0 comments on “6 Culinary Experiences Not to Miss in Alaska”

6 Culinary Experiences Not to Miss in Alaska

Mt. McKinley, Alaska

 

Alaska is known for its beautiful landscapes, fascinating culture and thrilling adventures. But one lesser-known aspect of Alaska is its scrumptious seafood and local fare that culinary travelers will love. Although there are many options near our ports, Oceania Cruises also offers unique excursions that invite you to experience Alaska’s fresh and rich cuisine.
Here are six culinary experiences you shouldn’t miss while you’re enjoying The Last Frontier:

1. Baranof Island Brewing Company | Sitka
After adventures at the Sitka National Historical Park and Sitka Sound Science Center, our “Taste of Sitka” excursion brings you to Baranof Island Brewing Company, a local microbrewery specializing in handcrafted brews. As part of the excursion, you will enjoy a microbrew and wild Alaskan salmon. Visiting Baranof Island Brewing Company is perfect for beer aficionados and those interested in discovering more about the beer-making process.

2. George Inlet Lodge | Ketchikan
While visiting Ketchikan, the George Inlet Lodge is a must. A testament to how much we love this culinary experience, the George Inlet Lodge is featured in two of our shore excursions: “Cruise George Inlet And Crab Feast” and “Mountain Peak Flightseeing & Crab Feast.” This local Alaskan lodge is known for its rustic charm and Alaskan hospitality. On each excursion, you’ll have the chance to enjoy Alaska’s prized Dungeness crab, along with other Alaskan delicacies.

3. A Traditional Salmon Bake | Juneau
If you’re craving Alaska’s famous salmon, then the “Gold Creek Salmon Bake” is perfect for you. This excursion as well as our “Historic Gold Mine, Panning & Salmon Bake” excursion transport you to beautiful Salmon Creek, where you’ll enjoy a nearby waterfall while savoring freshly-caught Alaskan salmon, Gold Rush potatoes, traditional cornbread, fragrant blueberry cake and more.

4. Best-Kept Culinary Secret | Skagway
Known for its fishing, Skagway is the perfect locale to sample Alaskan seafood. Burro Creek Lodge is a private rustic resort that’s accessible only by canal on an enclosed custom-built boat or by air, so it’s long been a local secret. On our “Burro Creek Waterfall Lodge & Crab Feast” excursion, you’ll experience a meal to remember. Savor fresh Dungeness crab and shrimp boil, along with andouille sausage, corn on the cob and red potatoes all accompanied by beer or wine. And save room for dessert!

5. Alaskan Cooking Class | Icy Strait Point
If you’re missing the kitchen, then join our “Wild Alaska Culinary Experience” excursion. During this excursion, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from local Alaskan chefs and cook your own Alaskan seafood. This one-of-a-kind cooking class invites you to experience Alaska like a local and expand your recipe repertoire.

6. Locals’ Favorite Hangout | Haines
A three-minute walk from the port, Big Al’s Salmon Shack is a modest eatery that serves some of the best salmon and fish & chips in the area. This to-go joint is loved by locals and tourists alike and is the perfect stop after an excursion for sampling food that both tourists and locals love.

Join us in Alaska this summer to experience a delicious, new side of one of our favorite corners of the world.

0 comments on “Recipe: Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)”

Recipe: Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)

Tom Kha Gai Soup

This quintessential Thai chicken coconut soup is a deliciously aromatic accompaniment to any meal with an Asian flair or a complete meal on its own. This soup is served in Red Ginger, our Asian restaurant on board, and you can learn this recipe and other Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese favorites from this restaurant during our “Most Requested Red Ginger” class at The Culinary Center on Marina and Riviera.

According to Chef Kathryn Kelly, Executive Chef & Director of Culinary Enrichment, Thai cuisine is best characterized as complex, balanced, fresh and spicy – and this classic chicken and coconut soup brings that description to life with fresh lemongrass, lime juice, coconut milk, Thai chilies and galangal – which is also known as Thai ginger and is in the ginger family, but the flavor is markedly more citrusy and earthy.

Tom Khai Gai Soup

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Serves 6

16 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 stalks lemongrass, mashed
1 cup coarsely chopped galangal
8 kaffir lime leaves
2 Thai chilies
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 cups straw mushroom pieces
18 cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 3 to 5 limes
18 cilantro leaves

In a large stockpot over medium heat, combine the chicken stock, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and chilies and simmer until the stock reduces by half, about 1½ to 2 hours. Decrease the heat to low, add the chicken and poach to an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C. Remove the chicken, let cool and shred. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.

Return the stock to the stockpot over medium heat, reheat the stock and add the coconut milk and fish sauce. Divide the shredded chicken, mushroom pieces and cherry tomatoes among 6 bowls. Just before serving, stir the lime juice into the stock, adjusting the amount to taste. Divide the stock among the bowls, garnish each with cilantro leaves and enjoy!

0 comments on “3 Top Island Adventures in the South Pacific
 

3 Top Island Adventures in the South Pacific
 

French Polynesia, South Pacific

 

When you travel to the South Pacific, the travel experiences become as exotic and epic as the locale. Outdoor adventures are in towering virgin rainforests on remote islands, cultural excursions invite you up close to traditional ways of life few ever get to experience and the lagoons offer the kind of bliss that makes you wish you were a professional photographer or travel writer. Here are our Destination Specialists’ top picks for unique adventures in the South Pacific, a corner of the world where island life reigns supreme.

Kava Ceremony & Village Luncheon | Suva, Fiji
Travel to the remote village of Raiwaqa on a longboat cruise up the Navua River to experience the local flavors and ancient traditions of Fiji on our “Navua River by Longboat” excursion. Take in soaring mountains, dramatic gorges and tropical rainforests abundant in birds and wildlife. Upon arrival, join chiefs and villagers in a kava ceremony, which is an important and sacred element of the traditional Fijian welcome ceremonies. Later enjoy lunch as well as a unique chance to mingle with the locals, browse handicrafts and even join in on the village entertainment.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

 

Thrilling Off-Road Adventure | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
While Bora Bora’s famed lagoon is at the top of every traveler’s list, so many of our voyages offer an overnight on this iconic island so you can experience even more. Don’t miss the rugged and beautiful island itself. You can experience the wild side of Bora Bora on our off-road excursion which takes you to pristine locations only accessible via off-road equipped vehicles. With exhilarating ascents and rolling descents, exotic foliage, beautiful vistas and plenty of stunning photo stops – including a World War II cannon location – this is an excursion you won’t forget. There’s even a stop at a local pareo house where you can find some unique souvenirs and enjoy tropical fruit.

Snorkeling in a Blue Lagoon | Moorea, French Polynesia
Moorea tops Islands.com’s list of top 5 places to snorkel in the South Pacific – here you can see dolphins, sting rays, blacktip reef sharks and more up close in the crystalline waters. Enjoy the best of Moorea’s marine life on our “Snorkel & Stingray Safari,” which sails along Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay to two different islets for snorkeling, or try our “Motu Picnic Escapade” for a blissful afternoon on a gorgeous sandy islet where you can enjoy a barbecue luncheon, swimming, snorkeling and time to soak up the paradise vibes.

Inspired? Start planning your South Pacific adventure for this winter!

0 comments on “5 Surprising Bermuda Facts
 

5 Surprising Bermuda Facts
 

Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

Bermuda is one of those corners of the world that just brims with surprises and curiosities. Its mid-Atlantic location is vastly closer to the Carolinas than the Caribbean and the culture pairs laid-back island vibes with an unmistakably British flair. It’s a place where bright white roofs are used to catch rainfall for drinking water, where there are more golf courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world and where the Dark ‘n’ Stormy was born. Yes, trivia abounds. Read on for a few of the most fascinating Bermuda facts from our Destination Specialists.

Bermuda

 

  • 1. The islands of Bermuda are named after Juan de Bermúdez. This Spanish seafarer claimed the islands for Spain in 1503, although he never actually landed on any of the islands and it was not settled until more than a century later.
  • 2. The British settled in Bermuda before Pilgrims arrived in America. In 1609 Admiral Sir George Somers set sail aboard Sea Venture with a fleet heading towards Jamestown, Virginia, but the ship was caught in a storm and was separated from the fleet. It eventually wrecked on the reefs of Bermuda and Somers staked British claim on Bermuda. The Mayflower anchored at Provincetown several years later in 1620.
  • 3. Bermuda is only 21 square miles in total. Since it has an average width of 1 mile, you are never very far from a beach.
  • 4. Cars were banned in Bermuda until 1946. Bermuda’s House of Assembly was concerned that cars would disturb the peace of the island. Instead the Bermuda Railway, a 22-mile line that connected Hamilton to St. George and Hamilton to Somerset, was constructed. Eventually, cars were permitted for residents, but visitors still feel the history of the ban as there are no car rentals available in Bermuda.
  • 5. Yes, Bermudians really do wear Bermuda shorts. In fact, they are considered semi-formal wear. As a British colony, the island maintains its sense of proper decorum to this day. Bermuda shorts were introduced as an adaptation that allowed Bermudians to preserve formal dress traditions without overheating in the hot climate. The traditional “Bermuda rig” consists of pastel-colored Bermuda shorts with a dark blazer and black knee-high socks with dress shoes.
  • Hamilton, Bermuda

     

    Come join us in Bermuda this summer to delve into the island’s history, culture and cuisine!

0 comments on “A Chef’s Guide: Mapping Culinary Greece
 

A Chef’s Guide: Mapping Culinary Greece
 

Olives_from_Crete

By Director of Culinary Enrichment & Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly

Lindos Bay, Rhodes, Greece

 

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to explore many places in Greece, meet the locals and be invited into their homes and restaurants to share a meal. When most think of Greek food, they immediately think of gyros and spinach pies – both of which are delicious – but there’s so much more to the cuisine of this country, which is one of the most diverse and ancient in the world.

In Greece, it’s difficult to separate cuisine from lifestyle, which is why traveling here is a must for anyone who considers themselves a culinary explorer. Below, I share a glimpse of what makes the various island regions so distinctive and special.

THE DODECANESE | Considered the heart of Greece’s gastronomic history, these islands are home to a traditional cuisine that reflects the meeting of cultures that occurred here long ago. The proximity of the islands to Constantinople and Spice Road means the cuisine has been influenced by the Levant, so the dishes feature a rich variety of spices and worldly influences. You’ll taste notes of coriander, allspice, anise and cinnamon in everything from meat dishes and bread to tarts and cookies on islands such as Patmos and Rhodes.

Baklava

 

Dish not to miss: Baklava

IONION ISLANDS | Due to the strategic seafaring location of these islands, they have been occupied by the Romans, Venetians and Sicilians over the centuries, so you’ll notice a strong Italian influence on these decidedly Greek islands. One of our guests’ favorite dishes from Corfu is pastitsio, a baked pasta covered with ragù and béchamel sauce.

Dish not to miss: Sofrito, a typical Corfiot dish of beef or veal cooked in a garlic wine sauce

THE CYCLADES | Here the elements have clearly influenced what will grow. For example, Santorini is in the crater of a volcano so the soil has a very high mineral concentration. Likewise, the island not only produces some of the best wines, they also grow delicious tomatoes. Cycladic islands such as Mykonos are also famed for their sausages and preserved meats, along with capers and sundried tomatoes.

Dish not to miss: Tomatokeftedes, or tomato fritters

THE PELOPONNESE | In these lands, olives and citrus are in great abundance and the landscape is dotted with vegetable gardens and orchards. Locals often add oranges to their sausage and lemons to their tomato stew. The fresh grilled fish with lemon and herbs that you’ll find at neighborhood restaurants and taverns in destinations such as Gythion and Monemvasia is divine.

Dish not to miss: The catch of the day

CRETE | As the southernmost island, Crete is the birthplace of the Mediterranean diet and is a true culinary mecca. To this day, the island has maintained a very traditional cuisine. In fact, one of the most typical foods, paximadia, or barley rusks, was once kept in shepherds’ pockets for long mountain journeys with their sheep and then later dipped in water and eaten with feta.

Dakos – Barley rusks topped w/ tomatoes, oregano, and olives.

 

Dish not to miss: Dakos, which are rusks topped with fresh tomatoes, local oregano and olives

The best way to get a behind-the-scenes look at the culinary traditions of these famed islands? With one of our Culinary Discovery Tours™, of course. I hope to see you at the markets this summer!