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For the Love of Cheese From Spicy Aromas to Smooth Sips What's Cooking at Sea
We know that many travellers are looking for adventures that delight the palate and awaken the senses. Our team of travel advisors specializes in food and wine journeys around the globe. We create unique and authentic experiences that give you an up-close and personal encounter with local traditions, and the foods and wines of any given area. We believe that to truly experience a place, you need to taste the food and immerse yourself in the culture. What makes our travel advisors unique is their passion for developing distinctive adventures to suit any food and wine enthusiast. Whether your ideal vacation is sailing the high seas with a master chef or exploring the countryside in search of local artisans, we are here to satiate your appetite.
Credits PUBLISHER Ensemble Travel® Group
Let’s be honest… A big motivating factor behind where we choose to
CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND MANAGING EDITOR Valérie Lenoir
travel is food. When someone returns from a vacation, it’s one of the first things that you talk about when sharing your experiences with friends and family. Where and what you ate shapes your memories of
EDITOR Michele Sponagle
a destination and, long after you’ve forgotten about the museum you
PROOFREADING Isabelle Labrosse
country where it originated.
ADVERTISING Franca Iuele
I recall every bite of the Black Forest cake I enjoyed surrounded by
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lola Augustine Brown, Smita and Sanjeev Chandra, Liz Fleming, Timothy Fowler, Waheeda Harris, Liz Humphreys, Franca Iuele, Isabelle Labrosse, Chris Ryall, Renée S. Suen, Michele Sponagle, Hans Tammemagi, Diane Tierney
cocktail served at Harry’s Bar in Venice where it was first crafted. And
visited, you’ll remember vividly that first taste of an iconic dish in the
the beauty of the Black Forest. I savour every sip of the peach Bellini
ART DIRECTION Bertrand Richer, Fleur de Lysée
I remember the explosive crunch of the beautifully layered pastry of a pastel de Nata (Portuguese egg tarts) from bakeries in Lisbon. Those tastes haunt me in a good way and keep me thinking about return visits to all of those spots. Food goes beyond just pleasant memories. I remember interviewing a chef who told me, “To understand the cuisine of a place is to understand its culture.” There is a lot of truth in that statement.
Ensemble Travel Group
Just one food can shape a nation. Think about the impact sugar
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER David R. Harris
paella, the national dish of Spain, which reflects its history influenced
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MARKETING Todd Hutzulak
plantations and rum have had on a country like Jamaica, or consider greatly by the former rulers, like the Moors and Romans. That’s why we are always so excited to bring readers Bon Vivant,
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Franca Iuele
an issue dedicated entirely to the love we share of food and travel.
© Ensemble Travel® Group. All rights reserved. 2022 Ensemble Travel® Group. Ensemble Bon Vivant® is a proprietary registered trademark of Ensemble Travel® Group. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without written permission of the publisher.
cuisines and the stories they tell, from San Miguel de Allende and
Our writers have been all over the world exploring a wide range of Armagnac, to Quebec and Thailand. The result is our tastiest magazine of the year. I hope you’ll savour every delicious story featured on its
Ensemble Bon Vivant® is issued once a year on behalf of Ensemble Travel® Group member agencies.
pages. Bon appétit!
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MICHELE SPONAGLE EDITOR EDITOR@ENSEMBLETRAVEL.CA
VIKING VIKING VIKING TAKES TAKES TAKES YOUYOU YOU TO THE TO TO THE THE HE ART HE HEART ART OF THE OF OF THE THE PL ACES PL PLACES ACES
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CST# 2052644-40 CST# CST#205264 20526
EAT • DRINK • TRAVEL
in Europe Culture and cuisine go hand in hand. Sip and savour the flavours of the world with Collette and become united by the universal language of food.
SMALL GROUP SMALL GROUP
Old World Sicily & Malta
Essence of France
15 Days • 22 Meals From $5,699*pp
12 Days • 15 Meals From $5,499*pp
• Delve into the history of Marsala wine during a visit to a local cellar. • Taste award-winning olive oil and learn about the Slow Food movement at a local farm.
• Hunt for truffles with a local chef and his truffle sniffing dogs. • Taste locally made cheese during a visit to a goat farm in the Provençal countryside.
Extraordinary culinary experiences await. For reservations, contact your Trusted Advisor. *Pricing is per person, land only, double occupancy, and varies by departure date. Old World Sicily & Malta price based on February 21, 2023 departure.Essence of France price based on April 19, 2023 departure.Other restrictions may apply. Travel Industry Council of Ontario Reg. #3206405;BC Reg. #23337
Great Reads to Tantalize your Taste Buds
In the Kitchen with Chef Alex Quaretti
Food Festivals Under the Sun
Lessons From the High Seas
LIQUORS & SPIRITS
Age of Enlightenment
Thailand’s Symphony of Flavours
A TASTE OF CANADA
Wine Regions Uncorked
The Wild, Wild West
FOOD & SUN
Bits and Bites in San Miguel de Allende
Scuba, Snorkel, Savour
Sophisticated and Unsung
Wine and River Cruising: The Perfect Blend
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Smita and Sanjeev Chandra love to travel the world pursuing their passion for food and history. Indian cuisine experts, travel writers and food historians, they have written three cookbooks, many magazine articles and a blog. They live in Toronto where they teach cooking.
Travel journalist Diane Tierney has been on 78 cruises to 47 countries, and still counting. She reports on cruise travel for a variety of media outlets in Canada and the U.S. She has more than 60,000 followers on Instagram @Cruiseguru. She shares ship tours and more on her YouTube channel at Official Cruiseguru.
Timothy Fowler is an award-winning journalist and podcaster who retains a childlike curiosity when exploring new places, meeting fresh characters, savouring new plates and refreshing sips. He is a Red Seal chef and has published more than 500 stories in the North American market. He and his wife, Kate, are avid travellers, chasing engaging stories in Canada and internationally, often with their dog, Rigby.
Hans Tammemagi writes about an eclectic array of topics, including travel, environment, Native culture and things quirky. He has penned 10 books (one national bestseller). He has contributed to such publications as Canadian Geographic, Westworld, Northwest Travel, The Globe and Mail and Vancouver Sun. A member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and former adjunct professor, he has a strong affinity for the environment. He lives in the Gulf Islands of B.C. where he enjoys hiking, kayaking and photography.
Get a taste of the places you’ll go
11-day Grand Western Mediterranean Barcelona to Rome (Civitavecchia) Nov 6, 2022
Regal Princess® Balcony fares from*
including drinks, Wi-Fi, crew appreciation, specialty dining and more1 *Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses of $169 CAD are included and subject to change.
Enjoy culinary excursions with local experts on a Princess® cruise Princess knows one of the best ways to experience a destination is through its food. Get an authentic perspective with Local Connections excursions like the Ultimate Provence Cooking Class, a Discovery™️ exclusive. Learn French recipes hands-on from a Michelin-starred chef. Create delicious dishes from seasonal ingredients you pick in a Provençal garden. Then indulge in your creation on a scenic terrace while sipping Bandol wine. With Princess, you don’t just visit destinations, you savor them. And with your Princess Premier fare, you’ll savor everything from two dinners at onboard specialty restaurants and top-shelf beverage package to multi-device Wi-Fi and photos – all included!
Book now to enjoy an exclusive offer of $85 USD onboard spending money per stateroom!2
* Fares are per guest and apply to minimum lead-in balcony categories on a space-available basis at time of booking. Fares are non-air, cruise- or cruisetour-only, based on double occupancy and apply to the first two guests in a stateroom. Fares and other values quoted in Canadian currency, unless otherwise indicated. 1Certain restrictions apply, refer to your travel advisor for complete terms, conditions and definitions that apply to Princess Premier. 2Up to $85 USD Onboard Spending Money per stateroom is applicable to first/second-berth guests only. Third/fourth-berth guests are not eligible. Onboard spending money may be used on a single voyage only, is not redeemable for cash, cannot be used in the casino and expires at the end of that voyage. Offer is not transferable and may not be combinable with other select offers or other onboard credits. Onboard spending money is quoted in U.S. dollars and is based on the ship’s onboard currency. Void where prohibited by law. ©2022 Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd. Princess®, MedallionClass®, and the Princess logo are trademarks of Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Ships of Bermudan and British registry.
What’s new in the world of food, drinks and travel
By Isabelle Labrosse
A N E W E R A F O R A N I C O N I C R A I L J O U R N EY
© MARTIN SCOTT POWELL
Luxury travel pioneer Belmond appointed Jean Imbert as the new chef for its legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE), thereby unveiling a new gastronomic era for the world’s most famous train. Launched with the 2022 season, the new concept and menu created by Imbert blend the VSOE’s culinary excellence with the celebrity chef’s passion for fresh ingredients and focus on seasonality. Imbert has also redesigned the train’s three 1920s restaurant cars to reflect his vision while preserving their rich history and heritage, allowing guests to relish in an eversophisticated dining experience on their journey through Europe’s spectacular landscapes.
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A F O O DI E ’ S PA R A DI S E I N T H E C O U N T R Y S I D E
D E C A R B O N I Z I N G T R A V E L , O N E B I T E AT A T I M E
An hour from London, the Fairmont Windsor Park started welcoming guests earlier this year in an elegant English country manor set on 40 acres of green space. With seven restaurants and bars, it’s heaven for food lovers. At MOREISH, the Middle Eastern meets European cuisine is expertly prepared in an open theatre kitchen and served with fine wines or gin cocktails from Schroders’ Botanicals Bar. The 1215 restaurant uses ingredients from the Royal Farms, local artisans and its own herb and vegetable gardens to celebrate the best of British dining. Guests can also participate in a series of masterclasses hosted by the hotel’s chefs, sommeliers and mixologists.
Always looking to lower its carbon footprint, Intrepid Travel recently introduced new plant-based experiences to its revamped Real Food Adventures, a collection of 21 itineraries to foodie favourites such as Mexico, India, Vietnam, Italy and South Korea. Curated to encourage less carbon-intensive eating habits, these experiences emphasize how important it is to make climate-conscious decisions in the day-to-day. A visit to a traditional Tuscan farm to dine on spreads made from freshly harvested ingredients, a plant-based Buddhist meal at a pagoda in Vietnam and a cooking class to learn about ker sangri, a vegetarian curry made from ker tree berries found in Rajasthan, are among the new experiences offered.
F I R S T - I N - C L A S S S H I P A N D DI N I N G
O N B O A R D D I N I N G , T H E N O V A W AY
Setting sail this summer, the latest addition to Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet, Norwegian Prima – also the first ship of the cruise line’s new Prima Class – promises elevated food and drinks offerings for guests onboard. The Metropolitan Bar will be the first-ever cocktail and wine bar putting sustainability at the forefront with biodynamic wines and cocktails using renewable ingredients. Another first for the cruise line will be the Penrose Atrium, an elegant three-storey, glass-walled atrium with restaurants and lounges overlooking the ocean. Other venues will include delicious Greek-style seafood at Palomar, chic French cuisine at Le Bistro and spectacular hibachi cooking at Hasuki.
Luxury cruise line Silversea recently unveiled the new asymmetrical design for its 11th ship, Silver Nova, scheduled for delivery in 2023. The added outdoor space provided by this inventive configuration will not only allow guests to better connect with each destination, but also put a strong emphasis on al fresco dining. One new venue, The Marquee, will offer Silversea’s trademark ‘hot rocks’ culinary concept as well as the best pizza at sea. Another, Dusk Bar, will be a classy, open-air sky bar where guests can enjoy a craft cocktail with 270-degree panoramic views. In total, the ship will include eight incredible dining venues taking inspiration from the world’s best restaurants.
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GREAT READS TO TANTALIZE YOUR TASTE BUDS
From a celebration of African bibis’ cooking to Ukraine’s little-known summer kitchens, here are four of our favourite cookbooks to tempt your palate in anticipation of your next vacation
By Franca Iuele
O N T H E H I M A L AYA N T R A I L : U N C O V E R I N G K A S H M I R I A N D L A D A K H I C U I S I N E British-Indian food writer and chef Romy Gill shares the story of Kashmir and Ladakh’s unique cuisine and heritage with over 80 delicious recipes and stunning travel photography to bring readers on a journey through one of India’s most delectable food regions. Set against the backdrop of the snow-clad Himalayas, this book provides a rare glimpse into the life and history of the Kashmiri and Ladakhi people, and why food is at the heart of this fantastic place.
I N BI BI ’ S K I T C H E N : T I M E - H O N O U R E D DI S H ES F R O M EA S T E R N A F R I CA Somali chef Hawa Hassan and food writer Julia Turshen present a collection of 75 flavourful recipes gathered from grandmothers – or bibis – of eight African countries bordering the Indian Ocean. These matriarchs welcome you into their kitchens and share stories of family, love and tradition in this aesthetic cookbook-meets-travelogue, with everything from mango chile sauce to the perfect Berbere spice mix and digaag qumbe, a Somali yogurt-coconut chicken stew. 1 2 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2
A L AT E D I N N E R : D I S C O V E R I N G T H E F O O D O F S P A I N In this book, British food and travel writer Paul Richardson, who owns a small farm and vineyard in Western Spain, takes you on a literary journey to cities like Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastián to discover Spain’s coastal foods, ancient cooking from shepherds in the mountains as well as modern cuisine. For foodies, this is a must-read to trace the roots of this colourful country’s famed cuisine through stories about its people, landscapes and history.
SUMMER KITCHENS: A DEEP DIVE INTO UKRAINE’S CULINARY HERITAGE Award-winning author Olia Hercules explores the culinary identity and diversity of her home nation of Ukraine and its “summer kitchens,” tiny buildings used to cook and preserve fruits and vegetables harvested in the summer in preparation for the winter. Featuring enticing food and travel photography interspersed with personal stories and memories, Hercules’ cookbook includes a collection of 100 tasty recipes from every corner of the country.
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A globetrotting couple shares their favourite places around the world to buy authentic, locally sourced spices
By Smita and Sanjeev Chandra
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We have always been fascinated by spices and their history. Whenever we travel, we’re always on the lookout for authentic spices to bring back home, and when we use them their aroma brings a rush of memories. Here are some highlights:
O R E G A N O : AT H E N S , G R E E C E
C A R A W AY : V I E N N A , A U S T R I A
We found to our delight that the very air in Greece is scented by oregano, which grows wild on the hillsides. Greek myths say it was first planted on the slopes of Mount Olympus by the goddess Aphrodite. A less exalted, though easier to reach, place for us to buy oregano was Varvakeios, Athens’ noisy, bustling food market. The oregano we bought there gave authentic flavour to the Greek salads and souvlaki made at home.
Traditional Viennese cuisine relies heavily on the earthy flavour of caraway, the seed of a leafy green herb widely grown in Austria, that is used in breads, sauerkraut and goulash. Vienna’s sprawling food market, Naschmarkt, is lined with stalls selling every kind of food, including vegetables, meats and spices. It was here that we bought fresh caraway and tasted wonderful local dishes.
C I N N A M O N : M E L A K A , M A L AY S I A
S A F F R O N : S E V I L L E , S PA I N
Melaka was the centre of the spice trade in the 16th century, when merchants from Europe came to buy cinnamon grown in China and Southeast Asia. The bark of cinnamon trees is removed in strips that are rolled and dried to form cinnamon sticks. Today, Jonker Street’s vibrant night market has wonderful, fresh cinnamon. You can also taste it in local dishes available there, such as Chicken Curry Kapitan, named in honour of the ship captains who once dropped anchor in Melaka.
The architecture and cuisine of Seville recalls the Arabs who ruled Spain for centuries. Arabs also introduced the cultivation of saffron, whose threads are the stigmas of crocus flowers painstakingly plucked by hand, making it an extremely expensive spice. Spain produces wonderful saffron, an essential part of Spanish cuisine and dishes like paella. The city’s historic food market, Mercado de Triana, is a good place to shop for authentic saffron.
P E P P E R : K O C H I , I N DI A
PA P R I K A : B U D A P ES T , H U N G A R Y
At a spice plantation in Kerala, we saw vines covered with bunches of gleaming emerald pepper berries. After being dried in the sun, they shrivel into spicy black peppercorns, ideal for dishes like fish curry. Almost 2,000 years ago, Roman ships came to Kerala to buy pepper and cardamom – spices essential to Roman cuisine. Many of the merchants were Jewish. Today, their settlement in Kochi is still a hub of the spice trade and where you can find the world’s best pepper.
Dried, ground, red peppers are eaten more in Asia than Europe, but Hungary, for centuries part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, made them part of its cuisine. Paprika, whether it’s sweet, smoked or hot, is essential to making dishes like goulash or paprikash, giving them both colour and flavour. We found the best smoked paprika in Budapest’s Great Market Hall, an enormous market filled with culinary delights. B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2 | 1 5
IN THE KITCHEN WITH CHEF ALEX QUARETTI Dishing on what’s next for him in his new role at Oceania Cruises, trending global cuisine, what he likes to do when not sailing and his favourite places to eat By Michele Sponagle
Oceania Cruises has a reputation for its standout culinary offerings. Behind every great meal is a team working its magic in the galley. In February 2022, the cruise line announced the appointment of chef Alex Quaretti as its director of culinary programs and development. He is no stranger to Oceania, having first worked with the cruise line back in 2004. Originally from Fontainebleau, France, Quaretti has worked in some of the top restaurants in the world, including the Michelin-star kitchens of Château de Marçay, L’Arpège and La Pyramide. Bon Vivant recently caught up with the busy chef to see what he’s been cooking up for Oceania. Here’s what he had to say:
Bon Vivant: How does your background cooking in restaurants in France and in places like Hong Kong influence your approach to the culinary offerings of Oceania? Alex Quaretti: From the beginning of my career, I’ve been able to learn from various mentors throughout pockets of the world to ultimately refine my passion for vegetable-based cuisine along the way. Each restaurant and venture, including my time with the Oceania Cruises team, has been pivotal to why I strive for innovation in overseeing our culinary concepts. BV: Oceania is renowned for its exceptional restaurants. How will you build on and expand that reputation in your new role? AQ: I’m honoured to be back leading the brand’s already renowned cuisine and acclaimed service. In the new Vista class, I will continue 1 6 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2
to develop new concepts with a focus on healthy foods. Additionally, we will offer an American family-style restaurant with classic and tasty dishes. Moving forward, we will focus on developing new dishes with authenticity and a modern touch while keeping in mind the Oceania DNA.
BV: Can you talk about “cuisine du marché” and how you incorporate it into Oceania’s dining options? AQ: The philosophy of “cuisine du marché” has been my driving force of inspiration when it comes to my approach in the kitchen and in my new role at Oceania Cruises. By respecting nature and staying aware of the changing seasons, my team and I can ensure the freshest and most flavourful ingredients are locally sourced and respectfully prepared. This mantra is perfectly aligned with Oceania Cruises’ reputation as ‘The Finest Cuisine at Sea,’ which has made my return all the more thrilling.
BV: You’ve had a lot of experience working on cruise ships. How have they changed over the last decade? AQ: As the world changes, what is crucial to us is continuing to think creatively, ensuring the most delicious and memorable moments for our guests at sea. Throughout the last decade, the industry has honed in on locally and seasonally sourced produce and ingredients, leaning into delicacies from destinations specific to each voyage. More recently, advances in technology, such as a new electronic ordering system which allows staff to focus on service rather than running back and forth to the galleys, is a focal point for Oceania Cruises.
BV: What is your favourite country for dining out? Any must-try places? AQ: By asking a French chef, you may already know the answer. In France, we have so many different types of regions with different cuisines and particular products such as cheeses, cold cuts, wines, seafood, fish and meat. As for must-try places, it will depend on the places you stay. I would recommend the Normandy area for cheeses, dairy products, fresh fish and seafood. I’m living in the South of France near the Pyrenees mountains so I recommend a restaurant called Les Grands Buffets in Narbonne.
BV: You have ample experience cooking in acclaimed kitchens worldwide. What are your proudest accomplishments to date? AQ: I’m most proud of combining my passions for natural resources, global travel and truly unique culinary experiences during my time at Oceania Cruises, which is why I was so eager to return and build off an already excellent way to taste and see the world.
BV: At the end of long day at sea, what do you enjoy eating for dinner? AQ: It really depends on my mood and how much food I have tasted during the day. I enjoy a nice cold cuts and cheese platter with a glass of wine. Sometimes, I will choose a healthier option with some pan-Asian food from Red Ginger onboard.
BV: When you’re not working, how do you like to relax? AQ: I love cooking for friends and family by making use of my “show kitchen” at home. But outside of the kitchen, I enjoy trail running as it is a great way to relieve some of the daily pressure and I get to see different landscapes while pushing my own limits in nature.
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FOOD FESTIVALS UNDER THE SUN
Celebrating the world’s best food with ‘noseworthy’ festivals – from nature-rich Peru to glitzy South Florida By Franca Iuele
To dive into the fantastic culinary scene these sunny locales have to offer, mark your calendars for these extraordinary foodie events. L I M A ’ S M I S T U R A F O O D F ES T I VA L
G R A N D C AY M A N ’ S C AY M A N C O O K O U T
Peru is home to exceptional culinary delights. Its diverse landscape – the snow-capped Andes, the tropical forest in the Peruvian Amazonia, the desert plains and the endless seashore – produces an abundance of unique ingredients only found in Peru. With 2,500 varieties of potatoes, 300 varieties of peppers from mild to super-hot, corn of various shapes and sizes, and 2,000 species of fish, it’s no surprise visitors are flocking to this South American country to discover a gourmet destination like no other.
The Cayman Islands offer up nothing short of unforgettable culinary experiences, and every year, the islands transform into the Caribbean’s culinary capital for a weekend of friendship and fun. As the culinary event of the year, the Cayman Cookout returns at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman from January 12 to 16, 2023. For this 14th edition, chef Eric Ripert and a roster of world-renowned culinary talents will gather for this intimate food and beverage happening promising cooking demonstrations, tastings, foodie tours and plenty of epicurean experiences. So whether you’re a chef devotee, a food enthusiast, an island lover or just someone who wants to celebrate, this event caters to everyone.
One of the best opportunities to discover Peruvian cuisine is to visit Lima during the Mistura Food Festival, scheduled for September 2022. Held just steps away from the idyllic Costa Verde, this festival – touted as South America’s largest – brings together some of Peru’s award-winning chefs to showcase their unique interpretations of traditional dishes such as ceviche, causa and anticuchos. Since its launch in 2008, the 10-day festival has become a pilgrimage journey for foodies worldwide.
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With the participation of renowned chefs such as Gastón Acurio and a large team of young and upcoming chefs, the festival offers an opportunity to launch new talent and discover incredible delicacies. The ‘Gran Mercado’ area gives visitors the ability to discover exotic ingredients. With over 300 local vendors, mostly farmers from across Peru, it’s a great place to learn and satiate the taste buds with unique recipes based on traditions that date back to ancient times.
S O U T H B EA C H ’ S W I N E & F O O D F ES T I VA L Who could resist a visit to South Beach, Florida to hobnob with celebrity chefs, expert sommeliers and well-known personalities, all while setting your taste buds on high gear? Every year for an extended weekend, South Beach becomes the gourmet capital of North America during the Wine & Food Festival.
From February 23 to 26 next year, visitors will have the opportunity to indulge in masterpieces created by top chefs, attend seminars and masterclasses, browse an Asian night market, savour new dishes at tasting events, get all decked out for the evening parties and more. This is a very popular event, so make sure you save your spot early in the season.
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LESSONS FROM THE HIGH SEAS
Hone your cooking skills with culinary classes from master chefs on your next cruise
© VIKING CRUISES
By Diane Tierney
Cruise lines are upping their culinary game by partnering with some of the world’s best chefs and cooking schools from Le Cordon Bleu to Relais & Châteaux. It’s no wonder passengers are keen to sign up for tasty learning experiences during their holiday at sea. No matter which experiences you choose, you can expect top-of-the-line workstations and all the essential tools you might need. Participants receive personalized instructions from experts and classes are designed to appeal to a wide range of tastes and aptitudes, from beginners to experienced cooks. Here is a sampling of what lessons are being served up for cruise guests. 2 0 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2
O C EA N I A C R U I S ES ’ C U L I N A R Y C E N T E R S
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has cooking demonstrations in the Culinary Arts Kitchen onboard its Splendor and Explorer ships. Expand your skills in a welcoming environment reminiscent of France’s most prestigious cooking schools in both layout and design. There are about 16 different classes available, including Treasures of the Aegean,
Oceania Cruises hosts a hands-on cooking school on its Riviera and Marina ships, and classes are conducted by master chefs from around the world. At select ports, guests also accompany a chef while shopping for fresh ingredients at local markets during a Culinary Discovery Tour. At your fully equipped workstation in the state-of-the-art Culinary Center, you’ll be guided step-by-step on how to make a wide range of dishes. There are about a dozen cooking classes with new ones often added, like one devoted to the cuisine of the Patagonia region. Perhaps you’ll pick up secrets of Argentine grilling or the finer points of Chilean roasting and baking. To go along with the delicious, hearty dishes, enjoy expert wine pairings from the destination.
revealing the essence of the famed Mediterranean diet, Familia Cubana, honouring cherished Cuban recipes passed down from generations, Sensuous Spain, all about the country’s delicious tapas, and Island Fusion, using indigenous ingredients from the Caribbean islands you’re travelling through.
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© REGENT SEVEN SEAS
R E G E N T S E V E N S EA S ’ C U L I N A R Y A RT S K I T C H E N
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H O L L A N D A M E R I C A ’ S P O R T T O TA B L E Port to Table cooking demonstrations and fine dining events on Holland America ships focus on ingredients and dishes inspired by the culinary traditions of the regions included in the cruise itinerary. Hosted by the cruise and travel director, these events feature an onboard chef or local chef from the region who will share their gastronomic knowledge with participants. The shows in the Culinary Art Kitchen or bigger main theatre showcase everything from Alaskan salmon to Hawaiian luau favourites. These are the same recipes for dishes found in the ships’ dining venues, flagged as Port to Table meals on menus.
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© LUCIA GRIGGI
S I LV E R S E A ’ S S E A A N D L A N D TA S T E Adam Sachs, a three-time James Beard Foundation Journalism Award winner, oversees Silversea’s Sea and Land Taste (S.A.L.T.) initiative. It first launched on Silversea’s Silver Moon ship last year, then rolled out to its sister vessel, Silver Dawn, in March 2022. Both feature interactive S.A.L.T. Labs where small groups of guests gather to prepare a destination-focused recipe, as well as shore excursions with a culinary focus, like visiting a working organic farm in Greece. It’s a meaningful way to gain insights into the local food heritage. “By connecting customized shore excursions with fascinating lectures and hands-on cooking experiences, we allow guests to come away with a more thorough understanding and appreciation for the tastes, cultures and foodways of the places we visit,” Sachs says.
The Kitchen Table program from Viking Cruises puts an immersive spin on culinary education. Guests can shop, cook and also dine with master chefs in a twopart, exclusive experience that takes them directly to the heart of their destination’s food culture. In port, you might join a chef for a few hours at a local market to handpick ingredients for what will be on the menu that night. Then, you’ll head to the test kitchen for the cooking lesson, during which you’ll pick up not only advanced professional techniques, like the art of beautiful plating, but also a more profound knowledge of the local cuisine.
These hands-on experiences enable you to better understand the soul of the destinations you’ll visit through food. Hopefully, you’ll relive them when you recreate delicious meals at home with your new next-level cooking skills.
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V I K I N G C R U I S E S ’ K I T C H E N TA B L E
UNRIVALED SPACE AT SEA
The luxury of personal space is central to the promise of An Unrivaled Experience® with Regent Seven Seas Cruises®. Our wide range of specialty restaurants, al fresco and in-suite dining options, exquisite lounges, bars and expansive spaces are perfect to rest and celebrate in, knowing there is never a queue or a crowd and that every detail is taken care of and every amenity is included. Join us and discover how — with our unrivaled space at sea — we will exceed your loftiest expectations of comfort and personalized service for a truly unforgettable experience aboard The World’s Most Luxurious Fleet™. CONTACT YOUR TRAVEL ADVISOR TO LEARN MORE
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LIQUORS & SPIRITS
AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT In the French region of Armagnac, timeless traditions continue with the production of a luxurious local brandy, complemented by confit, foie gras and other local delicacies By Timothy Fowler
My research uncovered the region of Armagnac in the ancient province of Gascony, a three-hour train ride south of Paris, where old-fashioned Frenchness seems to be distilled into the food, wine and its beloved namesake spirit. Here, everything slows and seems more delicious. Armagnac is made up of fertile rural land full of vineyards, orchards and cereal crops, with ancient villages inhabited by authentic
THE SPIRIT'S AGING PROCESS
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warm-hearted Gascons. Markets, wineries and Armagnac houses dot the countryside. It is a place I could wander country roads, find comfortable accommodations in local inns, and dine on Gascon delights in family-operated restaurants featuring ingredients sourced locally, including wine and Armagnac. It taught me about great traditional Gascon foods, like luscious duck, goose and pork confit, buttery foie gras and locally made rillettes, paired with wine and spirits served with local hospitality. As one local said, “Armagnac is something you live.” While nearby Cognac is more well known, thanks to robust international marketing, Armagnac is its laidback neighbour where distilleries and vineyards have been privately owned and operated by families for generations. The grapes grown to make Armagnac are similar to those grown in Cognac. The geography is alike, but the output is significantly different. Armagnac
© COLLECTION TOURISME GERS/BNIARMAGNAC
he fountain pen scribble in my travel notebook under the heading “Café de la Poste, Marais, Paris” takes me back to the time when I first discovered Armagnac. My travelling partner and I had enjoyed an incredible dinner at an authentic French bistro we’d stumbled upon. To end our meal, I had asked for a cognac. Instead, the waiter suggested I try Armagnac, a local brandy known around the globe. Burying my nose in its dried fruit and subtle vanilla aromas was a journey of its own, and it inspired me to learn more.
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DISCOVERING THE VARIOUS AROMAS OF ARMAGNAC
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One key to the flavour of Armagnac is the wood barrels in which white Armagnac ages. White Armagnac is locally referred to as “eau de vie,” a freshly distilled spirit not yet technically Armagnac. “You have casks made of 55 different pieces of wood coming from up to 12 different oaks,” explained Florence Castarède, the sixth-generation family owner of the Armagnac house bearing her name. “Putting white Armagnac in two different wooden casks, you never know what’s going to happen
MAKE IT AT HOME With its infinitely rich aromatic palate, Armagnac is an excellent alternative cocktail ingredient that brings elegance and refinement. As a result, it can add an intriguing twist to your traditional recipes.
SAMPLING THE GOLDEN NECTAR
between the wooden cask and the Armagnac. Each piece of wood adds a unique character. We’re a very small producer. It’s why we’re not very well known. For me, it’s about creating an artisanal product.” Founded in 1832, Castarède is the oldest Armagnac house. It makes a special blend of Armagnac aged for a minimum of 25 years designed to be savoured by cigar connoisseurs. Florence explained that an emptied glass of Armagnac still smells deeply of the spirit even after a month on the counter. “That’s why I say Armagnac is best with a cigar because to smoke a cigar takes one hour,” she said. “We created an Armagnac that could stay the course. Both are made from a blessed terroir and human ingenuity.” Age is another key factor determining the quality of the spirit. “Armagnac needs to age three years to earn the designation of Armagnac,” said Kate Hill, an American chef who has lived in Gascony for three decades. “But
© MICHEL CAROSSIO
uses a different distillation process – column distillation – which leaves the spirit with more of the flavour. For the most part, Armagnac is produced on small estates, distilled on-site, and the variability year over year in the vintages is striking.
at that age, it is barely drinkable.” She prefers her Armagnac with some serious age. In oak casks, resting in humid and cool storehouses throughout the region, the spirit mellows as it ages, develops character and takes on more oaky notes. While on an Armagnac tour, Hill saw endless rows of casks aging in barns. When she commented on how quiet it was, her host told her, “Armagnac loves silence.” On my next trip to France, I’m planning an extended visit to dive deeper into Armagnac, both the spirit and the region itself. I’ll roam through the local weekly markets offering the best of each season and keep discovering new Armagnacs to sip. Though I have made duck and goose confit and a proper cassoulet at home following instructions based on Hill’s culinary courses, being there in person is different. Surrounded by the warmth of the Gascon people and a bounty of local delicacies complemented by Armagnac, it’s a transcendent journey sure to linger in my mind.
1½ oz Armagnac 1¼ oz lemon juice ¾ oz simple syrup 3 oz club soda Lemon wheel Brandied cherry Shake the Armagnac, lemon juice and syrup over ice and strain into a highball or Tom Collins glass. Fill the glass with club soda to taste before garnishing with a lemon wheel and a cherry. SUNRISE ON ARMAGNAC REGION
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© COLLECTION TOURISME GERS/CDT32/GÉRARD VILMINOT
RIVER CRUISES FOR
FOODIES & EATIES
ON AN AVALON RIVER CRUISE, GREAT FOOD IS PART OF THE JOURNEY ! À la carte, four-course dinners, Continental breakfasts, al fresco lunch at the Sky Grill, a tasting menu with a view in the Panorama Bistro. No matter where you dine on board, we set the table using fresh, quality ingredients prepared by expert chefs, so you’ll look forward to each meal the same way you look forward to each port.
Ask about our Wine Appreciation, Beer Tasting and other themed river cruise vacations, and our current promotions.
THAILAND’S SYMPHONY OF FLAVOURS A lover of spice finds his happy place among the destination’s cooking schools, street food stalls and Michelin-starred restaurants
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© TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND
By Chris Ryall
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SAAWAAN SERVES A SEASONAL 11-COURSE TASTING MENU
STREET FOOD STALL
ed Hot Chili Peppers, both the band and the spice, inspired my initiation into alternative streams of music as well as my taste sensations. My palate awakened when I started travelling internationally and tried Indian, Cajun, Vietnamese, Italian, Japanese and other global cuisines. Visits to Thailand, however, struck the right chord with a full orchestra of flavour. It was as if my taste buds were playing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Sampling Thailand’s food scene can be as diverse as its landscapes, with distinct regional cooking differences from the north to the spicier south. My Thai food experiences have spanned the gamut, from street food vendors and Michelin-starred restaurants to eating brunch as elephants frolic in a nearby creek, testing my culinary chops in a cooking class and buying noodles in floating markets. You don’t have to like it hot to enjoy Thai food. Creating the perfect harmony is essential – a balance of sweet, sour, hot and salty – combining fresh herbs like lemongrass and galangal, salty fish sauces cooled with sugars and acidic elements, like lemon, lime and mango. Throw in cilantro, coconut milk and coriander for good measure and peanut sauce for sweet and savoury.
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OFFERING FOOD TO THE MONKS
TOM YUM GOONG, A HOT AND SOUR SOUP WITH PRAWNS
Thai cuisine evolved with influences from China and India. Portugal also brought my loved chili peppers to Thailand in the 16th century. Thailand is considered the street food capital of the world. I’ve had culinary pleasures by the Victory Monument (Anusawari Chai Samoraphum) and in the Bang Khun Non area where I tasted its pink noodles soup (yen ta fo). One of my favourite pastimes is sitting and observing locals and tourists go about their daily lives. I order my raison d’être dish – a simple but flavourful green curry chicken with rice and a chilled Chang or Singha beer. It’s love at first bite with the combination of galangal, kaffir leaves, coconut milk, lemongrass, chicken and fish sauce. Thai cuisine earned respect from the esteemed Michelin Guide when its first Thailand edition was produced in 2017. For the 2022 edition, Thailand restaurants were awarded six two-Michelin stars entries and 26 one-Michelin star entries, including one to Jay Fai, a street food vendor known for his crab omelettes and curry dishes. I feel nervous entering Saawaan, Bangkok’s one-Michelin star restaurant. Its intimate sleek, dark interior features an
Sampling Thailand’s food scene can be as diverse as its landscapes, with distinct regional cooking differences from the north to the spicier south.
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MAKE IT AT HOME Green Curry Chicken
For green curry paste: ½ cup of fresh coriander leaves and stems, packed ½ cup of Thai basil leaves, packed ¼ cup of fresh mint leaves 4 cloves of garlic 1 inch piece of ginger or galangal 4-6 Thai or other hot chilies 2 tbsp of Thai curry powder 2 tbsp of water 1 tbsp of sugar 1 tbsp of fish sauce 1 tbsp of lime juice Salt to taste For chicken curry: 2 tbsp of oil 1 medium onion, thinly sliced 1 can (400 ml) of unsweetened coconut milk 1 lb (450 g) of boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced ½ cup of zucchini, sliced into thin half rounds ½ cup of green beans, halved ½ cup of canned baby corn, halved Lime wedges, peanuts, sliced red chilies and basil leaves for garnish PREPARATION
1. To make the curry paste, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and reserve. 2. To make the chicken curry, warm the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until lightly brown and softened, about 5 minutes. 3. Add ¼ cup of the reserved green curry paste and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add coconut milk and stir to mix. Cook until it starts to bubble, about 4 minutes. 4. Add chicken and vegetables, cover skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and cook covered until chicken is tender and vegetables are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. 5. Taste the sauce and add another tablespoon of the curry paste or a dash of curry powder if desired. Serve garnished with lime wedges, peanuts, chilies and basil leaves. Serves four Recipe courtesy of Smita Chandra. For more recipes, visit smitachandra.com/recipes 3 2 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2
11-course seasonal dégustation (tasting) menu that elevates a diner’s foodie knowledge bar. I like looking at food, but more importantly, I like eating it. That’s the sum of my foodie expertise. Thankfully, my waiter, perhaps sensing a food neophyte in his presence, describes everything in a clear, simple manner – the raw (amaebi, cucumber and coconut), boiled (blue swimmer crab, squid, coconut), curried (Iberico pork, banana blossom, southern and northern curry) and other courses, including dessert (water chestnut, gelatinous coconut, smoked ice cream). And the meal covered all the traditional Thai cooking methods – fermented, boiled, stir-fried and curried – while showcasing dishes from northern, central and southern regions. Each course is paired with wines or tea. To explore my passion for Thai cuisine further, I want to take a hands-on approach. It leads me to Amita Thai Cooking Class, owned by Tam Jantrupon. It’s my introduction to how it all comes together. It begins with an adventurous long-tail boat ride to her riverside location through Bangkok’s inland waterways. When I arrive, I say I would love to add peppercorns to any dish we make. Moments later, we were grabbing fresh peppercorns from her garden. Jantrupon proceeds to guide me with gentle, easy-to-follow instructions on how to make four different Thai dishes, including my favourite, a green curry chicken in coconut milk. We also cook a batch of tom yum goong (hot and sour soup with prawns), papaya salad and mango sticky rice dessert. She provides me with recipe cards to take home. Sweet. Then, at my Spice Spoons cooking class, students first accompany the chef to the local market to select fruits, vegetables and proteins for the savoury dishes to be cooked later. Though the chef is impressed with my spatula skills, no such praise is forthcoming for my chopping technique. I love the fact that Thailand’s culinary experiences are not just about eating food but giving it away. You can give alms of either premade packages of food bought in markets or dishes you made yourself. Go to a temple before sunrise and make a solemn gesture of handing them to the Buddhist monks. It fills your heart with goodness. My varied experiences with Thai cuisine have always hit the right notes on my palate. And as the Spice Girls’ hit song says, “Spice up your life.” In Thailand, it’s easy to do just that.
WE’RE PUTTING IT ALL ON THE TABLE
GLOBALLY INSPIRED DINING, BEYOND
Our newest ship, Celebrity BeyondSM, will take you on a culinary journey filled with wonder. Explore menus crafted by our Michelin-starred chef and inspired by the incredible places we visit. Discover 32 restaurants, bars, and lounges, including the first signature restaurant at sea from world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud and our terraced Sunset Bar designed by Nate Berkus, where the possibilities are as endless as the views. Every experience will excite your senses and leave you wanting more. Be among the first to enjoy Celebrity Beyond currently sailing in the Mediterranean and starting in the Caribbean October 2022. EnsembleXtra: Book an AquaClass® stateroom or higher and relax knowing your drinks, Wi-Fi, tips, exclusive dining experience, PLUS $100 on board credit are included.
*Always IncludedSM applies to sailings booked and departing on or after November 17, 2020, excluding Galapagos cruises, in an inside through AquaClass® stateroom (“Eligible Bookings”). All guests in an Eligible Booking who choose the Always Included pricing package will receive a Classic Beverage Package, an Unlimited Surf Internet Package, and tips included. All guests in a stateroom must choose the same pricing package. Offers are nontransferable. Changes to a booking may result in removal of a package. Pricing and packages are subject to availability, cancellation, or change without notice at any time. EnsembleXtra: Offer applies to 4-night and longer itineraries that depart Jan. 1st, 2022 through Open Deployment. Bookings must be made between Jan. 1st, 2022 and Dec. 31, 2022. Offer excludes Galapagos and Future cruise bookings. Bookings must select/request the ENSEMBLEXTRA. Offer is $100 Onboard credit “OBC” per stateroom for standard Verandas, Infinity Veranda, Concierge, AquaClass and Suites. All images of Celebrity Beyond SM are artistic renderings based on current development concepts, which are subject to change without notice. ©2022 Celebrity Cruises Inc. Ships’ registry: Malta and Ecuador. Imagery and messaging may not accurately reflect onboard and destination experiences, offerings, features, or itineraries. These may not be available during your voyage, may vary by ship and destination, and may be subject to change without notice.
SWISS BLISS How do I love thee Switzerland? Let me count the cheeses, says one fromage-obsessed writer nibbling her way through the country By Waheeda Harris
What makes this alpine nation the jewel in the crown when it comes to cheese? It’s all about the milk. Swiss cows routinely spend their days grazing on fresh grass in alpine pastures from early spring to late autumn. The high-quality, unpasteurized milk is delivered twice daily and filtered twice before cheesemaking begins, with every producer adhering to a highly regimented process developed over centuries. This is cheese central, from small artisan dairies, whose handcrafted products are only sold within the canton where they’re located, to impressively large show dairies. Here, I had ample opportunities to cater to my obsession.
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When I arrived in Zürich last summer, my fellow travel mates chatted excitedly about hiking in the Alps and exploring regions around the country. Meanwhile, I bragged about my plans to indulge in cheesy pursuits as soon as I disembarked, starting with finding a traditional fondue. I wondered how soon I could find a café in the city with the iconic dish on its lunch menu. In my mind’s eye, I imagined sitting in a rustic café, a chilled glass of dry Chasselas, fresh bread, cornichons and a large red pot filled with bubbling, melted cheese in front of me. Alas, I had not accounted for the importance of timing. When I started asking questions in regard to my quest for fondue, I was informed by locals that this cheese-pleasing meal is reserved for the snowy days of winter. There might be a restaurant that would offer it, the concierge told me with a subtle note of disdain. It hardened my resolve to
© SWITZERLAND TOURISM
or those of us with a never-ending desire for cheese, European nations crowd the list of palatable destinations, but there’s one country which tops my list – Switzerland.
© SWITZERLAND TOURISM / JAN GEERK
ALPINE DESCENT WITH GOATS AND COWS
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savour my cheese experiences any way I could get them while in Switzerland. The country boasts about 450 cheese varieties, so I was sure I could easily get my minimum cheese intake at every meal.
SWISS FONDUE IS A POPULAR MEAL DURING WINTER
© SCHWEIZ TOURISMUS/CHRISTOF SONDEREGGER
My first foray took me to the artsy city of Basel, where I nibbled on palate-pleasing fresh cheeses paired with fruit and toast to start the day. I sampled other delectable choices, like Tête de Moine, with its notable nutty flavour, and Gruyère, a beloved Swiss classic. I ended my night with Granito, a firm dessert cheese sourced from Vicosoprano, less than a half-hour from the former Olympic town of St. Moritz.
From Basel, I moved to Lucerne and the cheese selections kept on coming. In this picturesque medieval town, I made sure to taste Emmental au naturel. The well-known Swiss classic is attributed to the region of the same name and is the star ingredient for my beloved fondue. Even the unmelted version is heavenly – its slightly fruity, nutty and buttery notes and sweet aroma shone through. My cheese cup runneth over in the mountain village of Engelberg. Located in the shadow of the mighty Mt. Titlis, one of the region’s highest summits, I was welcomed to the elegant Kempinski Palace Engelberg. After a sumptuous dinner with a sampling of regional cheeses of the Obwalden canton, I took a short stroll outside in the bracing mountain air before tucking myself into bed under a soft duvet. Unbeknownst to me, another memorable cheese experience awaited me the next morning. As I was escorted to my table at the hotel’s Cattani restaurant for breakfast, I got my first glimpse of the ample buffet, which included a table laden with more than a dozen Swiss cheeses. I quickly proceeded to my seat so I could order and return to this bounty. I delayed my gratification, leisurely perusing bowls of yogurt, platters of 3 6 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2
THE PICTURESQUE MEDIEVAL TOWN OF LUCERNE
This is cheese central, from small artisan dairies, whose handcrafted products are only sold within the canton where they’re located, to impressively large show dairies. fruit and wicker baskets overflowing with bread and stillwarm croissants. Then I couldn’t resist any longer. There were precisely cut squares of creamy white and pale peach Alpine cheeses layered like a checkerboard, soft farm cheese with its reddish rind gently oozing out onto its slate tray, and plenty of Emmentaler with its distinct holes, sliced thinly and displayed like folded lace handkerchiefs. I took one of everything. Or maybe two. I paired a slice of apple with a triangle of a creamcoloured hard cheese – a sweet-meets-salt sensation.
I smeared crispbread with soft cheese (similar to ricotta) and topped it with a spoonful of honeycomb. I finished my meal with a satisfied smile on my face and my dreams of fondue a distant memory.
BREAKFAST AT KEMPINSKI PALACE ENGELBERG
© KEMPINSKI PALACE ENGELBERG
I spent the rest of my time in Switzerland on trains and gondolas, ascending from Alpine towns and climbing mountains on foot, hopefully counteracting my cheese feasting. Funny enough, one of my most unforgettable cheese moments came not from a restaurant or a shop, but a cheese vending machine. When I spotted the LeSuperbe, it quickly became the recipient of the last of my Swiss francs. Stocked with seasonal creations by Lustenberger & Durst, the machine is a celebrity in its own right, thanks to a video posted online, which received more than 22 million views. It garnered me one last glorious taste of Switzerland and its 500 years of cheesemaking history – a salty bite into a wedge of cream-coloured, extra-hard aged Sbrinz. So many cheeses, so little time. I felt like my exploration of Swiss cheese had just begun. B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2 | 3 7
© SWITZERLAND TOURISM/CHRISTOF SCHUERPF
© SWITZERLAND TOURISM / JAN GEERK
LOCALLY PRODUCED CHEESE CAN BE BOUGHT DIRECTLY FROM THE DAIRY
A TASTE OF CANADA
WINE REGIONS UNCORKED Get to know some of Canada’s top emerging wine producing areas, ideal for weekend escapes By Michele Sponagle
A N N A P O L I S VA L L EY , N O VA S C O T I A The critics said that this area, known for its apple and dairy farms, wasn’t capable of producing great wines. How wrong they were. In a short time, the Annapolis Valley has come on strong with unique wines you won’t find anywhere else, including L’Acadie Blanc, Lucie Kuhlmann and Tidal Bay, crafted to pair with the province’s fresh seafood. Naturally, they are best enjoyed with food. Book a table at a restaurant located at a winery. Local favourites include Le Caveau, fine dining available on-site at Domaine de Grand Pré (known for its sparkling wines) and Lightfoot & Wolfville, a winery highly regarded for organic, biodynamic wines along with hearty weekend brunches.
AT LE CAVEAU, CHEF JASON LYNCH FOCUSES ON REGIONAL INGREDIENTS
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© DOMAINE DE GRAND PRÉ
SUNSET OVER THE VINEYARDS AT DOMAINE DE GRAND PRÉ
OSH HORTON, THE HEAD WINEMAKER AT LIGHTFOOT & WOLFVILLE
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© DOMAINE DE GRAND PRÉ
hen you see the landscape lined with rows of grapevines, you know you’ve arrived. Canada may be a northern country, but it has clearly demonstrated its prowess for winemaking with award-winning wines coveted worldwide. Most people are familiar with Niagara or the Okanagan Valley, but in recent years, some new names have been added to the list of regions doing amazing things with the humble grape. Though not as well-known as the most established areas, they have plenty to offer and are perfect for satisfying wine-and-dine weekend getaways.
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In Prince Edward County, the limestone-rich soil gives the wine a forward minerality, front and centre especially in the region’s pinot noirs and chardonnays.
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Where do urbanites like to stay and play? Located about two hours from Toronto, Prince Edward County is like a playground for adults on the shores of Lake Ontario. It’s the province’s fastest-growing wine region, home to 30 wineries and a few cideries as well. To hit a few of them over a weekend, consider taking a curated tour or renting a bike to pedal your way along country roads to tasting rooms. Limestone-rich soil gives the wine a forward minerality, front and centre especially in the region’s pinot noirs and chardonnays. Sip as you please and catch live music at a winery like Waupoos Estates, the oldest in the county.
TASTING WINES AT CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARDS
© JENNY THOMPSON.
P R I N C E E D W A R D C O U N T Y , O N TA R I O
CROWSNEST VINEYARDS IN CAWSTON
© SIMILKAMEEN VALLEY/DARREN ROBINSON
S I M I L K A M E E N VA L L EY , B . C . Just west of Osoyoos in the southern part of the province, the Similkameen Valley ranks high among the most beautiful wine regions in the country because of its rugged mountainous backdrop. A weekend trip should include a helicopter tour for a bird’s eye view of the vineyards spread over the area. The reds are robust and flavourful and the whites have a crisp, clean finish with bright fruit notes, thanks to a long growing season and arid conditions. Taste them straight from the barrel during a behind-the-scenes tour, then settle in for a meal at a winery like Crowsnest Vineyards, a favourite for wood-fire pizzas and farm-to-table cuisine.
EA S T E R N T O W N S H I P S , Q U E B E C
WHITE, RED AND ROSE WINES FROM VAL CAUDALIES
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© VAL CAUDALIES
About 60 per cent of the province’s wine production happens along a marked route, stretching 140 kilometres through the Eastern Townships. Brome-Missisquoi’s wine route features 22 vintners and takes you through some of the most scenic areas of Quebec. Imagine quaint villages, rural farmland and lush, green valleys. The award-winning Val Caudalies satisfies guests who love wine, ice wine, cider and even vermouth. Meanwhile, Clos Saragnat in Frelighsburg crafts fine ice cider and a truly unique offering – straw wine, made from grapes that are dried off the vine. It’s sweet, complex and well-balanced.
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FOOD & SUN
BITS AND BITES IN SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE The picturesque historic city delivers classic Mexican dishes straight up and with a twist By Lola Augustine Brown
CHOCOLATIER JONATHAN MARTINEZ HOSTS EDUCATIONAL CLASSES ABOUT MEZCAL
an Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato State, Mexico, has many charms. The pink adobe buildings and winding streets of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are filled with artisan stores and galleries. Artists, both Mexican and American, have found inspiration here since the 1920s, and impressive murals can be found around the city. Wandering the cobblestone streets, I also learn that I’m never far from something truly delicious. Whether I’m in the mood for hearty traditional fare, modern twists on classic dishes or unique foodie experiences, the 16thcentury city delivers on all fronts.
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IN THE OLD TOWN Devouring a sizzling cheese-filled molcajete (a bowl made from volcanic stone) overflowing with chicken, steak, sausage and shrimp at Los Milagros Terraza is the perfect way to start my visit. The restaurant is one huge terrace perched on the hilltop, looking out over the pink adobe buildings and winding streets of the Old Town. After eating far too much and spooning up the last of the cheese, my travelling companions and I, of course, still order a flan just as rich as cheesecake. Our server insists we also try the multi-layered chocolate cake. We leave full and very happy.
© LOLA AUGUSTINE BROWN
© LOLA AUGUSTINE BROWN
OLD TOWN OF SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
SIZZLING MOLCAJETE AT LOS MILAGROS TERRAZA
In contrast, tucked into a historic building opening into a spacious, art-filled dining room, Kab’An riffs on traditional dishes using what’s local and in season. From the tiny shrimp taco topped with pickled red onion amuse-bouche to the smoky spiced ribs with elote salad (Mexican street corn), everything I sample is delicious. At the Luna Tapas Bar, located on the rooftop of the elegant Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, I find more modern takes, along with the prettiest of night-time views out over the city and impressive cocktails. Under the stars, we enjoy a local
cheese platter and Spanish hams, followed by crispy churros dipped in a decadent rum-infused sauce. Walking the rabbit-warren of historic adobe properties in the Old Town, I discover a pop-up restaurant, champagne bar and tequila tasting room within the bazaar-like Dôce 18 Concept House. On the outside, it’s a grand historic Spanish-style mansion, but once inside, you’re in the midst of a bright, airy atrium filled with art galleries and boutiques, like Dulce Catrina. There, I feel like a kid in a candy store. The staff encourages me to try as many of their local B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2 | 4 3
VIEW FROM THE ROOFTOP AT LUNA TAPAS BAR
sweet treats as I like before buying. I fill my basket with creamy goat milk caramel candies.
TA S T Y S I D E - T R I P S
BOTTLES OF TEQUILA
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© ROSEWOOD SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
Driving just 20 minutes east of the city takes you to the San Lucas Vineyard, new on the scene and about to launch its first bottles of flavourful whites. After a tasting paired with local cheeses and fresh fruit, we indulge in huge salads piled high with coconut shrimp, followed by house-made ice cream with lavender grown at the winery as complementary plantings. Seated family-style near the wine cellar, we eat and drink protected from the sun by white curtains billowing in the breeze. It is a fabulous spot to spend a leisurely afternoon. The state capital, Guanajuato City (about 90 minutes west by car), also makes for a fabulous culinary diversion. Birthplace of both the Mexican Revolution and muralist Diego Rivera, this buzzing university city has a dynamic culinary scene, but I was blown away by the exquisite cuisine at Mestizo. I nibble on duck tostadas topped with mint leaves, beet salad with soft cheese and candied nuts, and sip on fresh tamarind juice. At the Antigua Trece Hotel Fusión, we are guided through an incredible tasting journey with charismatic chocolatier Jonathan Martinez. He takes us on a storytelling adventure as we slowly sip premium mezcal and take bites of incredible chocolates infused with sour nopal cactus fruit, caramels topped with ground ants, chicharrón and
INSIDER’S TIP W H E R E T O S TAY
© ROSEWOOD SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
Named the “World’s Best City” by Travel + Leisure in 2021, San Miguel de Allende attracts visitors with its historic charm, cosmopolitan feel and artistic vibes. Located in the Mexican heartlands, the city boasts Spanish colonial architecture and many cultural gems like the neo-Gothic church Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. If you’re looking for an epic stay reminiscent of that history and culture, don’t miss these two magnificent hotels, both located in historic San Miguel de Allende so you can easily access the city’s cultural riches. A hideaway off a cobblestone alley lined with colourful buildings, Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, A Belmond Hotel offers 37 exquisite rooms and suites with antique furniture, sumptuous fabrics and talavera-tiled bathrooms. Tucked behind the 17th- and 18th-century buildings, you’ll find a large pool fringed with foliage and a lush inner courtyard, making it an ideal sanctuary for some relaxation close to all the city’s action. You can also take part in a culinary journey at the Sazón cooking school on site, where you’ll learn about the bold flavours and rich history of Mexican classics.
I’m never far from something truly delicious. Whether I’m in the mood for hearty traditional fare, modern twists on classic dishes or unique foodie experiences, the 16th-century city delivers on all fronts. huitlacoche (corn fungus). It was a sensual experience that gave me a fuller appreciation of mezcal and fed my enduring adoration of cacao. It marked the end of a perfect week of culinary delights in this beautiful, historic region of Mexico. Leaving San Miguel de Allende, I can’t help but feel that I missed so much. What I really need is a longer trip – say a month or perhaps a season – to taste it all, and immerse myself in its deliciousness. It’s easy to see why the city attracts many expats and how I could imagine myself being one of them.
For a dreamy hacienda lifestyle, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende offers 67 beautifully appointed rooms, suites and private residences with a mix of 16th-century Spanish and Mexican design elements, such as wood-beamed ceilings and hand-crafted furniture. Experience farm-totable dining at 1826 Restaurant, celebrating Mexico’s rich culinary heritage, or head to Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar for the best skyline views at sunset. You’ll also find a serene spa, tree-lined pools as well as a two-storey boutique offering a selection of products from San Miguel de Allende. Feeling inspired? Contact your trusted travel advisor to know more and start planning.
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FOOD & SUN
SCUBA, SNORKEL, SAVOUR From conch fresh out of the sea to classic lemon pie made from local limes, Belize reveals its fresh, eclectic cuisine in surprising ways By Liz Humphreys
SNORKELLING NEAR AMBERGRIS CAYE
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conch season and these large sea snails are a treasured Belizean delicacy. José uses a hammer to crack open the conchs. He expertly cuts out the meat, trims it into small cubes and mixes it into a concoction of purple onion, bright red tomatoes and fragrant cilantro. A few squeezes of lime finish it off. And voilà, ceviche! We hungrily devour the tangy, chewy mixture, using crisp yellow corn chips to scoop out every last morsel. It may be the most delicious – and certainly the freshest – ceviche we’ve ever tasted.
© BELIZE TOURISM BOARD
y husband, five-year-old son and I snorkel off the side of the boat, investigating the plethora of sea creatures – red and green parrotfish, silver yellowtail snappers, white butterfly fish, green moray eels, brown hawksbill turtles – underneath the placid, clear waters of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, off the coast of Ambergris Caye in Belize. Our boat driver, José, pulls on a snorkel mask and slips gracefully into the turquoise water. He surfaces less than a minute later with a glistening, pink-shelled queen conch in each hand, which he carefully places into a pail. It’s queen
AT THE GARDEN SPOT, THE CHEF COOKS WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS FROM THE FARM
We wash down the ceviche with Belize’s national libation – rum punch, a delightfully easy-to-drink combo of Belizean coconut rum and white rum with pineapple, orange and lime juice. While we’re still munching, José takes us on a short ride over to ‘Shark Alley,’ where we feed the hungry – yet gentle, we’re told – nurse sharks circling our boat with what must be their own version of a tasty tropical cocktail – chunks of pineapple and bananas. We’ve embarked on this water excursion just southeast of Belize’s Ambergris Caye, about 15 minutes of smooth sailing from our hotel, Alaia Belize. Our goal is to experience what this friendly Caribbean country between Mexico and Guatemala is best known for – highly accessible snorkelling and scuba diving. Belize is home to the second largest coral reef in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
© AARON COLUSSI
But what we don’t realize, until we see it for ourselves, is that Belize also has a rich multicultural history reflected in its cuisine. Though it has just over 400,000 residents, it is home to many ethnic groups, including the Maya, Creoles, Garifuna (a mix of West/ Central African, Arawak and Island Carib), Mestizos (Spanish/Mayan) and Mennonites, as well as Indians, Asians and immigrants from nearby countries. Along with the expected seafood, there are spicy curries, sweet coconut
FRESHLY MADE CONCH CEVICHE
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© AARON COLUSSI
ENJOY TASTY TROPICAL COCKTAILS
The wealth of Belize’s produce is on full display at the Garden Spot, inside of the lush Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve just southeast of San Ignacio, close to the Guatemalan border. Instead of heading straight in for a meal, per usual, we take a half-hour guided walk through the expansive organic gardens. Along the way, our guide points out vegetables of all kinds (from lettuces and cabbage to peppers, squash and potatoes) along with bountiful herbs (cilantro, thyme and basil, to name a few). We all carry baskets and gather up veggies for that night’s meal.
HUDUT, A TRADITIONAL GARIFUNA DISH
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© BELIZE TOURISM BOARD
While the chef prepares dinner inside the thatched roof kitchen, we relax on benches around the fire and enjoy a medley of Belizean treats – plantain chips with spinach dip, zucchini fritters and cucumber rounds stuffed with smoked fish mousse, served up with spicy rum punch. After nibbling on starters, dinner is served at charming outdoor tables lit by candles. Every dish includes ingredients we picked from the gardens just moments before. Tonight’s menu has soup with veggies, fresh tomato salad with rice, pepper stew with squash, onions and bok choy. It’s tasty and satisfying, and perhaps the truest example of farm-to-table dining we’ve enjoyed.
We get a glimpse of Belize’s multicultural influences again the next day at Ko-Ox Han Nah, also simply known as Hannah’s, a 40-minute drive north in the town of San Ignacio, in western Belize. The restaurant’s name means “let’s go eat” in the Mayan language, and that we do, sampling a variety of its Belizean meets Indian meets Chinese meets Mexican dishes, served in a rustic, colourful space. Much of the meat served here comes from the owner’s farm, just outside town. We bypass the burritos and quesadillas in favour of sweetand-savoury coconut rice with stewed beans and chicken, and tangy lamb curry with Indian spices and coconut milk. A juice made from fresh limes, lightly sweetened, tempers the fire from the curry. My son can’t get enough of the delightfully sweet fried plantains and asks for a second plate. Though the meal is quite hearty, we don’t say no to homemade lemon pie – a classic Belizean dessert that, surprisingly, is always made with local limes and crowned with a layer of fluffy meringue. Like the best things we’ve tasted during our time in Belize, it’s an unexpected treat, tangy yet sweet, a mix of flavours and influences that fit together so perfectly and leave you wanting more.
LAMB CURRY WITH CHAYA RICE AT KO-OX HAN NAH RESTAURANT
© KO-OX HAN NAH
rices and loads of organic foodstuffs grown by skilled local farmers.
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FOOD & SUN
SOPHISTICATED AND UNSUNG Culture and history inspire San Juan’s incredibly delicious culinary scene, from piña coladas and street food to fine dining By Renée S. Suen
Besides being a hub of culture and history with a colourful array of colonial architecture within its walled historic district, the capital of San Juan blossoms with scrumptious flavours. The latter shouldn’t be a surprise. This is where the piña colada was created, after all.
A MODEST RESTAURANT (CHINCHORRO) SERVES ALL KINDS OF TRADITIONAL FOOD
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© FERNANDO OTIZ
Captivated by cocina criolla (cuisine created by mostly Spanish colonists using traditional recipes that incorporate Caribbean ingredients and cooking techniques), I find world-class restaurants and roadside stands serving fare distinctly influenced by its Spanish, African and native Taíno (indigenous Caribbean) history and flavours. Sure,
there are corporate American-leaning options or Distrito T-Mobile, a two-hectare entertainment, retail and dining destination, but a simple search reveals a generation of local chefs and visionaries who have made this one of the Caribbean’s premier culinary destinations. With food playing an integral role in the city’s identity, I take a crash course by eating my way through it, including participating in the local practice of chinchorreo, kioskhopping to chinchorros (food stalls). It’s a typical group activity, but I do it solo, if only to satisfy my gluttony. I experience my first true taste of the traditional dish mofongo at La Parrilla in Los Kioskos de Luquillo, a strip of restaurants and bars along Luquillo beach. Made from mashed deep-fried green plantains, garlic and crispy chicharrónes, it is typically served with meat, but I choose to pair it with seafood. Enjoying my order al fresco, I encounter tender conch tossed in an umami-rich creole sauce cascading down the hearty starch-based patty. Mildly sweet and wildly satisfying, I find myself resisting the temptation of licking the plate.
ENJOYING A BACALAÍTO AND COCKTAIL BY THE BEACH
© OMARK REYES
ade up of hundreds of islands surrounded by white sand beaches, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a known and beloved tropical paradise. However, like many, I had misconceptions about the Caribbean island prior to visiting. Until recently, I didn’t realize it was a territory of the United States. But as a destination diner, I had also embarrassingly overlooked its sophisticated and thriving culinary scene.
OLD SAN JUAN
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© RENÉE S. SUEN
KIOSKO EL BORICUA IN PIÑONES
Heading into the city, I revel in the inventive cuisine of the island’s top chefs, where local products and traditional flavours are executed with a contemporary flair. For modern creole cuisine, I head to lauded chef Mario Pagán’s namesake restaurant. With an attentive staff guiding me through a gustatory journey, I savour the flow of thoughtfully prepared dishes coming out of the kitchen. My taste buds happy dance for an opening stack of crispy crunchy bacalaítos (salt cod fritters) paired with El Palo de Mario, a refreshing cocktail that spikes a mango-kissed ginger elixir with bourbon. A refined version of the kiosk staple, these fritters blow all other bar snacks out of the water. I find myself chasing these punchy, tantalizing flavours for the rest of my visit. At Santaella, prominent chef José Santaella’s trendy, energetic playground in Santurce, I experience the joys of the lively Puerto Rican table. The meal becomes a celebration spent with dangerously easy-to-drink cocktails, gregarious staff and well-heeled guests that quickly become new friends. Here, the chef elevates cocina criolla through delectable twists stemming from his international training and use of quality local, organic and sustainable ingredients – a feat given the island’s reliance on food imports. The results are ethereal – quesadillas 5 2 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2
Captivated by cocina criolla , I find world-class restaurants and roadside stands serving fare distinctly influenced by San Juan's Spanish, African and native Taíno history and flavours.
stuffed with oozing goat cheese glazed in a honey and white truffle oil dressing and unctuous creole stewed veal cheeks glistening on a bed of mashed yautia root. I place my trust in the hands of Michelin star-trained Juan José Cuevas at the historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel’s upscale 1919 Restaurant. Proudly showcasing pristine artisanal products, his world-class tasting menu is a parade of meticulously crafted courses paired with a glass of Greek orange wine from the restaurant’s impressive cellar. The aromatic sliced truffle and crispy walnut laden Acquerello risotto is exceptional
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© MARIO PAGÁN’S
© RENÉE S. SUEN
© 1919 RESTAURANT
INSIDER’S TIP A D AY I N S A N J U A N
Puerto Rico’s capital is an artful mix of old and new, with a rich 500-year history and all the amenities modern travellers look for. Old San Juan is the city’s historic district, and it’s where most cruise ships dock when stopping in Puerto Rico. Step outside and stroll to the left to find the Paseo de la Princesa, an urban waterfront promenade where you can admire the magnificent Raíces Fountain, one of the most romantic spots in the city. Then, head for the candy-coloured Spanish colonial buildings that line the cobblestone streets. The city’s history is on display everywhere here, from the 16th-century Iglesia de San José to the Plaza de Armas, one of San Juan’s main squares. As you explore, you’ll bask in the city’s lively atmosphere, tropical elegance and authentic exuberance. You might even encounter people dancing to the rhythm of salsa music or improvising a jazz concert! If you feel like a relaxing beach day, San Juan has some great ones, like the uncrowded Playa Peña, which is easily accessible within a few minutes’ walk from Old San Juan. And while you explore all the city has to offer, make sure to indulge in its assortment of gastronomic delights before you embark on your ship to your next extraordinary destination.
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THE PIÑA COLADA, A MIX OF COCONUT CREAM, PINEAPPLE JUICE AND RUM, WAS BORN IN SAN JUAN
© LA FACTORIA
© OMARK REYES
If you’re cruising the Caribbean, there’s a very good chance your ship will stop in San Juan, as it’s among the most popular ports of call in the region. And you wouldn’t want it any other way! Even if you’re only here for a day, there’s plenty to see, do and taste within walking distance of your ship.
with a savoury Sangiovese, but I’m most enchanted by the crackly golden fried dompline (arepa-like fried bread) – an otherworldly match for the international cheese course. Where 1919 demonstrates restraint, Semilla Kitchen & Bar happily infuses familiar recipes with Puerto Rican flavours. A bustling gem best known for its flavour-packed brunch plates, my senses explode with a first bite of the succulent slow-cooked pork that tops fufu (little dough-like nuggets found in West African cuisine) with crumbled chorizo. Tuna tartare rancheros is a playful dish, but I salivate in my recollections of its brioche-based French toast with a topping of almonds, fruit, and guava-cream cheese sauce – a nod to quesitos de guayaba pastries found in every Puerto Rican bakery. Based on strong recommendations from the servers at Barullo Taberna Española, I trek past the picturesque oceanfront view along Carolina to Kiosko El Boricua in Piñones before heading to the airport. Feasting on made-to-order frituras like pionono (plantain roll) stuffed with crabmeat, juicy charcoal-grilled chicken pinchos (similar to tapas), served with a crispy arepa and platter-sized bacalaítos, I have a transcendent experience on their alcapurrias. Shielded by a brittle golden crust, these torpedo-shaped fritter burst with a mouth-watering picadillo filling surrounded by fluffy masa (made from ground corn). The humble street snack is another culinary epiphany I experience in San Juan. Here, life’s simplest food pleasures – unpretentious and ever-present – have always pleased those in the know. Now, it’s time for the rest of the world to catch up.
WORLD-RENOWNED CHEFS WORLD-CLASS EXPERIENCES At Holland America Line, our celebrated Culinary Council® works tirelessly behind the scenes to help create our innovative menus and culinary programming. Consisting of 7 celebrity chefs from across the globe, these masters of their craft boast specialties ranging from contemporary American to sushi to chocolate. Renowned wine critic James Suckling became our official Wine Curator in 2018, lending his expertise to our extensive fleetwide wine list featuring Suckling’s own 100-point scale. Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff has been partnering with us since 2016, bringing his signature flair to a menu of inventive cocktails that are sure to please every palate. So, whether you’re tucking into a perfectly cooked steak at Pinnacle Grill or sipping a craft cocktail in the Crow’s Nest, Holland America Line’s award-winning onboard dining and beverage options offer something for everyone.
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DELICIOUS DETOURS Warning: There are ‘sharp’ turns ahead with well-aged cheddar, chèvre and more waiting for a couple eating their way along Quebec’s Cheesemakers Circuit By Liz Fleming
y husband, Jamie, and I have never met a cheese we didn’t like, so we knew the Cheesemakers Circuit, an enticing listing of 16 cheesemakers and purveyors stretching through the beautiful backroads of Quebec’s Eastern Townships, was a must-do. For three gloriously self-indulgent days, we explored the route, with each stop providing a deliciously different spin on the ancient practice of cheesemaking. History tells us cheese was created by accident when one of our ancestors poured milk into a pouch made from an animal’s stomach – perhaps a bad storage choice, but it had an unexpectedly great outcome. The acids within it curdled the milk and created cheese. Luckily, the talented creators on the Cheesemakers Circuit have taken cheese a long way from those early curdling days. Family-owned fromageries are stretched along the Cheesemakers Circuit, including our first stop, Fromagerie La Station, run by the Bolduc brothers – Simon-Pierre, Vincent and Martin. One brother manages their happy cows, allowing some calves to remain with the milk-producing mothers and grazing the whole herd in grassy meadows on the theory that contented cows make sweeter milk. A second brother runs the modern facility where four styles of cheese – Chemin Hatley, Alfred Le Fermier, Comtomme and Raclette de Compton – are created with both raw and thermized organic milk (sanitized with low heat). The third brother manages the three wood lots where more than 5,000 maple trees are tapped to create sweetly sensational maple syrup. While at Fromagerie La Station, we nibbled on grilled cheese sandwiches in their cozy store/café. Oozing sharp cheddar and served with a jam for dipping (or spreading on the crispy crusts), it is a lunch to die for before we continue our exploration of all things fromage. At Domaine de Courval, Lucy Smith and Greg San Giuliani, two former urbanites turned makers of goat cheese, 5 6 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2
AS IT AGES, CHEESE DEVELOPS MORE COMPLEX FLAVOURS
run the quaintly quirky farm. “After years of living and working in Montreal, we wanted a change,” explains Smith. “When we saw a link on Facebook from a couple who wanted to sell their organic goat cheese business in the Eastern Townships, we called, met them, fell in love with the place and decided to buy it.” But did they know anything about farming, goats or cheesemaking? Nope. The terms of the sale included an invitation to live with the previous owners for a few months of hands-on farm training – something not usually included in your average house purchase. A few years down the line, the couple are as good at wrangling their ever-expanding goat herd as they are at rearing their small gang of adorable children – all the while
© GAËLLE LEROYER
A VISIT TO THE STORE AND CAFÉ AT FROMAGERIE LA STATION
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© MATHIEU DUPUIS
CHARMING BOUTIQUE AT DOMAINE DE COURVAL
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GOATS ENJOYING THE GRASS AT FROMAGERIE CORNES ET SABOTS
© FROMAGERIE CORNES ET SABOTS
A SAMPLING OF THE DIVERSE CHEESES IN THE REGION
© DAPHNÉ CARON
History tells us cheese was created by accident when one of our ancestors poured milk into a pouch made from an animal’s stomach – perhaps a bad storage choice, but it had an unexpectedly great outcome.
making seven varieties of goat cheese. Whether you like the tang of their sea salt version, the lightly herbaceous flavour of the rosemary variety or the spicy sweetness of the habanero maple, you’re bound to find a fave. We did. All of them. Don’t ask me to pick just one. Cheese, we discovered, can become a religious passion, as we witnessed at the Abbaye de Saint-Benoît-du-Lac. Twenty-seven monks work together to create an array of artisanal cheeses while managing an on-site store and tending to more godly responsibilities. On our tour, we roamed the richly tiled hallways of the abbey and tasted cheese in the heart of the sanctuary. It was followed by a shopping spree that netted us not only some excellent old cheddar but also locally made chocolates and jams. It was a truly heavenly visit. And speaking of cheddar… At the Fromagerie des Cantons, owner Hugues Ouellet and his cheesemaking family members produce the robust L’Anglais cheddar. I could easily eat it every day for the rest of my life. Aged for up to 10 months, it’s almost sharp enough to slice paper but still creamy on the tongue. I also think the firm El Niño is a winner. It’s one of the spicy bestsellers that has eager buyers lining up out the door. “We’re busy! We make one
© ABBAYE SAINT-BENOIT-DU-LAC
THE ABBAYE DE SAINT-BENOÎT-DU-LAC OFFERS CHEESES MADE BY MONKS
kind of cheese every day, but we have to make 113 kilos of it,” he noted. Perhaps our most exciting stop is at Fromagerie Cornes et Sabots, where we met another urban escapee – JeanFrançois Larche, a Vancouver set designer and his partner, Nicola Cunha, a restaurateur who came from the west coast to the chilly woods of Quebec to farm, raise goats and make cheese from raw goat milk. And on occasion, they also make magic, as they did the afternoon we visited. We’d hoped to see a baby goat, but it was still February and too early in the season for birthing, we learned. Still, we decided to meet the herd anyway. Luckily, we discovered one goat mother who hadn’t got the “it’s too early” memo. In fact, she was already in full birthing mode. While we watched gobsmacked, Larche pulled on arm-length rubber gloves and helped the distressed mama goat with her delivery. He placed the newborn in our arms, wrapped in a blanket, while he tended to the mother. As we cuddled the adorable baby between us in the chill of the wintry afternoon, we realized that some moments on the Cheesemakers Circuit are meant to be savoured just as much as its cheese.
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A TASTE OF CANADA
THE WILD, WILD WEST Tofino’s sophisticated cuisine immersed in nature provides a new kind of adventure for visitors to this laidback coastal town
© PAUL MORAN / WILD ORIGINS
By Hans Tammemagi
CULINARY ADVENTURES AT WILD ORIGINS WITH CHEF PAUL MORAN
long drive brings me to Tofino, surrounded by lush rainforest and pounded by the wild waves of the Pacific Ocean. Not surprisingly, the chefs in this isolated community on the west coast of Vancouver Island take advantage of the natural bounty around them. Armed with a notepad and a healthy appetite, I work my way around the area to discover how these culinary masters turn it into incredible dishes that truly reflect a sense of place. 6 0 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2
Early in the morning, I stroll into the forest with Paul Moran, one of Canada’s best chefs and a skilled forager. He gathers spruce buds, salmonberries and salal blossoms before tramping into the tidal flat to fill plastic bags with sea asparagus, sea chives, sheep sorrel and more. Later, Moran prepares a flatbread pizza by blanching sea asparagus and searing sea chives with a blowtorch. He garnishes the top with clams and the products he foraged just half an hour
© JEREMY KORESKI
VIEW FROM OUTSIDE THE POINTE RESTAURANT
earlier. “The quality of the ingredients is critically important,” he says, which explains why he and other local chefs pursue foraged products almost feverishly.
The next day at Wolf in the Fog restaurant, I savour the succulent potato-crusted oysters and learn more about its mission to offer top cuisine in a non-stuffy environment. Its décor features a driftwood wolf sculpture and a broken surfboard wall hanging, giving the space a beach-town vibe. “We want people to feel like they’ve been invited over to our house for dinner,” explains chef Nicholas Nutting, who opened the acclaimed restaurant in 2014. He, too, is a devoted forager with a passion for wild mushrooms, like chanterelles.
© KEEGAN BOULINEAU
Moran, who won Top Chef Canada in 2019, has started Wild Origins – the only company in Tofino that takes guests out in search of the bounty from the forest and the sea. The best part is that he helps them cook what they’ve gathered – perhaps one of his favourite dishes like stuffed morels, spot prawns, Dungeness crab ravioli and smoked fish. “I love being in Tofino,” he says. “I get to combine my culinary and adventure passions.”
CHEF CHAD MARTIN FORAGING INGREDIENTS
At dinner, I watch chef Martin shuck three large oysters and place them on the grill, where he drips pork fat over the top using a red-hot steel cone called a ‘flambadou.’ Huge flames roar upward throwing off
© DESTINATION VANCOUVER/JORDAN DYCK
Chef Chad Martin of Hotel Zed’s Roar restaurant is also among those who seek out foraged ingredients. At low tide, he heads out to a secluded cove under a cloudless deep-blue sky to gather wild vetch, sea asparagus and Miner’s lettuce. Later, I sit at Roar’s bar as the bartender juggles various bottles and shakers to prepare a “Lesser of Two Evils.” Sea asparagus, picked only a short time ago, garnishes the cocktail made with gin and seaweed-infused sherry. “Best gin and tonic ever,” I murmur happily.
THE BAR AT THE WOLF IN THE FOG RESTAURANT
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immense heat. The finished oysters are outstanding – soft and juicy but with a hint of pork belly.
CHEF YUNYOUNG KIM'S SIGNATURE DISH, GALBI – TENDER BARBEQUED PRIME SHORT RIBS
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© MELISSA RENWICK
On Chesterman Beach, surfers in black wetsuits straddle their boards waiting for the perfect wave to roll in from the Pacific. I take in the scene from the On the Rocks Bar at the Wickaninnish Inn. Tyler McDiarmid, head mixologist, vigorously shakes a “Feather George” – a signature drink crafted with cedar-infused rye whisky, vermouth and apricot liqueur. Garnished with a cedar shaving, it tastes and looks as good as the views of the wild coast. “Cocktails have become a rage, and here they are just as popular as The Pointe Restaurant’s fine cuisine,” he notes with pride.
© JEREMY KORESKI
ON THE ROCKS BAR AT WICKANINNISH INN
For a full-fledged umami experience, JEJU, the only restaurant in Tofino specializing in Korean cuisine, beckons. Seoul-born chef Yunyoung Kim is known for his signature dish, galbi – tender barbequed prime short ribs served with a scallion and arugula salad. Meanwhile, other dishes, like soondubu (a tofu stew), japchae with its sweet potato noodles and Sung-style ribs, are unusual and fabulous. Though Tofino is known for natural beauty, beaches and outdoor adventure offerings, my trip showed me another side of this destination. It has now developed a towering reputation for its cuisine and cocktail scene, which is equally as enticing.
THE POINTE RESTAURANT'S FINE CUISINE
© MAKITO INOMATA
© KEEGAN BOULINEAU
CARL HAMILTON, BAR MANAGER AT ROAR
RIVER CRUISE FOR WINE LOVERS
Sailing the Rhine Gorge
Uncork local traditions, savor intense flavors and enjoy palate-pleasing experiences during an AmaWaterways Celebration of Wine River Cruise through Europe. Taste history in renowned vineyards and during events led by a dedicated Wine Host, from France’s iconic Bordeaux to Portugal’s Douro River Valley to Germany’s Rheingau and Moselle regions and beyond. What’s Included in Your River Cruise Fare • A variety of enriching small-group excursions • Fine dining at The Chef’s Table and Main Restaurant with complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner • Sip & Sail Cocktail Hour
Gondola ride, Rüdesheim, Germany
• Exclusive Wine Cruise features including tastings, special pairing dinner, winery tours and discussions
SAVE UP TO C$1,800 PER STATEROOM Receive up to $300 on board credit per stateroom, combinable with current promotions For more information please, contact your preferred Ensemble Travel Advisor. Offer based on availability; terms apply. Wine tasting at local vineyard
WINE AND RIVER CRUISING: THE PERFECT BLEND
Sponsored by AmaWaterways
Celebrate life’s sweetest moments on a palate-pleasing Celebration of Wine River Cruise through Europe with AmaWaterways. While sailing aboard award-winning river cruise ships offering the luxury of space for an average of just 156 guests, you will savour a delectable culinary experience on board while discovering local flavours along the riverbanks and within the very vineyards some of the first vines were planted. Your journey is further enhanced by a knowledgeable wine host who has wine tastings and interactive discussions planned throughout the cruise. Whether you are a wine aficionado or simply 6 4 | B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2
indulge in a sip now and then, you will be warmly welcomed on board for an enriching – and flavourful – experience.
J O U R N EY T H R O U G H T H E H EA RT O F E U R O P EA N W I N E C O U N T R Y Variety is the spice of life – and AmaWaterways offers more than 60 dedicated wine-themed sailings each year accompanied by a wine host. Choose from a wealth of iconic destinations such as Portugal’s Douro Valley, the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, Germany’s Riesling-rich Rheingau and Moselle regions, France’s celebrated Bordeaux
W H Y A M A W AT E R W AY S ? Every river cruise with AmaWaterways includes a daily array of small group excursions ranging from guided hikes and bike tours to gentle walking tours, culinary demonstrations and tastings. The line’s membership in the internationally renowned La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs culinary society and Tables et Auberges International ensures they serve only the most exquisite locally sourced cuisine, including their mouthwatering multi-course tasting menu at The Chef’s Table with hand-selected local wines – all included in the river cruise fare. Should you wish to counteract any unexpected extra calories, complimentary
© AMAWATERWAYS © AMAWATERWAYS
© AMAWATERWAYS © AMAWATERWAYS
and Côtes du Rhône regions and beyond. Accompanied by captivating local guides, you’ll enjoy a variety of authentic included excursions, such as an immersive visit to Bordeaux’s famed Cité du Vin wine museum or a bike ride through Breisach, Germany’s wine country.
fitness classes led by a professional wellness host are available on board.
E X C L U S I V E LY A V A I L A B L E O N W I N E R I V E R C R U I S E S On top of the wonderful amenities mentioned above, your AmaWaterways Celebration of Wine River Cruise includes visits to premier vineyards, iconic wineries and historic cellars. You will personally connect with artisans and vintners, sometimes within the same vineyards in which their ancestors toiled and enjoy such experiences as learning how best to pair decadent chocolate with wine. Your passionate wine host will also lead onboard tasting events, including a specially curated food and wine pairing dinner – a highlight of your enhanced epicurean experience.
N E W E U R O P EA N W I N E I M M E R S I O N S A I L I N G S Most of AmaWaterways’ wine cruises have historically been led by North American wine hosts, who compare and B O N V I VA N T 2 0 2 2 | 6 5
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palate, with rosés in Provence or Rieslings along the Moselle, for example, as well as your knowledge of OldWorld winemaking traditions, history and culture. Four special sailings with European wine hosts are available from August through November 2022. Contact your preferred travel advisor to reserve your AmaWaterways Celebration of Wine River Cruise today.
contrast Old-World varietals with a selection of New-World wines they bring on board. However, the line’s recently announced European wine immersion sailings feature European wine hosts who offer a unique perspective on regional culinary delicacies, hidden hotspots for tastings and restaurants you won’t want to miss – with pairing suggestions, of course! Their exclusive focus on the wines of the region ensures you will surprise and expand your
YOUR VILLA AWAITS
As countries start their slow reopenings, our wanderlust and desire to venture beyond our immediate neighbourhoods will grow, too. Yet, we still must be hyper-conscious of the current situation. With enhanced safety and health measures, thoroughly trained cleaning staff, distanced group arrivals, sanitization packages and more, renting a villa is an ideal option to enjoy an intimate vacation with your family, safely away from the crowds. For more information about the various cleanliness and safety protocols, or to book a stay at one of these villas, contact your trusted travel advisor who is always there for you – before, during and after your travels.
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WE PLAN — YOU SAVOUR THE EXPERIENCE Relieve the anxiety of planning your culinary vacation and focus on the fun of exploring, dining and learning. Our team of professional travel advisors will guide you through planning your next food and wine vacation, recommend great locations and even let you in on a few travel tips from their own culinary experiences. OUR PROMISE Stress free travel, so you can savour your vacation.