Thursday, November 7, 2013

Goldring Travel's 2013 Food & Wine Cruise - Preparations and a Plan...Sort Of!

In just a few days I will be flying to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the start of the Goldring Travel 2013 Food & Wine Cruise on the Seabourn Quest.  This is, at least for me, a rather quirky cruise, but one I am truly looking forward to.

So what the heck does that mean?

I guess the start of its quirkiness is that it is only a seven day cruise; something that I am not a huge fan of because one doesn't really have the time to settle in, relax and fully enjoy all that there is to offer. But for every rule there is an exception and, alas, this itinerary is an exception.  It is unique, beautiful and affords some great...and as you will read, I mean "GREAT" food and wine experiences.

Black River Caviar, Seabourn's Exclusive Caviar Provider, is partnering with Goldring Travel
to create a truly Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience
Then there is the fact that one of my biggest thrills is not on this cruise, but the next one:  Seabourn's first Antarctic cruise.  Most of you know I am a naturalist with an honor's degree in biology; specializing in marine biology (and if you didn't know, now you do!).  The entire Expedition Team will be on this cruise, preparing the ship with new zodiacs (which I will, of course, have to test to be sure they are safe for the guests!), getting used to the ship and, oh yes, spending some time with me.  I had some nice chats with the leaders previously Seabourn's 2013-14 Antarctic-Patagonia-Chilean Fjord Cruises: Just About Everything You Wanted to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask...or Didn't Know What to Ask and am looking forward to something a bit more personal than Skype!


Oh, yes, then there is the cruise.  Let's quickly look at the itinerary:



November 13, 2013 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
November 14, 2013 Ilhabela (Sao Sebastiao),Brazil
November 15, 2013 Paranagua, Brazil
November 16, 2013 Porto Belo, Brazil (Changed from Imbituba, Brazil)
November 17, 2013 Sea Day
November 18, 2013 Montevideo, Uruguay (overnight)
November 19, 2013 Montevideo, Uruguay
November 20, 2013 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Truth be told, I am not really looking forward to my time in Rio de Janeiro. I have really tried to find something great to do while recovering from the long flight.  Nada.  Nunca.  Nothing.  Yes, I will be staying on Copacabana Beach and I will see (from a distance) the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, but between the crime, the poverty and the apparently lack of ability to just "find" great things, I feel like it will be a sleep, a Caipirinha (the rum drink of Rio), a roast pork sandwich  and a transfer to the ship. No, a samba dinner is NOT happening! Nor is a cable car ride.  Even Anthony Bourdain came to that conclusion.  (Watch this brief Relive Rio with Tony clip!) This is very unusual for me, but I am wide open to spur of the moment experiences, but you know that!  (What do you think?  Do you think I can find "that" place?)

In Ilhabela, Brazil I am going on a rain forest hike in the Mata Atlantica Rain Forest. It is supposed to be an "invigorating" two-hour hike along an improved trail through the trees with "the roar of waterfalls and delicate birdsong" being "the prevailing sound effects".  I love bird-watching, but as I am on a tour, settling down for 3 or 4 hours isn't going to be happening, but struggle through I shall.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot (not really), I have some of the Goldring Travel Food & Wine Events.

As we depart Port Belo, Brazil, the Famous Goldring Travel Exclusive Food & Wine Tasting Event will be held.  Seabourn’s chefs have been planning and specially provisioning some great culinary treats, including Brazilian Barbecue, and some outstanding Argentinian wines, among other things for our onboard celebration.

The afternoon of our Monday arrival in Montevidego, Uruguay we will enjoy the Ensemble Experience including a tour and wine tasting at H.Stagnari Winery as well as a tour of the city. Returning back to the ship by 5:30 PM, there will be plenty of time to enjoy Montevideo in the late afternoon and evening.

Tuesday in Montevideo is the 2013 Goldring Travel Food & Wine Experience !  We begin our day with a Private Shopping with the Chef visiting the famous Mercado.  We will then wind our way to Rara Avis, arguably the best restaurant in Montevideo. But before we enjoy a specially designed menu pared with Uruguayan wines that are not available even in the restaurant, we are going to have a Caviar Experience like no other.  

Working with Seabourn's exclusive caviar supplier, Black River Caviar, Goldring Travel has arranged something so unique, so experiential, so cool I am certain not even the Seabourn chefs could have the opportunity to do this otherwise.  (Yes, I am that excited about it!)  I will talk more about Black River Caviar and its relationship with Seabourn later, but the most important thing, environmentally speaking, is that no wild sturgeon are involved.  All of the sturgeon, of appropriate stock (more on that later in this blog), are farm raised about 3 1/2 hours from the ship.


And to be sure that everyone truly appreciates caviar in an entirely different light, I have provided all of my guests with a really interesting and well-written  book:  The Philosopher Fish – Sturgeon, Caviar and The Geography of Desire.  The New York Times Book Review said of it, “Ecological journalism at its best, an effective and compassionate chronicle of a threatened way of life” and the New Yorker called, “Deeply observant and well-written”.  I find it one of the best of it genre and a great read.

There will, of course, be an Ensemble Traveler Cocktail Party probably on one of the first few evenings before dinner to round out the events.

Unbelievably, the next day our cruise ends as we arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Whether staying in town, heading to Iguassu Falls or the Mendoza wine region there is much to do and see.  More on that later!

If you are interested in the 2014 Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise on the Seabourn Legend May 29, 2014 (Baltic Gems and Russia) call me at (877) 2GO-LUXURY or email me at eric@goldringtravel.com