Category: Food & Beverage

Dining aboard The Paul Gauguin

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 561 0

During every meal onboard The Gauguin, with every sumptuous bit you sample, and each time our attentive staff fill your glass, you’ll begin to realize that dining on the high seas with Paul Gauguin Cruises is truly something special. Embark upon a five-star culinary adventure, designed just for you by some of the world’s most talented and award-winning chefs, including Jean-Pierre Vigato. What’s more, every one of the onboard dining options is included in your cruise fare. Bon appétit!

La Veranda
Dine al fresco or enjoy wraparound ocean views from the dining room of La Veranda, where you can find an ever-changing selection of buffet breakfast and lunch items and a la carte options, many of which are inspired by the destinations visited. In the evening, La Veranda is transformed to a reservation-only dining venue serving Jean-Pierre Vigato’s gourmet cuisine.

Le Grill
When your day’s plans call for a more casual dining experience, Le Grill is where you’ll want to go, located by the pool and offering a buffet breakfast, grilled lunch favorites, salads, and fresh tropical fruit. In the afternoon, stop by for tea with finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, desserts, pastries, and petit fours. Return in the evening to sample Polynesian specialties in a relaxed atmosphere. Reservations required for dinner.

L’Etoile
The exquisite main dining room is dressed to impress with perfectly appointed décor, fine table linens, and delicate china. Join fellow cruisers every evening for dinner and sample a tantalizing array of expertly prepared dishes, perfectly paired with complimentary wines.

Wine Program
Paul Gauguin Cruises serves complimentary wines in each dining venue, lounge, and bar which are selected by wine sommeliers. Additionally, The Gauguin features a special Connoisseur Wine List with Champagnes from France and a variety of wines from California, Washington, Oregon, France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile which can be purchased by guests by the bottle.

Wine Pairings
The Gauguin’s sommeliers also provide suggestions for food and wine pairings to enrich and enhance dining experiences. Paul Gauguin Cruises also features winemakers who provide educational lectures and wine tastings on select sailings.

Recipe: Chilean Seabass with King Crab & Red Beet Cous Cous

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 229 0

The talented chefs from Crystal’s ships are a wealth of delicious expertise, and they’re sharing some of that with you today! For those seeking to relive some of the delectable meals in the Crystal Dining Room, we recommend the indulgent recipe below. Sadly, you’ll have to provide your own six-star service and perfectly paired wine… Just another reason to book your next sailing now!

Chilean Seabass with King Crab & Red Beet Cous Cous
Serves 4

4 ea Chilean Seabass Filets, 6 oz each
4 tbsp clarified butter
Salt, fresh ground White Pepper
4 ea King Crab Legs
4 tbsp Lemon Oil

Red Beet Cous Cous
1 cup Pearl Cous Cous (Israeli Cous Cous)
2 tbsp. Melted Butter
2 ea Shallots, peeled and fine chopped
2 ½ cup Red Beet Juice
2 tsp. Mascarpone Cheese
2 tsp. cold butter
2 tsp. grated Parmesan
Salt, Fresh White Pepper to taste

For the fish, pat dry the Seabass filets with kitchen towels and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper on both sides.
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).

Heat the clarified butter in a sauté pan and sear the fish, skin side down first, for one minute on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 4-5 minutes.

For the Cous Cous, heat the melted butter in casserole and sauté the shallots slowly until translucent, but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the Cous Cous and sauté for one more minute. Add the Red Beet Juice and simmer until the Beet Juice is absorbed and the Cous Cous is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Cold Butter, Mascarpone and Parmesan Cheese, season to taste with Salt and White Pepper.

To serve, remove the Crab Leg Meat from the shells, cut into 2 inch pieces and heat in a 350 F oven for 2 minutes until hot. Divide the hot Cous Cous amongst 4 Shallow Plates, top each with a Seabass Filet and the Crab Meat. Drizzle one tbsp Lemon Oil over the Fish and around the Cous Cous and serve.

Pho Bo

Recipe: Vietnamese Pho Bo

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 961 0

Pho Bo is a National dish with international influence easy enough to make all on your own.

A hearty noodle dish perfect for warming away shivers on a winter’s day, yet somehow refreshing enough to enjoy in summer, pho bo is the epitome of Vietnamese comfort food. Found on almost every street corner and simmered in nearly every home, its complex flavors vary from cook to cook but its pleasant blend of herbs, spices and unique textures never disappoints.

From Pot Au Feu to Pho Bo

Pho bo may be Vietnam’s widely popular national dish, but if the French hadn’t colonized the country in the late 19th century, it may never have come into existence! You see, before the French arrived, the Vietnamese did not use cattle as food. Cows were merely beasts of burden. However, the French were accustomed to using beef in their recipes. It is even said that the dish’s name, “pho,” may have been derived from the French word for fire, “feu,” as in pot au feu, leading many to believe the noodle dish is a Vietnamese adaptation of this similarly cooked French stew.

The Vietnamese Lo Mein

Noodles, ginger and anise may also have been introduced by the Chinese. Considered the Vietnamese answer to “lo mein,” the Vietnamese created pho bo with similar noodles and a combination of aromatic flavors that has delighted people across the world ever since.

Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or making a week’s worth of lunches, pho bo is a simply prepared dish worth the simmering time for maximum flavor.

Ingredients

2 lbs. 3 oz. Beef Bones
10½ Cup Water/beef stock (about 2 ½ cartons stock)
4 tsp. Fish Sauce
3 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
6 TBS and 2 tsp. Garlic
6 TBS and 2 tsp. Ginger
5 pcs Star Anise
2 pcs Cinnamon Sticks (broken into pieces)
1/3 Cup and 4¼ tsp. Onion
1/3 Cup and 4¼ tsp. Carrot
1/2 lb. raw eye of round, sirloin, London broil or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain (1/16 inch thick; freeze for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice)

Preparation Method

Sauté the carrots and onion with the star anise, ginger, cinnamon and garlic. Caramelize nicely until golden brown, then add the water/beef stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 hours. Leave to cool, then strain off the stock. Add fish sauce, sugar and salt. Correct the seasoning to taste. Makes approximately 6 servings.

Condiments and Garnish for Soup

Thick Rice Noodles (Cooked)
Bean Sprouts
Long Leaves (Vietnamese Mint, Perilla Leaves)
Lime
Red Chili Finely Chopped
Lettuce (Iceberg)
Sweet Basil/Hot Basil
Lemongrass
Sliced Onion

Preparation Method with Beef

Mix all ingredients into the soup and stir together. Divide noodles among 6 serving bowls and top with sirloin. Pour hot broth over the top. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes until the beef is partially cooked and no longer pink, and the flavors are infused. Serve with bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and chili -garlic sauce on the side.

Tomato-Feta-Basil Macarons

Recipe: Tomato-Feta-Basil Macarons

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 376 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/ 349 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.

 

A Regional Sampling of Italian Cuisine

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 272 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

Honeymoon in Alaska

Posted By : Morgan Gibson/ 0 0

Alaska isn’t the destination most people think of in conjunction with a honeymoon but it’s where my husband and I ended up going and it was fabulous.  We got married in the late summer, which corresponds with hurricane season in the Caribbean and we were unwilling to risk the weather.  Europe was also a consideration; however, we were concerned it would be too busy after the intense business of organizing a wedding.  We really just needed to relax!

 

A cruise to Alaska it was! I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest it to anyone – it was quiet romantic to be able to snuggle under warm blankets on our balcony and enjoy the majestic scenery of the inside passage.

Eat Around the World Aboard Norwegian!

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 339 0

Get ready for a culinary exploration at Food Republic on Norwegian Cruise Line

Savor a fusion of foods and cultures from around the globe without ever leaving the ship. Travel to Peru to scoop up some ceviche. Jet away to Japan and try a new kind of sushi roll. Or have a hearty helping of noodles from China. Whichever delicious food guests choose, they will enjoy exotic dishes made with the freshest ingredients – and made fresh daily. Food Republic is not a food court, but rather a chef-inspired marketplace where guests order by using a tablet at their table or at the counter.

Travel somewhere new with every delicious bite.  Food Republic can be chosen as one of the specialty dining restaurants as part of the FREE AT SEA promotion or dine a la carte for a per person charge.

Food Republic is currently available on the following Norwegian Cruise Line ships

Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Escape

Norwegian Encore

 

Recipe: Strawberries on Fire Mocktail

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 1289 0

Master Mixologist Rob Floyd has refreshed the cocktail menus across the entire Princess fleet using his unique blend of knowledge, technique and flair for storytelling. Signature cocktails from the master himself join guest favorites to create an experience that will please every level of discerning patron.

Strawberries on Fire (non-alcoholic)
Ingredients:

1 slice fresh jalapeño
1 strawberry
1 oz. lime juice
.75 oz. agave syrup
4 oz. Sprite
Jalapeño and half a strawberry for garnish
Directions:

Muddle jalapeño, strawberry and simple syrup
Add ice then top with Sprite
Garnish with a slice of jalapeño and half a strawberry on the rim

2020 Dates for the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 306 0

Award-winning small ship line Windstar Cruises, the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation, today reveals six new cruises being added to the James Beard Foundation (JBF) Culinary Cruise Collection for 2020.

All sailings are led by James Beard Foundation-recognized guest chefs, sommeliers and beverage experts with a passion for their destination. The six diverse cruise offerings will explore locavore cuisine on a country-immersive Croatia cruise; get a flavor for the rugged north of Alaska; discover the hidden gems of France, Spain, and Portugal’s Atlantic coast; experience exotic cuisines of Indonesia and the Philippines; delight in the hidden harbors of the Caribbean; and introduce cruisers to the trend-setting foodie scene and wine regions of the U.S. West Coast. The six newly announced cruises are scheduled to sail from January through November 2020, and range in length from 7 to 14 days.

Together, Windstar and the James Beard Foundation are taking guests on epicurean adventures that deliver the best travel and cuisine experiences worldwide, by curating genuine local culinary encounters while drawing attention to the impactful work of the Beard Foundation network which celebrates food and advocates for food sustainability.

“Our exclusive partnership with the James Beard Foundation has allowed us to enrich our culinary experiences giving our guests unparalleled access to the most cutting edge and accomplished culinarians in the industry. Every evening, on every single sailing, our cruise guests enjoy destination-inspired JBF dishes created especially for Windstar by the James Beard guest chefs who have sailed with us. We have proudly hosted nearly three dozen chefs, sommeliers and beverage experts and counting. What is unique is that each one has a special connection to the places they are sailing, whether through food or family heritage, this creates powerful and inspiring personal experiences that our guests will never forget,” said Windstar President John Delaney.

Coinciding with this announcement, and as part of the unique travel-culinary alliance, Windstar sponsors the acclaimed James Beard Foundation Awards, the pinnacle of recognition in the culinary world, happening today at the Lyric Opera in Chicago, IL.

James Beard Foundation President Clare Reichenbach commented, “We are so pleased to have Windstar’s support of our mantra ‘good food for good’, which commits the James Beard Foundation to giving culinary professionals the tools they need to make the world more sustainable, equitable, and delicious for everyone. The JBF Culinary Cruise Collection shines a light on these chefs and wine experts and highlights the important role that food plays in the culture and economies of each of the ports where Windstar sails, the world round.”

A number of Windstar alumni guest chefs are attending the JBF Awards Gala including Chef Danielle Leoni of Breadfruit in Phoenix, AZ. who led guests on a Caribbean cruise adventure in January, and is a James Beard Foundation 2018 Fellow for the Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program; also attending is acclaimed Chef Hugh Acheson of Empire State South, Five & Ten, and The National in Atlanta, GA. who headlined a 2017 European JBF Culinary Cruise and is nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur.

Windstar’s Corporate Executive Chef Graeme Cockburn joins an exclusive club of chefs that have been invited to prepare a signature bite for the 1,000 plus guests attending the famed JBF Awards Gala. Chef Cockburn sails aboard each JBF cruise overseeing the culinary operations, and the dishes specially developed by the James Beard guest chefs are featured in Windstar’s restaurants each evening and enjoyed on every sailing. For the JBF Awards Gala, Chef Cockburn has developed a recipe inspired by Windstar’s forays into the alpine areas and glaciers of Alaska and will be serving up Seared Venison Loin & Alaskan Pine Spruce Salad with Nasturtium Pesto and Goat Buttermilk Dressing at the epicurean extravaganza.

Windstar also supports JBF’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. A number of the guest chefs who have sailed with Windstar are alumni of the prestigious camp, a part of the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs which are committed to establishing a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy, and thought leadership.

Windstar’s JBF Culinary Cruise Collection Offers Authentic Culinary Experiences

The bespoke portfolio of nine total upcoming sailings in the JBF Culinary Cruise Collection embarking June 2019 through November 2020, are attracting food and wine enthusiasts seeking to fully immerse themselves in the culture, tastes, and flavors of regional cuisines where the ships sail. Each cruise features a James Beard chef, working alongside Windstar’s culinary team. The guest chef acts as an onboard culinary ambassador teaching first-hand tips and techniques during cooking demonstrations, leading “Shopping with the Chef” tours to local markets, and picking out fresh local ingredients to use in featured dishes at a wine-paired gala dinner for all on board to enjoy.

Similarly, the JBF sommelier/beverage expert accompanies tours to local wineries, leads on board tastings of regional wines and spirits, and works with the chefs to create one-of-a-kind pairing menus that celebrate the quaint, small ports that Windstar is renowned for visiting. Guests on board get to know these epicurean experts on a personal level, tasting the dishes and wines they recommend and hearing firsthand what stirs their passion for food, wine, and spirits. One-on-one interactions with the guest chef and sommelier/beverage expert are a given during memorable cruise moments like Windstar’s Signature Sail Away and Signature Deck Party, or on a culinary-focused shore excursion.

The names of the 2020 guest chefs, sommeliers, and beverage experts who are being tapped as the culinary cruise ambassadors will be announced in the coming weeks. Below are the dates and itineraries for the six newly announced 2020 additions to the JBF Culinary Cruise Collection:

  • January 25, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: The Spanish Main: Rise of the New World, Colón to San Juan, 7 days aboard Star Pride
  • May 5, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza, San Diego to Vancouver, 10 days aboard Star Breeze
  • June 8, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: Alaskan Splendors, Vancouver to Seward (Anchorage), 11 days aboard Star Breeze
  • September 19, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: Autumn on the Atlantic Coast, London to Lisbon, 10 days aboard Star Legend
  • October 16, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: Quintessential Croatia, Venice to Venice, 8 days aboard Wind Surf
  • November 2, 2020 – James Beard Foundation: Windstar Crew Hometowns: Philippines & Indonesia, Hong Kong to Bali, 14 days cruise aboard Star Breeze

In addition, following is the super star line-up of award-winning chefs and celebrated sommeliers who will headline the three remaining 2019 JBF Culinary Cruise Collection sailings:

June 22, 2019 – James Beard Foundation: Yachtsman’s Harbors of the Rivieras, 8 days aboard Wind Surf

  • Chef & Restaurateur Jamie Leeds, JL Restaurant Group & Hank’s Oyster Bar in Washington, D.C.
  • Sommelier Jeff Strine, JL Restaurant Group & Hank’s Oyster Bar, and more) in Washington, D.C.

Chef and Restaurateur Jamie Leeds — a James Beard Foundation Chef Boot Camp Alumna and owner of JL Restaurant Group — will be seeking out the freshest French oysters and bringing guests on chef-led visits to lively markets to gather produce, herbs, fish, and more to showcase in cooking demonstrations and a gala evening meal on board. Alongside her will be Jeff Strine, who works closely with Jamie at JL Restaurant Group where he developed a thoughtful and concise wine program for Hank’s Oyster Bar’s seasonal seafood-focused menu.

Both love to travel and are excited to visit lesser-known wine regions and visits to smaller ports such as quaint Sanary-sur-Mer, France. This coastal jewel offers a wine tasting tour above the vineyards in the Provençal hilltop village of Le Castellet, followed by a visit to Domaine de Souviou for tasting the house wines and olive oils grown on the expansive 70-hectares property that is planted with 100-year-old olive trees and rows of vines, cypress trees, and lavender, a treat for all of the senses.

 

September 24, 2019 – James Beard Foundation: West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza 10 days aboard Star Legend

  • Chef Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen + Farm, Bovolo, and Black Pig Meat Co. in Sonoma County
  • Beverage Expert Michael Metzger of Distinguished Vineyards and Wine Partners

Award-winning Chef Duskie Estes is the perfect culinary guide for this first-ever Windstar sailing along the West Coast of America, as she was born in San Diego, raised in San Francisco, and spent eight years in Seattle working for JBF-awarded Restaurateur Tom Douglas before moving to Sonoma County, where she is celebrated as a chef and avid farmer/advocate for “snout to tail” cooking.

Providing wine pairings and insight will be Michael Metzger from Distinguished Vineyards, who works with the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Program as their sustainable wine partner and represents a collection of iconic wineries including the highly acclaimed Argyle Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, MacRostie Winery and Vineyards in Sonoma, and Markham Vineyards in Napa Valley.

As with all Windstar sailings, this first-ever West Coast cruise boasts a myriad of shore-side adventures including specially curated culinary shore excursions from vineyard visits, to food trucks and farmers’ markets. In Seattle, guests will enjoy a behind-the-scenes docent tour of the iconic Pike Place Market; after sailing up the Columbia River, the ship has a two-day overnight stay in James Beard’s native Oregon, where guests can enjoy an “Elevated Foodie Walking Tour” of the Portland culinary scene, or a brewery/cidery tasting tour. An all-day excursion to Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley allows guests to indulge in private tastings at three wineries in the region that put Pinot Noir on the U.S. map. In Sonoma, foodies will delight in a private cave tour with wine and cheese tasting at the Gloria Ferrer Winery, followed by lunch and an afternoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegars tasting at Figone Olive Oil & Production Mill.

Also of note, this U.S. West Coast itinerary is featured as one of the newly announced 2020 culinary cruises but sailing aboard Star Breeze, following her upcoming full ship renovation as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative. The May 5, 2020 itinerary will be a reverse version of the 2019 offering with similar culinary-focused shore excursions, but departing from San Diego, CA. and sailing to Vancouver, B.C. instead. Details on chef and beverage experts in 2020 will be announced soon.

October 14, 2019 – James Beard Foundation: Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast, 8 days aboard Wind Surf

  • Chef Chris Pandel of Swift & Sons, Cold Storage, and Dutch & Doc’s in Chicago
  • Beverage Expert Marcello Cancelli of the Boka Group in Chicago

Chef Chris Pandel, a James Beard Foundation Chef Boot Camp Alumnus, has a love affair with Italy and Italian-American heritage, so who better to cruise with and explore the shores of Italy, Croatia, and Montenegro, discovering the charm of Venice, the magnificence of Rome, and the vast beauty of the Dalmatian Coast? While visiting the picturesque seaside resort of Rovinj, a top pick shore excursion lets guests tour the wine cellar of the Matosevic Family, Croatia’s most well-known wine producers.

Offering beautiful wine pairings on this cruise is Marcello Cancelli, a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers who is Area Wine Director for Chicago’s Boka Group, overseeing the wine programs at Swift & Sons, Momotaro, Bellemore, Girl & the Goat, and more. Cancelli will be demonstrating his passion and commitment to great wine and its rightful place alongside a meal.

 

For more information on Windstar’s partnership with the James Beard Foundation, find featured recipes, and view the JBF Culinary Cruise Collection visit: https://www.windstarcruises.com/why-windstar/james-beard-foundation/. To learn more about the Beard Foundation visit: https://www.jamesbeard.org/.

 

Windstar has garnered recent culinary awards, notably being named Best Small Cruise Ships for Dining in Cruise Critic’s 2019 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, and a 2019 Editor-in-Chief Award for Best Cruise Partnership as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation from Porthole Cruise Magazine. Windstar was also voted 2018 Best Small Ship Cruise Line by AFAR readers; scored a top spot as Best Small Ship in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and was named to the magazine’s prestigious Gold List for 2019; while Windstar’s flagship Wind Surf ranked #1 Midsize-Ship Ocean Cruise Lines in the 2018 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards.