Range - April 2023

Page 1


APRIL 2023







“Artistry is central to Helsinki’s reputation for excellence in food and drink.”


The British spirit is an unexpected way to explore the globe.


From street food to gourmet meals, top chefs are creating a national cuisine from scratch in Quito, Ecuador’s capital.


Tel Aviv’s cuisine is an exciting mix of tradition and trends, especially in Jaffa, where Arab and Jewish cultures exist in harmony.

35 HUNGRY IN HELSINKI Art and architecture complement the Finnish capital’s surprising culinary scene.


In her parents’ homeland, one writer discovers that fried dough is much more than the sum of its parts.





A rooftop restaurant and bar in the North African country.


Despite having one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-star restaurants, Macau’s real showstopper is its historic national dish.




Get a Taste of Adventure

Small group Explorations with Collette serve up a unique taste of culture on each tour. With an average of 16 travelers, you can dive in and capture the local flavor as you cook with locals, dine in their homes, and connect in truly meaningful ways.

Preparing Tagine

Collect fresh vegetables and herbs with the women at a local training center before they teach you to prepare a classic Moroccan dish. While your slow cooked stew is cooking, sip on mint tea and get a taste of several Moroccan staples: the classic drink, and this country’s generosity and hospitality.

Truffle Hunting

When you visit central Croatia on tour, you can spend time with the locals and get a taste of their trade. Join a third-generation family of truffle hunters on their forested property and search for the coveted tasty tubers alongside them and their friendly dogs. This is followed up with a truffle-inspired lunch!

Winery Lunch

Discover the vineyards and olive groves of the Val d’Orcia region of Italy and get a taste of what they’re all about. Tour a winery’s estate and cellar before indulging in an authentic Tuscan lunch. Created by the on-site chef, this meal is expertly paired with the vineyard’s very own wines.

Colors of Morocco
ON: A Taste of the Balkans
ON: Tuscan & Umbrian Countryside
ON: Contact your trusted travel advisor to learn more. C

A taste for adventure

A growing number of travelers are pursuing culinary tourism and it’s easy to see why.

WELCOME TO THE SECOND issue of Range, a quarterly magazine that aims to help you go further in both your dreams and your travels. Four times a year, we bring you new perspectives, inspiring stories and insider insights to make more of the world yours.

One such insight is the continued growth of culinary tourism, the theme of this month’s issue. More and more travellers are pursuing extraordinary and meaningful eating and drinking experiences. It’s not hard to understand why so many of us are exploring this type of travel. It allows us to immerse ourselves in local culture, try new and exciting flavors and create lasting memories. What’s more, by seeking out local food and drinks, travelers can support small, family-run businesses and help preserve local culinary traditions.

Of course, delicious food improves virtually any experience, elevating it from good to great. But an area’s cuisine can even become the inspiration for where to go next.

Consider heading to Macau (page 43), a region that abounds with good eats (don’t miss the African chicken). Or head to Quito, Ecuador (page 25), to explore the fledgling gourmet food scene (if you can resist filling up on the exceptional street food). Try the wine in Priorat, Spain (page 56), the muktuk in Greenland (page 50) or the oysters on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast (page 52). The options are endless, so let your travel advisor help you narrow them down and transform your ideas into reality. No matter where you go, you’re sure to have a delicious adventure.


APRIL 2023



Kim Shiffman


Arisa Valyear


ART DIRECTOR Cindy Lubinic


Ally Tripkovic


Lucas Aykroyd, Lola Augustine Brown, Kate Dingwall, Sunny Fitzgerald, Stephanie Gray, Amy Harkness, Waheeda Harris, Jessica Huras, Tim Johnson, Kelly Jones, Emily Latimer, Jessica Lockhart, Sarah Mariotti, Claire Sibonney, Doug Wallace, Kaila Yu



Wendy Romanow wendy.romanow@ensembletravel.com


Rachel Grogan rachel.grogan@ensembletravel.com


Franca Iuele franca.iuele@navigatr.com



Joycelyn Tran


Valerie Lenoir





Jeff Willner

PRESIDENT Michael Johnson


David Harris


Scott McKay


Shahla Lalani



Jennifer Dzailo

Range (April 2023). All rights reserved, Ensemble Travel® Group. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without written permission of the publisher. Range is published on behalf of Ensemble Travel® Group member agencies.

TICO: #50022140 | CST: 2141530-70

Registration numbers vary by agency

If you have feedback about anything you read in Range, email marketing@ensembletravel.com

If you have a story idea or would like to contribute, email valerie.lenoir@navigatr.com

Strategic Content Labs



Paul Ferriss

James McNab A

CEO Tony Gagliano


Maria Mendes

6 | RANGE | APRIL 2023 editor’s letter


Elegant, spacious and comfortable suites, penthouses and residences designed to create a home at sea for our guests.



18 restaurants, bars and lounges bring a dash of soul to wining and dining at sea.


A comprehensive and holistic wellbeing experience inspired by the oceans’ natural forces.



Vibrant, cosmopolitan, RELAXED European luxury at SEA. Instead of cruises, we create jouneys – of the MIND and across the OCEANS of the world – as we visit EXTRAORDINARY places on and off the beaten path. PLEASE


Generous outdoor decks offering spectacular views, with numerous indoor and outdoor pools and whirlpools.





together even

What you eat on vacation is almost as important as where you go, and on every Celebrity vacation, we bring both those things together perfectly. The captivating scents and flavors of your dining experience will transport you to new places—without even leaving your table. We’ve designed Celebrity Edge ® series to change the way you experience the world, and our culinary philosophy follows the same line of thinking.

Explore 32 distinct restaurants, bars, and lounges that will awaken all your senses. Our menus are crafted by Michelin-starred chef, Cornelius Gallagher, and are inspired by the amazing regions we visit around the world. Along with our top culinary talent on board who prepare the dishes fresh daily using locally sourced ingredients, you’ll enjoy the best dining experience at sea.

Book an AquaClass ® stateroom or higher and relax knowing your drinks, Wi-Fi, tips exclusive dining experience, PLUS an agency exclusive $100 Shore Excursion Credit are included.

Please contact your Ensemble travel agent for more details.

s t a t e r o o m o r h i g h e r a n d r e l a x k n o w i n g yo u r d r i n k s W WO R L D - C L A S S R E S TAU R A N T S T H AT O P E N YO U R WO R L D.
“All Included” Pricing applies to sailings booked and departing on or after 1/9/2023, excluding Galapagos cruises, in an inside through AquaClass stateroom (“Eligible Bookings”). All guests within an Eligible Booking who choose “All Included” pricing will receive a Classic Drinks Package, Tips Included and an unlimited Basic Wi-Fi package. All guests in a stateroom must choose the same pricing package. ©2023 Celebrity Cruises Inc. Ships’ registry: Malta and Ecuador.


Often coupled with white rice and tortillas, pescado zarandeado is a can’t-miss dish in Puerto Vallarta. Read more on page 12.



Beer’s the Deal

A brewery tour makes for a fun afternoon on a trip abroad, and there are many with hundreds of years of history behind them. Ask your travel advisor about these five historic beer-making facilities.

The oldest brewery in the world, established in 1040, has survived multiple natural disasters and several plagues while continuing to create some of the world’s finest hefeweizens (wheat beer). Sip a cold brew, then wander through the beer museum to the lookout point and marvel at miles of small rustic towns with cathedrals that speckle the horizon.

Eco-conscious in all its practices, Weihenstephan pays homage to the beautiful landscape on which it stands.

When John Smithwick moved to Kilkenny in the early 1700s to forge a life for himself, the penal laws for Catholics were in full force, meaning he couldn’t own property, so he went into the brewing business secretly. Today, Smithwicks’s red and pale ales are the beer of choice for many locals, as the brewery helped shape the region’s history. Visit the barrel yard, where large wooden barrels were once repaired and stored, while sipping a frosty red ale. The full tour is given by a local guide, and lasts about an hour.

Steeped in tradition, this family-owned business was established in 1492, outlasting fire, wars and economic crises. Championed as Austria’s most successful beer brand, Stiegl combines spring water from the Alps, summer barley and premium hops to create a delicious golden lager. Learn about the beer’s history, see the brewmasters work and enjoy a tasting while admiring the gables and turrets that are characteristic of this architectural marvel.

Established in 1856, De Halve Maan has continued to thrive thanks to constant innovation, from delivering beer by horse and cart, to its famed underground pipeline, which delivers beer to a nearby bottling plant and was the first of its kind. Learn about the brewery’s vast history and its unique brewing process, then ascend to the roof for a beautiful 360-degree view of Bruges. Afterward, settle into a comfy couch in the brasserie and taste one of four specialty wheat beers with a perfectly paired meal.

10 | RANGE | APRIL 2023
1 Weihenstephan Freising, Germany 2 Smithwick’s Kilkenny, Ireland 3 Stiegl Salzburg, Austria
departure INSPIRED
4 De Halve Maan Bruges, Belgium


Three Tuns

Bishop’s Castle, England

With humble beginnings in the 17th century, Three Tuns is the oldest working brewery in the U.K. Beers are distilled in a classic miniature Victorian tower that was constructed in 1888, so each captures the essence and history of its unique surroundings.

Tour the original brewhouse, which is now a fermentation room where the beer makers add the brewery’s one-of-a-kind yeast. Try the collection of six awardwinning ales in the same spot where it’s rumored the five culprits of Britain’s Great Train Robbery spent time imbibing.

RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 11

Word on the street

I’m standing on an oceanfront boardwalk surrounded by a picturesque beachscape. Yet my attention is solely on the man in front of me, who’s pouring me a cup of agua de tuba. Popular along the Pacific coast of Mexico, including here in Puerto Vallarta, it’s one of the many drinks and snacks sold by the vendors who set up their stands every evening toward the southern end of the Malecón, a roughly half-mile boardwalk stretching along the curve of Banderas Bay.

raicilla, are beginning to see its value as an artisanal spirit.

Like tequila and mezcal, raicilla is made from the agave plant, which is distilled to yield a spirit with an earthy, slightly vegetal profile. Wulff presents these various raicilla expressions alongside dishes filled with such regional ingredients as cactus and huitlacoche, a mushroom that grows on corn.

Local luxury

VALLARTA Beyond the Beach


It may be known as a beachfront town with a hopping nightlife, but the resort city also boasts an unexpectedly diverse culinary scene.

WHEN YOU THINK OF PUERTO VALLARTA , you think beaches, resorts, marine life and water sports. All true—but that list ought to also include its diverse culinary scene. Pride in its own distinctive regional cuisine, influenced from the expat chefs who’ve come to live here, has turned this beachfront town into an unexpected gastronomic hot spot that rewards those who venture beyond its beautiful beaches.

As my group continues our stroll along the Malecón, cups of agua de tuba still in hand, we see vendors hawking esquites—a charred corn salad dressed in mayonnaise and chili powder—and colorful scoops of a light Mexican-style sorbet called nieve de garrafa Vendors are selling juicy slices of fresh mango, or international foods like hot dogs, crepes and hamburgers. Cold coconut juice and tejuino, a fermented cornbased drink, help us handle the heat.

Getting in the spirit

Our next stop takes us in search of another local drink: raicilla. As chef Guillermo Wulff sets down small glasses of this clear spirit on our table at his homey, open-air restaurant, Barrio Bistro, he describes it as “the grandfather of tequila and mezcal.”

Unlike cheap bar-rail tequila, raicilla is meant to be sipped slowly. Produced only in Puerto Vallarta’s home state of Jalisco, raicilla has been enjoyed by farmers for centuries as a moonshine. Innovators like Wulff, who produces his own small-batch

One of our last stops takes us to Tintoque, which is among the top spots in Puerto Vallarta to experience the blending of local and global influences that defines its culinary scene. Here, chef Joel Ornelas uses homegrown ingredients to create a menu inspired by a range of international cuisines. Tonight, we’re choosing from options like locally raised quail served with yuzu beurre blanc and a Taiwanese bao-style dish featuring blue organic corn dough filled with duck and pork birria.

Tintoque’s elegant interior dining room, with its lofty, wood-beamed ceiling, is undeniably magical, but I’m in what’s arguably the best seat in the house, out on the leafy patio overlooking the Río Cuale. Sipping a rich red—this one comes from Hilo Negro winery in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe—while admiring river views might not be what most travelers would expect from a town known for its beaches and nightlife. As we’ve discovered through its cuisine, however, Puerto Vallarta knows how to show travelers the best of its many surprising dimensions.

Head to Puerto Vallarta’s food stalls for a taste of authentic Mexican delicacies.
departure SPOTLIGHT


Restaurants and accommodations in Puerto Vallarta that travelers should know about.

Where to eat

At Tacos La Mucca, Tintoque chef Joel Ornelas riffs on the arriero—a local style of taco made with carne asada and cabbage—using highquality Angus beef. Meanwhile, the consistent lineup out the door at Café de Olla is your first clue that this restaurant is worth the wait. Head here for some of the best enchiladas in town and margaritas made with raicilla.

Where to stay

Posh hillside resort Grand Miramar is blissfully removed from the hustle and bustle. Its spacious rooms and rooftop pool are among the most dramatic bay views in the city. Be sure to grab a cocktail at The Gin Joint Bar in the early evening for spectacular sunset views.

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit has revolutionized the all-inclusive dining concept with impressive restaurants that offer diverse global flavors with a creative spirit. Stroll along breezy corridors with colorful plants and koi ponds to beautifully designed restaurants where the flavors of Mexico, Asia, Italy and France come to life.

RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 13
Left: Sip a drink as you walk along Los Muertos pier. Right, from top: Beef tacos on corn tortillas are traditional Mexican fare; every dish at Barrio Bistro is a work of art; closeup with an agave plant, from which raicilla is produced.


Food News

Check out these new culinary offerings for travelers.


Devour Tours has launched four new small-group tours in Europe and the U.S.

Oltrarno at Sunset: Florence Food and Wine Tour

Epicurean experiences

Set sail on one of Regent Seven Seas Cruises's new Epicurean Spotlight Voyages and immerse yourself in all things food and drink. On board, enjoy special tastings and cooking classes at restaurants like Compass Rose and Chartreuse. Ashore, discover ancient markets and world-class eateries, and back at the Culinary Arts Kitchen, learn hands-on tips from the masters to unleash your inner gourmand.

Dining in style

Details about Princess Cruises’s newest, largest and most innovative ship, Sun Princess, have been announced. Featuring designs inspired by rays of sunlight, the ship boasts a showstopping arena theater and, in a first for Princess, a stunning three-story dining venue, each with its own personality, dining experience and level of formality. Sun Princess will make its debut early next year.

Join a local food guide in Oltrarno, one of Florence’s liveliest and most authentic neighborhoods, on this three-anda-half-hour tour. Eat like a local at five family-run eateries, tasting traditional aperitifs, the famous Florentine steak and decadent gelato, paired with plenty of wine.

Paris Pastry and Chocolate Tour

Embark on an epicurean journey through Paris’s fantastic and fascinating pastry scene. Enjoy six food tastings at six small businesses in the Marais and Quartier Montorgueil. Taste unforgettable fresh-baked croissants and discover the history behind France’s most popular treats.

Spanish Cooking Class in Madrid with Market Visit

Dive into Spanish cuisine by getting hands-on in the kitchen. Shop for seasonal ingredients at a traditional market, then head to a stylish private kitchen to cook. Together with a professional chef, you’ll prepare the famous tortilla de patatas and a homemade lunch with beer and wine.

Delicious dishes

New cruise line Explora Journeys has revealed some of the signature restaurant dishes available aboard its first ship. Highlights include Wagyu beef tataki, 30-day aged prime rib, grilled octopus and bluefin tuna tataki. Explora is looking to redefine luxury ocean travel, with ships that boast a modern, boutique-hotel vibe.

Think green

Eatwith has launched an initiative called Eco Hero, which highlights hosts that support plant-based diets, plastic and waste reduction, and green practices. Described as Airbnb for home-cooked food, Eatwith is a global platform that connects diners with local hosts, who range from home cooks to pro chefs.

Best of Boston: Freedom Trail and Boston Public Market

Visit local markets, historic restaurants and quaint eateries as you weave your way through Boston. Led by an expert guide, you’ll sample classic dishes like lobster rolls, Boston baked beans, clam chowder and Boston cream pie on this three-hour tour.

14 | RANGE | APRIL 2023 departure TRENDING

to go beyond extraordinary

When talking about culinary, be ready to send your taste buds on a journey as you go from one unique dining experience to the next. Our newest award-winning ship on the fleet offers immersive dining experiences at our specialty restaurants that will please any palate. Sample authentic dishes from around the world at our upscale Indulge Food Hall, with a diverse lineup of flavorful cuisine like Indian, Asian, Tapas, Pasta, BBQ and much more.


©2023 NCL Corporation Ltd. Ships’ Registry: BAHAMAS and USA. *Terms and conditions apply. 02/23

ON THE MENU Supper in the Sky

We asked an in-flight dining expert where to find the best food and drink at 35,000 feet.

IN-FLIGHT DINING HAS a bad reputation. So says Nik Loukas, an in-flight food expert who’s been reviewing airline meals for more than a decade at InflightFeed.com. Yet according to Loukas, who flies up to 300 times per year, there’s a lot of impressive cuisine being served in the skies. We caught up with him to get the details.


Turkish Airlines has fantastic meals. You get great service in business class, and even a bit of a theater with the inflight chef, who offers an array of meal choices. Most of the items served on board are made by their catering company from scratch.Not a lot of airline caterers can say that.

Air France’s food is chic and always on point. They worked with Michelin-starred chef Michel Roth to create typically French dishes for passengers in premium cabins. Champagne in economy class

is always a big hit, too—not many airlines still offer this. But what I love most about Air France is their commitment to offering 100 percent French meat, dairy and eggs, and sustainably caught fish on all flights from Paris, in all cabins.

Taiwanese airline EVA Air offers restaurant-style service in business class. Everything is served directly onto your tray table and no trays are used. And they work with international celebrity chef Huang Ching-Biao, a master of Chinese cuisine. I recently flew Bangkok to Vienna and couldn’t believe how good it was.


Emirates has a fantastic wine cellar. They’re always adding to it and winning awards for it.

Q WHAT ARE SOME INFLIGHT DINING TRENDS? Dine on demand, tray-less service, restaurant-style dining and personalized dining.

Turkish Airlines, Air France and EVA Air are standouts in in-flight dining, says expert Nik Loukas.

I think they’re all great concepts. Maybe I want to sleep as soon as I board, so I will dine later. I think personalization is the future. Many airlines are now offering you the option to pick your meal before your flight. It helps them reduce wastage and you get your chosen meal during the flight.


Arabic mezze, on a flight from Jeddah to Amsterdam with Saudia Airlines in business class. The in-flight chef actually recommended it. It consisted of tabbouleh, hummus and muhammara,

served with some cheese sambousek. It sounds simple, but the dips were amazing— just totally delectable and so fresh. What I liked most was the authenticity of the meal and the opportunity to have a taste of what locals eat in the Middle East.


Some flights let you upgrade your economy-class meal to a business option. I recently did this on an Air Canada flight from Montreal to Los Angeles and I received a lovely business-class meal while seated in economy. Highly recommend!

SAVINGS ALL SEASON LONG Couples save $500 when they book up to 60 days before departure1 1 Offer applies to departures between April 30 and October 31, 2023 for tours booked and paid up to 60 days before departure. Savings of $500 per couple are already included in the tour price. 2 Prices are per person, based on double occupancy (taxes and fees included) and for departures from Toronto with round-trip flights in Economy class on Air Transat. Prices may vary depending on departure date. For full descriptions, terms and conditions, refer to transat.com. Transat is a division of Transat Tours Canada Inc. and is registered as a travel wholesaler in Ontario (reg. #50009486) with offices at 5915 Airport Road, Suite 910, Mississauga (ON) L4V 1T1; in British Columbia (reg. #2454) with offices at 11900 Haney Place, Unit 151, Maple Ridge (BC) V2X 8R9; and in Quebec (reg. #754241) with offices at 300 Léo-Pariseau, Suite 200, Montreal (QC) H2X 4C2. Our Europe tours Your ticket to discovery

Wherever you are, Gin try the

Sampling the quintessentially British spirit is an unexpectedly wonderful way to explore global destinations, from Vietnam to the Italian Riviera.

18 | RANGE | APRIL 2023

Kelp is one of the key ingredients of Gray Whale Gin. It’s a new-school American gin that looks locally to source its botanicals (the natural ingredients that give gin its distinctive herbal flavors), highlighting things like juniper grown in Big Sur, almonds from farther in the coast and, of course, the kelp on my boat.

As the adage goes, when you’re abroad, eat as the locals do. Maybe that’s dragging fresh bread through a shimmering pool of Portuguese olive oil or slurping pho on a plastic chair on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. But there’s another way to explore a destination: through the gin. Making gin is similar to cooking. You start with a cast of ingredients—

in gin’s case, that’s herbs, fruits and spices—then pull it all together through chopping, boiling, roasting or distilling to make one singular dish or spirit. And what I learned on my travels to gin-producing cities around the world is that these base ingredients can change to match their surroundings. I tasted the beachy cool of California gins, calling for ingredients like kelp and almond. I sipped Vietnamese gins built off magnolia flowers and pomelo pulled from the forest canopy. I experienced Italian gins, which embody the dolce vita—sun-kissed and suave. These gins are transportive and terroirdriven, able to conjure up a picture, scent and taste in a single glass.

RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 19
I’m in a small kayak, floating over sea kelp that dances as the waves wash in and out onto a beach just north of Los Angeles. While the kelp is unpleasantly slithery and slick right now—I’m avoiding touching it as I pull it onto my boat with my paddle—it’s going to end up somewhere much more appealing this evening: in my drink.

IT’S OCTOBER in Portofino, a fishing village on the Italian Riviera coastline, southeast of Genoa city, and I almost have the town to myself. Many tourists fear the shoulder season’s colder nights, but during the day, it’s still sun-soaked and extremely enjoyable. I’m surprised that it’s warm enough to swim— we arrive early to a lunch reservation, and the hot fall heat prompts us to spend the half hour cooling off in the grotto by the restaurant as a way to prepare ourselves for heaping plates of pasta, quickly fried shrimp and candyhued spritzes. As I swim back to shore, I screech as I feel something slimy slink across my foot. It’s a bright purple octopus, startled, as I am the first person that day to disturb its slumber.

That’s part of the beauty of Portofino in the off-season. The town, stacked high on a seaside cliff with colored shades of yellow and pink, is quiet, save for a few locals and some celebrity yachts parked half a mile off the shore. Every scent and every sight feels solely my own.

Later that day, I’m walking high above the Italian Riviera in a botanical garden owned by Portofino Dry Gin. Here, they grow all of their own botanicals for their gin, including rosemary, lavender, marjoram, iris and rose— smells that seem to float in on an ocean breeze. The distillers could source the same standard botanicals used in most well-known British gins, but what’s the point? The scents and flavors of this town are special, so they’re trying to capture a bit of the magic.

After that day, I get it. No number of photos could perfectly capture

my experience: the smell of the olive trees planted along the shore, the bergamot in the wind and the salt air sticking to my hair. A bottle of Portofino Dry Gin manages to capture just a little bit of the Italian Riviera, helping me daydream through a drink when I return home.

BUT WAIT —isn’t gin a British drink? What place does it have in California or Italy?

While most distilleries are based in the United Kingdom, the juniper-based beverage actually dates way back to ancient Egypt. In 1550 BCE, Egyptians used juniper water as a medicine. In 1055, Benedictine monks in Salerno, Italy, made tonic wine infused with juniper berries to cure ailments. Nearly three centuries later, a Belgian medical author noted that juniper berries cooked in wine could cure a host of different

Clockwise from top left: Portofino’s famous pastelcolored homes; Vietnamese farmers harvest crops to make gin; Sông Cái Gin features botanicals native to Vietnam; juniper berries, a key gin ingredient; sip a local spirit at Portofino’s yacht-lined habor.

illnesses. In the 13th century, physician Arnaud de Villanova developed the European practice of spirits-making by distilling wine with juniper berries.

It was the Dutch who finalized the formula for gin. Sailors started making grainy malt wine more palatable by adding juniper to it. The British got wind of this practice, refined it, and gin evolved into the prominent white spirit we know today.

Gin’s history runs deep, though its present-day footprint is wider-reaching, with new gin distilleries around the world redefining local spirits.

USING GIN as a way to learn about places all over the world is only possible thanks to what Daniel Nguyen, founder of Vietnam’s Sông Cái Distillery, calls “a growing contemporary gin movement that highlights local terroir and ingredients.”

Nguyen’s gins highlight distinctly Southeast Asian ingredients like juniper, plus citrus-like heirloom pomelo and the tiny orange berry of the Clausena, licorice and ficus root, spices of cassia bark and Mac Khen pepper (Ma ˘ ´ c Khén), and the silken white leaves of the Magnolia alba flower—all plants that make up the verdant greenery of the Vietnamese jungle. “All of these botanicals are native or heirloom to Vietnam, and many are traditionally used by local communities


Shake It Up

A cocktail sipped at home can bring back all those good travel vibes. Try this recipe, featuring Vietnam’s Sông Cái Floral Gin.


This unique cocktail includes rice wine vinegar, which brightens the drink and tones down the sweetness of the vermouth, creating a balanced martini. You can substitute it with champagne or sherry vinegar.


2 fl oz Sông Cái Floral Gin

1/2 fl oz vermouth blanc

1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

2 dashes orange bitters

Small pinch salt



1 Into cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour gin, vermouth, vinegar, orange bitters and salt. Shake until cold (approx. 15 seconds) and strain into a chilled martini glass.

2 If desired, garnish with skewered chilled olives or lemon zest twist.

RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 21

Clockwise from top left: The founders of Gray Whale Gin in their California distillery; Vancouver’s Sheringham gin was recently named the best contemporary gin in the world; kelp is an key gin ingredient.

for food, medicine, tinctures and herbal liqueurs,” says Nguyen.

Sông Cái gin labels feature the ancient Hàng Trông style of painting done by Lê Đình Nghiên, one of the last remaining craftsmen of the style. “We try to highlight many aspects of Vietnamese cultures and people, from our farmers to the local mixologists we work with,” Nguyen says.

Raising a glass of Sông Cái to your lips can transport you to northern Vietnam’s rippling mountain topography, cascading rice terraces and always-blue waters of places like Ha Long Bay. And because of the Vietnamese flavors in each bottle, the floral notes of honeyed citrus and spice in his gins pair perfectly with local dishes, whether that’s crispy pork banh mi, fried prawn cakes or warming pho. The gin shines equally well in cocktails. At Stir, a cozy bar off the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, gin is shaken or stirred into fresh highballs and fizzy sparkling cocktails in whisper-thin flutes, and poured over hand-cut ice cubes.


Gray Whale Gin’s botanical blend is modeled after the migratory path of the Gray Whale, the same route the whales have been taking for more than 30 million years. The founders, Jan and Marsh Mokhtari, got the idea for the gin on a camping trip

to Big Sur. As they sat on a cliffside under redwood trees looking out over the California coastline, they saw a mother whale breaching the water, followed closely by her baby as they headed up the coast. Their gin was born to capture that exact moment in time.

As such, the list of ingredients reads more like a map of the California coast, moving from the warm, sunny valley of Temecula up the coastal highway and ending in Mendocino overlooking the coastal cliffs. It’s an excellent

route to traverse—about 10 hours by car, it weaves you through white sand beaches, wine country and Big Sur’s naturally-carved rock formations.

Farther up the coast, Sheringham Distillery also leans on kelp, harvesting winged kelp from the rougher shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca off Vancouver Island. The water is rugged and wild, best watched in front of a fire at, say, The Wickaninnish Inn, perched on the shores of the island. (Perhaps with

a gin martini in hand?)

Each bottle of Sheringham's Seaside Gin manages to capture the freshness of the ocean and the wild mysteries of the evergreen forests through flavors of maritime salinity and subtle pine notes. It’s as refreshing as a stroll along the seaside.

That’s the draw of gin. Sipped in situ, it enhances the moment, bringing out the sights and smells around you. Come home, and it will take you back, if only for the duration of a cocktail.


Taste Your Way Across the Globe

Enjoy a poolside burger and fries at the Dive-In. Savor breakfast in bed or a late-night snack with our included 24-hour room service. Sip on a craft cocktail at the Ocean Bar before tucking into a perfectly cooked steak at Pinnacle Grill. From casual meals to fine dining, you’re sure to find the perfect palate-pleaser on board Holland America Line.

Save 50% on Specialty Dining and Shore Excursion credits, our Signature Beverage Package, and Wi-Fi by adding Have It All to your cruise booking!* Guests who reserve their 2024 cruise or cruisetour early will enjoy all the benefits of our Have It All package plus our Low Price Guarantee, prepaid Crew Appreciation, and free upgrades to our Elite Beverage and Premium Wi-Fi Packages.†

*Fares are based on Promo(s) N1/U1. Featured fares are per person based on double occupancy, cruise or cruisetours only. Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses are additional. Have It All amenities are subject to availability, available for new bookings only, available for 1st/2nd guests only, apply only to the cruise portion of Alaska cruisetours, and are neither transferable nor refundable. Have It All fares are applicable on select 2023 and 2024 departures and exclude Grand Voyages and any voyage lasting 5 days or less. For extended terms and conditions, please visit HollandAmerica.com/en_US/deals/have-it-all.html. †Have It All Early Booking Bonus Offer (“Early Booking Bonus Offer”) fare and its parts are neither transferable nor refundable and have no cash value. Early Booking Bonus Offer fares available only on select departures and exclude Grand Voyages and any voyage lasting 5 days or less. Any advertised fare may be changed or revoked at any time. Fares are subject to full terms and conditions, available at HollandAmerica.com/package-terms. Elite Beverage Package has a daily limit of 15 beverages. Available only for beverages priced at US$15 or less. Must be 21+ for alcoholic beverages. Management reserves the right to revoke the package and may refuse service for any reason. The package excludes beverages purchased in The Shops, from the mini-bar, through 24-hour room service or on Half Moon Cay. Specialty Dining based on cruise duration and ship type. Dining options are determined by ship and exclude all events in Pinnacle Grill. Shore Excursion offer is based on cruise duration and is per person, not per stateroom. For Alaska cruisetours and 6- to 9-day voyages, eligible guests will receive US$100 credit per person to apply toward their shore excursion purchase(s). For 10- to 20-day voyages, eligible guests will receive US$200 credit per person to apply toward their shore excursion purchase(s). For 21+ day voyages (excluding Grand Voyages), eligible guests will receive US$300 credit per person to apply toward their shore excursion purchase(s). Shore Excursion credit must be used pre-cruise when applied toward an Alaska Cruisetour Land Excursion purchase. Shore Excursion credit must be used on corresponding cruise and is non-refundable. Wi-Fi Premium Package: All onboard Internet usage is subject to HAL’s standard policies, which may limit or block browsing/use of some sites or applications due to network security and bandwidth usage. Offerings are subject to change without notice. Plan can be used on any device, but only one device can be actively connected at a time. Upgrades are available once on board. Offer applies to 1st/2nd guests in a stateroom only. Crew Appreciation: Receive prepaid stateroom gratuities on board. Gratuities for other services, including, but not limited to, bar, dining room, wine accounts and spa/salon services, are not included. Low Price Guarantee: If a guest books a HAL cruise with the Early Booking Bonus Offer (the “original booking”) and such guest finds a cheaper price for an identical booking within

the duration of the Early Booking Bonus Offer (the “Comparison Fare”), the difference may be compensated in the form of an onboard credit, stateroom upgrade or other method. HAL reserves the sole right to determine the method of compensation made to guests. A fare will be considered a Comparison Fare only if its booking consists of details that are identical to those of the original booking (including, but not limited to, the same ship, sail dates, stateroom category and number of guests as the original booking). A determination as to whether the located fare is identical to the original booking will be at HAL’s sole discretion. HAL reserves the right to apply this price protection and offer at its discretion. Other restrictions and exclusions may apply. HAL is neither responsible nor liable for any printing errors. Promotion is based on promotion code(s) N2 and based on double occupancy. Ships’ Registry: The Netherlands.
Your Travel Advisor to Book Today

Small-port European destinations few truly know, and fewer still have visited. Discover them in a way only a Windstar cruise can offer: Small, uncrowded sailing or all-suite yachts serving just 148 to 342 guests, guided by a welcoming crew; unique shore excursions from local perspectives; and Cruise Only and All-Inclusive fare options to suit your style. It’s a cruise experience that’s 180 degrees from ordinary.

Contact your Professional Ensemble Travel Advisor today for All-Inclusive Fares and exclusive amenities


Ecuadorean Eats

Delicious street food is par for the course in Quito. But over the past 10 years, an exciting gourmet food scene has emerged in Ecuador’s capital city as its top chefs work to develop a national cuisine from scratch.

Fried plantains meet potaje de frijoles, traditional Ecuadorean food.

ON A BUSTLING STREET IN Quito’s hip and artsy La Floresta neighborhood, a parked silver Toyota Yaris is decorated with handmade signs advertising tamales, empanadas and colada morada. An arrow on one of them points toward an ancient-looking wooden garage door.

“What’s that about?” I ask our guide.

“Ah! It’s a huaca,” he says with a big grin. “That’s what we call a good place to eat. The kind you take your friends to, that gets customers through word of mouth.”

“But where is it?” I ask, looking around. He rings a buzzer on an intercom next to the garage. After an animated conversation with a fuzzy voice on the other end, he explains to us that our food was being made in an upstairs apartment, and they would bring it down soon.

Five minutes later, a man appears bearing a tray laden with Styrofoam cups of local specialty colada morada (a thick, boiled-down fruit drink made with corn), along with tender yuca bread rolls and cornmeal raisin cakes. We pay him and devour everything right there on the sidewalk.

Our next stop is an eatery called Los Antojitos, where we find a man cooking on a grill in what appears to be a narrow entrance to an upstairs apartment. We line up for bowls of a traditional pork, potato and peanut stew, into which we ladle chili sauce. Messy and spicy, it’s a perfect spot for lunch on the run and a complete contrast to the 10-course tasting menu at Tributo, where we head next.

I’d been invited to Quito to explore the fledgling gourmet food scene, tagging along with notable chefs from Latin America and Spain. Every meal introduced me to a vast range of new-to-me ingredients gathered from the Andes mountains, the Amazon jungle, the Pacific coast and the Galápagos Islands. It was a mind-blowing week, and Ecuador was unlike any country I’ve visited.

26 | RANGE | APRIL 2023

Clockwise from top left: Quito’s Metropolitan Cathedral, with Panecillo Hill in the background; naranjilla, a popular South American citrus fruit; 100day dry-aged beef “sushi” at Tributo restaurant; locro de papa, a traditional potato soup from San Ignacio Restaurant.


Ten years ago, Ecuador didn’t have much in the way of fine dining, explains Aura Restaurant chef Quique Sempere, who is also a judge on MasterChef Ecuador and honed his culinary skills in Spain before bringing his techniques home. “People here were used to big plates of food sold cheap. When I started serving small, artfully presented plates, it took a while for them to understand the concept,” he says. Now the city offers a raft of restaurants headed by ambitious, hugely talented chefs.

When chef Luis Maldonado started his nose-totail beef restaurant, Tributo, just over a year ago, it was a hard slog at first. Everyone kept telling him that Ecuadoreans were not really into beef, and dry-aging was a new concept entirely. “At the beginning, I was selling one coffee a day, and most of the time I was buying it,” he laughs. “I’ve had to change people’s minds as well as their stomachs.”

Another of Quito’s star chefs is Alejandro Chamorro, who owns Nuema—listed as one of Latin America’s 50 best restaurants—with his equally impressive pastry chef wife Pía Salazar. Chamorro worked under acclaimed chefs in Peru and completed a stint at Noma in Copenhagen before returning home to share his craft. “We are the first generation of chefs in Ecuador to work on the national identity of our food. It’s been a tough path, trying to make people understand what we are trying to say, but now people are traveling to Quito for our restaurants and seeing that we have a lot to offer,” says Chamorro.

So what exactly is Ecuadorean cuisine? While there’s no official national dish, pork features heavily on menus from fine dining to street vendors, even though cuy (guinea pig) is what many people think of when it comes to Ecuadorean cuisine. Chamarro says it all comes down to the ingredients on hand. “Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. That’s an advantage but also a handicap. We have so much to work with, but we also have to be clever when choosing what to work with,” he says. “For me, the true luxury of being in Ecuador is that perhaps you will try things that you’ve never tried before, and will perhaps never try again in your life.”

This was certainly true for me. Before traveling to Ecuador I’d never heard of my new favorite fruit, the naranjilla. It’s orange, resembles a tomato and has a tart, sweet flavor. Over the course of my week there, I try it as an ice cream flavor, as juice, and incorporated into many of the dishes I sampled at restaurants. Another new-to-me food was coca tea, a traditional remedy for altitude sickness, which I embraced willingly during my first three days in the city, waiting for my body to adjust.



Many of the ingredients listed on Ecuadorean menus have been used in the country since pre-Columbian times. The region was conquered by the Incas in the early 1520s, only to be colonized by the Spanish about a decade later, and finally gained independence in 1830. All of this left a huge influence on Ecuadorean cuisine; every chef I speak with expresses their desire to respect these ingredients, as well as the culture and sometimes mysticism around them. These ingredients are transformed into dishes as modern and innovative as you’d find in any major food city, with beautiful dining rooms and intimate experiences to match.

Daniel Maldonado started Urko eight years ago and says he was the first chef to offer a local concept tasting menu in the city. Situated on a huge patio that’s actually the backyard of his home, Urko is filled with art pieces depicting shamans and ancient rituals, plants, and huge jars of whatever

Top to bottom:

he is fermenting at the time. The vibe is casual, with family-style dining, but the food is decidedly elevated. His menus take you on a journey through the different regions of Ecuador, and each dish is a showstopper. A sample menu: oysters with crème fraîche and passion fruit granita, late summer squash with fried quinoa and macadamia sauce, Amazonian paiche fish with potato foam set on a bed of lacto-fermented tomato gel, with a finale of chocolate and tea for the final course.

Nuema offers a modern dining experience in an airy atrium-style room in a historic building that was once the Haitian embassy. There’s a stylish cocktail bar and a gallery showcasing the work of young artists upstairs. The attention to detail in every dish is outstanding, and the flavors are intricately layered. For example, the sea bass arrives topped with a spicy guava paste on a bed of jicama root, 36-hour-cooked suckling pig with a colada morada sauce, and one of the most interesting and delicious dishes of my trip: a dessert of Galápagos seaweed with coconut sauce and black garlic.

You’ll find more sophisticated dining at Cardo, which has a fairy-garden-like backyard growing berries and herbs. All five courses I eat are exceptional, but the corn cake pork with crispy chicharrón on a bed of hominy and the lamb with dark chocolate and salt are both incredible. In Aura’s trendy dining room, I finally try cuy in the form of spring rolls with black garlic sauce, along with dry goat stew topped with arancini. “I’m inserting new techniques into traditional Ecuadorean cuisine because traditionally it just isn’t that pretty,” explains Sempere.

Locals may have scoffed at the small-plates concept a decade ago, but today, reservations at these restaurants (and others) are hot tickets indeed. I love the contrast between the hearty, old-school traditional restaurants like Cosas Finas de la Florida dishing up huge portions of grilled pork, potatoes and plantain with tangy salsas, and the exciting, risk-taking newer places. It’s rare to visit a destination and report that every meal you had was great, but this was certainly my experience in Quito. The city’s gastronomic potential is on an upward trend as it takes its well-earned place as a top culinary destination.

Chef Daniel Maldonado, owner of Urko restaurant; a chocolate tasting is a sweet way to conclude a fine dining experience at Urko.

Get a taste of the places you’ll go

14-day Scottish Highlands & Wales

Roundtrip London (Southampton) Island Princess® Aug 25, 2023

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 Chef Tableside Experience at Historic Blackfriars, a DiscoveryTM Recommended tour. It lays claim to the oldest dining room in Great Britain. Using the freshest seasonal produce from local farms, the chef will prepare your meal right before your eyes. Learn the recipes and history behind British cuisine at Blackfrairs cookery school. Then savor a truly delicious meal in this 13th-century former medieval friary. 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 $60 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 U.S. 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 $60 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. ©2023 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.

including drinks,
Fees & Port Expenses of $315 are additional and subject to change.
Balcony fares from* $3,557
Wi-Fi, crew appreciation, specialty dining and more1 *Taxes,

Discover the local flavor – from Austria to Portugal to Vietnam and beyond. Indulge in exquisite regionally inspired cuisine prepared by expert chefs, as well as distinctive wines both on board and during enriching excursions on shore. It’s all yours to savor and share, included in your river cruise experience with AmaWaterways, the Heart of the RiverTM.

Save up to $2,000 per stateroom on select AmaWaterways river cruises. Plus, receive $300 onboard credit per stateroom on select sailings!

E p E p , A A h gh –


Middle Feast W

RAPPED IN A BLACK HEADSCARF and maroon dress woven with gold flowers, Myassar Seri prepares to teach her latest cooking class from her living room. Ingredients like za’atar, sumac, ground beef and cucumber are spread across the dining table. They’ll soon be infused into the five traditional Arab dishes on the menu, including shish barak—a ground beef–stuffed dumpling in harissainfused yogurt—and lemon-marinated fish in tahini sauce.


Seri is teaching these recipes to a handful of tourists, including myself, just as they appear in her bilingual Hebrew and Arabic cookbook on traditional Jaffa Arab cuisine. Like everyone I’ll soon meet in Tel Aviv, Israel, she’s passionate about her food and culture and isn’t afraid to show it. On my first trip to Tel Aviv, I was moved by the locals’ intense affection for their cuisine and its mix of modern and traditional elements. A popular Palestinian Israeli home cook living in the neighborhood of Jaffa in Tel Aviv, Seri is enthusiastic about uniting local Arabs and Israelis, as well as international tourists, over food, sharing the importance of “getting to know the other.” She’s equally focused on preserving these traditions amid the hypermodernizing Jaffa.

Jaffa is an ancient city within Tel Aviv, known for its mix of Arab and Jewish neighbors living side by side, and an over 3,000-year-old seaport fronted by modern restaurants and hotels. With about 450,000 residents and an impressive 4,000 or so restaurants, Tel Aviv prides itself on liberalism and trendiness—yet has a deep reverence for tradition and culture.

Although Tel Aviv excels at street food and traditional eats, it’s also a hot food destination for its trendy modern cuisine. One of the edgiest young chefs in Jaffa is Raz Rahav. His restaurant, called OCD, leads Tel Aviv’s ultra-local food movement and was voted the best place to eat in Israel last year by Middle East and North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants. The fine dining tasting menu is a 16-to-20-course communal experience served to two dozen or so diners. Favorite dishes include the whimsical, lightly fried zucchini blossom served with foam of local sheep’s milk, pistachios and burnished savory apricot gnocchi sprinkled with delicate wolfsbane flowers. Rahav’s affection for food shines through his meticulous attention to detail

on the plate. While I enjoy fine dining, traditional eats have my heart, so I know I have to visit Dizengoff Center Food Fair. It’s a popular place for locals to pick up home-cooked food for weekly Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. Dozens of vendors gather to sell traditional family recipes—I feel welcome as a few excitedly wave me over to show off their dishes. I try gefilte fish, kat’aif (fried Druze dumplings filled with walnuts) and tbeet, a Jewish-Iraqi cardamom-scented braise of chicken and rice.

A five-minute walk from the Dizengoff Center leads me back to more modern digs at Nahat Coffee on Dizengoff Square. It’s a contemporary micro-roastery and café that sources

and roasts its coffee beans, and draws laptop-affixed hipsters dawdling in the afternoon sun with a brew at arm’s length. Tel Aviv’s coffee veers more acidic and less bitter than American flavors, as shown in Nahat Coffee’s bold cappuccino. I appreciate that Tel Aviv’s coffee culture allows for long afternoons luxuriating in caffeine-soaked bliss versus my usual grab-and-go coffee routine.

32 | RANGE | APRIL 2023

Another place to experience this amalgamation of old meets new is Tel Aviv’s hectic shuks, or outdoor markets. One of the most popular and central is the Shuk HaCarmel, which opened in 1920. Here, local produce and decades-old vendors mix with modern street-food stands. Find Venezuelan food at Arepas, Mexican flautas at Viva Mexico, Middle Eastern fried dough at Burika Center, garlicky wontons at Giveret Kwaytiew and bamboo steamed pitas from Panda Pita, run by boyish chef Idan Panda. He watches, grinning, as I devour his cushy pita filled with an unexpected mix of Tunisian-style whitefish ceviche topped with pickled onions, tomato salsa, finely chopped herbs, harissa and pickled lemon. It pairs well with freshly squeezed pomegranate juice from one of the market’s dozens of juice vendors; he catches my attention by exclaiming “The best, the very best!” while waving me over to a stack of his juicy pomegranates.

Lost in a haze of chewy carbs, I wander just steps outside Shuk HaCarmel to the Yemenite Quarter. I had been told to try Hummus Shlomo and Doron, a petite family-owned restaurant that opened in 1937. The best hummus in Tel Aviv is a contentious topic, hotly debated by locals, but this spot tops many lists.

Clockwise from top left: Tel Aviv’s stunning Jerusalem beach; Myassar Seri teaches tourists to cook homemade Jaffa Arab dishes; progressive cuisine at the award-winning OCD restaurant, which leads the city’s ultra-local food movement.

Full plates

“My bulgur doesn’t have a lot of spices,” explains Jaffa-based cookbook author Myassar Seri. The important spice, she says, is the cumin, and by not overseasoning, the flavors of the bulgur and the vegetables have the opportunity to shine. The dish is vegetarian but can be supplemented with chicken or other meat.

The hummus mesabaha, a creamy concoction topped with bursting roasted tomatoes, soft chickpeas, tahini, bell pepper salsa and parsley, makes a compelling argument for the crown. International hummus creations here fuse Mexican, Balkan and Indian flavors. We shovel it into our mouths using puffed laffa bread, overlooking winding cobblestone streets.

One of my favorite spots is Manta Ray restaurant, along the seaside promenade—a must for fish lovers. Flaky baked blue bream is doused with olive oil and endive, and that’s following a 10-plate spread of seasonal appetizers like a piquant chickpea dish topped with crème fraîche, salmon with fennel and walnuts, fried goat cheese with beets, the house Balkan bread and more. Here, I don’t witness any outsized displays of demonstrative zeal, but chef Ronen Skinezes’s passion shines, especially in the nuance and preparation of his plethora of appetizers.

This last meal reminds me of my first in Seri’s living room. Sitting around her spare dining room table, packed edge to edge with lush, soulful dishes, I feel inspired by her exuberance at 63 years of age. I came to Israel to try rich cuisine, which exceeded my expectations, but I also leave motivated by the lesson to crack open and share my joy with the world. Hopefully, it will encourage others to do the same.


4 tbsp oil

1 onion, coarsely chopped

1 small carrot, chopped

1 cup bulgur

½ tsp cumin

Dash salt and pepper

1 ½ cups hot water

1. Heat the oil in a pot, then add the onion and carrot. Mix.

2. Add the bulgur, cumin, salt and pepper and stir until the mixture is covered with oil.

3. Add the hot water, bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer (covered, like rice) for 18 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.

5. Top with salad, roasted vegetables, herbs or whatever you prefer.

RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 33


Unique and familiar flavors move across your palate in a perfectly tuned epicurean dance. The music moving them is orchestrated through your chef’s creativity, the direction of the maître d’, your sommelier’s guidance and the attentiveness of the waitstaff. Experience a symphonic exploration of culinary pleasures alongside the unrivaled space and unmatched, personalized service found only aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises®.





in Helsinki

I’VE ATTENDED FIVE Winter Olympics, but tonight I’m enjoying a gold medal–worthy dinner in a former visitor center created for the 1940 (postponed to 1952) Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. At Restaurant Lasipalatsi (Glass Palace), I’m savoring each bite of my fillet of lake-caught pike with butter-braised horseradish, spinach and new potato salad. The classic secondfloor restaurant, featuring functionalist design with red seating, overlooks Mannerheimintie, the main Helsinki thoroughfare.

Summer alfresco dining at Helsinki’s Senate Square.
[ By Lucas Aykroyd ]
Art and architecture complement the Finnish capital’s surprising culinary scene.

Sipping my Mallaskoski wild blueberry ale, I feel at home. I’m half Finnish and have visited the beautifully minimalist Nordic capital (population 660,000) more than 20 times to see family or check out international hockey tournaments. Yet previously, Helsinki’s underrated culinary scene passed me by like its iconic green-and-yellow trams.

Fine dining in Finland is admittedly pricey, which is why I tend to stick to snacking on fresh peas at Helsinki’s harborside Kauppatori (market square) or inhaling the rich scents of sourdough rye bread, herring and cheese at the Vanha Kauppahalli (old market hall), built in 1889. But on this trip, I’m finally seizing my opportunity to explore what’s boosting Helsinki’s reputation for excellence in food and drink.

All aboard!

Rewind to my arrival at Helsinki Central railway station, crowned with a 160-foot clock tower. This 1919 Eliel Saarinen–designed edifice with stout Finnish granite walls blends art deco and art nouveau elements.

Olivia, the bustling on-site Italian restaurant, illustrates how great architecture enhances the charms of Helsinki’s dining destinations.

Olivia occupies the former railway ticketing hall, which is capacious, high-ceilinged and intimately lit. My pizza giardiniera with cherry tomatoes and sliced radishes is a perfect pick-me-up after a long flight. I augment my feast with a succulent caprese salad and fried calamari, washing it all down with a piney IPA from Helsinki Bryggeri Brewhouse.

Downtown Helsinki landmarks are mostly within easy walking distance, and the Scandic Grand Central Helsinki is no exception. The 491-room hotel, which opened in 2021, sits right around the corner—a convenient place for me to sleep off those delicious carbs. It’s a transformation of the Finnish railway company’s century-old offices, featuring expansive windows and a courtyard garden.

Books and bites

The innovation theme continues the following day. Prior to lunch, I investigate Oodi. Helsinki’s $132-million library has a space-age facade, robots shelving books, and 3D printers and recording studios for patrons. After stimulating my intellectual appetites, I’m peckish when I reach PikkuFinlandia (Little Finlandia), a five-minute walk away, next to Töölö Bay. It’s a can’tmiss temporary installation, substituting for the nearby Finlandia Hall event center, which is undergoing renovations. The best part of the 23,000-square-foot building, which evokes a forest with Scotch pine pillars, is the spacious café bathed in natural light. Here I sample chef Mika Jokela’s light bites with seasonal ingredients.

“I like to serve Finnish food and use Finnish products,” says Jokela when he stops by my table. Smoked reindeer mousse with potato flatbread? Check. Anise fennel soup? Check. Finnish cheese platter? Check. From the presentation to the textures, my meal harmonizes as beautifully as Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2

Divine dishes

Helsinki’s most-photographed building is the Lutheran Cathedral, built in 1852. The next day, after gazing up at its famous green dome, I head across Senate Square to lunch at Brasa. For those who crave food cooked over an open fire, this elegant, yearold establishment with warm contemporary decor beckons. The use of Japanese charcoal with spruce branches enhances the flavors.

This time, I go full protein. A starter of grilled marble beef tartare with mustard cream and capers leads seamlessly into a main of charred cod with wasabi leaves and fish velouté sauce. A glass of light Hartwall Aura lager, brewed in Turku, Finland’s oldest city, is the ideal complement.

Clearly, artistry is as integral to Helsinki food as to Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s bold mythological paintings,

which I grew up viewing at the Ateneum, Finland’s leading art museum.

Nowhere is that artistry more apparent than at Ateljé Finne. Impassive carved nudes decorate the restaurant walls. It’s the former studio of sculptor Gunnar Finne, whose 1932 Fact and Fable statue adorns the Esplanadi park near the harbor. At dinner, I revel in the creative culinary approach. The menu, laden with Finnish ingredients, changes every two months.

My gin and tonic includes Tënu gin, made by Finnish monks with forest botanicals. Frankly, the house-made bread and salty whipped brown butter alone are worth coming for. The Ahlberg garden salad savvily mingles romaine lettuce, radishes, toasted barley and a lemon vinaigrette. And the reindeer Wallenberg, a Nordic meat dish wrapped in thin pastry, is creamy-good decadence.

Jonesing for java

Where next? As a consistent caffeine consumer, I’m jonesing to check out Helsinki’s coffee scene. Many Finns drink eight cups daily.

So it’s off to the Paulig Kulma, which does triple duty as a café, roastery and barista institute. This is the flagship

Smoked reindeer mousse, anise fennel soup and a Finnish cheese platter. My meal harmonizes beautifully.

downtown location of a Finnish coffee brand founded in 1876. I order a light roast Colombian coffee with notes of strawberries, enjoying it with an avocado salmon sandwich and blueberry cheesecake.

Why not a booze pilgrimage as well? A recent study ranks Helsinki’s public transportation system the world’s fifth best. My trip by metro to The Helsinki Distilling Company certainly proves rewarding. It’s in a converted, brick-walled abattoir in the revitalized Kalasatama industrial neighborhood. “The main thing that makes our Helsinki dry gin different is the concentration of juniper and our use of fresh lingonberries from the north,” explains Belfast-born head stillman Michael Newitt. It’s definitely one of my tasting favorites, along with the Helsinki Applejack with sweet, aromatic apples.

All these excellent victuals linger in my mind at Restaurant Lasipalatsi as I polish off my crème brûlée with rhubarb sorbet. It’s a sweet conclusion to my Helsinki food forays. Finland is the reigning men’s Olympic champion in hockey, and based on what I’ve tasted, Finnish food is on a winning path as well.

RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 37
Clockwise from top left: Bikes and trams are popular modes of transportation; smoked reindeer and Finnish mushrooms are the stars of this dish by chef Mika Jokela; book a distillery tour at The Helsinki Distilling Company; enjoy a coffee on the Amos Rex art museum terrace; Oodi, the city’s library, is an architectural marvel.


is morocco's

Fried dough

On my first trip to my parents’ homeland, I discover that although fried dough might sound basic, in Morocco, it is so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s a revelation.


“Do you want to try it?”

It’s an early fall morning inside the leafy courtyard of La Sqala, one of Casablanca’s most storied and sophisticated restaurants. The air is infused with sweet mint, saltwater from the nearby Atlantic Ocean and the savory scent of deep-frying. One of the line cooks in the open-air kitchen notices my eyes light up, as if I’ve never seen a person make a doughnut before. I have, certainly, but never like this. He’s wielding a compact lump of wet, sticky dough and squeezing off apricot-sized balls between his thumb and forefinger to shape into free-form rings. Slack and squishy, they plop into the bubbling oil of an oversize, handmade copper pan. He hands me a long hooked skewer that looks a lot more like a medieval weapon than a cooking utensil meant for swishing the doughnuts around and removing them from the oil. “Really? Can I?”

I ask, thrilled by the invitation and serendipity of stumbling upon one of my favorite childhood foods within my very first 24 hours in the so-called white city.

Then, a belated flush of embarrassment that I’ve fallen for this corny photo op. Aside from the clunky Nikon camera hanging around my neck, I’m trying not to look like a tourist. I’m wearing my mother’s gray cotton caftan and accompanied only by my private guide, Ahmed, who’s helping me trace my family’s footsteps on my first trip to my parents’ homeland.

In the half century since they left Morocco before eventually settling in Canada, my parents have embraced some of the culture of their new country, but they brought up me and my twin sister, Annie, to appreciate

the foods they left behind. Among those foods were the modest yet plentiful fried breads and desserts for which the Maghreb is famous, such as these rustic doughnuts known as sfenj.

And while I grew up mostly eating the lavish and nuanced cooked salads, tagines and couscous dishes Moroccan cuisine is known for, many of my most vivid food memories revolve around these simple and comforting treats.

Made with a few inexpensive staples—flour, water and fat—fried dough is much more than the sum of its parts. Take sfenj (also called sfinz or sfinge), derived from the Arabic word for sponge. What starts as a wet, loose and unsweetened leavened dough is

deep-fried until golden and crispy, with a chewy, fluffy interior. You can dust it with sugar, drizzle it with honey or simply enjoy its crude and greasy perfection as is—as long as it’s served crackling hot from the pan.

A brief history of fried dough

Fried dough is a universal food that culturally and historically links generations and people around the world. Although I would argue (with shameless bias) that Morocco does fried dough better than most,

RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 39
From top to bottom: A selection of authentic Moroccan food at La Sqala restaurant; the author (left) snacking on honey-dipped sfenj with her cousin during Hanukkah.

you could probably find the same passion for the Italian version of sfenj, known as sfingi or zeppole. The same goes for endless other iterations, such as Chinese youtiao, Newfoundland touton, Indigenous fry bread and Indian medu vada.

Long before the cakey Krispy Kreme–style North American version of doughnuts we know (and love) today, doughnuts were invented—and reinvented—in many different ways. According to the Smithsonian, they’ve been around so long that archaeologists keep turning up fossilized bits of what look like doughnuts in the middens of prehistoric Native American settlements.

In fact, centuries before the Dutch brought their olykoeks, or oily cakes, to Manhattan in the 1600s, the Japanese were developing the art of deep-frying after the invention of pottery made it possible for oil to be heated in pots. And it is the Portuguese who can claim responsibility for spreading the gospel of fried dough under the shadow of colonization.

Awakening a childhood memory

My first taste of sfenj in Casablanca brings me back to the 1980s woodpaneled basement of the Toronto synagogue I attended growing up, where the women of our tight-knit Sephardic community would cook regular feasts. During Hanukkah, fried foods symbolized the oil that fueled the miracle of light that the holiday celebrates. After services, the party room would be decked out in mustard-yellow banquet chairs and red tablecloths, and the kids would gorge themselves on honeydipped sfenj—a reward for making it through the long prayers.

You can certainly make sfenj at home (or in temple basements). But in Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia,

From top to bottom: Chebakia, a Maghrebi pastry sprinkled with sesame seeds; a mosque door in Medina of Fez; mint tea is central to social life in the Maghreb and is usually prepared in front of guests.

where they’re known as yoyos, sfenj are often made and sold in little shops or open-air food stalls. A popular breakfast staple, the fried delights are usually the main product that vendors sell, cooking orders on the spot and often tying a few together with a palm frond. During my trip to Morocco, sfenj also becomes a gateway to a flood of other childhood food memories, some of which I forgot even existed.

At the Pâtisserie Bennis Habous in Casablanca, I encounter heaping piles of every Moroccan pastry I had ever tasted at a family holiday,


wedding or shiva, including roseshaped chebakia, deep-fried until golden, and coated with honey, orange blossom water and sesame seeds. Also known as griwech or griouech, they are just like my aunt Fiby’s, which she makes as part of an elaborate spread to celebrate Mimouna, a traditional Maghrebi Jewish feast that takes place at the end of Passover to mark the return of eating hametz (otherwise known as all things bready, leavened and delicious). Her cookies and fried Moroccan crepes (mofletta) are always served with mint tea in intricately patterned glasses rimmed in gold.

Ahmed and I buy mint tea and a box of assorted cookies and enjoy them next door to the patisserie, at Café Imperial. It is the quintessential Moroccan experience. I look forward to telling Fiby—she will be delighted for me.

Later in my trip, after I join a small group tour that brings us to the Medina of Fez, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I am stopped in my tracks by a street vendor making m’semen, a popular fried flatbread. It’s made by layering dough with butter and folding it into a square before stretching it thin over a griddle—often a portable grill heated from a gas tank and foot pump—yielding perfectly flaky and chewy layers. My grandmother Rosa often recreated these, dousing them in cinnamon and sugar. That fragrance would waft through her tiny apartment in Haifa, Israel, where she moved with my mother, Nicole, and her siblings from Casablanca, and where my sister and I spent many lazy summers growing up.

Searching for these childhood flavors has become my unofficial assignment, so much so that on my

last day in Marrakech before leaving for Toronto, our group guide, Abdellah, generously arranges for a pit stop on the taxi drive to the airport at the crack of dawn for an impromptu roadside breakfast of steaming bissara, or fava bean soup, and sfenj, double-fried for extra crispiness.

There’s a magic that happens when you encounter a food halfway around the world that evokes an essence of home. For me that spark is a perfectly cooked piece of fried dough that makes me feel like a child surrounded by everyone who matters to me, in a joyful synagogue basement—safe, happy and loved. Since rediscovering sfenj, I’ve tried to replicate it for my kids, seven and nine, to pretty authentic results. Only time will tell which of their personal food memories will stick, but I wouldn’t be surprised if fried dough is one of them.

For a limited time, Azamara Cruises is offering 50% savings on the fare for a second guest*, making it an ideal opportunity for couples, friends, or families to travel together. Book today, and you will also earn a $500 Onboard Credit* to use towards luxurious spa treatments, delectable dining experiences, exciting shore excursions, and much more. Plus, on select sailings, receive an additional $200 per stateroom* when you book with Ensemble.

Sail with Azamara Cruises and experience Europe’s best culinary destinations ashore and onboard. At Azamara, we incorporate the flavors of a destination into our food and drink menus. What does that mean for you? An exclusive, local, and personalized culinary experience. It’s time to get a real taste for travel.

RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 41
For Full Ensemble exclusive offer terms and conditions, please contact your Ensemble Travel Advisor. *Open to new, individual, and non-contracted group bookings created from 04/01/2023 to 06/30/2023. Applicable to select sailings and stateroom categories. Limited Combinability. Open for purchases made in US & Canada. For complete terms and conditions of offer, visit Azamara.com/Bogo50. ©2023 Azamara. Ships registered in Malta “Change the Way You Sea” is an international service mark of SP Cruises OpCo Limited.
Porto Venere, Italy
Please contact our travel agency. Manulife Premium Protection Plan® Travel insurance just got easier. A simplified travel insurance product that offers all-inclusive coverage for travelling Canadians. The Manulife Premium Protection Plan offers: • Great value • Up to $10,000,000 Emergency Medical Insurance • All-inclusive coverage, featuring the Cancel For Any Reason benefit • Assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week • Fewer exclusions and no medical questionnaire * Certain conditions, limitations and exclusions apply. See policy for details. Underwritten by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife) and First North American Insurance Company (FNAIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Manulife. Manulife, Stylized M Design, Manulife & Stylized M Design, and Manulife Premium Protection Plan are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and by its affiliates under license. © 2023 The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company. All rights reserved. Manulife, PO Box 670, Stn Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2J 4B8. Website: www.manulife.ca Telephone: 1-800-268-3763 Accessible formats and communication supports are available upon request. Visit manulife.ca/accessibility for more information. 23_558758 04/2023

Culture Stewed in

With one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants, Macau is a food-lover’s dream. But it’s the region’s historic national dish that’s the real showstopper.

Macau’s Ying Restaurant is known for its Cantonese classics.

MACAU IS sometimes referred to as the Las Vegas of Asia, and understandably so. The region, just a quick ferry or a short drive from Hong Kong, is glitzy and high-rolling, built out with behemoth hotels and bastions of gambling. But while the skyline is dotted with neon casinos and towering mega-properties, hang a right off the main road and you’ll find quaint cobblestone streets, built when Portugal ruled the region. Continue wandering and find 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the ruins of 15th-century Chinese temples, 17th-century lighthouses, 18th-century Catholic cathedrals and 19th-century Moorish fortresses.

Equally as layered is Macau’s cuisine—in particular its unofficial national dish. African chicken, or galinha à africana, combines Chinese, African, Goan and Portuguese histories and cooking techniques into a tangy, smoky, delicious dish that traverses cultures.

Of course, there’s much more to cuisine in Macau than African chicken. Good eats abound in the region, so much so that it’s been declared a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. There are sky-high rooms serving immaculate dim sum, dedicated temples of Japanese cuisine, and hot-pot spots, highlighting such lush ingredients as lobster and abalone.

On our first day in Macau, we sit down at Ying, where

Michelin-starred dim sum is the specialty. We’re hoping the selection of steamed and fried dumplings will cure the jet lag, but seated at our table overlooking the entire city, the experience is far more than just a filling meal. Each dumpling is meticulously folded, from crunchy taro dumplings shaped into swans to perfectly swirled soup dumplings. Even standard shrimp dumplings are served with a dollop of caviar. To finish, char siu flambéed tableside and sourced from black Iberian pigs that feast solely on acorns.

At Lotus Palace, the award-winning restaurant inside The Parisian hotel on the glittering strip, we fill our hot pot with well-marbled Wagyu (both Kagoshima and Kobe varieties). The seafood lovers choose from lobster

claws, razor clams and prawns pulled fresh from the ocean. Each ingredient is carefully served on icy trays alongside hand-pulled noodles.

On other days, we take advantage of the option to enjoy the casual end of things. In a city of so many cultures, it’s easy to snack on traditional Chinese soup dumplings in one stall, then turn down the next block for Portuguese cuisine—think salty cod or custard-packed pastéis de nata. These iconic egg tarts aren’t just famous in Portugal; they’re a must-have on any trip to Macau: silky and creamy with a crispy shell and the perfect amount of caramelization. (Stop in at Lord Stow’s Bakery for the best version.) Take a stroll down Cunha Street, the city’s top street-food strip. The narrow avenue’s choice eats

include pillowy mochi ice cream, crunchy peanut toffee, and egg rolls wrapped by hand and delicately fried as pedestrians watch.

So where does the famed African chicken fit into the city’s food mosaic?

Historically, local lore suggests that it started as a riff on a creamy, nutty-spicy African curry, brought to the city via hired soldiers hailing from Mozambique, Angola, and other African countries. These soldiers settled in the city as part of a Portuguese garrison, bringing with them their spices and dishes to keep home close at hand. After Portugal’s upheaval in the 1970s, the garrison was removed but many officers stayed in Macau, opening restaurants or lending their African heritage to local eateries.

Macau boasts sky-high rooms serving immaculate dim sum, dedicated temples of Japanese cuisine, and hot-pot spots highlighting such lush ingredients as lobster and abalone.
RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 45
Clockwise from top left: Macau from above; loster from Ying Restaurant A-Ma Temple.

As each culture that calls Macau home added something new to the plate, African chicken evolved. Portuguese spice traders contributed flavor—black pepper from India; mace, clove and nutmeg from Indonesia; and cinnamon from Sri Lanka. There’s a Goan influence—the South Indian territory was once under Portuguese rule—that brings coconut milk to the dish, while Africa leans in with the

peanut butter. Dried chilies come from China (Macau became a Chinese Special Administrative Region in 1999) while Portugal contributes paprika (plus a portion of Portuguese sangria to wash it all down).

Every chef has their own recipe for this famous dish. Restaurante Litoral opts for individual plates—a large piece of chicken coated in a thick sauce and served with fried potatoes. At Henri’s

Galley, it’s chargrilled, then drowned in peanutty peri-peri tomato sauce and dotted with olives. When we visit, it’s served family-style, heaped in a big cast-iron pan with a sizzling sauce that envelops the chicken. Silence falls over our table as we lean in to grab a leg or wing, then pass around a hot bowl of Portuguese paella and a pitcher of Macanese sangria, spiked with Portuguese Madeira.

If deciding among all the city’s food offerings proves challenging, rest assured that getting to Macau won’t be. It’s a quick 45-minute drive from Hong Kong (across the world’s longest sea bridge), or a short flight from most major Asian cities. Macau is also a port of call for many cruises, and an excellent layover destination for those flying home from a beachier location. Whatever you’re craving, Macau is a world of wonders.

46 | RANGE | APRIL 2023
Clockwise from top left: Iconic tarts pastéis de nata; Lotus Palace restaurant; African chicken.

The majesty of Alaska, the elegance of Cunard.®

Breathtaking natural wonders and unforgettable Cunard® style await you on our 2023 and 2024 voyages into The Last Frontier.

Cunard celebrates the signature flavors of Alaska.

Discover new flavors with our ‘Taste of Alaska’ Gala dining menu. Savor Alaska’s best-kept culinary secrets with live cooking demonstrations. Celebrate with unique desserts and exclusive cocktails inspired by Alaska.

© 2023 Carnival plc. Ships’ Registry: Bermuda. The Cunard logo and logotype and Queen Elizabeth are registered trademarks of Carnival plc, an English company trading as Cunard. All rights reserved in the United States and other countries. Image: Queen Elizabeth® in Glacier Bay National Park.
*Specialty dining experience for two applies to new bookings created April 17 – May 31, 2023 for any 7-Night Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Europe, or Alaska sailings departing July 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023 in balcony or above stateroom categories. Offer includes one complimentary specialty dining experience per stateroom for two guests. Venues and features vary by ship. Contact your Travel Advisor for full offer terms. All itineraries are subject to change without notice. ©2023 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Ships’ registry: The Bahamas. 23007599 • 02/16/2023 BEST CRUISE LINE OVERALL CARIBBEAN 20 YEARS RUNNING Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards AND IN THE Take adventure full-throttle — and full-flavor — with Royal Caribbean ® . Onboard the world’s most incredible ships, snag a front-row seat to the best culinary show at sea at Teppanyaki. Enjoy Sunday supper any day of the week at Giovanni’s SM Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar. Savor all-you-can-eat Mediterranean favorites at Solarium Bistro. And venture down the rabbit hole for dishes beyond your wildest dreams at Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine. Whether you sail coasts of the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska or beyond, your taste buds are in for a global journey of discovery. RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY SPECIALTY DINING EXPERIENCE FOR TWO WHEN YOU BOOK A BALCONY OR SUITE. * EPIC MEETS EPICUREAN
Contact your trusted travel advisor and book today. Hurry, offer valid April 17 Ð May 31, 2023! preferred partner of
Giovanni’s SM Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar


No rolling green hills here. The vineyards of Priorat, a region 90 minutes from Barcelona, are rocky, rugged and at high altitude—and known for producing incredible wines. Read more on page 56.


Frozen Island

More than half a million square miles of ice might not sound welcoming, but Greenland’s landscape, along with the Inuit culture and food, make for an incredible adventure.

RISING VERTICALLY OUT of the fjord, with big chopper blades thumping hard above me, everything below is indigo and emerald, gray and white. The cold, clear water contrasts with bright, verdant shores and snow-capped peaks. It’s an arctic land in bloom, so rich in color, you’d be tempted to believe that old scoundrel Erik the Red was actually telling the truth.

But soon, the pilot swings the big Bell helicopter around a corner and it’s all white and sky blue as far as the eye can see. “Here we go,” he says nonchalantly as we descend into a vast, unimaginable frozen world.

In so many ways, Greenland is the ultimate land of ice. The birthplace of the most northern hemisphere icebergs, it’s also home to more glaciers than you can count, not to

mention the largest polar ice sheet north of the equator, covering a mind-bending 660,000 million square miles.

I spent an entire week sailing around southern Greenland last summer. Now more accessible than it’s ever been, this Danish protectorate of 57,000 people is welcoming more expedition ships than ever before, too. And the notably non-icy name? That was essentially a canny marketing ploy.

Banished from his Icelandic home in the year 982, the infamous Viking Erik the Red

tried to make this place sound as desirable as possible, in order to attract more recruits to his settlements in this windswept and woebegone place. (It didn’t work.)

But even today, very little is green—the ice sheet alone covers 80 percent of the surface of this island, the world’s largest. Glaciers often run right down from the edge, frozen fingers reaching into every corner of this wild place. My ship was outfitted with two choppers, which dropped us onto hilltops for heli-hikes through territory

probably untrodden by any other human. We approached these mighty rivers of ice on an almost daily basis. “Oh, that one?” a guide asks when we inquire about the name of one particularly spectacular glacier, just at our feet. “I don’t think it has a name. Most of them here don’t.”

I also cruise long, narrow inlets while sitting on the inflatable pontoon of a Zodiac, the calm waters full of icebergs—big ones, with a hole in the middle, or wrapped around a whole aquamarine lagoon.


And I’m treated to a rare sight—a glassy, translucent jewel of a blue iceberg, one that had just recently flipped (icebergs do that sometimes). A guide explains that most bergs are ancient (say, 3,000 years old) and very dense, the air having been squeezed out over the generations. And that whole “tip of the iceberg” thing is true—you can typically

see only about 10 percent of their mass.

The people who have lived here for thousands of years have learned how to harvest the bounty of this hardy land and put it onto their dinner plates. About 90 percent of the population here is Greenlandic Inuit. On a visit to Aappilattoq (population 80), I chat with a traditional hunter.

Clockwise from top left: Hike one of Greenland’s many glaciers; visit the village of Aappilattoq to learn about Inuit culture; catch incredible views from Regent’s Sevens Seas Voyager, an all-suite, all-balcony luxury ship; try a taste of raw whale skin and blubber, called muktuk.

He tells me that the prices of processed food imported from the mainland are sky-high, something I see myself later when I browse the village’s little supermarket.

But that’s not really a problem—the locals find plenty of food around them. Fish and seafood have long been the primary staples here, so abundant that there is enough shrimp, halibut and prawns to sell to the Danes (seal and whale are just consumed locally). And the local diet extends to land-based delicacies, as well: reindeer, lamb and even the elusive and prehistoriclooking musk ox.

Back on board, we try just a small sampling of these provisions. In addition to our steaks and crab cakes, enjoyed at tables facing

floor-to-ceiling windows revealing a soaring panorama outside, we also down something called muktuk. It’s raw whale skin and blubber, very chewy and fresh.

It fortifies me for the grand finale, on the final day of the voyage: landing on the ice sheet. Stepping off the copter, I first climb a bouldery hill to get a better perspective of it all. Then, a walk down on the sheet itself, skirting crevasses and stepping across blue streams of meltwater.

I’m the last guest to get back on board. The crew cleans up the operation, picking up little flags that marked our paths and highfives each other for a day well run. Rising again in the chopper, I take one last look at all that ice—ancient, lovely, and utterly enchanting.

RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 51

Coastal Delicacies

Head to the village of Mali Ston on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast to indulge in its famous European flat oysters, farmed here since the times of the Roman Empire.


has followed me from the orchards of Croatia’s Neretva river valley as my coach winds from those verdant hills toward the enticing Dalmatian Coast, a popular holiday destination since the days of the Roman Empire. With more than 1,200 islands and numerous beaches, the shimmering Adriatic Sea is an idyllic vacation playground.

Here in the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean, the azure shades of the sea cause many of my fellow travelers to gasp in delight, snapping photos as our bus descends south along the coast on the way to Dubrovnik. But first, a stop in the medieval seaside village of Mali Ston.

Home to fewer than 150 people, this town on

the Pelješac Peninsula has imposing surroundings: the Walls of Ston. Nicknamed the Great Wall of Europe, this 14th-century structure is among the longest fortifications on the continent. The village’s low-rise pale stone buildings are crowned with red ceramic roofs, while bright bursts of pink bougainvillea are found in between buildings lining the edge of the Bay of Mali Ston.

I stand in the shade of the grand Toljevac Tower as our guide tells us about the region’s salt production, one of the oldest operations in Europe. With a pending UNESCO World Heritage status for its historical edifices, a famed salt history and the wide variety of marine life in the Malostonski Zaljev Nature

52 | RANGE | APRIL 2023

Reserve, Mali Ston has another claim to fame: oysters.

European flat oysters have been farmed in these waters for more than 700 years, with locals boasting French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito as fans of ostrea edulis, the species of mollusk. More than half of the country’s shellfish farming is located within Mali Ston Bay, with

approximately two million oysters harvested annually.

The fresh scent of the sea surrounds me as the wooden tour boat leaves the dock and gently glides through the bay waters, the sun’s rays illuminating the oyster farms below the surface. Gazing, down, I notice the oysters are like a kindergarten class on an outing, each attached to a blue string descending to the depths of the salt water.

The farmer shows us all sizes of oysters—the younger set’s shells are light gray, while those ready to harvest are linked to the rope in pairs, their dark shells blanketed in layers of brown algae.

Shucked quickly by one of the farmers, the coastal delicacy is offered to me au naturel, the briny sea scent and salty flavor a heady experience for my unaccustomed palate.

My usual convention of adding a dash of hot sauce or a spoonful of mignonette is unnecessary: I’m happily indulging in these bivalves as they are, tasting three years of hard work and centuries of history all contained within their shells. Although scientific studies can’t confirm their reputed aphrodisiac properties, I’ve fallen in love with these oysters.

Back on the mainland, we gather at a harbor restaurant’s shaded terrace for a locally sourced seafood feast: steamed mussels and shrimp, grilled octopus and lobster, and platters of Mali Ston oysters, my new addiction now consumed with a squeeze of lemon, a glass of chilled Pošip (a lovely Dalmatian white wine) and repeated toasts of živjeli! Let’s live!

trilogy RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 53
Clockwise from top left: Medieval seaside village Mali Ston; oysters pair beautifully with sauvignon blanc; fresh catch waiting to be processed; the view through an opening of the Walls of Ston.

La bella vita!

There is just something about Italy. Maybe it’s the endless supply of all that is delicious —the pizza, the pasta, the wine, the gelato—or the breathtaking scenery, from the jagged peaks of the Dolomites to the rolling, vineyard-clad hills of Tuscany, to the dramatic Amalfi coastline.

Or maybe what makes Italy so magical is knowing that no matter how many times you visit, there is always something new to see, do, learn and fall in love with. One thing is certain, you’ll find the good life on every Globus vacation!

Hidden Treasures of Southern Italy

9 days | from Naples to Sorrento

Indulge in the rich flavors of Southern Italy as you enjoy a wine and olive oil tasting followed by dinner at local masseria (local farmhouse) near Castellana Grotte.

Veni, Vidi, Vici: Umbria & Tuscany By Design

8 days | roundtrip from Ostia

In the hills of Umbria, you’ll learn the art of truffle hunting with local farmers who share everything you need to know about finding, collecting, and cultivating truffles.

Northern Italy’s Highlights & Cinque Terre

10 days | roundtrip from Milan

Bite into 1,000 years of Italian tradition with a Parmesan cheese tasting in Busseto. Learn about the rich history that has passed the test of time with perfected recipes in local caseifici (cheese making factories) of the Italian pastoral landscapes.

With Globus, you’ll not only see Italy—you’ll experience it!

LAND Ancient Vines

Off-roading from the beaten path in Priorat, one of the world’s most magical but least-known wine regions.

YOU KNOW WHAT TO expect from most wine regions. You’ll drive through rolling green hills, stopping at a tasting room or two to sample before strolling through a manicured vineyard.

Priorat is not that. As I drive into the county, out my window is one of the most dramatic panoramas I’ve ever seen, an almost mystical, mountain-topped skyline and a deep, rocky valley with barely a house in sight. If I look down, the road drops off drastically. Unsettling, yes, but I’m distracted by the sunset washing over the mountains and turning the landscape gold. It’s otherworldly—surprising, as we left Barcelona just 90 minutes ago.

That’s the magic of Priorat. The area is close to the Catalan capital, but it’s rugged and remote, defined by the rough cliffs of the Serra de Montsant mountain range.

Despite the striking landscape, Priorat is one of the most outstanding places in the world to make wine.


That said, farming here isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a foreboding and almost impossible place to grow grapes, with vineyards often reaching inclines of 50 percent. But local winemakers love the challenge. One could compare them to sculptors coaxing figures out of marble and painters building landscapes from oil and pigment—artists working with difficult mediums to make masterpieces. From rocky, treacherous, highelevation terrain, Priorat winemakers carefully tend to vines and turn their grapes into elegant, powerful, age-worthy wines.

Winemakers here call it divine intervention. In the 12th century, Carthusian monks set up monasteries in the mountains, drawn to the area’s connection to the almighty. They saw the mountains as the foot to the ladder to God.

Today those monasteries are in ruins, but the area still serves as a mecca of sorts, if only for winemakers. Compared to the packed tasting rooms of larger wine regions, Priorat is intimate. You’ll often have the wineries to yourself and tastings are typically one-on-one with the owners or winemakers. (Foot traffic is limited, so make a reservation beforehand.)

As I pull up to one vineyard, the winemaker greets me, apologizing for the dirt on his hands and his puppy jumping to welcome me. Later in our tasting, he sees me raise my eyebrows at the mention of a new wine he’s working on. Next thing I know, he’s climbing up barrels to extract a sample. “I want to know how you like it!”

During these tastings, the biggest topic is terroir—how

every single detail of the land comes together to make singular, special wines. For example, Priorat is completely sheltered from inclement weather by the Serra de Montsant mountains. During the day, the county is soaked in Spanish sun. At night, the Mediterranean winds chill the heat. You can taste the weather in the wine—full-bodied but mineral-driven and fresh, like it was kissed by a cool breeze.

There’s also the soil: deep reddish-black, made up of craggy chunks of slate. Locals gave it the name llicorella for

its midnight colour. As anyone there will tell you, it’s a small region—there are fewer than 5,000 acres of planted vines, compared to California’s nearly 900,000—but it is incredibly special.

You can make Priorat a day trip from Barcelona, but if time allows, stay a while. Although Barcelona never sleeps, Priorat is the opposite. It’s no wonder monks sought serenity here—dinners are serenaded

by little more than crickets or a strong gust of wind.

(While the terrain is rugged, accommodations are not. There are many beautiful B&Bs on winery grounds and luxury hotels like Terra Dominicata, a former monastery turned boutique hotel.)

However long you stay, bring wine home. Each bottle possesses an ability to snap you back to Priorat, if only for a sip.

RANGE | APRIL 2023 | 57
Clockwise from top left: Priorat’s Escaladei Monastery; have a taste at the top of the vineyard; freshly harvested red grenache grapes; a glass of Priorat red wine.


A Celebration of Food

Delight your taste buds at these one-of-a-kind international food festivals.


Hanover, Germany

Join one of Germany’s largest open-air parties, a three-week summer bash held on the promenades of Lake Maschsee. A series of stages along its palm tree–lined banks offer all sorts of delicacies, from creamy gelato and bratwurst sausages to savory crepes and tapas. Take a boat tour to enjoy musical performances from the water while you dine or find the perfect picnic spot in the abundant surrounding green space.


Barbados (multiple locations) This October event showcases Barbados’s best chefs and rum producers as they participate in cooking demonstrations, serve breakfast on the beach and turn out their finest street grub at the food truck mash-up.


Montreal, Canada

This massive winter festival over more than two weeks in February combines performing arts, gastronomy and immersive outdoor activities. Bringing together Montreal’s finest chefs, local winemakers and producers with culinary masters from across the globe, the wide range of delicious food and wine reinforces the city’s sterling reputation for excellent cuisine. Bring your appetite for exclusive dishes and collaborations between culinary experts and wine connoisseurs.


Victoria, Australia

Expect plenty of food stands, special restaurant menus, tastings of regional wines and unique cooking workshops run by famous chefs at this annual event, which takes place every March.



Paris, France

The world’s most famous event dedicated to chocolate and cocoa invites you to taste the latest treats from over 500 international chocolatiers, pâtissiers and confectioners annually in late October. Enjoy live demonstrations by the world’s finest chocolatiers and watch them compete in the prestigious World Chocolate Masters competition.


Copenhagen, Denmark

Cooking demos, communal dinners, live music and innovative new dishes are all part of the experience at this festival, which hosts more than 100 events—from harvest feasts with expert chefs to specialty food tastings.


St. Moritz, Switzerland

This festival held in January highlights a different cultural theme each year—recent examples include Japanese cuisine, top female chefs and Middle Eastern food.


Brighton, England

Michelin-starred cooks, MasterChef winners and local culinary artists show off their scrumptious summer recipes at this annual food festival. Learn how to create showstopping cakes and pick up expert tips from The Great British Bake Off stars. Take part in a chilieating competition, sample signature cocktails, fill up on delicious street food from around the world and meet local artisan producers. Kids can join in on the fun at this family-friendly event, too, which is free for those under the age of six.


Make the epicurean moments of a lifetime as you travel the world with Seabourn. Enjoy award-winning cuisines brought to life in the most immersive culinary experiences imaginable. Like our Seabourn exclusive Caviar in the Surf ®, an encounter of decadent culinary pleasure where you’ll indulge in Champagne and caviar as you wade in the crystal-blue waters of the Caribbean. And that’s just one memorable example. You owe it to yourself and your palate to explore our world of delicious moments.

Please contact your Ensemble travel agent for more details

when you voyage to a world of epicurean firsts.

Travel Reimagined

Bringing together the most curious and adventurous travelers, experts and advisors, Range offers experiences that go further—discovering extraordinary new places, people and exciting twists on popular and up-and-coming destinations. Highlighting unique trips, resorts and itineraries in incredible regions, we’ll encourage you to think beyond the traditional and journey off the beaten track.

In this issue, we hope to whet your travel appetite with stories themed around food and drink, covering destinations from Macau to Helsinki, Tel Aviv to Puerto Vallarta.

Once Range has inspired your dream vacation, our travel advisors are standing by to make it a reality.

MONTH 2023
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.