Spicing it up in Grenada: A dash of flavour and a pinch of the unexpected

Mary Luz Mejia

Chris Robinson - Grenadian maceCrowned the Caribbean’s “spice island,” Grenada’s past has seen a treasure trove of exotic spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg make their way across the Atlantic to perfume the dishes of the moneyed classes. Located 160 km north of Venezuela, visitors will notice the influence of French, African, Spanish and native Amerindian history and culture; from the Creole spoken on the streets to the foods found on dining room tables.

Despite these varied influences, the island’s African roots and Carib Amerindian/Indian accents contribute the most to their curries, dhal puri and rotis. If you’re looking for the national dish, look no further than the “oil down.” This stick-to-your-ribs meal includes chicken, salt beef, flour dumplings, yam, green plantain and breadfruit with a hit of callaloo leaves. The dish is cooked in a coconut milk that gets fully absorbed, leaving some of its oil at the bottom of the pot – hence the name.

If you ask a local where to savour the island’s best, you’ll be directed to Deyna’s Tasty Foods in St. George’s. This no-frills, downtown favourite, owned by chef Deyna Hercules and her husband, only serves the time-intensive oil down on Fridays. Go early because it sells out fast! Other tasty island options at Deyna’s include roti, and stewed fish or pork served with traditional trimmings such as fried rice, sautéed noodles and provision (boiled starchy tubers).

Another “must” is the island’s famous fish fry on the main strip of Gouyave in St. John’s Parish. Every Friday from 6pm onward, vendors line the streets of the vibrant fishing village, offering a banquet of seafood. From within a string of stalls, cooks expertly prepare jerked marlin, lobsters, conch and grilled snapper alongside fry jacks and fish cakes. Live music, in the form of the island’s soca, calypso and reggae set off a boisterous street party. Wash dinner down with a locally produced rum punch and prepare to be enchanted.

Every story deserves a sweet ending, in this case it’s an organic Grenada Chocolate Company chocolate bar (www.grenadachocolate.com). The late Mott Green and his two partners were the first to pioneer organic cocoa cultivation in Grenada’s rainforest by growing, harvesting, fermenting and toasting the beans themselves at the company’s organic farm and cooperative. This approach means they preserve their unique flavours and create a more sustainable and ethical production model. Chocolate experts say the company’s bars offer fruity acidity with a hint of figs. Paired with the island’s sumptuous spices, it’s easy to see a towering chocolate cake or spiced chocolate mousse upon any culinary traveller’s return home.

A Jamaican run-to-eat adventure.


Valerie Howes

It’s 5 am. I’m at the start line of the Reggae Marathon, bouncing from foot to foot among 1,800 bleary-eyed runners. Tiki torchlight takes the edge of the darkness. There’s only a cereal bar in my belly, and I’m already dreaming of carb-reloading at the end. I eat (a lot), therefore I run. While booking a culinary getaway in Jamaica, I registered for a 10-K at Negril’s Reggae Marathon, in the name of pre-emptive calorie burning. Looking back, I suspect my 600 calories expended barely covered a side of plantain, but the run-to-eat combination meant double helpings of island hospitality. At 5:15 am, the starting pistol pops. We’re off! The Silver Birds Steel Orchestra—a Kingston youth steel-drum band—swing their hair and dance their white pants off, as they thump out Bob Marley classics and Lady Gaga anthems. They’re my double espresso.

Jamaika MarathonExcited, I fly past strips of ghost-white beach and moonlit ocean. By 7-K my knees are screaming. I hobble-jog on, past roadside DJs playing dancehall hits and families out front of their houses, hosing down runners and passing out refreshments. The support of these locals who’ve sacrificed their last few hours of sleep, spurs me on. By the 9-K mark, the streets glow pink. As someone whose first job was a paper route, I suddenly remember how much I love this time of day. 10 K: I stagger over the finish line. The cheering of strangers makes me feel like my massive finisher’s medal—with its green disco-glitter palm tree—is Olympic Gold. Also, I get to eat now.

At the recovery station, I grab a honey-sweet banana and freshly hacked open coconut, then head straight into the Caribbean sea. The waves soothe my throbbing calves. I reunite with my running buddies and make some new ones.  Maybe it’s the endorphinsbut I feel blessed to be here, bonding with these crazies, all willing to rise at 2 am for the thrill of running through this gorgeous beach town as a new day dawns. I’ve already been up for seven hours when I return to Grand Palladium Resort, Montego Bay, for my second breakfast. I head to the beachside Jerk Shack, for paella scooped from a village-sized pan. It’s full of saffron-infused rice, green peppers, mussels, clams and prawns in their shells, and wedges of juicy lemon. I eat enough for a team of construction workers.

After poolside naps-of-the-dead, my gang returns to Negril in time for sunset, to sip cocktails at Rick’s Café as kids plunge into the Caribbean from a 35-ft high cliff. Just watching restores the post-race Jell-O feeling to my legs. Next up, Pushcart Restaurant, for street-food inspired dishes, like steamed fish with bammy—a grated-cassava flatbread that’s fluffy as down and God’s gift to gluten-avoiders. We end with Drunken Coconuts—or maybe these rum-doused cocktails in coconut shells end us. Back at the resort, twerking ensues.

Sunday afternoon, we’re crossing the mountains from Montego Bay to Treasure Beach, on Jamaica’s south shore. Ladies returning from church in cobalt-blue and fuchsia dresses, with flower-pinned hats, share the narrow roads with our van. To block out the sheer roadside drop into jungle oblivion, I focus on details like the donkey, pig and goat hanging out under a tree, like school chums waiting for their bus, and on the tropicalized cover songs playing on a loop in our van. Reggae “Que Sera” delivers us round a series of sharp bends to a roadside farmer’s stand at Middle Quarters.

08122013tw1375A soft-spoken young adult feeds us fresh, moist peanuts in their shells and June plums, whose green-mango-like flavour intensifies with a shake of salt. We crack open hot crawfish seasoned with salt, pepper and Scotch bonnets, from her charcoal grill. For dessert, we suck the creamy pulp from around the shiny black seeds of sweet saps (a.k.a. sugar apples). This local delicacy tastes like passion fruit, vanilla ice cream and pineapple, all rolled into one. This is the perfect prelude to our final culinary experience: we’re in Saint Elizabeth’s Parish, known as the breadbasket of Jamaica. Here, we strike tree pose in the alfresco yoga studio; we walk through orchards with Chef Dockery Lloyd, crunching rhubarb-like sorrel petals; and we sip banana daiquiris by the saltwater pool.

On our last day, we take a cooking lesson outside at the grill, waves breaking in the background. Hummingbirds hover close, seemingly as curious as us about how Chef transforms breadfruit into a dish like roast potatoes and the buttery flesh of ackee (Jamaica’s national fruit) into a dish like scrambled eggs. Eating these sides, with firm salt cod and tender callaloo greens, for my final breakfast in the morning sun—I decide it’s all enough to race back for. Reggae Marathon 2015, Anyone?

A Taste Of Romandie Tour

A Taste of Romandie

Day 1 – Tuesday 5 May 2015
Welcome to Switzerland
Your private transfer driver will greet you at the arrivals gate at Geneva airport and take you to Hôtel Suisse-Majestic in Montreux on the Swiss Riviera. We will have a Group welcome reception in order to meet fellow tour participants.

Day 2 – Wednesday 6 May 2015 (B, L)
Montreux
Today is a leisurely day. We will start with a walking tour of Montreux to learn of the local history, followed by a group lunch. The afternoon and evening will be open to enjoy optional tours and to discover local cuisine.

Day 3 – Thursday 7 May 2015 (B)
The Swiss Chocolate Train
Beautiful scenery and tasty, world-famous chocolate make for an unforgettable experience. We’ll board the Swiss Chocolate Train in Montreux; enjoy breathtaking views of the vineyards that surround Montreux and travel to medieval Gruyères; visit a cheese-making factory; go to Gruyères Castle; enjoy a local lunch on our own; transfer to Broc to tour the Cailler-Nestlé Chocolate Factory.

Day 4 – Friday 8 May 2015 (B, L)
Lavaux Wine Region
This is a day-tour of Switzerland’s premier wine area known as the Lavaux region – classified a UNESCO World Heritage site, with beautifully manicured terraced vineyards dating back to the 11th century and even back to the Romans. The Lavaux receives three doses of sun: direct sunshine, reflection from Lac Léman and additional heat from the stone walls of the terraces.

Day 6 – Sunday 10 May 2015 (B, L)
Val-de-Travers – Neuchâtel
Today, we check out of Hôtel Suisse-Majestic and take a leisurely drive to Neuchâtel. Before reaching Neuchâtel, we’ll visit a winery in Cressier, just outside of Neuchâtel for a tour and wine tasting. We will have lunch consisting of neuchâtelois specialties at a local restaurant. We will then go to Val-de-Travers to tour the unique Asphalt Mines and taste absinthe, a local “elixir” made from herbs that grow in the surrounding Jura Mountains and which had been outlawed for many years. After a short drive, we check in at Hôtel Beaulac in Neuchâtel, a waterfront hotel on beautiful Lac Neuchâtel with gorgeous views.

Day 7 – Monday 11 May 2015 (B, D)
Neuchâtel
Discover Neuchâtel on your own – see the historic Suchard Village; or go to Le Locle, a watch-making centre; or do some shopping. Return to the hotel for our end of tour banquet at the elegant Hôtel du Peyrou, where the chef will prepare a sumptuous dinner tailored for us.

Day 8 – Tuesday 12 May 2015 (B)
End of Tour
Tour ends after breakfast. After check-out, take a short drive to the Neuchâtel train station. The efficient Swiss rail company operates hourly train service to both Geneva and Zurich airports and daily service to many destinations in Europe.

What’s Included:

  • Private transfer from Geneva airport to Montreux hotel. A supplement will be charged for transfers after 7:00pm.
  • Private motor coach transportation during the tour.
  • Stay at the Belle Époque Hôtel Suisse-Majestic in Montreux .
  • Stay at the contemporary Hôtel Beaulac on Lac Neuchâtel.
  • Welcome reception at hotel in Montreux.
  • Private guided tour in Montreux.
  • Full-day tour to Gruyères: Travel on board the Chocolate Train.
  • Admission tickets and tours for: Gruyère cheese making, Cailler Chocolates, Château de Gruyères.
  • Tour-end banquet at the elegant Hôtel du Peyrou in Neuchâtel.
  • All other meals as outlined in the tour description.

Full-day wine tour of Lavaux region:

  • Privately escorted winery tours, cellar visits, wine tastings and commentaries,
  • Visit to the Swiss Wine Museum at the Château d’Aigle,
  • Visit to the Château de Chillon.

Full-day tour in Neuchâtel region:

  • Visit to Cave de Lauriers Cressier, winery tour, cellar visit, wine tastings and commentaries,
  • Asphalt Mines tour,
  • Absinth tasting.

What’s Not Included:

  • Air transportation.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Meals that not indicated in the Tour Itinerary above.
  • Pre- and post-tour extensions.
  • Personal expenses.

Price:

  • $3,599.00 per person, based on two people sharing a double occupancy room.
  • Single occupancy is available on a limited basis; the additional cost is $749.00.

Payments:
A deposit of $500.00 per person at time of booking is required to confirm the reservation. This deposit is fully refundable if cancellation is received before 1 September 2014.
Final payment is due by 1 December 2014.

Method of payment:

Preferred method of payment is Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit cards. Bank drafts are also accepted and must be payable to TierOne Travel and addressed to:
TierOne Travel

201 – 45 Bastion Square
Victoria, BC    V8W 1J1
Indicate that the payment is for
A Taste of Switzerland tour, May 2015

Terms and Conditions:
All prices are listed in Canadian dollars, per person, based on two people sharing a room unless otherwise indicated. Single
supplement is available upon request. Government taxes are included in the price but are subject to change.

Travel Documents:
It is mandatory to carry a valid passport when traveling to Europe. A valid passport’s expiry date must be at least 6 months beyond the return date to Canada. The name provided for your registration must be your legal name, as it appears on your passport.

Contact and Booking Instructions:
For general information and to book, please contact:

Gerry Delval, TierOne Travel
Gerry@TierOneTravel.com

Experience Northern Spain

Trafalgar is offering a new 12 day north Spain trip that showcases the ultra-modern city of Bilbao such as the landmark Guggenheim museum, and rural spots, like Covadonga and the Picos de Europa national park. You will have the opportunity to stay the night in a real Renaissance palace, where Napoleon’s troops once rested before they attacked nearby Vitoria. Relax at a bar in Oviedo— sipping on cool nectar, share the town’s love of the drink. SNOR_WIN_MAP_US_14

You will have some amazing inclusions offered to you:

Insider Experiences

  • Be My Guest At a Cider Mill close to Oviedo.
  • Local Expert in Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca and Madrid.
  • Local Speciality Wine Tasting in a typical bodega.
  • Local Speciality Cider tasting at a bar in Oviedo.
  • Hidden Treasure Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure experience, unique to your itinerary, courtesy of your expert Travel Director.
  • Authentic Accommodation Parador Hotel, Argomaniz – A Renaissance palace in the hamlet of Argomaniz is often our home here – as it was for Napoleon’s troops before they attacked nearby Vitoria. Authentic Accommodation, you can still feel history in Parador Hotel’s stone walls.

Travel Highlights

  • Travel by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and an on-board restroom.
  • First Class hotel accommodation featuring twin rooms and private facilities.
  • The services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey.
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included.
  • Audio Headsets provided throughout your trip to enhance your included sightseeing experiences.
  • A travel wallet with your documentation.
  • Complimentary keep sake photo

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A look into the itinerary: 

Day 1 – DEPART CANADA

Day 2 – ARRIVE MADRID

Day 3 – MADRID–BURGOS–ARGOMANIZ

Day 4 – ARGOMANIZ–SAN SEBASTIAN–BILBAO–SANTANDER (2 NIGHTS)

Day 5 – SANTANDER AT LEISURE

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 11.32.54 AMDay 6 – SANTANDER–PICOS DE EUROPA–COVADONGA-OVIEDO

Day 7 – OVIEDO–LUARCA–SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA (2 NIGHTS)

Day 8 – SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA SIGHTSEEING

Day 9 – SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA–ZAMORA–SALAMANCA

Day 10 – SALAMANCA–MADRID SIGHTSEEING (2 NIGHTS)

Day 11 – MADRID FREE TIME

Day 12 – MADRID—CANADA

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Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour of Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca and Madrid.
  • Orientations of Burgos, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander and Oviedo.
  • Visit the Cathedral of Burgos, the Holy Cave of Covadonga, the fishing village of Luarca, St. James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the University of Salamanca and the Prado Museum in Madrid.
  • Scenic drive through the Picos de Europa.

Remember, you can save Save $250 per couple on 2014 Europe & Britain Guide Vacations.

Speak to a Bon Vivant Specialist by clicking here.

 

Bangkok: A Food Lovers’ Dream Destination

A couple of years ago, I was passing through Bangkok for one night only and had the great fortune to dine with a local at Jok Phochana. I knew it was a place I needed to find again on a subsequent trip. A hole-in-the-wall restaurant on an alleyway somewhere in the city though, I wondered if I might ever find it. The food was so good, definitely not your dumbed-down-for-tourists Thai fare, but how to find a restaurant with no address?  Enter Google and the magic of GPS tagged photos. A photo on Flickr led us right to a Google map of the location. True enough, it’s a laneway but there it was. Our “address” caused many perplexed (and to be honest, concerned looks) at the hotel reception as we ordered a taxi but we eventually made it there.

Frequented by locals and tourists alike, Jok Phochana has been around for over 40 years, owned and run by the same family.  Reminiscent of the soup shops, popular with Chinese immigrant workers in the early days of immigration to Thailand, Jok Phochana offers filling, authentic dishes at reasonable prices and an entertaining welcome from owner Panya Amnajpantanakorn*. We dined for around $20CAD for four people (6 dishes and 5 large beers). Well worth the adventure of finding the place!

Jok Phochana

Samsen Soi 2, Phra Nakhon
Bangkok 10200
Thailand

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It’s easy to subsist on street food in Bangkok, so heading to nahm run by Michelin-starred chef David Thompson, is definitely a bit of a splurge… We were looking to book a special dinner for a party of 10 in a private room with a set menu and nahm was easily able to accommodate us (the set menus are also available for smaller parties).

Australian-born Thompson is renowned for his Thai cuisine, establishing his reputation with Darley Street Thai in Sydney (1991), then Sailors’ Thai, in 1995 (also in Sydney).  Thompson opened nahm in London in 2001, and was awarded the first ever Michelin star for Thai cuisine just over a year later.  nahm in London has since lost the star but in April 2012, nahm in Bangkok was included in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards (organised Restaurant Magazine, a UK industry publication).  Controversial when it opened in 2010 because many wondered how a foreigner might bring something different to Thai food in Thailand, nahm promises a meal that is “an exercise in balance, with the dynamic interplay of hot and sour, sweet and salty.”  Certainly, Thomspon does not shy away from traditional Thai ingredients and flavours, making this an exquisite and authentic Thai dining experience not to be missed.

Our menu came in at around $55CAD for a family style appetizers and mains (9 dishes in total) and individual desserts (not including drinks, tax and tip).

nahm at the Metropolitan Hotel

27 South Sathorn Road Tungmahamek, Sathorn
Bangkok 10120
Thailand
+662 625 3388
http://www.comohotels.com/metropolitanbangkok/dining/nahm

Nahm at The Metropolitan in BKKOwner/ instructor, Tam Piyawadi Jantrupon has spent considerable time abroad and is fluent in English.  She made use of her cooking skills (learned from her aunts and grandmother then honed in culinary school) in Los Angeles where, as the spouse of a diplomat, she had the opportunity to cook for the Thai community.  At Amita, Tam hopes to share the experience of true Thai home cooking in a laid-back environment.Classes also include a welcome herbal drinks, a garden tour, demonstration class, hands-on cooking of 4 dishes which students sit down to enjoy together at the end of the class and a full set of the recipes of the day.Finally, if you’re looking for a way to transport those Thai flavours home with you, I’d highly recommend the Amita Thai Cooking School for a hands-on cooking class.    With a choice of three menus, these half-day English language classes include transportation to and from your hotel (including a boat trip from Maharaj Pier along Chao Phraya River via Bangkok Yai canal to the school).

Price: 3000 Thai Baht (approx $95CAD) per person.

Amita Thai Cooking School

http://www.amitathaicooking.com/162/17 Soi Wutthakat 14
Wutthakat Rd., Talad Plu  Thon Buri
Bangkok 10600
Thailand
+662 466 8966* thanks to this article (http://bangkok101.com/2011/08/street-eats-jok-pochana/) on Bangkok 101 for filling in a few gaps about this elusive eatery!

cooking school

Written by Mardi Michels

Delicious Peru

“With distinct regional variations and many diverse influences, this eclectic, mouth-watering cuisine that’s sweeping the culinary world is best enjoyed in its birthplace.”

The day had been chock full of alpacas. Riding in a minibus, climbing high into the Andes from sprawling Arequipa to the villages of the dramatic Colca Valley, I’d seen alpacas all along the way. Alpacas on the road. Alpacas grazing on the arid mountain vegetation. Alpacas hanging out in the backyard of my little Spanish-style casita, which overlooked the soaring cordillera. And that evening, chatting with César Landeo, the young executive chef of the restaurant at Las Casitas del Colca, a luxury property tucked away in the valley that places top priority on good, fresh, local Peruvian food, I had a nice slice of alpaca on my plate.

Peru-Image-1

Peruvian cuisine is fast becoming the toast of the culinary world. Integrating an eclectic (and tasty) mix of influences brought to this South American country by immigrants from around the world including Spain, Italy, the Caribbean, West Africa and even China, Peruvian restaurants are popping up from New York to Paris. But to get the true taste of Peru, you need to make a visit to the homeland. While Lima-based celebrity chefs like Gastón Acurio and Rafael Osterling have led the way, some of Peru’s best food is found outside the capital, and the country’s cuisine varies along with its widely diverse climate and geography, from the wild rainforests of the Amazon to the high-altitude delicacies of the Andes to the pleasures of the coast.

Chef César was teaching me to cook lomo saltado, a dish normally made with beef sirloin and which occupies a high place in the pantheon of Peruvian cuisine. Essentially a stir fry (which brings in the Chinese influence), the preparation incorporates Creole/Caribbean frying and sautéing techniques, and chef César caps it all off with a shot of pisco, which is – apologies to the Chileans – a most Peruvian liquor. Here in the remote Colca Valley, chefs must use the ingredients they have on hand, and to that end the Casitas are home to an impressive network of gardens and orchards that provide fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables to the kitchen. And with beef not readily available, chef César has added a local touch by using alpaca. Flavoured with pisco, sautéed in onions, red wine, soy sauce and coriander, on a base of quinoa infused with yellow chili – one of the staples of Peruvian cuisine – plus Parmesan cheese and other delicious ingredients, this adds up to a unique, eclectic, mouth-watering dish. The alpaca is local and 80 percent of the herbs and vegetables are grown on the property. “Here in the mountains, you need to plan ahead,” says Chef César. “The gardeners plant according to my menus. So I’m always thinking three months ahead.”

And if the Colca Valley is remote, the Peruvian Amazon is even more so. A few days earlier, I flew to Iquitos, a city of almost half a million inhabitants, built on the banks of the Amazon River, a sprawling place deep in the rainforest that isn’t connected by road to any other major centre. From there, we took the only road in the region to the small town of Nauta and boarded a Delfin river cruise. A spot of sophistication in the humid heart of the jungle, the cruise featured luxurious cabins, a fully stocked bar, air conditioning and – importantly – gourmet cuisine. Our days were spent fishing for piranha, hiking among squirrel monkeys and three-toed sloths, buzzing around in skiffs on caiman-spotting outings and making visits to local villages with no electricity or modern conveniences, where people live in thatch-roofed structures with hammocks for beds.

Peru-Image-2

Again, the cuisine we enjoyed was a reflection of our surroundings – ceviche (another dish in the Peruvian culinary pantheon) comprised of river fish and crustaceans, dishes made with root vegetables like cassava, as well as copious amounts of tropical fruits, from citrus to bananas and plantains. The ship’s executive chef, Isaac Arevalo, who grew up in Iquitos, explains that many of the fresh ingredients come from the villages along the way, and that it just makes sense to cook what you have in your own backyard – especially when your backyard is filled with some of the juiciest, freshest foods you’ll find anywhere. “My main inspiration is everything around here – the flavours, the colours, the textures,” he says. “I mix them all together, create, and add a gourmet twist.”

On one of my final days in the country, I took the quintessential Peruvian excursion to Machu Picchu, which is even more majestic in person than it is in pictures. I spent hours taking in the view from the crop-growing terraces that overlook this great Incan holy city, then spent considerable time walking through its former rooms and ceremonial spaces. Among the ruins was a surprise – the remnants of kitchens, used to feed the Incan ruling class.

Peru-Image-3

That evening, back in Aguas Calientes, the small town at the foot of Machu Picchu, I chatted with Carlos Mayta Zamora, executive chef at the Sumaq Hotel. Although he’s originally from Lima, Zamora noted with a boyish smile that he was inspired by ancient Incan ingredients and techniques when he moved to this mystical place. Driven to explore further, he visited local native communities, gathering information on their cuisine and in the process forming relationships with local farmers. He now creates meals that could be called ‘Machu Picchu fusion,’ using local ingredients that owe much to the Incas, but in many cases integrate Creole touches that he learned back in Lima. “Because we’re here at Machu Picchu, I want my food to incorporate ancient techniques using local ingredients,” he says, talking with his hands. “I want it to complement the history of the citadel.”

Zamora then served a feast: alpaca ham with huancaína sauce, potatoes and Andean cheese in a ball, tacu-tacu, a form of tortilla with tender stewed beef served on a base of local beans and rice, crowned by huacatay, a native herb with some kick, finished off by a sort of mousse made from kiwicha, a staple grain, and squash. It’s all muy rico – the term Peruvians use to describe a meal that’s rich and delicious. In fact, it was a meal so good, you could even say it was historic.

By Tim Johnson

Specialty Crystal Cruises Restaurants

cs-intro_cs_hero_sea_960x415When you travel Crystal, you’re travelling in luxury. Crystal Cruises not only offers you exceptional service but an exceptional dining experience.

In our last post, we talked about the exceptional restaurants in the highest-rated ships in the world, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. In this post we will talk about the speciality restaurants that Crystal Cruises has to offer in their ships. Crystal Cruises provides alternative specialty restaurants to enhance the evening dining options and provide the opportunity to enjoy a variety of culinary environments.

Prego

Charming and romantic, Prego brings the flavors of Italy to Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The Valentino at Prego offers a seasonally changing menu with an extensive fine-dining menu. Valentino is considered by many to be among the finest Italian restaurants in the country.

Samples of the menu include:

Vitello Tonnato “Prego Style”
Ahi Tuna Tartar & Pink-Roasted Veal Loin, Micro Greens

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Osso Buco
Veal Shank Braised in its own Jus, Vegetables, Tomato, Porcini and Fresh Herbs, Served with Mascarpone Polenta.

Take a look at the full menu by clicking here.

Silk Road & The Sushi Bar

The eclectic–and delectable–cuisine of world-renowned master chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa is prepared by Nobu-trained chefs at Silk Road and The Sushi Bar. Regarded for his innovative approach to sushi, Nobu blends classically styled Japanese foods with distinct Peruvian and European influences.

Samples of the menu include: 

Seafood Ceviche
Assorted Seafood, Tossed with Nobu Ceviche Dressing.

Nobu Box
A sampler of Nobu’s Most Popular Signature Dishes. Beef, Cod and Rock Shrimp.

Grilled Washugyu Beef rib eye Steak
On Wok-Fried Vegetables with Three Kinds of Sauce: Anticuccho, Teriyaki, and Nobu-Style Wasabi-Pepper.

Take a look at the full menu by clicking here.

Book a tour with Crystal Cruises by clicking here.

 

A Crystal Dining Experience

When you travel Crystal, you’re travelling in luxury. Crystal Cruises not only offers you exceptional service but an exceptional dining experience.

crystal dining

When you travel on-board two of the highest-rated ships in the world, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, you will discover the hallmarks of Crystal: extraordinary service, abundant space, exceptional quality and incredible choices— the Crystal Cruise essence and difference.

“Freshness and innovation are the hallmarks of the Crystal dining experience.
From your choice of dining times in the Crystal Dining Room to lavish themed buffets on deck or intimate experiences in our specialty restaurants, you’ll find an ambiance and cuisine to suit your every mood.”

Choose from an abundant selection of cuisines, restaurants and styles— Crystal Cruises offers something that anyone can enjoy: The classic Crystal Dining Room, the intimate Vintage Room, the striking Sushi Bar or the delicious comfort of a meal served in-Suite/in-stateroom. From the extraordinary cuisine of celebrity chefs and legendary restaurateurs such as Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio to the inventive menus created by Crystal’s own acclaimed culinary team, dining aboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony promises to delight and surprise even the most discriminating palate.

crystal dining2The Crystal Dining Room:
Offers an extensive selection of regionally inspired cuisine prepared in the classical French tradition. The array of tantalizing options includes our “Lighter Fare” low-sodium, low-cholesterol and low-carb selections, plus vegetarian offerings.

Click here to see a sample menu.

The Vintage Room

For the traveller with exquisite taste and who enjoys a bit of privacy, the Vintage Room is meant to enhance your dining experience. Crystal’s Ultimate Vintage Room Dinners are one-of-a-kind culinary experiences featuring some of the rarest wines in the world. Offered a few times each year on both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, depending on the wines selected the exceptional dinners are priced at an estimated $1,000 per person.

Click here to see a sample menu.

Our next post will describe all of the specialty restaurants.

 

The Crystal Cruise Experience

If you’ve heard about Crystal Cruises, you know that it’s the pinnacle of luxury.

“At Crystal Cruises, we are motivated by a single goal: to provide you with the finest experience not only in cruising but, in all of luxury travel.”

When you travel on-board two of the highest-rated ships in the world, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, you will discover the hallmarks of Crystal: extraordinary service, abundant space, exceptional quality and incredible choices— the Crystal Cruise essence and difference.

veranda-CCYour accommodations on-board are impeccable. You’ll be pampered. A personal butler who will anticipate your every need will attend your penthouse suite. Complimentary amenities will include wine and a selection of your favourite spirits. You’ll have a sanctuary at sea. Your spacious, contemporary stateroom has all the touched of your own home: wireless internet, television, DVD player, soft drinks, bottled water as well as something you probably don’t have at home, an ocean view. The ulliving area- CCtimate indulgence. You’ll have a separate living and dining area, private workout studio, sound system and three flat-screen televisions. Delicious beginnings. Savor the arrival of each day with a quiet breakfast on your private verandah. Simple luxuries. Enjoy the beauty of fresh flowers, the pampered comfort of twice-daily housekeeping and nightly turn-down service.

The bars and lounges on-board are astonishing. Enjoy custom-blended cocktails at the Cove Bar. theater- CCImagine fresh mango, muddled raspberries and a zest of ginger. When the sun sets, the fun rises at LUXE. Your nights will be accompanied with an amazing DJ and an incredible atmosphere. If the nightclub isn’t for you, you can enjoy a Broadway-style production, Hollywood celebrity guests, comedy revues and classical recitals in the theater.

The difference is crystal clear.

 

Interested in Crystal Cruises? Click here to speak to one of our specialists.

What you didn’t know about Olives

800px-NCI_2_green_olivesOlives have become an essential ingredient in the kitchen and especially in Mediterranean cuisine. In a previous post, we talked about how good olives are for your health but did you know all these unique facts about them?

1) Olive oil is produced the same way now as thousands of years ago. Olives are still harvested by hand, collected in nets and placed at the foot of an olive tree. Several days later, olives are  taken to the closest mill where stones weighing several tonnes crush the olives and pits into mash. The olive mash is then spread on to thin mats and pressed, separating the oil.

2) Olive oil is a stretch mark prevention treatment.

3) Greece is the largest producer of olive oil.

4) Olive oil contains no cholesterol, sodium or carbohydrates.

5) Eye shadow was once made from olive oil. Women in Greece created the first ever eyeshadow by mixing olive oil and charcoal. 800px-Olives_in_bowl

6) Your baked goods will last longer if you substitute butter for olive oil. The vitamin E and poly-phenols help for a longer shelf life.

7) Olives start out green and turn black or purple as they ripen.

8) Olives are drupes— fruit with skin.

Chef Christine Cushing just released a brand new olive oil with  the taste and aroma of fresh almonds, green apple, green banana and fresh lettuce. Click here to find out about it. Also, if you’re interested in the Mediterranean and Mediterranean cuisine, find out about an EXCLUSIVE Bon Vivant offer by clicking here.