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 “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!

0 comments on “Q&A with Claudine Pépin
 

Q&A with Claudine Pépin
 

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As proud godmother of Sirena, Claudine Pépin takes great pleasure in hosting her Signature Sailing every year. This year’s 10-day journey from Rome to Venice aboard Sirena explores several Italian gems in the Mediterranean as well as sought-after destinations lining the Adriatic Sea. With this sailing just around the corner in July, we caught up with her to find out what she’s most excited about, her favorites aboard Sirena and more.

What are you looking forward to most during your Signature Sailing this summer?
I’m truly looking forward to meeting first-time Oceania Cruises guests – they are so happy and always have a great time. I’m also looking forward to seeing guests that I’ve sailed with several times. I feel like it’s a reunion every trip; I have a growing Oceania Cruises family! In addition, every itinerary and every port offers a new treasure – we never get tired of the adventures.

Do you have any “Signature Sailing traditions” that you’ve started with your husband or daughter?
After we unpack quickly, we always have a bite at Terrace Café. We love to see the crew, many of whom we now know, and all the new folks we’ll meet. Rollie, Shorey and I love to be out on the deck as we sail away from the first port. We always take lots of pictures together and send them to all our friends.

What is your favorite culinary experience on Sirena?
That is an impossible question. I look forward to every meal and I also look forward to breakfast in my stateroom while looking outside at the beauty of the port of call we might be visiting or the ocean. I look forward to veal chop at Tuscan Steak, Chilean sea bass at Red Ginger, The Bistro in The Grand Dining Room for lunch and the Dover sole at The Grand Dining Room for dinner. I love Terrace Café for any meal – you’ll often find me on the back veranda there!

What insider Sirena tip would you share with guests?
Baristas, the coffee bar outside The Grand Dining Room, is a great way to start the day or any time you need to recharge.

Tell us about some of the explorations you’re looking forward to having in the Mediterranean.
Where to begin? In Rome before the cruise, we’re going to see the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum and then the Jewish Quarter – and oh, of course we’ll visit a few trattorias in between. In Amalfi, I’m excited to dine at one of the cliffside restaurants with views of the deep blue harbor and in Taormina, we all can’t wait for the pasta! While in Malta, we’re planning to visit the island of Gozo so we can go to one of the most beautiful beaches in all of the Mediterranean. And then we haven’t been to several of the ports along the Adriatic before, such as Durres and Kotor, so we’re very much looking forward to discovering them.

Can you give us a sneak preview of what might be involved in your cooking demo?
The recipes are designed to be easy for the home cook, and to pay homage to the local fare. (Hint: the Veneto is famous for potato gnocchi.)

For you, what is the quintessential end to a night on board?
A glass of Champagne and a little dancing in Horizons.

Claudine looks forward to meeting many of you who will be joining her on her Signature Sailing this July –see you on board Sirena!

0 comments on “Dark ‘n’ Stormy: An Insider’s Look at Bermuda’s Classic Drink”

Dark ‘n’ Stormy: An Insider’s Look at Bermuda’s Classic Drink

What better island-style cocktail to enjoy while in Bermuda than a delightfully spicy and slightly sweet rum cocktail known as a Dark ‘n’ Stormy? With more than a 150-year history, Bermuda’s unofficial national drink is as storied as they come. Here’s a glimpse into the fascinating history of this classic cocktail, along with the Dark ‘n’ Stormy recipe of record.

Turbulent Beginnings
In 1806, a chartered English clipper, Mercury, set out from Gravesend, Kent, England bound for America. After 91 days of struggling at sea, they managed to make it ashore to Bermuda. The helmsman’s name was James Gosling. Of course, the Goslings eventually became one of the most important families on the island and entered the rum business in 1857. After much experimentation, the Goslings arrived at the distinctive rum formula that would be favored by many in the centuries to come. For many years, it was sold from the barrel and called “Old Rum” for its smooth taste. During World War I, the rum was bottled in discarded Champagne bottles from the British Officers Mess, but with the corks newly sealed in black wax. People began asking for the rum with the black seal and thus, the name chose itself. Much later, a creative interpretation gave rise to the well-known label image of the black seal balancing a barrel on its nose.

Nautical Appeal
It was kismet then that ginger beer also happened to be produced on Bermuda by the British Royal Navy – perhaps due to ginger’s effectiveness at easing seasickness. As the story goes, one evening a bartender at the Royal Navy Officer’s Club decided to add a splash of Gosling’s new rum to their spicy homemade ginger beer. Legend has it that a sailor supposedly sipped it and remarked that the color of the drink looked like “the color of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under.” And here the Dark ‘n’ Stormy was born – a favorite of all those in the global boating and sailing community and sea lovers ever since.
This Bermudian cocktail has been trademarked by Gosling’s Black Seal Rum – and yes, there are many wrong ways to make a Dark ‘n’ Stormy. Below is the original Gosling’s recipe, made with their legendary barrel-aged blended Caribbean rum that started it all.

 

Gosling’s Dark ‘n’ Stormy
1.5 ounces Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
4 to 5 ounces ginger beer

In a highball glass filled with ice, add the ginger beer and top with rum for the classic stormy look. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy – preferably while out on the water. Cheers!