When MSC Cruises’ new ship MSC Preziosa sets sail in March 2013, the cruise ship will feature Mario Batali’s Eataly restaurant onboard.
The at-sea 80-seat Eataly Restaurant will mirror Eataly’s original concept, serving Italian lunch and dinner. The menu, created by the cruise ship’s corporate chef team and the Eataly team, features 18 dishes from Eataly plus a few new creations.
The chefs behind the menu include Enrico Panero, head chef at Restaurant Marin Eataly in Genoa, Italy, and a team of Italian Michelin-starred chefs, including chef Ugo Alciati of Guido in Pollenzo, Italy, Moreno Cedroni of La Madonnina del Pescatore in Senigallia, Italy, and Pino Cuttaia, of La Madia in Licata, Italy. Mario Batali was not involved in the at-sea Eataly’s menu creation.
The restaurant space will also include aisles of the same Italian products, like olive oil, aged balsamics, dried pasta, artisanal sweets, and wines, found at Eataly restaurants in Italy, Japan, and the U.S.
The ship will also feature a 24-seat Ristorante Italia, which will serve a daily table d’hôte dinner menu based on dishes from Slow Food Presidia products.
To celebrate the forthcoming Eataly restaurant at sea, MSC Cruises and Eataly are offering the chance to win one of two cruises on sister ship MSC Divine, which is slated to debut in Fall 2013 and sail from the Port of Miami to the eastern and western Caribbean. The sweepstakes ends Feb. 28, 2013.
Lauren Mack is the Special Projects Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.
10 Mar 2014 Eataly – traditional Italian cuisine all over the world
Eataly is an original market model offering craft products from the Italian agri-food tradition that aims to educate the consumer’s perception of quality.
The inventor of the Eataly format is Italian Oscar Farinetti who, after opening his first sales outlet in Turin in 2007, has since opened another 25 in Italy, Japan, Turkey and the United States.
He opened his latest store in December 2013 in Chicago, but further expansion is planned also for Dubai, Brazil, U.K and the18 of March will be the opening day also of a big store in Milan, Italy.
It doesn’t end there: Farinetti just inked a deal to include the emporium and its restaurants on two MSC cruise ships.
The brand brings together a group of small companies operating in various areas of the Italian food and wine sector: from the famous hard wheat pasta of Gragnano to Langarola egg pasta, from the water of the Piedmontese Maritime Alps to the wines of Piedmont and Veneto, from the oil of the Ligurian Riviera di Ponente to Piedmontese beef, as well as traditional Piedmontese salted meats and cheeses.
For example, in order to open the 50,000 quare-foot store in New York in August 2010, the founder Oscar Farinetti teamed up with US based restaurant powerhouses such as Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joseph Bastianich.
That variety is surely surprising: from pasta, wine, salumi, to cheese, gelato and all Italian-oriented things. New York’s emporium (maybe the most popular around the world) sells over 70 different types of olive oil, makes 1,000 pounds of mozzarella per week and uses over 28 prosciutto’s legs a week.
Moreover, it sells about 6000 and 6,500 pounds of pasta per week between restaurants, retailers and direct sale, leaping to 8,500 in holiday periods.
The prices are kept low enough if we compare them to the quality offered. As a matter of fact, Eataly’s philosophy is to reduce the distribution chain of the products to the bare minimum and create a direct relationship between the producer and the end distributor, skipping the various intermediate links in the chain.
From identifying producers of excellence to sourcing the raw materials available in the territory, Eataly follows a path based on respect for tradition and aims to teach people how to eat in a “healthy, clean and fair way”, similar to the philosophy of Slow Food which is the group’s strategic consultant.
In addition to the actual market, Eataly also has restaurants, cookery courses, tastings, courses on how to preserve food correctly and educational activities for kids. There is also an Italian school at the New York base, where learning the language is linked to cuisine and includes food and wine terminology.
Lately Eataly’s online shop has been in its embryonic stages, whose goal is very ambitious – to become the reference player in the e-commerce of Italian food and cuisine in the world. This project is certainly going to harnesses the power of the web to expand the export of Made in Italy.
The World's Largest Food Theme Park Turns One Year Old
Next week, FICO Eataly World will mark its first birthday. Since opening in November 2017, the world’s largest food park has welcomed more than two million visitors from countries around the globe. The innovative park is the brainchild of founder Oscar Farinetti and the same creative team that developed Eataly, the food emporium now operating at 40 locations worldwide.
It’s no accident that this mega-theme park is sited about 20 minutes from the historic center of Bologna, capital of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Even Italians consider this area to be the true agricultural heart of their food-centric country, the place where many of the best foods and preparations are to be found. Moreover, Bologna offers an array of excellent transportation options, places to stay, and restaurants as well as a wealth of historic, artistic and cultural attractions.
FICO Eataly World in Bologna
Italian foods are regional
While Giuseppe Garibaldi is credited with uniting modern Italy in 1861, it wasn’t until 30 years later that a man named Pellegrino Artusi attempted to describe the contours of what we commonly refer to as “Italian cooking.”
A wealthy silk trader by profession, Artusi traveled around Italy (mostly in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna—and, remarkably, before the advent of the automobile), amassing 475 recipes from friends and acquaintances. Before publishing Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well in 1891, he tested each recipe in his own kitchen. Subsequent editions of his cookbook grew to include 790 recipes. Still in print today, this seminal compendium of Italian food and culture has been translated into English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. (Traditionally, many Italians gave and received the book as wedding gifts.)
Today, all the variants of “Italian cooking” still remain deeply embedded in the fabric of each of the country’s 20 regions: Visitors find that foods, recipes and traditions are closely tied to local cultures. Like fine wines, which can only be produced in a specific terroir, regions offer different cheeses, meats, breads, pasta shapes, pastries and recipes. In fact, some of these products are labeled DOP and IGP—certifying that they can only be produced in specific geographic areas, in strict adherence to methods that have been passed on from generation to generation.
Fritto misto is a fried fish dish served at FICO Eataly World (Photocredit: Getty)
The uniqueness of FICO Eataly World
At FICO Eataly World, food lovers can taste, purchase and learn about the different types of regional foods produced and eaten all over Italy—all of them brought together under one roof. And while visiting the park, it’s impossible to ignore the integral link between the earth and the foods we eat that is showcased here.
The light-filled, contemporary building is massive, holding some 45 eateries—including restaurants, trattorias and bistros and kiosks—whose offerings range from typical street foods to Michelin-starred meals. Open-air fields and livestock stables occupy five acres of the park. At the 40 factory exhibits inside, visitors can see how foods like cured meats, pastas, and cheeses are produced.
The 100,000 square-foot Mercato is a marketplace with displays of almost every Italian food product one can imagine, including a wine store selling 100 types of wine by the glass. Anything someone purchases can be packaged and mailed home at the on-site post office. Special FICO-branded Bianchi tricycles equipped with chill bags are a fun way to get around.
FICO-branded Bianchi tricycles wait for visitors outside FICO Eataly World
FICO Eataly World is designed for Italophiles of all ages, both children and adults. Educational opportunities abound—including six-multimedia “carousels” (enclosed circular exhibits)—with special classes on making egg pasta, Sicilian cookies, sorbetto, licorice candy and much more. The park also sponsors seasonal events and attractions. For example, entertainment, games and workshops for families are scheduled to begin during the last week in November at FICO’s lively Christmas Market.
And that’s not all
According to tourism officials, the first year of FICO Eataly World’s operation has led to a spike in local and regional tourism. If you are planning a visit to FICO Eataly World, be sure to check out the many other gastronomic itineraries and opportunities available throughout Bologna and Emilia Romagna.
Read more information and inspiration for travelers over-50 at MoreTimeToTravel.
Norwegian Breakaway. Credit: NCL.
Variety is the spice of life and it is choice that you will be spoilt with on Norwegian’s Breakaway cruise ship. The Breakaway offers several dining options other than its dining hall.
Passengers can enjoy the Garden Cafe buffet, O’Sheehan’s Irish pub, Shanghai’s Asian fusion, and the Flamingo and Uptown Grills. In addition, the Haven Lounge and Restaurant is a great little hotspot for VIP guests. By the way, these are just the restaurant options that are included with your cruise fee.
Dining on board the Norwegian Breakaway. Credit: NCL.
According to Norwegian, O’Sheehan’s Irish pub is one of the Breakaway’s most popular venues. Why? The pub is open 24-hours a day.
Meanwhile, Shanghai is one of the top dining establishments on the cruise ship. It offers a traditional Asian noodle bar experience and each bowl of noodles delivers a true taste of the Orient.
Along with the complimentary restaurants, the Breakaway has eight other restaurants that are not included in the cruise ticket price. If you want choice when it comes to food, then Norwegian’s Breakaway offers it up in large quantities.
Cruiser’s Log: MSC Cruise Line’s Divina, Day 6 – December 18, 2014
It’s my final day onboard the MSC Divina and disappointment has set in. Shortly after arriving at Norwegian Cruise Line‘s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, around 7:30am ET this morning, I got up, started to do some packing then headed up to the buffet for breakfast. As I approached the heaping pile of bacon, I suddenly realized something was amiss.
Signs of a bacon shortage emerged before my eyes as what looked and tasted like sliced pork and pork rinds were dominating the pile that all week provided porky satisfaction. As I piled some on my plate I walked to my table feeling somewhat deflated. To make matters worse, just 45 minutes ago the sun was bright and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Now there is this large, gray mass above us that is blocking the once brilliant ball of fire we all looked forward to having around today.
MSC Divina anchored off Great Stirrup Cay
It looks like the sky will clear shortly, however, which will be a welcome relief for the 3,659 passengers on board. With 1,259 cabins on Divina, the ship was designed to hold 2,518 people based on double occupancy. While many cruise lines offer free or reduced passage for the third and fourth person/persons in a stateroom, MSC also lets kids sail for free, taking that passenger count much higher. Personally, I could not imagine being in a stateroom with three or four people – even if they were kids.
In addition to the 3,659 passengers, the crew count today is 1,298 making for a grand total of 4,957 on this floating city. While not nearly the kind of passenger/crew numbers you will find on the largest cruise ships in the world, Oasis and Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean, it’s certainly an impressive number.
As I look out the window to my right, Royal Caribbean‘s private island, Coco Cay, is next door. If one were willing and in good physical shape, you could swim from one island to another, that’s how close they are. Royal has one ship at anchor today and we are the only ship at Great Stirrup Cay.
Yesterday we spent a very relaxing day at sea, where the weather was beautiful and warm. After breakfast, I walked around the ship’s stores. Onboard there is a candy store, La Caramella a store selling sunglasses, L’Angolo Dell’oggetto a duty free shop called The Mini Mall a jewelry store they call Il Gioiello a clothing outlet, La Boutique, where you’ll find brands such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and more a perfume store called La Profumeria the obligatory Logo Shop for taking home MSC-branded merchandise to make your friends and neighbors jealous and The Pool Shop where you can buy a Speedo if you don’t have one and masks to cover your eyes should you not want to see those wearing one.
I picked up a hat and a few t-shirts for the folks back home then headed over to the ship’s photo gallery where I saw my mug staring at me as I walked through. Now I’m never one to stop at the various photo-ops throughout the ship, but the other evening a sweet, young photographer used his Italian charm to talk me into a sitting. As he asked me to pose in positions I haven’t been in since my high school yearbook photo session, I kept thinking, “these are going to look like shit.”
Well, they didn’t. While there were a half-dozen different photos on display, I bought the one that I felt best captured my effervescent personality. That plus a picture of me and Captain Giuseppe Gallano set me back $43.
Yours truly with the master of the MSC Divina, Captain Giuseppe Galano
I dropped off my purchases at my stateroom and found an invitation to a private party on my bed. No, the private party was not happening on my bed, that’s where the invitation was. The private party was being held in the ship’s Black and White lounge at 7:45pm. Being that it was also formal night, I began to fret about my wardrobe for the evening. I don’t partake in formal nights anymore, they should have gone the way of skeet shooting off aft of the ship a long time ago – especially when sailing in the warm climates of the Caribbean. Formal night, an invitation to a party with the Captain, no tie, shit… maybe I just won’t go.
Black and White Lounge on MSC Divina
Black and White Lounge on MSC Divina
Black and White Lounge on MSC Divina
Black and White Lounge on MSC Divina
With the weather cooperating, the public areas inside the ship were pretty much dead. All the action was happening outside as the pools were packed. At the main pool, there was music for dancing and the entertainment staff kept everyone entertained, while the solarium pool (La Sirena) was a little more chill. Back at the infinity pool, I’m happy to report that the family with the naked kids I wrote about yesterday, were nowhere to be found.
A view of the pool deck on the MSC Divina
The main outdoor pool on the MSC Divina
The waterslide on the MSC Divina
The Solarium Pool on the MSC Divina
The Solarium Pool on the MSC Divina
The Garden Terrace has quickly become my favorite spot to be at during the day or night. Located at the aft of the ship on Deck 15, it’s the home to the infinity pool and the Disaronno bar. It’s never too crowded but does get busy as it’s one of the few places that has a smoking and non-smoking area as well as tables for sitting and chatting.
Disaronno Contemporary Terrace Garden Bar on MSC Divina
Disaronno Contemporary Terrace Garden Bar on MSC Divina
As I enjoyed one of the cigars I picked up in Puerto Rico the previous day, I was joined by a group of other people who are part of a tour group. We chatted for a few hours about who is going to be the next president, which city is going to be the next Detroit, why Obamacare will or won’t work long term and by the time we were done, solved all the country’s problems. Just as we were about to tackle Russia, another member of the group came along bearing gifts. He just stopped at Eataly Pizza, the ship’s pizzeria, and bought a “metre of pizza” and brought it to share with the group.
Pizza by the Metre on MSC Divina
I wrote about just how great the pizza is onboard – in both the buffet where it’s cooked in a regular pizza oven and in the pizzeria, where it’s cooked in a brick oven and is more traditional Italian. This was the first time many at the table had the pizzeria’s pizza. They all had the buffet version and loved it, but after a few bites of the different varieties in the box, they all agreed this was the best.
Pizza from Eataly Pizza on MSC Divina
Before I knew it, it was almost 4pm. It’s simply amazing how quickly time flies when vodka and Red Bull get you through the day. As the sun began to set, it got a tad cooler outside, but the view kept me lingering on deck until day turned to night. Off on the horizon, just a mile or two to the west, the Disney Fantasy was silhouetted against a glorious orange sunset. As people lined up to take photos of this natural backdrop before you knew it, the sun sank beneath the waves and night was upon us.
Back in my stateroom, I began to fret about what to wear to the cocktail party. I picked out what I thought was a good choice and proceeded to get dressed and head to the 6:45pm Michael Jackson tribute show in the Pantheon Theatre.
Pantheon Theatre on the MSC Divina
Those who have been on the Divina before told me that this was one show I did not want to miss, so I made sure I attended. I thought I arrived early enough to snag a good seat, but the theater was packed. I was relegated to a balcony seat overlooking the side of the stage, which still provided a good view of the show below.
Along with the ship’s cast of singers and dancers, the Michael Jackson look- and dance-alike made his way onto the stage via a ball dropping from the ceiling. Dancing along to the hits that made MJ the King of Pop, this performer nailed the moves and crotch grabbing that Jackson was known for. From the opening of the show with the hit “Ben” to the closing song “We are the World,” when the cast was joined by crew representing the many nationalities onboard, the high energy performance kept the audience going for 45 minutes. Of course, “Thriller” was done, with zombies wandering throughout the theater.
Michael Jackson tribute show in the Pantheon Theatre on board the MSC Divina
After the show, I wasn’t comfortable with the clothes I chose, so I headed back for a wardrobe change before going to the private party which turned out to be a Captain’s reception for those MSC cruises who have status with the line. After a brief introduction by the cruise director in English, his assistant greeted everyone in the remaining five languages before introducing the Captain Gallano and some of his officers. As servers passed around champagne and canapes of salmon, caviar, and other assorted delights, a live band played for the hour-long reception.
Along with formal night, it was also lobster night in the main dining room, and people were lined up waiting for the restaurant to open. I don’t know what it is about lobster and Baked Alaska that makes people go crazy on a cruise ship, but it always happens.
Black Crab Restaurant on MSC Divina
Once the party wrapped up, it was time for dinner. Back to Eataly Steakhouse, I went to satisfy my craving for some meat.
Eataly Steakhouse onboard MSC Divina
Eataly Steakhouse onboard MSC Divina
Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar from Eataly Steakhouse on MSC Divina
Once inside I was greeted by the chef, who I pointed out has relatives who bear the same last name as mine over in Italy. I started out my meal with Beef Carpaccio ($12.00), that was served with an arugula salad on top.
Beef Carpaccio from Eataly Steakhouse on MSC Divina
Next up was a pasta I really enjoyed in Ristorante Italiano the other night. Since the same galley serves Eataly and Ristorante, I asked if the chef would make me the pasta but instead of serving it over mashed potatoes, do it with a red sauce. My Italian server looked at me as if I just insulted the Pope. “You know that dish, it have a pesto. Pesto not to be mix with red sauce, but if you want, I ask a da chef.”
Pasta from Eataly Steakhouse on MSC Divina
My own version of Handmade Tortello ($8.00), pasta filled with liquid Genoese pesto, came out prepared with the red sauce as I requested. It was awesome! As I was eating, I heard a voice from behind me say, “Mr. Sanfilippo, you like a da pasta?” Yes, Chef, it’s great. “You know, I make for you with red sauce, but that’s a not how you suppose to eat.” Yes, Chef, but it was awesome! “I’m glad you like, but next time, no sauce.” Yes, Chef.
Lesson learned. Don’t mess with the Chef’s recipes on an Italian ship.
Next up was an 11oz Ribeye ($21) and this resulted in the first time I was disappointed with a meal onboard the Divina. The steak was steak sandwich thin, not like any ribeye you will get in a steakhouse back home. When I order a ribeye in a steakhouse, it’s usually a thick cut, well marbled with or without the bone. This was simply anemic. There’s no other word to describe it. It would have felt more at home served on a freshly baked Italian roll than on a plate.
Ribeye steak from Eataly Steakhouse on MSC Divina
For dessert, I opted for one of the freshly made cannoli ($5) which my server told me, “is best eaten with your hands.” I took his advice. That along with a Limoncello ended my dinner at Eataly. When the check was presented, I was given a 15% discount, in appreciation for eating there three times this week. (Thank you!)
Cannoli from Eataly Steakhouse on MSC Divina
After a walk around the ship, I settled back upstairs in the Garden Terrace where a disk jockey was playing salsa music. While not my thing, the Spanish passengers – both young and old – were into it. After a few more Limoncellos the salsa started to look like the Rhumba and I knew it was time to go to bed.
Back in my room was a reminder that the cruise was coming to an end. The customs declaration form was on my bed along with information on debarkation Saturday morning. One thing that I need to get clarification on, the instructions say that passengers need to be out of their staterooms by 7am Saturday morning. Now I’m not sure if that applies to those who opted for self-assist debarkation or not. I haven’t been on a ship where you must vacate your room and head to a public area to wait for your luggage tag number to be called in a long, long time, I thought most lines abandoned that and allowed people to stay in their stateroom until their time was up.
More on that in tomorrow’s installment.
I’m going to use the rest of the day to go around and do my photo tour of the ship, while the majority of passengers are off on the island. I do want to get out and see Great Stirrup Cay, but so far the weather has not really cleared and they are issuing tender tickets to get to shore, which is a process in itself. A process I don’t really want to deal with.
How it works, if you go to a specific area, get a tender ticket, then sit in another room waiting for your number to be called. It’s then you go to the tender area to board the water limousine to the island. Usually, by now, the tender ticket system is done with, as the majority of people should be ashore already. If they open up to tendering without a ticket, I’ll go ashore. If not, I’m going to skip it.
UPDATE: Just as I hit the publish button, the cruise director announced that tender tickets are no longer necessary. Yay!
The biggest cruising rip offs
Your cruise fare is paid in full. Your plane tickets home were purchased months ago. Your wallet, cash and credit cards are stowed away somewhere in your belongings, never to be seen again until your journey’s end. And with the words “all-inclusive” playing on a soothing, holiday-themed loop in your head, you step on board your cruise ship and leave behind all your trivial worries, like money or budgets.
It is then that cruise lines have you where they want you.
Cruise lines, like pretty much every other business out there, are devoted to getting as much of your money as possible. But unlike pretty much every other business out there, their customers are a captive bunch subjected to sales pitches for all kinds of expenditures — from souvenirs to shore excursions to even jewellery — without a means of escape.
And since you’re likely not carrying cash (on most cruise lines your ID cards serve as your on-board credit card) it becomes almost impossible to keep track of what you’re spending. That can lead to a “spend now/think later” mentality that really jacks up the total cost of your holiday. Cruise Market Watch estimates the typical cruiser this year will spend an extra $429 once they board a cruise ship. That’s on top of the estimated $1,350 spent on the typical fare. Increasingly for cruise ship passengers, the spending doesn’t end when you buy the ticket it only begins.
Here are some of the ways cruise lines try to separate you from your money — and what you can do to thwart them:
The life blood of the cruise industry. The blog Ship Mate estimates that Carnival Cruises, the largest cruise line, makes up to half a billion dollars on booze sales alone per year. And holiday drinking is a terrific gateway to all kinds of spending: on food, souvenirs, jewellery and, of course, more alcohol. Cruise lines know this and protect their investment zealously. During embarkation, crew members search passengers for smuggled alcohol. And during the cruise, they’ll confiscate any discounted booze you might buy until the end of the trip.
The solution: Yes, you can try to sneak booze on board, but it’s so rarely successful it’s not worth the effort. If you’re that desperate, you can attempt something that worked for one cruiser we know. After crew members confiscated the booze she’d bought at a port’s duty-free shop, she appealed to the purser, telling him the brand of vodka she’d purchased was the only thing she ever drank and it wasn’t served aboard the ship. She got a nice note back (along with the vodka she’d purchased) which read: “Enjoy your trip.” Still, consider that a “Hail Mary” pass — one that’s unlikely to work. Your best bet is to not drink. Or if that’s not realistic, just keep it to a respectable limit.
Cruise ships know that even with all the all-you-can eat buffets and dining areas on board, passengers will still shell out extra bucks to dine at the premium steakhouses, theme establishments and other kinds of specialty restaurants. With that in mind, cruise ships have entered into partnerships with popular land-based restaurants, like MSC’s recent partnership with the chain Eataly, to further entice people to dig deeper into their pockets for shipboard dining experiences
The solution: The amount and variety of free food (well, technically, it’s not free as you’ve already paid for it) on cruise ships is staggering. So there’s no real reason for you to spend even more money on specialty restaurants. Just walk past them. Avoid temptation and don’t even look at the menus posted outside.
There are cases when shore excursions arranged by, booked through and paid to the cruise line are the safest, most convenient ways to see a port of call. But plenty of times, they are not. And they are not cheap shore excursions — be they bus tours, walking tours or snorkelling adventures — can easily run into the hundreds of dollars. If you buy enough of them, they could easily match and exceed the cost of your fare.
The solutions: 1.) Pick your excursions carefully only consider splurging on the must-see/must-do excursions. 2.) Organise your own shore excursions by arranging a taxi, booking a boating tour with a reputable company before the cruise, or even renting a car and exploring by yourself. 3.) If you’re not consumed by a burning desire to see the port of call, consider just staying on the ship. With FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) leading many, if not most, of the passengers to trudge off the ship every time it docks, you’ll be able to enjoy smaller crowds in the dining areas, the bars, the pools, the gym, etc. You might even be able to book a spa appointment. Speaking of which.
We get it you’re on vacation, so you’re tempted to pamper yourself. And modern cruise ships come equipped with tonnes of luxurious spas that appear to be the ultimate in pampering. But beware: some cruise lines use their offers of discounted massages and spa treatments to goad you into buying various creams and beauty products.
The solution: If you go in for a massage, just get a massage. Some spa employees are more insistent on hawking beauty products than others so be prepared to say “no” — repeatedly, if you have to.
They’re bright and loud and lots of fun. Plus, shipboard casinos are tempting ways to pass the time during long days at sea.
The solution: Do we really need to tell you that casinos are a money-losing proposition? Whether you’re on a cruise ship or the Vegas Strip, remember: a casino’s a casino and you can lose your shirt at sea just as easily as you can on land. Standard casino rules apply here too: set a limit and stick to it don’t gamble more than you can afford to lose and, for Pete’s sake, quit while you’re ahead.
The cruise ships are really subtle about this one. Right before you board, crew members steer you to a festive looking backdrop and offer to take your photo. Once on the ship, camera-toting staffers attempt to take your photo. Plied full of good cheer (and drinks), many people say “yes” — and gladly fork over the money cruise ships charge them for copies of their vacation memories.
The solution: The really skilled crew photographers almost make it seem like not having your picture taken just isn’t an option. Well, yes, it is. From embarkation through the rest of the cruise, politely decline any photo requests so you won’t be tempted to splurge on a picture. If you really want a photo that bad, take one yourself. You have your phone with you, remember?
They may be floating luxury hotels, but cruise ships are still vessels. And many of us have been conditioned by warnings that tap water aboard trains and planes isn’t fit for drinking. Fears that the same goes for cruise ships lead many passengers to buy expensive bottled waters aboard the ship.
The solution: Former cruise ship doctor John Bradberry confirms to Yahoo Travel that cruise ship tap water is safe. “Bottled water may taste better, though,” he adds.
Whether you pay for it by the minute or purchase one of those “discounted” block plans, Internet/Wi-Fi access aboard cruise ships is incredibly expensive.
The solution: You can seek out (slightly) cheaper Internet cafes in port. But the cheapest and best solution is to use your cruise as an online detox. Ask yourself: “Do I really need to be checking email during my cruise?” Generations of cruisers made do without Wi-Fi during their journeys and most of them survived. So try unplugging for a day or two, if not your entire trip. Who knows: maybe you’ll come to enjoy the feeling.
That watch in the jewellery store: I must have it! The sweatshirt with the cruise line’s logo on it: get in my bag, right now! The keychain in the shape of the ship: bring it! Cruise ships are chock full of stores where, again, your festive mood can entice you to spend more than you’d planned on stuff you’ll never use again.
The solution: Window shopping often turns into window buying aboard cruise ships, so don’t risk temptation by browsing the stores. There are so many free activities aboard cruise ships, you can find one that doesn’t threaten to lighten your wallet.
Not that we’re saying you should be a oceangoing miser part of the fun of holidays is spending money. But few things ruin that post-vacation high than getting socked with a massive bill full of costs you didn’t need to or mean to incur. So have fun but spend carefully the money you save could go toward your next cruise!
Photo Essay: Sara Moulton Cruised Around France, Visited ‘Eataly On Steriods’
Chefs love to travel — for inspiration, to experience the cuisines of other cultures or just to get away from the heat of their own kitchens. When they return, we hit them with some questions — where’d they stay, what’d they do and WHAT DID THEY EAT? Up next, Sara Moulton.
Few culinary personalities are as recognizable as Sara Moulton. The chef and cookbook author was the on-air food editor for Good Morning America for 15 years, in addition to acting as Executive Chef of Gourmet magazine. In a storied career that stretches back to becoming friends with Julia Child while working on public television’s Julia Child & More Company in 1979, Sara has hosted several popular shows on Food Network over the past few decades. In addition to currently writing a weekly column for the Associated Press titled “The Healthy Plate,” she will debut the fourth season of her home-cooking program Sara’s Weeknight Meals on PBS on June 18. Sara recently returned from a cruise in Lyon, France, where she took time out to write in – and photograph – a journey full of amuse bouches, fresh produce and lavender fields.
Where are you just back from?
A cruise on the Rhône River on a boat called Stella (one of the A-ROSA boats), from Lyon up to Chalon-sur-Saône, down to Ardèche and back up to Lyon with many stops in between.
What was the highlight of your trip?
A visit to the lavender museum in Ardèche. I loved the ride there through all these sleepy little towns and fields filled with rows of almost-budding lavender. Full lavender season is at the end of June/early July and although I would love to see the plants in full bloom, I would not want to be there at that time of year, when all of France is packed with tourists and it’s sweltering hot. I had no idea there were so many strains of lavender with various medicinal applications. Our tour guide was a local with an English accent and a great sense of humor.
I also loved visiting two Les Halles (covered markets). I saw the famous one in Lyon, named after Paul Bocuse (like Eataly on steroids) and a second one in Avignon, which was conveniently located right next to an open air flea market where my husband looked through books and records while I ogled the produce and cheese.Sara was impressed with the diverse variety of fruits and vegetables available at markets in Lyon and Avignon.
Where’d you stay and what’s your mini-review of the place?
We spent three days in Lyon and stayed at the Charlemagne, a Best Western hotel. Our room was on the 7 th floor and had a lovely view of the church next door, which seemed to ring its bells every half hour, and a small park which was always filled with little children. However, the staff (with the exception of the concierge, Katherine) was quite rude and unhelpful. It was in the center of town but on the wrong side of the train station Perrache. I say wrong side because in order to get anywhere else in town (and we walked everywhere), we had to spend 10-15 minutes just getting through the train station.
Just for the record, except for that hotel, we found all of the French people on our trip very friendly.
After Lyon, we stayed on the boat for a week. Our cabin was a nice size for a boat with a well-designed small bathroom and had floor-to-ceiling windows, which meant that we could see everything pass by on the shore right from our room. At night we opened the double doors to the window and pulled down a screen so we could breathe the extra fresh country air all night long. After our first night on the boat, my husband woke up at sunrise and took this lovely picture.A cruise on France’s picturesque Rhône River allowed the opportunity to take beautiful pictures of the sunrise.
When we weren’t off exploring a new town or taking an excursion, we sat on deck, ordered a rhubarb spritzer (very tasty) and just watched the world go by, all these little country towns. It was so relaxing.
What was your best meal on the trip?
I am so sorry to say that I found the food mostly very disappointing. I love France, I am a complete Francophile, but it seems to me that they are arrested in time. In Lyon, which is supposedly the gastronomic capital of France, we found that most of the restaurants served the same six or seven entrées. We ate at several very nice “bouchons.” At Daniel et Denise and Café Comptoir Abel – classic casual restaurants only found in Lyons – we enjoyed the saucisson, pâté, andouillettes, rognons, quenelles and Lyonnaise salad.
We also ate at a very old brasserie where they made their own beer.
So many dishes were covered in cream sauce, though. And aside from the excellent green salads tossed with perfect mustardy vinaigrettes, and skillfully cooked ubiquitous potatoes (Lyon, after all, is known for its potatoes. The word “Lyonnaise” indicates that a dish contains potatoes), there was barely a vegetable in sight, even though I found plenty of beautiful candidates at the market.
Our best meal was at Paul Bocuse. We were served amuse bouche de l’auberge – chilled pea soup, gratin of foie gras and sautéed local mushrooms. We also had cassolette of lobster à l’Armoricaine and then filet of beef Rossini with Sauce Périgueux.Amuse bouche de l’auberge at Paul Bocuse – chilled pea soup, gratin of foie gras and sautéed local mushrooms.
How will you implement what you saw/ate in your work in the U.S.?
I want to play around with the chestnut liqueur (see below) and reproduce a very tasty Alsatian dish we were served on the boat – flammekueche or tarte flambée, sort of like a quiche lorraine pizza.
What, if anything, did you bring back?
A bottle of chestnut liqueur, “Liqueur de châtaigne,” which is produced in the Ardèche. When we visited the grotto area (sort of like a very mini Grand Canyon), we stopped at a café for the local drink – chilled local white wine mixed with a splash of this liqueur – and I fell in love with the combo.
Where do you want to travel to next, and why?
I would love to go back to Spain for the tapas and fish, Greece for the simple rustic food and because it is so beautiful, Italy because I have not spent enough time there and I know I would not get a bad meal, Costa Rica because I want to see the rain forests and Alaska for the wildlife.
Read these stories about travel in France on Food Republic:
These Italian Recipes Will Make You Feel Like You're Having a 'Night Out' in Italy (Video)
If you’re like me, staying at home is hard — especially during the weekends when we𠆝 usually be out enjoying the warmer weather. At this time of year, you𠆝 usually find me sipping cocktails at a New York City rooftop bar. But now, as we work to stop the spread of the coronavirus, it’s time to figure out new ways to enjoy your favorite cocktails.
How about taking a virtual trip to Italy to enjoy a classic Aperol Spritz and pizza?
Escape your normal life with a special Italian-themed night with a little help from our friends at Aperol and Eataly. Below you’ll find the recipe for crafting the perfect Aperol Spritz — trust me, I’ve tried many — and instructions for making a restaurant-worthy pizza at home.
And to make the night even more special, why not take it a step further by tossing up a stunning aerial video of Cinque Terre or Rome, Florence, and Venice to really transport you there. Or maybe just set the mood with some traditional Italian music or the ll Me By Your Name” soundtrack.
If you’re at home with your partner, consider this the perfect date night. If your significant other isn’t so close right now, download this stunning photo of Positano — free from photographer Gray Malin — and use it as a Zoom background for a little virtual date. Or make it a family affair and finally take your mom on that European “vacation” she’s been longing for.
However you do it, just make sure to add in a dash of fresh air to really maximize the moment crack open a window for a slight breeze, toss down a blanket on your balcony, or just sit down in the yard with one hand grounded to the earth, the other tied to your sunset-colored spritz. You deserve it. Saluti!
How to Make an Aperol Spritz
- Ice cubes
- Chilled Prosecco
- Soda, served from syphon or chilled bottle
- Slice of orange
In a glass full of ice, combine Prosecco followed by Aperol in equal parts. Add a splash of soda and garnish with an orange slice.
How to Make Eataly&rsquos Impasto per la Pizza (Pizza Dough)
- 400 grams (400 milliliters) room-temperature water
- 650 grams (5 cups) type 00 flour
- 15 grams (1½ tablespoons) fresh yeast
- 25 grams (1½ tablespoons) salt
- Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- Pour the water and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer, and mix on high for 1 minute. Crumble the fresh yeast into the liquid, and let it mix for another 60-90 seconds. Turn the mixer down to medium, and slowly add the flour. Finally, let the dough mix on a medium to low setting for 11-14 minutes
- With floured hands, take the dough out of the mixer, and place it into a lightly-floured bowl. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl, and let it sit for 45-60 minutes
- With floured hands, remove the dough, and break it into 250-gram pieces (about ¼ of the dough each). Using your hands, roll the pieces of dough into round balls. Cover the balls of dough and let them rise for another 45-60 minutes
- When the dough has risen, oil 4 (12-inch) baking pans
- Dust the dough with flour, and begin to knead it open with your hands. While opening the dough, be sure to leave the outermost inch untouched to ensure a nice and airy “cornicione,” or crust
- Lay the opened dough out in the baking pan. You now have the base for your pizza!
Then, it’s up to you to top your pizza however you see fit. But if you’re asking me, the more cheese the merrier. You can also browse Eataly&aposs La Pizza & La Pasta menu for some inspiration.
Or Just Get It All Delivered
If making your own pizza seems overwhelming (or if you just don’t want to deal with the dishes), you could also just have everything delivered in. And luckily, if you live in NYC, LA, or Chicago, you can have Eataly deliver everything above straight to your home. Eataly is currently delivering pizza and Aperol Spritz kits, complete with everything you need to make the perfect version at home, for $45 on Caviar. Pair the kit with a quattro formaggi pizza, the video and music above, and hey, you might just start speaking Italian.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Culinary and Wine Talents to Sail with Seabourn
Seabourn Cruise Line has announced a line-up of highly acclaimed chefs and an award-winning winemaker for its “Seabourn Conversations," the line's onboard enrichment and special guest entertainment program.
They include Lars Kronmark, executive instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley Jeremy Bloor, executive chef at London's OXO Tower Restaurant Gary Eberle, winemaker of the Eberly Winery in California Kaushik Chowdhury, executive pastry chef at the Fairmont Dubai hotel and Marisol Simon, destination chef, writer and media personality.
According to Seabourn, these culinary “luminaries” will be onboard to socialize with the guests and present events such as cooking demonstrations and wine tasting parties onboard. In addition, they may share meals, adventures ashore and casual chats with guests throughout the voyage.
posted by The Cruise Cafe | 3:33 PM | 0 comments
Things to Note
The Chef's Table is a hot ticket: Sign up as soon as you book your cruise. While some ships have as many as four Chef's Tables during the sailing, others only do it once -- and with 14 seats, space is limited.
For Chef's Tables that are in the kitchen, you'll want to wear flats closed-toe shoes are recommended (although I wore sandals and was fine). Also, you'll fill out another health form before you go into the kitchen and for the sake of your fellow passengers, please be honest. The entire ship doesn't need your cooties.
The cost of the Chef's Table can vary by ship. On Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Dream and Carnival Vista, the fee is $95. For all other ships, it's $75. A 20 percent gratuity will be added to the price. Are your kids foodies or MasterChef Junior fans? The Chef's Table is open to children 12 and older. Their meals are paired with soda, not wine, but they pay the same price.