BEAN-TO-BAR CHOCOLATE THE CAPITAL OF CHAMPAGNE FORAGED FARE AROUND THE GLOBE COZY CULINARY SPOTS IN LONDON
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THE BEST CULINARY VACATIONS START WITH WE PROMISE: •
COUNTLESS BENEFITS WITHOUT THE STRESS Your time is valuable, so planning your trip should be seamless. Enjoy exclusive privileges like complimentary amenities and custom touches when you book with us. •
UNIQUE EXPERIENCES + LOCAL INSIGHTS Gain the insider’s edge through our worldwide partnerships and expertise. •
PERSONALIZED SERVICE We thoughtfully plan unforgettable tailor-made moments – simply put, our focus is you.
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Savory Fare With Savoir Faire From Southern To Sicilian In the congenial company of never more than 16 guests, Alexander+Roberts luxury Small Group Journeys offer intimate dining and tasting experiences you won’t find anywhere else. On their new Bourbon, Horses + Kentucky tour, travelers enjoy fine Southern cooking prepared by some of the top chefs in Bluegrass country. At the Holly Hill Inn, famed chef and inn-owner Ouita Michel offers her innovative Bourbon Flavor Wheel Dinner with farm-to-table dishes that have many of the same tasting notes found in Kentucky bourbon. A+R guests will also enjoy breakfast with a jockey along the backstretch of Churchill Downs, private bourbon tastings at craft distilleries, and visits to family-run farms where the passion for horses runs deep.
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Across the Atlantic, Sicilian Delights + Antiquity is a new 9-day journey that delves into the rich legacy of the ancient civilizations that swept across this Mediterranean island, from Romans and Goths to Arabs and Normans. Along the way, guests will sample fine wines, sit down to wonderful meals, and experience genuine Sicilian hospitality. A foodie tour of Palermo’s colorful Vucciria Market and a pasta-cooking class on a vineyard estate are just two of the highlights. For more information, please contact your Ensemble Travel Group Advisor. Be sure to ask how you can save $1,200 per couple on these two Alexander+Roberts journeys.
©2019 Celebrity Cruises Inc. Ships’ registry: Malta and Ecuador.
Even our cuisine takes you to new places.
Globally inspired menus crafted by a Michelinstarred chef. Locally sourced ingredients. Fresh preparation daily. And the most awarded wine collection at sea. That’s our recipe for making every meal on board a world-opening journey of its own. For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel Group Advisor
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LETTER FROM THE EDITORS Dear Reader, Welcome to the second edition of The Traveler’s Table, a food & wine-focused travel magazine. We believe that discovering a destination’s local cuisine is the heart of any travel experience, and we hope this magazine tantalizes your taste buds and sparks your desire to travel. In this issue, we’re uncovering the culinary scene in some of London’s top hotels. Visiting farms where you can pick your own food and dine right at the source, and exploring “foraged food” restaurants. We’re also tasting Japan’s curry scene, rum from Bermuda; plus eating our way through northern Spain and sipping our way through Reims, the capital of Champagne. And last but certainly not least, we take a decadent dive into the world of bean-to-bar chocolate. We hope to satiate your wanderlust with the tasty travel tales on the following pages. When you’re ready to book your own culinary adventure, rest assured that your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor is ready with the insider knowledge and connections to make your trip seamless, authentic, and world class. Cheers,
Kim Buerkle and Alice Stroh
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11 TABLE OF CONTENTS
SCAPE WINTER WITHOUT 9 ESACRIFICING WINTER’S MAGIC
25 WORLDLY DELIGHTS AND CHOWDER: 29 COCKTAILS BERMUDA RUM
31 A TASTE OF MACAU 32 TASTE: AUTHENTIC CURRY IN JAPAN 36 THE CAPITAL OF CHAMPAGNE 40 A TASTE OF NORTHERN SPAIN WORLD OF FLAVOR – 44 ABEAN-TO-BAR CHOCOLATE
DINING WITH PURPOSE 20 PICK YOUR OWN PARADISE 22 FORAGING FARE, FOUR WAYS
CREDITS Publisher: Ensemble Travel® Group Managing Editor & Creative Director: Alice Stroh, Kimberly Buerkle Contributing Writers: Alexa Wheeler, Tim Johnson, Hans Tammemagi, Smita Chandra and Sanjeev Chandra, Mark Stevens, Richard Frisbie, Mary Luz Mejia Art Direction: Cinzia Cammisa, Cherry Ann Valles Foxx Advertising & Design Inc.
Production Management: Joe Viecili, Dalia Shamkhani Foxx Advertising & Design Inc. Print Management: AM Lithographers
©November 2019 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be preprinted or otherwise duplicated without written permission of the publisher. Photos by Getty or writer.
Marketing & Advertising: Kimberly Buerkle, Sr. Manager of Marketing & Communications firstname.lastname@example.org
Ensemble Travel® Group 256 W. 38th Street, New York, NY 10018
The Traveler’s Table is a publication of Ensemble Travel® Group
Cover image: Getty Image ©Luchezar
Printed in the USA
FOR ALL TRAVELER’S TABLE OFFERINGS: Prices are per person, double occupancy unless otherwise stated. Prices and terms are displayed throughout this catalog as received from individual suppliers. Certain offers carry restrictions and penalties to be advised at time of booking. Validity differs with each offer. Offers are subject to change without notice, subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time. Offers apply to new bookings only. Some blackout dates apply. Ensemble Travel® Group does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy of prices and terms. Ensemble Travel Group and its sub-agents act solely as agents for the companies providing services and facilities to travelers and have no responsibility or liability for loss of or damage to property, injury, or death due to errors, omissions, or intentional acts of the companies providing services.
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A true expression of Silversea’s aim to take guests closer to the authentic beauty of the world in luxury, S.A.L.T. will build on Silversea’s commitment to unlocking unique and compelling experiences by connecting guests with fascinating destinations and cultures. The holistic journey of culinary discovery will extend throughout the cruise for guests, both on board and ashore, through curated experiences around the world.
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Tailored according to each region Silver Moon will sail, S.A.L.T. will incorporate culinary enrichments, including market trips, winery visits, and dining experiences in regional restaurant and bars; food and wine tastings; special dinners with guest hosts; insightful food lectures; cooking demonstrations from local guest chefs and food experts; and numerous other exciting enhancements. A dedicated S.A.L.T. Lab will provide the perfect setting for guests to explore culinary cultures from around the world, while a new S.A.L.T. restaurant will serve regional cuisine that will adapt according to the sailed destination. For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
ESCAPE WINTER WITHOUT SACRIFICING WINTER’S MAGIC BY ALEXA WHEELER
COMFORT FOOD, LIQUID CHEER AND ABOUNDING CHARM – LONDON HAS IT ALL.
When winter months hit and falling leaves become falling snow, temperatures drop, and down feather coats make their debut from the back of the closet, it’s not hard to find yourself wishing for three things: comfort food, liquid cheer and, possibly even, an escape from it all. Just a “puddle jump” away from North America’s northeast coast sits a bustling city full of winter delight. With cozy Christmas markets, charming locals, and comforting culinary affairs, London awaits. And you won’t have to meander the streets aimlessly since the food and beverage experiences these four hotels offer make visiting London a sure stroke of winter magic.
After spending time in London, embark on Crystal Cruises’ NORTH CAPE BRILLIANCE Wine & Food Festival voyage. SEE PAGE 49 FOR DETAILS. W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | 9
R OSE WOOD LONDON
LUXURY MEETS THE LOCALS
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While strolling near the iconic Covent Garden neighborhood, it’s probable you’ll stumble across Rosewood London’s magnificent Edwardian façade, with its arched grand entry leading into a courtyard via carriageway. But it won’t be the 308 sophisticated rooms and suites nor the home-away-from-home ambiance luring you in, it will be the scents of Holborn Dining Room’s British cuisine and the sounds of live jazz billowing from the windows of Scarfes Bar, welcoming both visitors and locals alike. For a meal that warms both your belly and your soul, take a seat in one of Holborn Dining Room’s red leather banquettes. Classic dishes not to be missed include the Monkshill Farm scotch egg, a traditional pie and, of course, sticky toffee pudding. While there, sip on a gin and tonic from the copper-topped Gin Bar, London’s largest collection of Gin. You can even take curated gin and pie masterclasses to learn the history behind the iconic beverage or the art of pie-making. But if time isn’t on your side, The Pie Room offers pies to-go with an actual “pie-hole” accessible via street-side for passersby to easily enjoy one of Britain’s most iconic dishes. At night, join the “who’s who” in a casual yet lively setting, and sip on perfectly-crafted cocktails at Scarfes Bar. The ambiance, which resembles that of a sophisticated gentlemen’s club combined with a drawing room, takes you back to a time of elegant old-world charm. Relax in one of the velvet armchairs next to the roaring fireplace while reveling at the collection of quirky caricatures, designed by renowned Gerald Scarfe himself, and the complimentary live jazz. The Scarfes Bar menu, comprised of ingenious concoctions, currently takes guests on a journey through the great musical genres with a threedimensional, caricature-inspired interactive stage. From Louis Armstrong and Aretha Franklin to Prince and the Spice Girls, every palate will be pleased.
Set near Covent Garden, Rosewood London is an ideal base for experiencing the exhilarating British capital. Enjoy easy access to a range of luxury boutiques and an array of restaurants, from traditional British ale houses to Michelin-starred dining. It is also just moments from a wealth of cultural hotspots, such as the British Museum, Royal Opera House, and Theatreland. Offering the sophisticated comforts of a contemporary private residence, the hotel envelops guests in a world of impeccable style and refinement. Equally suited for business, leisure, and family travel, the beautifully appointed accommodations are amongst the city’s most spacious and include 45 unique luxury suites and houses with personalized butler service.
AGENCY EXCLUSIVE AMENITIES: • Chef’s choice welcome amenity • Breakfast for two daily • $100 hotel credit per room, per stay • Upgraded room at time of check-in when available • Early check-in when available • Late check-out when available For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
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THE MIL E STONE HOTEL
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Situated in the heart of Kensington overlooking Kensington Palace is The Milestone Hotel and Residences. Just one step into the historic property, which dates back to 1689 and boasts rich furnishings, exquisite artwork, and a passionate team, and you’ll recognize not simply a home away from home, but a family away from family. As a boutique hotel that prides itself on balancing tradition with creativity, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a quintessential English Afternoon Tea. While sitting in the opulent Park Lounge enjoying garden views and a grand Victorian ambiance, you’ll begin to imagine what it must feel like to be part of the Royal Family. Indulge in an array of delectable finger sandwiches and freshly-baked scones, with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserve alongside festive inspired pastries. The festive treats include mini Christmas cakes, chestnut & white chocolate choux buns, praline macarons and coconut snowballs, it is a charming way to spend a Wintery afternoon in London, where you can relax near the fire in the elegant Park Lounge or Cheneston’s restaurant and savor the festive atmosphere of The Milestone Hotel & Residences.
For a relaxing evening away from London’s bustling streets, treat yourself to dinner at Cheneston’s Restaurant (which takes its name from the old English for “Kensington”), where rich mahogany furniture and Victorian-leaded windows create an atmosphere reflective of the hotel’s distinctive history. You’ll enjoy traditional British cuisine with a cutting-edge twist; don’t miss Cheneston’s Trolley from which the roast of the day is served and carved table-side. And save room for “dessert” – the infamous Smoking Old Fashioned at Stables Bar. The signature cocktail does what The Milestone does best and puts an elevated twist on a timeless classic. Served with whisky, barrel-aged in Canadian maple syrup, and vodka, and presented from a glass dome filled with swirling shisha smoke – the Smoking Old Fashioned isn’t just a nightcap, it’s a milestone London experience (pun intended). But if whisky isn’t the spirit you fancy, enjoy a glass of bubbly while partaking in a Milestone Champagne Sabrage, whereby a bottle of Champagne is opened with a saber.
The award-winning Milestone Hotel is located near the Royal Albert Hall and directly opposite Kensington Palace, and offers its guests wonderful views of both Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. The hotel is ideally suited for visiting Knightsbridge and the chic West End. Staff provide outstanding levels of service and meticulous attention to detail. All rooms and suites – as well as luxurious two-bedroom residences – are individually decorated. Exquisite facilities include Cheneston’s restaurant, serving modern British cuisine, and London’s best-kept secret, “Stables Bar.” The Health Club features a sauna, treatment room, and resistance pool. Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi.
AGENCY EXCLUSIVE AMENITIES: • Full English Breakfast for two daily • $100 food credit per room, per stay • One-way airport transfer (minimum of three nights in a suite OR minimum of five nights in a Residence) • Upgraded room at time of check-in when available • Early check-in when available • Late check-out when available For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor. W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | 1 3
W HOTE L – LEI CESTER SQUARE
‘HIP AND TRENDY’ IS A LIFESTYLE
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Although London is a city known for history and tradition, it’s also at the forefront of all things new. At the W Hotel - Leicester Square, the energetic social scene of the city’s entertainment district is brought indoors, but in a refined and sophisticated way. With an overarching brand goal to make each property its own destination and provide luxury in unexpected ways, the W at Leicester Square embodies cool Britannia with a contradictory “retox, detox, repeat” mantra. As soon as you step out of the elevator, disco balls greet you, leading the way to all the fun – The Perception. This bar and lounge consists of seven distinct areas for seven different experiences: the “W Lounge,” the “Playback” (with vinyls and turntables for use), “On the Rocks,” the “DJ Booth,” “Pillow Talk” (perfect for chit chat among the gals), “Call Me Bad,” and “Revolve” (which holds the largest disco ball in Europe and can be reserved for private events). With quirky artist installations, stunning designs and innovative cocktails and cuisine, your senses will be perplexed yet delighted by The Perception’s bespoke experience that highlights Londoners’ vibrancy. For Afternoon Tea fit for a queen, celebrate the playful, fabulous and electric world of drag, straight from the sparkling makeup box of a drag queen. From Ageless Queen, a sugar-topped pot of Crème Catalan, to Bronze Up, layered Oreo cheesecake topped with Pop Rocks candy, to scones served with Clotted Night Cream and Lip Jam, your beauty routine will reach diva-status. And for a not-sotraditional English breakfast, indulge in the candy Brunch with 1.5 hours of their bottomless Cookie Cream Cocktail and Prosecco, plus enjoy limitless candies, cookie and a live smore-station.
W HOTEL – LEICESTER SQUARE
Sophisticated and quirky, glamorous and decadent, W London - Leicester Square crystalizes the quintessential dual personality of the British soul. Located steps away from “theatreland” and Soho’s electric nightlife, the hotel – like the city itself – is a bold contrast of themes, colors, textures, and characters. Experience luxury comfort and the vibrant décor of W’s rooms and suites… from Wonderful to Extreme WOW. Hang out in the heart of London, discovering what’s New/Next in Music, Fashion, and Design. Experience Soho’s hottest new destination, The Perception, with its bold design and bar raising cocktails, then energize at FIT® gym and escape to the AWAY® spa.
AGENCY EXCLUSIVE AMENITIES: • Breakfast for two daily • Welcome amenity • Free Wi-Fi • $100 food & beverage credit per room, per stay • Upgraded room at time of check-in when available • Early check-in when available • Late check-out when available For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor. W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | 1 5
WHERE ICONIC ELEGANCE AND NEW-WORLD SOPHISTICATION COLLIDE
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In the heart of London along the Northbank of River Thames sits an icon itself, The Savoy. With a world-renowned name and a history dating back to 1889, it’s not surprising The Savoy remains a destination for generations. It’s dual historical influences, English Edwardian and Art Deco architecture, along with its grand entrance offset from the street, embark visitors on a legendary London experience. But the bones of the property are only complemented by what lies at its soul – sublime service and world-class fine dining. After entering the hotel lobby, guests can make their way into the Thames Foyer, the heart of the hotel. With its center gazebo, winter garden setting, warm natural lighting flooding in from its glass dome, and the serenading notes of a live pianist, you’ll be beguiled to indulge. Tradition reigns over Afternoon Tea, with an extensive range of over 30 teas that are accompanied by twists on classic sandwiches, homemade scones with clotted cream, jam and lemon curd, and the talented pastry team’s selection of pastries. For a traditional British dinner, Simpson’s in the Strand is an experience that has become a London institution. The restaurant pays homage to its 190-year heritage without sacrificing contemporary touches, and guests will feel prestigious yet comfortable. For pre-dinner drinks, head upstairs to Knight’s Bar, a hidden gem for locally-sourced gin, beer and wine, with a slew of other British-inspired options. However, downstairs, English comforts await. It was here where the tradition of carving a roast directly from a meat trolley wheeled throughout the dining room was born, and both Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill were known as frequent diners. Order from the trolley to enjoy 28-day aged Scottish beef and honey and mustard glazed Sussex ham. Or, you can order from the Bill of Fare (the menu) and devour classics such as English oysters, beef Wellington, and beer-battered fish and chips. And for the ideal end to any London getaway, order a drink at the understated American Bar, the oldest surviving cocktail bar in London, known for pioneering the cocktail movement. The contemporary flavors and renowned mixology will leave cocktail connoisseurs enamored, yet they’ll be taken back in time while being serenaded by a live pianist playing none other than American Jazz. The menu, “The Savoy Song Book,” mirrors the track listings of an album and celebrates the hotel’s historical musical moments. With 20 cocktails inspired by 20 songs giving tribute to musicians who once played there, guests will reminisce on iconic tunes such as Here Comes the Sun, Fly Me to the Moon, I Say a Little Prayer, Empire State of Mind, Purple Rain, Heartbreak Hotel, and many more.
A FAIRMONT MANAGED HOTEL An iconic hotel, brilliantly reinvented for the 21st century, The Savoy is perfectly placed on the banks of the River Thames with cosmopolitan, cultural London just beyond the world-famous entrance, and luxurious accommodations, distinctive service, and culinary expertise within. The Savoy’s 267 rooms and suites are decorated in either Edwardian or Art Deco style, and many afford breathtaking views over the River Thames. Blending comfort and elegance with discreet technology, nine Personality Suites take inspiration from high-profile guests, while the two-bedroom Royal Suite is an impressive stately procession of rooms spread across the front of the entire fifth floor, overlooking the river.
AGENCY EXCLUSIVE AMENITIES: • Full English breakfast for two daily •£ 85 food & beverage credit per room, per stay • 20% discount on beauty & fitness treatments •U pgraded room at time of check-in when available • Early check-in when available • Late check-out when available For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor. W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | 1 7
SECRETS RESORTS & SPAS: YOUR ULTIMATE CULINARY EXPERIENCE
at neighboring sister resorts. Enjoy complimentary dinner and drinks and live evening entertainment from 6pm to 1am. Have fun discovering what nearby resorts have to offer!
At Secrets The Vine Cancun, experience Gourmet Dining and Unlimited-Luxury® privileges which include all meals and top-shelf spirits. Indulge in an expansive array of local and international cuisine with bold flavors at each venue. Choose from five à la carte gourmet restaurants, a buffet venue, a grill, and a café. It’s all available at any hour day or night.
You can also check out Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun where the Heart of Mexico Festival is held in October. The event offers varied tastings such as a station for elotes and esquites, the famous puestor de tacos plazeros, the memorable pot of tamales, and the atole, giving a sweet touch with the jellies, flans, typical sweets and so much more! Ask about securing your spot for the 2020 festival!
Feel Like a night out? With their Sip, Savor, & See program enjoy drinks, dinner, and live entertainment
For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
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THE HOLLAND AMERICA LINE CULINARY COUNCIL® COUNCIL® Holland America Line’s world renowned Culinary Council and distinguished beverage experts bring unsurpassed expertise, creativity and passion to every dining venue, lounge and bar. From your first bite to your last sip, their influence will leave you wanting more. With the collective experience of seven world-class celebrity chefs, the Holland America Line Culinary Council® brings global influence and expertise to dining venues across the fleet. And on board each ship, every executive chef is a member of the
prestigious Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international food and wine society. Holland America Line’s Master Chef and Culinary Council Chairman, is Rudi Sodamin. Chef Rudi was born in Austria and trained in France. His innovative approach has made him the most decorated chef on the world’s oceans. Eating is a big part of travel, and while traveling with Holland America Line you can explore a wide range of delicious onboard dining options. Prepare to be dazzled by a variety of extraordinary choices and venues – each more delectable than the last. For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
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DINING WITH PURPOSE
PICK YOUR OWN
BY TIM JOHNSON
FRESH IS ALWAYS BEST – AND WHILE FARM-TO-TABLE HAS BECOME POPULAR ALL OVER THE WORLD, THERE’S NOTHING FRESHER THAN FARM-TO-FARM. AT A FEW SELECT SPOTS, YOU CAN EYEBALL THE FOOD YOU’RE GOING TO EAT WHILE IT’S STILL GROWING, MAYBE EVEN HELP IN THE HARVEST BEFORE THE CHEF COOKS IT UP AND PUTS IT DOWN ON YOUR PLATE. HERE ARE FOUR OF THE FRESHEST FARM RESTAURANTS UNDER THE SUN.
Alexander + Roberts’ BOURBON, HORSES + KENTUCKY: A WEEK IN BLUEGRASS COUNTRY, for intimate farm-to-table dining and boutique craft distillery experiences. SEE PAGE 48 FOR DETAILS.
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basil, thyme, fennel and other green ingredients, maybe grabbing a few olives on the way back to the sunny terracotta restaurant. Then you can either take a cooking lesson, combining fruits (or, more properly, herbs) of your labor, or sit back and let them do the work. Either way, you should sip some wine – one of the owners is also a sommelier, and they grow their own grapes.
O’o Farm (Hawaii)
Founded by a couple of surfers near the town of Kula in upcountry Maui, this small farm is set on mineral-rich volcanic soil, occupying a scenic spot at an elevation of more than half of a mile, with sweeping views to the island’s coasts. Drive up from the beaches, climbing a winding road into the clouds on the flanks of Haleakala, to take their three-hour “lunch tour.” It includes walking through forest, field and greenhouses, the latter growing tomatoes, lettuce, fruit trees, coffee, herbs and flowers, picking produce all along the way, then sitting down to watch their chef turn your harvest into a gourmet lunch. But if you can’t make it upcountry, you can still get a taste of O’o – the farm supplies Pacific’O, a high-end restaurant set right next to the sand under bending palm trees, down in Lahaina.
Mary’s Farm (Costa Rica) The Garden Table (Belize)
Lush and tropical, the farm here seems to stretch on forever, although only a small slice of their 12,000 acres is planted with (what feels like) every conceivable thing that will grow in the Central American soil. Located near the southern Belize town of Punta Gorda, fully 70 percent of the produce and meat served in the restaurant here is cultivated and raised on site, and the rest is sourced from nearby farmers. You’re encouraged to take a tour and see where all the magic happens – there’s coffee, cacao, sugar cane, mango, papaya, passion fruit, cassava and much more, plus organically raised sheep and chicken. It’s all prepared using traditional Belizean recipes, which draw on a wide variety of culinary traditions, from Mayan to Creole to Indo-Caribbean. Tuck into a super-fresh meal, finish with some chocolate from their own cacao plants, then visit the bar, where you can garnish your drink with coconut or lime grown in their Cocktail Garden.
Covered in jungle and bordered by rugged beaches, this corner of Costa Rica, near Mal Pais, still feels a long way from anywhere. When Mary’s grandfather arrived, he came on horseback, working hard to clear the heavy brush and planting traditional crops including corn, beans, and rice. Now hotels and yoga retreats dot the nearby Playa Carmen and Playa Santa Maria, and his granddaughter has taken things a lot further, planting eggplant, peppers, spinach, zucchini, cucumber and other vegetables, gathering eggs from her own hens, raising pigs and chickens, and buying fresh seafood from local fishermen. It’s all served up at Mary’s Restaurant, right on site, where the menu changes daily, based on what’s freshest from field and sea.
At this restaurant farm, the husband-and-wife owners (who once worked for the European Parliament and international NGOs and traveled the world before settling down in this pastoral corner of Greece on their ancestral land) will accompany you outside with a pair of clippers to snip your own oregano, W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | 2 1
DINING WITH PURPOSE
FORAGING FARE, FOUR WAYS BY TIM JOHNSON
MORE AND MORE DINING EXPERIENCES ARE TAKING GUESTS FOR A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE, SERVING UP SUPER-LOCAL FORAGED FLORA AND FAUNA – A RESTAURANT STYLE MADE FAMOUS BY THE MICHELIN-STARRED NOMA RESTAURANT IN COPENHAGEN. HERE ARE FOUR OF THE BEST.
Gustu (La Paz, Bolivia):
Equal parts restaurant and social initiative, this unassuming spot, tucked away in La Paz’s Calacoto neighborhood, was started by Claus Meyer – who most famously co-founded Noma, once the world’s best restaurant. Here in the world’s highest capital city (surrounded by snow-capped Andean peaks, the heart of La Paz reaches more than 3,600 metres), Gustu serves up a weird, wonderful, all-Bolivian tasting menu scoured from these high-altitude climes, where both the air and soil are thin. Also expect national favorites such as appetizers of ‘silky palm marrow with alpaca charque,’ Amazonian fish stew, and a dessert that delivers goat cheese ice cream. And in line with Meyer’s goal to “fight poverty through deliciousness,” he founded a cooking school for disadvantaged youth, channelling them into Gustu’s esteemed kitchen upon graduation.
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Atelier Amaro (Warsaw, Poland):
Set on the edge of a leafy park, it’s hard to imagine that this little restaurant was once a public bathroom. Departing a prestigious chef’s post at Noma, Wojciech Modest Amaro returned to his native Poland to build something great – a place in line with his goal to be both patriot and pioneer. Getting into his car, he traveled some 60,000 kilometres, all over his home country, in search of foragers and farmers to supply him and his atelier (which, for the record, has scrubbed away all remnants of its lavatory past). The result: foie gras and saffron and truffles and sage, served on rough-cut stone carved from the Tatra Mountains. Also: a Michelin star, and the chef becoming a star is his own right, now serving as the head judge on Poland’s version of Top Chef.
Amaz (Lima, Peru):
Named to a list of the world’s 50 best restaurants, this Miraflores upstart takes Latin American standbys – ceviche, cecina, empanadas – and adds a rainforest twist. Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino spent some 10 years in the jungle, forging bonds with Amazonian foragers who now serve as his suppliers, sending him exotic ingredients such as star fruit, river shrimp and cashew nut oil. And if you want to go a little beyond your comfort zone, you can do that, too – order pacamoto, an indigenous dish that cooks fish in bamboo, slowcooked Amazonian snails or wild boar empanadas.
Keenawaii’s Kitchen (Haida Gwaii, British Columbia):
Backing onto a peaceful inlet, Roberta Olsen’s home on these misty, mystical Northern B.C. islands has welcomed diners from around the world for more than two decades. Foraging for the food herself, Olsen’s meals draw on her Haida roots, using methods honed during an upbringing raised in a family of gatherers, and then fully realized when she discovered the power of food back in 1985, while cooking and serving her fellow protesters during a logging blockade on nearby Lyell Island. Gather first for a spiritual blessing, then tuck into bannock, dried herring roe on kelp, wild raspberries, wild rice, roasted sea asparagus, as well as octopus, black cod and sockeye salmon, and head out back to finish the evening with traditional songs, led by three generations of Olsens.
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For some, it’s sitting down to the ﬁrst ﬁve-star dinner of the trip, and being transported by the rich, unexpected ﬂavors awaiting you. For others, it’s sailing into an exotic, remote port without another ship in sight. And for you, it’s the little things. Discover your moment.
2 for 1 CRUISE FARES and FREE INTERNET inclusive package available
Includes Roundtrip Air fare * plus choose one:
FREE - Shore Excursions FREE - Beverage Package FREE - Shipboard Credit
ENJOY THE FINEST CUISINE AT SEA™ ABOARD OUR INTIMATE AND LUXURIOUS SHIPS.
For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel Group Advisor. Ask About our Exclusive Free Pre-Paid Gratuities or Free Shore Experiences.
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*Visit OceaniaCruises.com/terms for details. OCT190552
WORLDLY DELIGHTS BY TIM JOHNSON
EVERY COUNTRY HAS A CLASSIC CUISINE – THAT DISH, OR MEAL THAT YOU MUST ORDER WHEN YOU’RE VISITING. THESE PLACES TAKE THE TRADITIONAL AND TIME-HONORED – AND ADD THEIR OWN FRESH, MODERN TWIST.
Zinglee (Athens, Greece)
Located in upscale Kolonaki, on the flanks of dramatic Mount Lycabettus, Zinglee, with its laid-back bistro feel, art deco décor and soundtrack set firmly to jazz, specializes in beef-and-bernaise, paired with potatoes – a meal that’s been eaten in this part of Athens for decades. Zinglee is breathing new life into it with healthier cuts of meat, sourced from a single, Greek farmer, and breads made with organic flour, served with aubergine, beans, and lentils gathered from other local farms.
WuWu (Warsaw, Poland)
These days in Warsaw, vodka is everything. Small, atmospheric vodka bars are popping up in every corner of this capital city, including WuWu, which brings food into the equation. Find it right next to the newly opened Polish Vodka Museum, which tells 600 years of liquid history in a former vodka factory. At WuWu, Chef Adriana Marczewska has created a menu that pairs well with vodka.
Nordic restaurants in the world, and Bang has been rewarded with three Michelin stars. Rather than lutefisk, try the caviar, or the hand-dived scallops.
Chicken Kyiv (Kiev, Ukraine)
It’s the kind of dish your Ukrainian grandmother might serve at her house on special occasions – an old-school pleasure usually piled high with mashed potatoes. But this chic, new spot in Kiev has cut down on the portion size and added gourmet touches. They’ve included a lovely presentation of the time-honored dish (chicken breast, stuffed with butter and herbs) on just a splash of mash. Try their other takes on Ukrainian classics, like vareniki (pierogies) with truffles.
Maaemo (Oslo, Norway)
Young Chef Esben Holmboe Bang sought to reinvent Norwegian cuisine, best-known for its variations of dried and pickled fish. Since then, Maaemo, Norse for “Mother Earth”, has become one of the hottest
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IN EVERY BITE Amazing is Served
From morning breakfast to elegant dinners, Avalon frees your taste buds from the ordinary. Using the freshest local ingredients, our talented chefs prepare mouthwatering recipes from the region through which you're traveling and present them in a variety of inspiring settings.
For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel Group Advisor 2 6 | T R AV E L E R â€™ S TA B L E | W I N T E R 2 0 1 9
Biscayne National Park, Florida
WE NORMALLY ONLY TALK OVER THE PHONE. LAST NIGHT WE TALKED OVER SUSHI AT UMI UMA BY NOBU. TODAY, WE DIDN’T NEED TO TALK AT ALL. Made possible by my Ensemble Travel Group Advisor.
©2019 Crystal Cruises, LLC.
W H E R E L U X U R Y I S P E R S O N A L™
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL GROUP ADVISOR
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FEEL FREE TO START WITH DESSERT. When you cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line you are free to dine when you want, how you want and where your palate leads you. And if you prefer to start with dessert we won’t stand in your way. That’s the freedom you’ll enjoy with Freestyle Dining. Discover our Main Dining Rooms, where our daily changing menus are as fresh as the ingredients we use. Or Feel Free to reserve a seat in a specialty restaurant for a taste of something unique and unexpected. Do you prefer to
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dine inside or oceanside? Only Norwegian features The Waterfront, our revolutionary quarter-mile promenade lined with restaurants, bars and stunning views where you can experience seafood-inspired cuisine at Bayamo or Ocean Blue. Savor superb French fare at Le Bistro or Premium Black Angus Beef at Cagney’s Steakhouse. Enjoy the sizzles and surprises at Teppanyaki or bring the family for an Italian meal at La Cucina. In the mood for BBQ? Get ready to dig in at Q, our new Texas smokehouse. They’re all on board and they are all delicious. With no fixed dining times or pre-assigned seating and superb culinary experiences, nobody does dining like Norwegian. For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
COCKTAILS AND CHOWDER: BERMUDA RUM
BY SMITA CHANDRA AND SANJEEV CHANDRA
A PERFECT DAY AT THE BEACH INCLUDES THIS ISLAND FAVORITE.
We had just spent a perfect morning on the pink sands of Bermuda’s Marley Beach doing absolutely nothing except gazing at the azure waters off the island’s South Shore. Lunch at The Swizzle Inn, a short walk from the beach, seemed like a great idea. There is never any question about what to drink here; it has to be a Rum Swizzle, which the restaurant claims to have invented in the early 1900s. This fruity combination of rum, orange and pineapple juice, flavored with grenadine and bitters and served over ice, is part of Bermuda lore, drunk by celebrities and extolled in novels. Rum is an essential part of the West Indian culture that Bermuda shares. For centuries it was distilled from sugarcane molasses produced across the Caribbean. The liquor became a favorite of sailors in Bermuda and was shipped around the world. Rum was as valuable as gold and often a substitute for it, accepted as a form of payment. It’s not just for drinking; it is used in cooking as well. Rum cakes, rich, sweet and fruit-filled, are an island tradition. Another Bermuda institution – one that will scorch your taste buds – is Outerbridge’s fiery hot sauce made by steeping peppers in rum. This sauce is an important ingredient in Bermuda’s famous fish chowder. A traditional meal for fishermen, chowder is made by simmering the day’s catch in a cauldron along with chopped vegetables and finished with rum and peppers to give it an unforgettable bite. A trip to Bermuda is magical. Stroll along pristine beaches and watch the sun set over the crystal waters – even better with a Rum Swizzle in hand. At such a moment it is easy to understand why Mark Twain once said, “You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.”
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savor every moment at sea with Princess ®
Sample fresh regional cuisine on our cruises to the West Coast’s wine country
Bon Appétit shore excursions: Explore the local culinary scene on tours recommended by Bon Appétit magazine. An award-winning wine list: Our main dining room wine menu earned Wine Spectator’s 2019 Award of Excellence.
a taste of local life in the form of a fish taco
Pacific Wine Country Los Angeles to Vancouver, B.C.
Meals to remember: Enjoy a world of flavor on board, from made-fromscratch sauces to dishes inspired by Michelin-star Chef Curtis Stone in the main dining room. The ease of Princess MedallionClass™: Summon USA Today’s “best pizza at sea” or a cocktail while you watch Movies Under the Stars®. It’s all at your fingertips when you wear the OceanMedallion™.
Royal Princess® May 9, 2020 BALCONY fares from*
*Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses of $192 are additional.
Exclusive Ensemble Travel Group offer: up to $50 USD to spend on board! † For more information, contact your Ensemble Travel Group Advisor. † Up to $50 to spend on board is per stateroom. Offer is applicable to first/second-berth guests only. Third/fourth-berth guests are not eligible. Money to spend on board 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. Money to spend on board is quoted in U.S. dollars and is based on the ship’s onboard currency. Void where prohibited by law.
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A TASTE OF
IN MACAU, THE WORLD’S LARGEST GAMBLING DESTINATION, YOUR BEST BET IS THE FOOD.
Visiting Macau, I sit down at one of only two tables in a tiny, old-fashioned restaurant, and order the pato de cabidela – duck served in a dark brown, thick and very tasty blood sauce over rice. (In Portuguese, cabidela is a meat cooked in its own blood.) It’s spicy from commonly added chilies and mildly sour with the addition of vinegar; a tender and delicious old-style Macanese dish with Portuguese roots traced to Recife (Brazil) and Angola. Modern recipes call for wine and tomatoes instead of blood, but go for the real thing if you can find it – it’s amazing! Macau, on the South China Sea, was once the center of the Portuguese colonial trade routes. Now it is the gambling capital of the world with a unique cuisine that is a complex amalgam of ingredients and techniques the Portuguese collected from Brazil to Malaysia. When combined with Cantonese and other regional cooking – true fusion food was created. Today, the once obscure regional cooking is growing in popularity in the U.S., thanks to Chef Abraham Conlon’s famous Chicago restaurant, Fat Rice, and his recent Macanese cookbook. The Macau Institute for Tourism’s culinary school was founded with the intent to preserve Macau’s unique cuisine. In two decades, the institute has grown into several schools that include a teaching restaurant and hotel. While the lodging in Macau can be glitzy and over-the-top (think Las Vegas on steroids – a gilded mashup of Venice and Versailles), the institute’s Pousada de Mong-Ha is a simple, quiet place to stay
BY RICHARD FRISBIE
while visiting Macau. Combine that with visits to its teaching restaurant, which serves old-style dishes with a contemporary flair, and you’ll be helping the next generation of chefs and hoteliers to learn their craft as you enjoy great food and service. An early institute instructor and the founding director of the Macanese Culinary Association, Austrian chef Raimund Pichlmaier learned the cooking of Macau by watching his Macanese mother-in-law. He taught me how to make African Chicken, one of the most famous dishes of Macau. I should say he showed me, because his method of teaching was to let the students watch him cook and then encourage them to recreate the dish. There were no books or recipes involved. While curriculum and teaching techniques have changed considerably, the African Chicken is still a classic dish. Basically, it is a half chicken marinated in a coconut and citrus sauce that is grilled, with the sauce thickened and served over it. Shallots, chilies, tarragon and paprika really punch up the sauce’s flavor. Some modern recipes add peanuts, but in my opinion they just muddy the flavor. There are a few family-owned restaurants in Macau that epitomize the local cuisine. Restaurante Fat Siu Lau (you must try the marinated pigeon) and A Vencedora are both century-old restaurants, while Solmar Restaurant and Riquexo Café are decades younger, but all preserve the classic Macanese cuisine. By now it is apparent that my interest lies in the older Macanese dishes, but, when in Macau, I strongly suggest you taste the roots of Macanese cuisine and then experience the classic Cantonese cooking (especially the dim sum at The Eight!) that Macau is equally famous for. W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | 3 1
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AUTHENTIC CURRY IN JAPAN
BY SMITA CHANDRA AND SANJEEV CHANDRA
AS A COUPLE WHO LOVE TO COOK AND EAT, WHEN THE CHANDRA’S PLANNED THEIR VACATION TO JAPAN, THEY WERE LOOKING FORWARD TO ENJOYING AUTHENTIC JAPANESE CUISINE DURING THEIR TRAVELS. THEY DIDN’T ANTICIPATE THAT THE MOST MEMORABLE DISH WOULD BE SOMETHING QUITE FAMILIAR – CURRY!
We first discovered Japanese curry in Tokyo’s chic Shinjuku district at the famous Nakamuraya restaurant, where chicken and seafood curries are prominently displayed on the menu. For Indian visitors like us, this was irresistible – we had to try them! The curry came in a sauceboat, accompanied by a plate of white rice, grated Parmesan cheese and little dishes of fukujinzuke, pickled vegetables. The flavors of the curry were distinctly Indian, which only deepened the mystery. There was nothing in the décor or name of the restaurant that hinted at an Indian connection, so why was a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo serving Indian food? Curry has become such an integral part of their cuisine that most Japanese are surprised to learn it did not originate in their homeland. Curry arrived in Japan in the late 19th century, when for the first time, many Japanese began to travel to the west and were captivated by the culture and food they encountered. Most Japanese first tasted curry when traveling on British ships and associated this exotic dish with European rather than Indian cuisine.
The recipe for English curry followed a well-tested formula: meat and onions were fried in butter, curry powder and stock added, an apple thrown in for tartness, and the mixture slowly simmered. Japanese curry was similar, with soy sauce, honey and the all-important browned roux (made by combining flour, curry powder and butter) added in, making it uniquely Japanese. Cafés began to open in Tokyo serving coffee accompanied by pastries, pasta, and – strangest of all – curry. The Japanese love affair with curry intensified in modern times with the invention of ready-to-eat curry roux. A curry can be prepared in minutes by simmering meat or vegetables with this instant mix, making it the perfect comfort food to be enjoyed at home. Curry is now among the most popular instant food in Japan, with grocery stores selling frozen, microwavable or vacuum-sealed versions. Children adore milder curries containing apples and honey, and these have become a favorite item on school lunch menus. Curry is eaten with rice (kare raisu), over noodles (kare udon) or stuffed in bread (kare pan). National curry chains have carried the dish to every corner of Japan. Scallops, oysters and venison are all served in curries and considered regional delicacies. Traveling across Japan we enjoyed many memorable dishes: sushi at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market; tempura in the Asakusa district; yakitori skewers at a centuries-old inn in Kyoto; a vegetarian feast consisting only of tofu prepared in a dozen different ways at a Buddhist temple. But after savoring these we always came back to curry, for it was not only a beloved flavor for us, but also a little window into Japanese history. Nakamuraya’s restaurant has a particularly fascinating history, for it first opened as a café and added curry to its menu when the owner’s daughter married an Indian revolutionary who had evaded British police and found refuge in Japan in 1915. Nakamuraya’s curry was an instant success and the elite of Tokyo flocked to the café to taste authentic Indian food. Newspaper reporters soon picked up the story and made the curry famous as the “taste of love and revolution.” Who can resist sampling that? W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | 3 3
WINE AND CAVA FULL DAY TOUR Enjoy a wine and cava tasting by visiting three wine cellars in the Penedès area, and learn about why Catalunya is one of Spain’s most prominent wine producing areas.
EXPERIENCE THE TASTES OF SPAIN WITH DELTA VACATIONS. Book a flight, hotel and optional car rental package to Spain now and add one of the following excursions: TAPAS EVENING WALKING TOUR Immerse yourself in the gastronomic art of tapas. An informative guide will provide an overview of Barcelona, as well as teach you how to order tapas, and help you discover some of the best bars and cafés the city has to offer.
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COOKING EXPERIENCE - PAELLA, TORTILLA AND SANGRIA Visit fresh food stalls at Torrijos Market, and pick up local and seasonal products. Then head back to the cooking school, where an experienced chef will instruct you as you prepare dishes like Paella, Spanish omelet (Tortilla), Andalusian salad and Sangria. Enjoy the fantastic meals you’ve created with a tasting of different Spanish wines. For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor. Offers subject to change without notice, restrictions may apply. Offers void where prohibited by law. ©2019 Delta Vacations
EPICUREAN ADVENTURES AWAIT ON AN AMAWATERWAYS CRUISE. Family-owned and operated, AmaWaterways is known for immersive and authentic cultural experiences, pioneering innovation, exquisite locally-sourced cuisine and extraordinary service. Sailing the highest-rated river cruise ships in Europe according to premier travel authority Berlitz, AmaWaterways sails more than 30 itineraries, as well as dedicated Wine Cruises—epicurean adventures led by professional Wine Hosts to some of the most renowned wine regions across the globe.
Regardless of where you sail, you’ll be warmly welcomed aboard comfortable, elegantly-appointed ships by friendly crew who always go above and beyond to ensure that every mile you travel becomes your most cherished memory. Along with a variety of small-group guided shore excursions available in every port of call, our specialty Chef’s Table Restaurant, freshly prepared regional cuisine and hand-selected fine wines with every lunch and dinner and our prestigious, international culinary society dedicated to fine cuisine, Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, award-winning AmaWaterways offers an unparalleled river cruise experience. For more information, please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
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THE CAPITAL OF
CHAMPAGNE BY MARK STEVENS
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THE CITY OF REIMS IN THE CHAMPAGNE REGION OF FRANCE OFFERS UP DELIGHTFUL DIVERSIONS, PARTICULARLY IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE A HISTORY BUFF OR WINE-LOVER. We’re marching through a dark, damp tunnel deep beneath the city of Reims in France’s Champagne region. I feel like that character in the Edgar Allan Poe story, lured by the villain deep into a wine cellar and trapped forever. But not to worry: Bastien Blanchard, our guide, knows these tunnels inside out. My wife and I have signed up for a cellar tour of the champagne house of Mumm’s, a capital champagne in the capital of Champagne. We’re learning the story of “the drink of kings” from this iconic region’s unique microclimate to the role of these vast (15 miles’ worth) arched tunnels. Best yet, there’s light at the end of these tunnels: a tasting at tour’s end back on the surface in a room boasting great arched windows, sunbeams shimmering on crystal champagne flutes and a battalion of bottles lined up along a hardwood bar. Those bottles – magnums – are considered the “perfect size for champagne,” says Blanchard, but I’m still taken by a display of different bottles we’d encountered minutes ago in the caverns below. The larger bottles were named for Old Testament personages: pick up a Jeroboam, send out for a case of Methuselah, crack open a Balthazar.
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Wine lovers, expand your knowledge on Avalon Waterways’ BURGUNDY & PROVENCE Now Blanchard explains both the samples - SPECIAL INTEREST we’ll imbibe and the grapes that infuse CRUISE: WINE LOVERS. them as his assistant opens bottles with that SEE PAGE 50 characteristic “pop”. The champagne: Cordon FOR DETAILS. Rouge. The grapes: chardonnay, pinot meunier, pinot noir. Earlier on (back in the underworld), we’d learned about the special qualities of the Champagne region for growing. “It’s a unique microclimate,” said Blanchard, “particularly the chalk subsoil. Great drainage for growing and these chalk tunnels provide just the right humidity and temperature for aging.” Unique these features may be, but they also explain why this Mumm’s tour isn’t. At least six other “champagne houses” (the cellars at Taittinger were originally Roman mines) offer similar tours. Head out to the surrounding countryside, dining with perfect pairings in view of vineyards that decorate the region’s voluptuous hills or visiting the Museum of the Vine at nearby Verzenay. Or just explore this liquid legacy right in Reims. “Beneath the city of Reims,” says Blanchard, “there are 155 miles of chalk and limestone vaults where literally millions of bottles are aging.” Here in the tasting room, he shares the story of this particular champagne house. In the 19th century, three brothers from a German family of wine producers and merchants traveled to Reims based on the excellent reputation of local sparkling wines. They formed a new company, G.H. Mumm, in 1827 and the rest is history. History abounds here, a discovery we make when we spend a couple of days exploring the allures of Reims. During a stroll through this city where Roman ruins still stand, we stop and reflect in a little garden surrounded by a stone wall. Memorial plaques are affixed to the wall inside. The gardens pay tribute to local victims of the Gestapo. Just west of here is a somber red brick building that was once a schoolhouse. Now the Museum of the
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Surrender, it houses the very room where the Germans surrendered to the Americans at the end of World War II. As a result of damage from almost continual artillery barrages during World War I, Reims is now an intriguing mélange of baroque and art deco architecture, rebuilt from the ruins. The city’s imposing cathedral boasts pedigree spanning a millennium along with scars from Reims’ more recent bellicose history. For nearly a thousand years, the coronations of French kings were celebrated here. Joan of Arc oversaw the crowning of Charles VII inside these very walls. Boasting twin sky-reaching spires decorated by massive flying buttresses, sculptures and a façade delicate as lace though carved from stone, Notre Dame of Reims cathedral was severely damaged by those onslaughts of artillery. Today, along with the adjoining museum in the Palace of Tau, the cathedral is one of several local UNESCO World Heritage sites. At tour’s end, my wife and I browse the Mumm gift shop, emerging with a set of crystal flutes and a magnum of Cordon Rouge. Now it’s on to lunch at a sidewalk bistro, then a visit to the Fine Arts Museum housed in an 18th-century former abbey. At day’s end, it’s back to our humble accommodation. Tomorrow, we’ll drive to Paris; we’ll fly back to Canada. But tonight, we’ll get our kicks from champagne.
DISCOVER A WORLD OF DISTINCTIVE FLAVORS. Many of life’s most memorable moments happen at the table. Seabourn hosts sociable celebrations with superb cuisine equal to the finest restaurants anywhere, served with pride by an award-winning staff dedicated to your delight. Their ships offer ample seating in a variety of appealing styles, from the intimate supper-club ambience of The Grill by Thomas Keller*
to the relaxed elegance of Earth & Ocean† under the stars, all at no extra charge. Complimentary Champagne, fine wines and craft cocktails are served at any time. Enjoy Shopping with the Chef♦ at local markets and excursions sampling the flavors of the world’s most desirable destinations. For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor. *One reservation permitted per voyage. †Weather conditions permitting. ♦ Shopping with the Chef excursions are subject to availability and market schedules.
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A TASTE OF
SPAIN BY RICHARD FRISBIE
FROM THE SALT VALLEY TO THE ALORRENEA CIDER HOUSE, WRITER RICHARD FRISBIE EATS AND DRINKS HIS WAY THROUGH THE RIOJA ALAVESA REGION OF SPAIN’S BASQUE COUNTRY. The Basque city of San Sebastian, known for its Michelin-starred restaurants, is the pinnacle of culinary destinations in Spain. The hard work of regional vintners and growers created the foundation that supports it. But, before we taste the gastronomy of San Sebastian, my friend, Mikel Urkijo, picks me up at the Bilbao airport and insists we tour the Basque interior to seek the roots of that perfection. Saltwater from springs that bubble up to the surface through the salt deposits of ancient seas is still evaporated the way it was in Roman times at Salinas de Añana, or Salt Valley. Gravity moves saltwater along wooden troughs to shallow tables jutting out from the hillside like giant steps. They are supported by wooden scaffolding so encrusted with salt that it looks like 4 0 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | W I N T E R 2 0 1 9
a snowy landscape even in summer. The result is the purest form of salt, endorsed by many Michelin star chefs, used to season the great cuisine we are served everywhere we go. The landscape of the region is dominated by rugged spires of rock to the north. The vast rolling plain below is ideal growing country, offering a patchwork vista of farms and vineyards fanning out around hilltop villages. Laguardia is the most picturesque; its ancient walls protecting narrow, pedestrian-only streets hiding a vast network of wine caves beneath them. One belongs to Casa Primicia, the oldest original winery in Spain. Here, the history of the early wine-making process is preserved. We take stone steps down to the 15th century wine cave before viewing the modern stainless-steel wine making set-up in the back room. Casa Primicia’s award-winning wines are paired with the various courses we enjoy at the nearby restaurant, Los Parajes. My favorite dish is a traditional Basque potato and sausage “Rioja style,” a satisfyingly complex comfort food to match the full-bodied Julian Madrid Reserva wine of Casa Primicia.
The village of Villabuena de Álava, with a population of approximately 300, has more than 30 local vineyards. The Villabuena Wine Route received the Best of Bilbao-Rioja Wine Tourism Awards for 2019. We are the only tourists among a primarily Spanish-speaking crowd of locals but are welcomed and guided through courses served both in the Bodegas de la Marquesa, with award-winning Valserrano wines, and our hotel’s dining room. There, excellent wines are paired with course after course of traditional Basque dishes given a modern twist. My favorite is the venison macerated with Añana salt, mixed berries and violet potatoes. The red, wine-enriched juice of the berries puddled around violet potatoes, while the sweetness of the berries cuts the richness of the tenderized meat. It’s expertly paired with Valserrano Finca Monteviejo, but my favorite wine of the evening is the white Valserrano Gran Reserva. In a deep valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains are pastures with hedgerows containing fig and banana trees. Here we find the award-winning sheep cheeses of Ondarre. Owner Eneko Goiburu Murua W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | 41
shepherds 125 Latxa sheep between the distant fields and his barn daily. It’s a family operation dating back 450 years, producing hand-packed and turned cheese rounds. Its near-manchego consistency and taste have earned him the highest awards in the regional tasting competition. Each Saturday, his cheese sells for 23 euros per kilo at the largest regional farmers market in nearby Tolosa, while another local specialty – dried black beans – sells for 13 euros a kilo. Basque cider is a low alcohol, probiotic drink, best enjoyed at informal, family-style cider houses. We eat eggs, cod, and rare steaks off the serving dishes at communal tables. Nearby, narrow streams of cider shoot out of the barrels to be caught in glasses, if we are lucky! The noisy, barrel-lined halls deliver a fun-filled, delicious gathering for all ages. We visit many more wineries and restaurants – there are hundreds to choose from – and other small towns and villages on our tour. These are just the highlights. Then, having earned our visit to the culinary delights of San Sebastian, we head north, with a stop-over in the regional capital, Vitoria-Gasteiz, to ease our way back into civilization. Its ancient, pedestrian-only center is charming. Walking down tree-lined streets past many parks, we see why it was named European Green Capital in 2012, and why it is consistently ranked one of the most livable cities in Spain. Those accolades are well-earned and tempt us to linger in hopes of discovering its secrets. Sadly, Mikel and I barely pause. We thought we would be hungry for San Sebastian’s famed Michelin cuisine. Instead, country boys to the end, we decide on a pintxos (the Basque version of tapas) tour of the old town. It is a deliciously fitting end to an extravagant culinary journey. 42 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | W I N T E R 2 0 1 9
SAVOR AN EXQUISITE CULINARY JOURNEY THROUGH FRANCE.
along the Médoc Châteaux route, a Sauternes vineyard visit and tasting at Château Cazaneuve, pay a visit to the Cité du Vin Museum and experience an onboard Valrhona chocolates and wine pairing.
Uniworld’s Connoisseur Collection—available on select 2020 departures in France—explores the world of French cuisine with exclusive, culinary-inspired excursions and events.
In Burgundy & Provence onboard the S.S. Catherine guests will enjoy a wine pairing lunch at a Burgundy estate, an onboard Valrhona chocolates and wine pairing, a Hermitage vineyards hike with wine tasting and a gastronomy tour of Lyon.
Onboard the S.S. Bon Voyage on Uniworld’s Brilliant Bordeaux itinerary you’ll enjoy a private wine tasting
For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
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A WORLD OF FLAVOR - BEAN-TO-BAR
BY MARY LUZ MEJIA
Once upon a coffee mug, people balked at the thought of spending more than a dollar on a cup. Same with beer. And further back in history, wine. But as people began to discover a world of flavor in each of these, they started to appreciate the work that goes into a superlative glass, bottle or cup of their favorite libations. In much the same vein, craft chocolate, also known as bean-to-bar, is finding its place on people’s palates and gaining momentum around the world. Culinary historian, cacao expert and author of The New Taste of Chocolate, Revised: A Cultural & Natural History of Cacao with Recipes (Ten Speed Press, 2009), Maricel Presilla, PhD explains, “True chocolate lovers who care about fine chocolate value a direct connection with fine cacao sources and enjoy eating chocolate that can be traced to specific origins, farms and makers who care enough to be an integral part of the entire process from sourcing beans to making chocolate.” 4 4 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | W I N T E R 2 0 1 9
If that sounds rather lofty, it’s because it is. Some people come to find bean-to-bar chocolate because they’ve read one of the many articles about how mass-produced chocolate (much of it sold to chocolatiers and pastry chefs around the globe) abuses cacao farmers and children, and delivers inferior chocolate that lacks any real flavor or character. Whether you’re a proponent of human rights, the environment, or are a gourmand at heart who just wants the best possible chocolate, here’s a list to keep handy for your next vacation. The good news is that in most every major city around the globe, there’s at least one craft chocolate shop that, by virtue of how it makes its bars and bonbons, is selling more than just a delicious bar.
Co-Founder of the International Chocolate Awards and proprietor of chocolate consulting business Seventy% Martin Christy recommends you visit Ara Chocolat in Paris. Venezuelan Andres Zakhour set up shop in one of the city’s double-digit arrondissements where he could afford the rent and ply his craft. Inside his “boîte” of a shop, you’ll find nut-cream filled organic, vegan chocolates. Zakhour likes working with sesame, coconut, cashews, green mango and Brazil nuts in creating superb bonbons. Don’t miss his single origin bars made with cacao beans representing specific regions, such as his home country Venezuela, Belize, Costa Rica and Peru.
Shokan, NY (and beyond)
Founder of Fruition Chocolate Works and Confectionery Bryan Graham and his wife Dahlia Rissman Graham create award-winning wonders at their chocolate factory and shop in Shokan, New York, in the Catskills. But don’t sweat it if you’re not headed that way, because craft chocolate shops across the country carry some of their incredible edibles, including the multi International Chocolate Award winning Marañón Canyon Dark Milk bar made using pure Nacional cacao beans from the remote Marañón Canyon region of Peru. Dark milk chocolate, if you’ve never had it, is like an intense milk-chocolate made richer by using a higher percentage cacao and some whole milk powder to give the finished product creamy notes. Or pop a few gold-medal scoring Pistachios with Za’atar and Orange Spice, made with white chocolate (for a good white chocolate, it’s all about an excellent cacao butter), tossed with spices, orange oil and salt. W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | 4 5
In the city’s Little Italy neighborhood, step into the chic white-walled, Scandi-styled world of État de Choc where 90-95% of bars and bonbons are bean-to-bar. Proprietor Maud Gaudreau uses locally produced bean-to-bar chocolate that her chocolatier, Stéphanie Bélanger, turns into award-winning treasures. At this
San Francisco, CA
In the city’s Mission District, you’ll find one of the world’s most celebrated bean-to-bar makers and one of Presilla’s favorites, Dandelion Chocolate. When craft chocolate makers seek inspiration, they head to San Francisco to absorb as much as they can from Stanford University graduates Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring, the creative forces behind Dandelion. Since 2010, the duo have been sourcing the best beans from around the world and letting those flavors shine through in their bars. They’re so serious about their cacao, they even publish a yearly Sourcing Report, outlining what they’ve found, used and purchased. Head over to their 16th Street factory for a tour, then sip or savor chocolate in a cup or bar at their Bloom café. Or try one of their collection series, 4 6 | T R AV E L E R ’ S TA B L E | W I N T E R 2 0 1 9
year’s Canadian leg of the International Chocolate Awards, État de Choc won a gold and two silvers in the “dark bars with inclusions or pieces” category for their Mini-Tablette Maïs Piment, the Mini-Tablette Sapin Érable and ode to their city, the Carte Montreal. All three are made with Daniel Haran’s Chocolats Monarque’s chocolate from Central and South America.
where you sample bars made from the same beans by the San Francisco team and Dandelions’ Japanese team - the differences may surprise you. The Tokyo-made 70% Gola Rainforest from Sierra Leone, for example, has flavors of cinnamon, black tea and toasted walnuts - the team there preferring more umami-forward, fermented flavors than their American counterparts. Wherever you go, you’ll unwrap a fascinating world of sensory discovery. The next time you pick up a craft bar, take a moment to break off a piece, smell it first, place a square on your tongue and let the chocolate melt. You’ll find it takes you on a journey that can start out with bright berry notes that finish with deep, red wine-like nuances. Whispers of Central American rainforests or Caribbean highlands share their terroir tales, and it’s all yours in every well-crafted, bean-to-bar wonder.
EXQUISITE CUISINE. Every specialty restaurant on board Seven Seas Explorer® requires little more than a reservation and offers the best in taste, presentation and service. Bite into a perfectly aged and skillfully made filet mignon at Prime 7 and create your own flavorful experience at Compass Rose. Be transported to Burgundy by the traditional and uniquely prepared Escargot à la Bourguignonne in Chartreuse and visit Italy via a perfect bowl of cioppino in Sette Mari at La Veranda. Deliver an exotic touch to your evening with a mouthwatering, lobster tempura dinner at Pacific Rim. Relax al fresco at the Pool Grill or on your private balcony with your 24-hour room service. Our exclusively developed Culinary Arts Kitchen classes are more than just a cooking class.
Explore the delectable cuisines, robust spices, authentic recipes and local ingredients of the regions you visit as you sharpen your culinary skills. The 18 culinary workstations are fully equipped with top-of-the-line induction cook-tops, stainless steel sinks and a comprehensive collection of cooking essentials. Receive individualized, hands-on instruction and select from a wide curriculum of classes, catering to all levels of aptitude, from beginners to experienced cooks. Wherever you choose to sail aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, you’ll feel free to embrace every moment as you discover something you won’t find with anyone else, anywhere else or at any other time. Discover what will be… An Unrivaled Experience®. For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
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