Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Goldring Travel's 2017 Culinary & Cultural (Food & Wine) Cruise - Part V (A "Spiritual" Interlude)

Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by Travel

The focus of the Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Cruises is not to simply eat great food and drink great wine and cocktails, but to be immersed in the how and why they exist and taste the way they do. 

Michelle Shea, our Adventure Dining Guide Chef and Mixologist, has just posted an excellent article on how to "spiritually" combine the spices of the Medina in Tangier, Morocco into delicious elixirs that capture a bit of your travels...and then how to modify the spirits to reflect different parts of the world.

I guess you could say that Michelle helps you "drink in" the culture!  (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Announcing the 2018 Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural (Food & Wine) Cruise on the Seabourn Encore

I am excited to announce the 2018 Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural (Food & Wine) Cruise on the Seabourn Encore setting sail on October 6, 2018.

Goldring Travel is going to try something a little bit different.  This is a 14 day cruise, which departs Barcelona, Spain on October 6, 2018.  However, you can sail only for the first 7 days, or the last 7 days, by embarking or disembarking in Civitavecchia, Italy on October 13, 2018.

PLUS if you book this 14 Day cruise with Goldring Travel during Seabourn's 30th Anniversary Event you will receive a $600 Onboard Credit (whether single or double occupancy) or $300 on the 7 Day cruise. Book a Penthouse or higher and you will receive $2,000 in Onboard Credits for the 14 day cruise and $1,000 for the 7 Day cruise.

What I love about this itinerary is that you can have a "taste" of Spain, France, Northern Italy, Southern Italy and Greece all on the same cruise.  Imagine the culinary and cultural opportunities there will be!

And, of course, sailing in early October means the weather will still be warm, but the crowds will be gone!

Here is the itinerary:

SAT 06OCT18 Sail from Barcelona, Spain 5:00pm
SUN 07OCT18 Mahon, Menorca, Spain 7:00am 4:00pm
MON 08OCT18 La Joliette (Marseille), France 1 9:00am 11:00pm
TUE 09OCT18 St Tropez, France 1 8:00am 5:00pm
WED 10OCT18 Ajaccio, Corsica, France 8:00am 6:00pm
THU 11OCT18 Monte Carlo, Monaco 8:00am 6:00pm
FRI 12OCT18 Portovenere, Italy 1 8:00am 5:00pm
SAT 13OCT18 Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 7:00am 6:00pm
SUN 14OCT18 Amalfi, Italy 1 8:00am 5:00pm
MON 15OCT18 Syracuse, Italy 1 10:00am 7:00pm
TUE 16OCT18 Crotone, Italy 8:00am 5:00pm
WED 17OCT18 Kerkira, Nisos Kerkira (Corfu), Gre 8:00am 6:00pm
THU 18OCT18 Katakolon (Olympia), Greece 8:00am 5:00pm
FRI 19OCT18 Nafplion, Greece 1 10:00am 7:00pm
SAT 20OCT18 Debark Ship Piraeus (Athens), Greece 7:00am

This 14 Day cruise is extremely well priced starting at $6,999 + $255 (taxes) for a V1 Veranda Suite and includes all of the Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Events.  Interested in only a 7 Day Cruise?  Prices start at $3,999 + $155 (taxes) and all of the Culinary & Cultural Events during your portion of the cruise.

While the Special Events have not yet been determined you can count on their being one in France, Italy and Greece along with a Private Shopping with the Seabourn Chef, Private Cooking Demonstration and Private World Famous Food & Wine Spectacular and, as always, some last minute festivities!

Give Goldring Travel a call, email or Facebook message!

US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
UK: 020 8133 3450
AUS: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 530 652 9232

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Goldring Travel's 2017 Culinary & Cultural (Food & Wine) Cruise - Part IV (Incredible Private Cooking Demonstration and Fireworks in Gibraltar)

The Goldring Travel 2017 Culinary & Cultural Cruise had a bit of a delay departing out of Portimao, Portugal due to high winds and subsequent tidal restrictions.  For me it was a bonus as it resulted in a second sea day, rather than spending a full day in our next port, Gibraltar. I have spent too much time in Gibraltar as a superyacht lawyer resulting in a less than a burning desire to return even though I won the case.

Chef David Whelehan and his team put on an incredible
Private Cooking Demonstration
More importantly, and luckily, Chef David Whelehen used the time to have the Goldring Travel Private Cooking Demonstration…And did he ever have one!  Well, not really one.  He had four (4) chefs demonstrating; including the Head Pastry Chef.  (Michelle Shea, our Adventure DiningGuide chef, was going to assist, but honestly it was an overwhelming show.)  

And, as a really sweet touch, the Sous Chef previously from The Grill by Thomas Keller on the Seabourn Quest was present and was really excited to see me.  That made me feel really good.

Chef David, keeping with the Spanish cuisine, but with a flare, concept started off with a delicious chorizo frittata to snack on while he prepared the other dishes

Chef David cooked up some delicious mussels purchased the day before during our Private Shopping with the Chef to start the seafood flowing

Please note not only the delicious mussels,
but the stylish
Goldring Travel Culinary & Cultural Cruise Jacket
that every guest receives when booking this annual cruise.
New jackets every year!
and then huge red prawns (Carabineros) from the market (and only found in the deep waters of area we were cruising) 

and the two huge tiger prawns…which were prepared and plated especially for me by my (second) favorite chef!

While this was happening the Head Pastry Chef was making this incredible tiramisu right in front of us.  Slowly creating layer after layer.  And, yes, I did find a spoon to taste the sabayon as he was spooning in the first layer.  (Not sure why nobody else did!) Yum! 

Meanwhile back at the cooking stations, Chef David created an incredible lobster and crab risotto using the two huge crabs he purchased with us in the market the day before.  It was the best risotto I have ever tasted outside of one seafood risotto I had in Venice. (That very particular risotto takes over two hours to make.)  I can still taste it.

Believe it or not, Chef David and his team was not finished (er’ um, finishing us off) with Black Sausage Sliders that were simple (OK, not that simple), and incredibly tasty.

And then, of course, the tiramisu was presented for dessert.

Chef David and his staff absolutely blew us away.  And this wasn’t even the Famous Food & Wine Spectacular set for the last day of the cruise.  There are no words…in part because we were all so full and gastronomically speechless.

Seeking refuge and a soak to settle my very full stomach, I headed to “my” hot tub on the bow.  Not five minutes later a waiter appeared with a rum punch for me as The Rock of Gibraltar came into sight. Seriously? 

Arriving in Gibraltar at 6:00 p.m. with a world-class food coma, it was time to relax for a while before the Rock the Boat party and, of course, 10:00 p.m. fireworks for Gibraltar’s National Day before setting sail and bringing another fantastic day to a close.

But not to worry:  There is more...Lots more!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Goldring Travel's 2017 Culinary & Cultural (Food & Wine) Cruise - Part III (Cadiz and Portimao : Sherry, Cocktails, Cheese...and a Mixology Competition!)

The Goldring Travel 2017 Culinary & Cultural Cruise aboard the Seabourn Encore continued with a well needed, less chaotic, pace after our day in Tangier, Morocco with our arrival into Cadiz, Spain.

I took a walk around Cadiz, where I have been before, wandering the streets until I came upon the local market, which has been rebuilt into a fairly modern affair.  It was extremely interesting from a culinary standpoint, but lacked the cultural flavor I remembered.

With Cadiz having access to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Straits of Gibraltar the variety of fish and shellfish was amazing.

I also watched a man who scooped and bagged olives with great flare and a smirk just screaming, “Yes, I know I am that good”.  And then I saw some pickled garlic and had to get some.  I would note that the olives in Spain are so much more flavorful and far less salty than the ones we have in the United States.  And the same can be said for its hams and other cured meat.

And you know I picked up some local cheese...including an amazing blue cheese.

I then saw a big plate of fried boquerones (anchovies).  It quickly became my lunch…along with a local beer.  They were delicious, but there were so many and were so large that there was no way I could finish them.  But as a 4 Euro lunch, it was fantastic.

Boquerones (Anchovies)...Really big ones!
It was then back to the ship to prepare for another Private Goldring Travel Event, possible only because the Seabourn Encore stayed late in Cadiz:  An Evening at Gonzalez Byass, the home of Tio Pepe sherry.  

This time, once it got there, we had an actual air conditioned bus for our half hour drive to Jerez, Spain and our private tour including samplings of some of the better sherries

followed by a paired dinner in a beautiful, modern, setting so different from winery itself

Angler (Monk) Fish & King Prawns Salad
 Paired with Fino Sherry Wine Tío Pepe
Oxtail Paired with Dry Sherry Oloroso Alfonso
Following a Creamy Leek Soup Paird with Dry Sherry Amontillado Viña AB
Dessert from Jerez “Tocino de Cielo” Paired with Very Sweet Pedro Ximénez Néctar

But with no rest for our intrepid group, the next morning we arrived in Portimao, Portugal had a Private Shopping with the Chef with the Seabourn Encore’s Executive Chef David J. Whelehan.  Chef David is a quiet, modest, man who has softness about him.  But once you get to know him, he has a very funny dry sense of humor.  I get the feeling that given the opportunity he just might be a bit of a prankster.

Seabourn's Executive Chef David Welehan giving out samples
of some Iberico jamon
As we wandered this fairly compact, but very diverse, local market we picked up some beautiful Iberico jamon (ham), dorade (sea bream), giant red prawns, enormous tiger prawns, local cheeses as well as some local fruits and vegetables.

Seabourn's Executive Chef David Welehan
One of the vendors from which Chef David has purchased about 400 Euros of jamon came over and slipped him a hip flask bottle of local fruit grappa.  With his hands full I offered to carry it for him…slipping it into my back pocket.  You think he would forget I had it when we were waiting for the bus back to the ship?  Nope!  (Heck, it was worth a try.)

Once back on the Seabourn Encore and a bit of a soak in “my” hot tub it was time to prepare for a somewhat impromptu event.  One of my repeat guest couples wanted to have an event in their Penthouse Spa Suite.  So I arranged for a Wine & Cheese party (with the local cheeses I had purchased in Barcelona, Valencia, Cadiz and Portimao (the delicious Berber cheese in Tangier never made it back to the ship!) along with the figs, apricots, almonds, dates (still on their stems) and candied walnuts.

Cheese Chef David and I purchased i
n Barcelona, Valencia, Cadiz & Portimao
Almonds and Candied Walnuts from Barcelona
Olives, Apricots, Figs and Raisins from Tangier
The Seabourn Chefs' artistry makes them look
even better than they taste!
But there was more:  A Mixology Competition between Michelle Shea, our Adventure Dining Guide chef and mixologist of note versus Head Bartender “The Man” Bobby.  As I was discussing this the evening before, I was, by happenstance, approached by Brian Van Flandern, the Seabourn and Thomas Keller mixologist I mentioned it to him…and he wanted in.  So it would be a three way competition.
Chef David giving Chef Michelle a hand as she prepares for
the Mixology Competition

I added a twist:  I brought along the spices and fresh mint from Tangier and each drink had to include at least one of them, whether it be cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron, ginger, etc.

Only Master Mixologists wouldn't be overwhelmed,
but rather inspired,
by the array of ingredients provided.

Head Bartender "The Man" Bobby
Acclaimed Mixologist Brian van Flandern
It was a blast.  Each of the three experts crafted totally different cocktails which we passed around.  It was impossible to pick a winner because they were all excellent and all so different.

Michelle, however, decided to show off (or, more properly, kept the fun going with her great smile) after Brian and Bobby left by making craft cocktails as requested by each person.  This supposed hour long cocktail party lasted for over three hours.  Fantastic!

The only problem, if you could call it that, was that the winds had picked up so we were not able to use the huge Penthouse Suite balcony.  But we have such a cohesive and fun group that it wasn’t an issue. 

It was, however, an issue for departing Portimao.  We wound up staying at the dock until early in the morning, so we would have an unscheduled sea day; arriving in Gibraltar at 6:00 p.m., which was fine with me as there really isn’t much in Gibraltar.