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.

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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.

 

Top Chef Hits the High Seas with Celebrity Cruises

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Celebrity Cruises has just taken sea-bound culinary voyages a delicious step beyond thanks to their new partnership with Bravo’s “Top Chef” franchise. If you’re a fan of the Emmy Award-winning culinary competition program, you might want to jump aboard and join in on this new global, food-based adventure called “Top Chef at Sea.” These cruises give fans a coveted opportunity to enjoy an “exclusive taste of the well-known series with enhanced culinary experiences,” according to a recent press release.

The Nitty Gritty
Celebrity Cruises will launch four cruises (starting in July and going through to November 2014) to idyllic destinations including Europe, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Alaska, each featuring former “Top Chef” contestants. The cruise line test drove the concept last year with their “Top Chef: The Cruise” charter, to resounding and overwhelming success. These four new cruises mark the industry’s first Top Chef-themed, licensing partnership and Celebrity’s first, exclusive Top-Chef-inspired experiences available on 10 Celebrity ships.

Top Chef Perks
Perks include complimentary cooking demonstrations and being a part of the show’s Quickfire Challenges where the audience has a chance to ask Top Chef contestants those burning questions you might have been yelling at the TV during the show. For those wanting a more exclusive experience, private cooking classes and events hosted by former “chef’testants” (for an additional fee), are also available. Guests can enjoy “Top Chef” inspired menu evenings on board 10 ships on Celebrity’s luxury vacations for all sailings departing July 2014-2015.

‘Top Chef’ viewers are constantly asking for their chance to get a taste of the show first-hand,” said Jamie Cutburth, SVP of Partnerships, Bravo & Oxygen Media. “With their commitment to and excellence in providing top-tier gastronomic experiences, the partnership with Celebrity Cruises is a delicious way for us to satisfy this request for Bravo’s loyal and passionate fan base.”

Looks like everyone is in for a tasty time. To get a sneak peek at the “Top Chef at Sea,” concept, watch the video below. For eligible sailings, please contact one of our Bon Vivant Specialists in booking this new concept onboard Celebrity Cruises.

Bon Voyage!

by: Mary Luz Mejia

The Panamanian Palate for the Gastro Nomad

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Panamanian food is quietly undergoing a revolution. For the last 10 years, chefs like the much-lauded Charlie Collins, Mario Castrellon and Alfonso de la Espriella have been working tirelessly to change the way Panamanian food is perceived and consumed.  This is a cuisine that seamlessly fuses Afro-Caribbean, Spanish, French, Asian, American and indigenous culinary traditions into a delicious melting pot that reflects the climate and geography of this land-bridge between two continents. And it’s a cuisine that local chefs are working hard to present to locals and visitors alike with the kind of pride it deserves.

If you’re looking to put Panama on the plate the next time you visit Panama City and its surroundings, here are some must-tries for the culinary wanderer:

 

Maito Restaurant

    • Chef/Owner: Mario Castrellon

Philosophy: “We’ve had an ongoing fascination with Spanish food here, Italian, French, Japanese and so on. It’s time to put the focus back on Panama,” explains one of the city’s most talented and impassioned local chefs, Mario Castrellon.

Don’t Miss Dishes: At Maito, there’s an updated take on tasajo- a salted, smoked then fried piece of steak that in this case is shredded like pulled pork and served atop Caribbean fry bread called hojaldra. A dainty fried Cornish hen’s egg crowns the smoky amuse. One of the table’s favourites is the intriguing “cheesecake” dessert made with local vegetable isinglass; a seaweed that’s usually blended with milk and spices and consumed as a drink by those of Afro-Antillean roots. Cinnamon, sugar, and ginger combine to produce a light, not-too-sweet intriguing cheesecake topped with a strawberry compote, that we all swore was made with yoghurt!

 

Panamonte Inn– Boquete, Panama

      • Executive Chef: Charlie Collins– the “go-to” chef for the last three Panamanian presidents and cook for celebs ranging from Sean Connery to political figures like George W. Bush.

Philosophy:   “We were raised to believe that everything imported was of better quality than what we had in our country.  This is one of the reasons why you see so much American cuisine influencing us in Panama, but that’s changing. We know better now.” says Collins

Don’t Miss Dish: Boquete river trout filets with a watercress salsa over young corn gnocchi and Panamanian sofrito. Bonus points for forging close ties with nearby, organic farmers, fishermen and food producers who provide Collins with pristine ingredients.

 

La Trona- Panama City- Calle 48, Edificio La Trona – Bella Vista – Panamá

      • Chef: Alfonso de la Espriella

Philosophy:  He makes the kind of food he’d like to eat, in Spanish that’s known as “cocina de autor.” After working abroad with greats like Laurent Tourondel, de la Espriella has concluded that his culinary mantra is firmly rooted in the “less is more” camp.

Don’t Miss Dish: Locally caught yellow fin tuna that gets its heat from the country’s well-loved aji chombo, or chombo chilie. Seared on the outside only and sliced so that its fleshy, pink exterior shines like jewels, chef crusts the fish with the aji and serves it with local zapayo- a type of pumpkin or squash.

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By: Mary Luz Mejia

 

Mexico’s Own Hot and Spicy Chef

By Mary Luz Mejia

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This year marked the 15th anniversary of one of Toronto’s most beloved food-obsessed festivals known as “The Hot & Spicy Festival.” Held every summer on the shore of Lake Ontario at the city’s picturesque Harbourfront Centre, the festivities culminate with an international Iron Chef Competition. This summer, chef Ross Warhol competed from the United States (he works at the Athenaeum Hotel in Chataqua, NY), Mavis Brade represented Antigua and Barbuda (chef at Sugar Ridge) and from Mexico, Jonatan Gomez Luna Torres (Executive Chef at Le Chique in the Mayan Riviera) also cooked for the crowd.

Foie-TreeEDI haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy dishes prepared by the former two chefs, but the latter, Jonatan Torres, well, his food I know. A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to find myself at the Karisma Resorts in the Mayan Riviera. I know, hard gig, right? While my days were jam-packed, it’s hard not to enjoy working when you’re surrounded by talcum white beaches that stretch for kilometers and hug turquoise, Caribbean water. It’s not too shabby either when the resort’s beach butlers come round with all-fruit “paletas” (ice pops) or fruit kebobs and cold, moistened towels. But I digress.

At the Azul Sensatori resort, Chef Jonatan helms the kitchens of a very special restaurant called “Le Chique.” Special because there’s nothing else like it in the Mayan Riviera- some would argue, Mexico. Jonatan’s thoroughly modern take on Mexican classics, which combines a healthy dose of molecular gastronomy and whimsy, is nothing short of spectacular. I’ll always remember the “tree” of candy floss wrapped around branches that I was told to pluck off and eat. Inside each cotton-bud looking parcel, was a little orb of hot foie gras. Magic in a morsel. It was sublime. He learned from Ferran Adria after all, so it’s not surprising to find traces of El Bulli at Le Chique.

At the Hot & Spicy Iron Chef competition, the black box ingredient was garlic, and Chef Jonatan, along with sous Julio Mara Mackey prepared a hen in black mole sauce with a creamy camote puree infused with a vanilla and cinnamon emulsion. Way to represent Mexico Jonatan- this year’s proud winner of Toronto’s Hot & Spicy International Iron Chef Competition. Should you ever find yourself on the playa wondering where to go haute in the heat – Le Chique’s got the culinary cadre you crave.

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