradition of olive oil shore excursion. You may even want to bring some home with you to add an authentic Italian flavor to your next meal.

LAZIO
Home to Rome, Lazio truly was once the center of the known universe. Many of Italy’s most famous pasta dishes—including spaghetti carbonara, cacio e pepe, and pasta alla gricia—originated here, and in general, the region prefers long strand noodles (think the aforementioned spaghetti and fettuccine). During your time here, you can join us for an authentic pasta making workshop at a local farmhouse, where you’re certain to pick up a secret or two from local paste producers.

A trip to Lazio isn’t complete without sampling saltimbocca—one of the area’s most iconic meat dishes. Imitated around the world, authentic saltimbocca is highlighted by veal that is wrapped in thinly sliced pieces of prosciutto, then pan-fried in white wine and butter. You’ll also want to try an order of Arrabbiata—a traditional pasta dish notable for its particularly spicy tomato sauce.

You’ll find more chicken-based dishes in Lazio than in most other regions of Italy, which makes it the perfect place to try pollo con i peperoni. Commonly associated with Ferragosto, a holiday celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, pollo con i peperoni has become a much loved warm-weather dish consisting of seasoned chicken and a colorful mixture of bell peppers.

Artichokes are also integral to cuisine in Lazio (especially when deep-fried whole in a dish known as carciofi alla giudia), as are sizable green olives, which are used in the production of canino dop extra virgin olive oil (try some as seasoning on your bruschetta). This is also the home of pecorino romano, a hard cheese made using sheep’s milk and often served over pasta dishes.

SICILIA
Like Sardinia, Sicilian food has been inspired by cultures that have carved out their spot on the island over the centuries. It’s not uncommon to find Greek, Arabic, and Spanish influences in dishes served here—and Sicilians take pride in blending these elements into something that is distinctly their own.

As a region, Sicilia is amazingly fertile, and the variety of crops that can grow here (everything from oranges to eggplants, tomatoes to pistachios) is nearly unparalleled. Combine this with a wealth of seafood found just off the coast, and you have the recipe for a fantastic gastronomy scene.

Order sfincione in Sicilia and you might expect a hot slice of pizza, but you’ll be in for a surprise. Instead of a traditional pizza pie, expect a rectangular, thick, and doughy crust—actually quite similar to focaccia. As for toppings, you’ll find the traditional tomatoes, onions, anchovies, and herbs for seasoning, as well as strong local cheese—often caciocavallo, a stretched-out curd cheese made of goat’s milk. This will all be covered by the sauce, which goes on top to ensure it doesn’t soak into the thick crust.

To get a sense of Sicilian snacks, make a point of trying arancini. These fried risotto croquettes are a sought-after street food that, while easy to find, prove difficult to replicate (if only because every vendor puts their own spin on them). Some arancini are stuffed with meat ragù, others may contain mozzarella cheese and peas. Try a few while exploring a Sicilian market and you won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you leave room for cannoli—the signature deep-fried pastry tube of Sicilia!

If you’re still hungry—and a little adventurous—treat yourself to the crunch of a few raw red prawns. Often served in elite restaurants around Italy, Sicilians know the secret to a tasty prawn is a splash of lemon juice and a drop of olive oil. That’s it, no need for cooking. If you consider yourself to be a serious foodie, your stop in Sicilia isn’t complete without trying this tasty—albeit unconventional—snack.

TUSCANY
Perhaps Italy’s most renowned food region, Tuscany’s reputation is well earned. Hearty, simple, and seasonal, a trip through Tuscany is like a trip through Italy’s culinary heart.

You’ll quickly notice almost all meals in Tuscany are served with a simple loaf of unsalted bread. This tradition dates back to the 16th century when a tax placed on salt forced local bakers to get creative with their baking. The salt tax is long gone, but the tradition has carried on and in many ways is the signature element of Tuscan bread. Initially, this bread may seem a little flavorless, but you’re missing its main purpose—to soak up leftover sauce and juices on your plate after the meal is done. Keep this tip as fresh in your mind as the bread in your basket and you’re in for a delightful meal.

Bread shows up throughout Tuscan meals, from fettunta (a traditional bruschetta) to ribolita (a twice boiled soup). You’ll even find bread salad, better known as panzanella, which is day-old bread mixed with a medley of sun-ripened vegetables, drizzled with olive oil and vinegar.

But it’s not all bread in Tuscany! Pasta is also (unsurprisingly) popular, particularly pappardelle alla lepre, which is an egg noodle dish served in a wild hare sauce. For many, this is the signature Tuscan meal. Other enjoyed meat dishes include cinghiale in umido (a wild boar stew) and bistecca alla Fiorentina—a Tuscan steak that comes from the Chianina breed of cow.

And speaking of cow, don’t miss the chance to try lampredotto—the fourth stomach of a cow. Now hear us out, this may seem like a strange choice, but locals love it, and you’ll often find them queued up on the street waiting for a serving. You’re on vacation, now’s the time to eat adventurously!

LIGURIA
Nestled between the mountains and the sea in Northwest Italy, Liguria is synonymous with the Italian Riviera. And being a coastal region, it also has a close association with fresh seafood, particularly fish, mussels, and squid—all of which is often combined in ciuppin. A soup originally conceived as a way to use up what was left at the end of the day at the fish market, ciuppin offers a beautiful hodgepodge of flavors. Because fish is more common the meat in Liguria, you’ll also find fresh seafood in most pasta dishes. You can even order antipasti ai frutti di mare, which is essentially a charcuterie board from under the sea.

If you’re craving seafood (alongside a view you simply must see), we recommend booking a terrace table at Ristorante Belforte, where the carefully curated menu is certain to tantalize your taste buds. Located about an hour northwest of Portovenere, the view alone is worth the trip.

Pesto is also a prized ingredient in Liguria cooking, in fact, you can trace its origin back to Genoa, the region’s capital city. If you’re looking for tips on making your own perfect pesto, you’re in the right place, as you can make your own when you join us for an authentic cooking class in the seaside villages of Cinque Terre.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA
The northern region of Emilia-Romagna is sometimes referred to as “Italy’s breadbasket” for its robust gastronomy scene. This is a region to visit if your heart is set on eating well, and eating a lot.

Balsamic vinegar and parmigiano reggiano (known as parmesan around the world) were born here, as were favorites like prosciutto di parma and cappellacci pasta. One thing you won’t find, however, is spaghetti bolognese. This may seem strange, considering Bologna is the region’s capital. So why the name? It probably comes down to a miscommunication after WWII, when American soldiers returned home hoping to find something as delicious as the ragù they ate on deployment. When they asked Italian immigrant chefs to replicate it, something obviously was lost in translation. Spaghetti bolognese was born, but don’t bother looking for it on the menu in Emilia-Romagna. Instead, sample the many unbelievable ragù-topped dishes waiting for you.

While it’s arrivederci for spaghetti bolognese, you will find plenty of tortellini, as well as two different types of gnocchi: pisarei e faśö, which is made from flour and breadcrumbs, and borgotaro malfatti, which is made using ricotta and herbs bound together by eggs and breadcrumbs. When we visit, we never miss a chance to try erbazzone, the region’s iconic savory country-style tart stuffed with spinach, chard, parmesan cheese, and pancetta.

FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA
Bordered by Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east, it should come as little surprise that the culinary traditions of Friuli-Venezia Giulia are influenced by its European neighbors. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover that everyone from Napoleon to Attila the Hun has passed through the region on their way to the Adriatic—bringing with them recipes and spices that locals have absorbed and incorporated over the centuries.

Polenta is popular here, and it is often served with stewed meats, or fried flat with cheese and potatoes into wafers known as frico. When you visit Trieste, stop by Tavernetta al Molo for polenta with fish (and enjoy the lovely sea view while you dine).

In the western parts of the region, cheeses such as montasio and frico are favored, as are smoked meat meatballs known as pitina. To the east, the neighborly influence really comes into play, and it’s not uncommon to dine on goulash, apple strudel, and jota—a stew comprised of beans, sauerkraut, potatoes, bacon, and spare ribs. This is where you can also try cherry gnocchi. This dish is served during cherry season, which occurs in the summer. As the seasons change, you can expect to see less cherry gnocchi on the menu, but more plum gnocchi—a dish again inspired by the neighbors to the north.

Eager to learn more about the food emerging from Friuli-Venezia Giulia? Take a cooking class at EATALY Trieste, where your chef-instructor will guide you through the creation of an authentic Friuli-Venezia Giulia meal.

VENETO
From the mountains down to the shores of the Adriatic, Veneto is a region steeped in dramatic shifts. That goes for more than just the landscape, the food also varies greatly—both from Italy as a whole and even within the seven provinces that make up the region.

It may surprise you that pasta doesn’t play a significant role in Venetian cuisine. Certainly it’s not unheard of to find a restaurant serving a bigoli dish, but here in the north, polenta and rice have usurped it as the carbohydrates of choice.

If you’re a foodie, the risotto you’ll try in Veneto is as awe-inspiring as the gondolas navigating the canals of Venice, the region’s capital city. On the shores of the Adriatic, seafood risotto is common, but the further inland you travel, you’ll find plenty of variations—including pumpkin, radicchio, and even frog legs.

While debate has raged for many years over where tiramisu was invented, the consensus is that it’s a Venetian dessert. Even if this weren’t the case, we’d still recommend a visit to I Tre Mercanti to try what many locals and visitors alike consider to be the best tiramisu in the city—which makes a good case for it being the best tiramisu in the world.

CENTO ANNI!
A common Italian toast before a meal, cento anni is a wish for one hundred years of health, and we could easily spend that amount of time discussing Italian fare, but we’d much rather be sampling risotto in Venice, ordering pappardelle alla lepre in Portoferraio, and investigating the finer points of Neapolitan pizza along the Amalfi coast.

 

 

 

 

Post By Azamara Club Cruises on Thursday, April 11, 2019
Original Post can be found here