The best gifts don't always fit under the tree. . . There are few gifts more unique and inspiring than the chance to explore a different part of the world. Travel through magnificent cities and historic villages bedecked with twinkling trees and shining with handcrafted treasures. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise collection serves an unforgetable selection of locally-sourced meals on their Christmas Markets itineraries.
The following recipes are courtesy of Uniworld’s Executive Chef and Culinary Director, Chef Bernhard Zorn.
Smoked Salmon Tartar
enhanced with roasted jalapeno cream
2 pieces anchovies
3 pieces roasted garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons if heavy cream
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 1/2 cup smoked salmon diced into small pieces
1/4 cup fresh mango diced into small pieces
1/4 cup red onions diced
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon chopped roasted jalapenos
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
16 pieces crisp tortilla chips
16 pieces small sprigs of cilantro
1. In a medium sized wooden bowl, add anchovies, garlic, cumin, and olive oil. Using a large fork, pulverize into a paste.
2. Stir in sour cream, heavy cream and lime juice.
3. Mix until everything is incorporated.
4. Add in salmon, mango, red onions, capers, jalapeno, and cilantro. Mix to combine.
5. The mixture should be thick but not dry.
6. Spoon a small dollop of smoked salmon onto each tortilla chip and garnish with small sprigs of cilantro.
Cream Soup of Roasted Shiitake Mushroom
with a touch of peanut sabayon
Serves 8 – 10
3 1/4 ounces butter
1 1/2 pounds shiitake mushroom
3/4 cup julienned shiitake mushrooms
5 shallots sliced thin
10 cups chicken
Bouquet of thyme
For the Sabayon:
1 stick of butter
1/2 pound of raw and unsalted peanuts
4 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
Salt and fresh ground white pepper
1 cup clarified butter
2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced paper thin
1/4 cup chilli oil
To Prepare the Cream:
1. In a large sauté pan, cook the butter to a light golden brown. Add the mushrooms and “roast” them to a deep golden brown. Stir in shallots and continue to cook until they are a light golden brown as well.
2. Pour in chicken stock and add bouquet of thyme. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove bouquet and discard. Purée the soup so it is very smooth and season to taste.
3. Lightly brown remaining butter in a large sauté pan. Add peanuts and sauté while continuously tossing to a deep golden brown. Pour in cream and continue to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Puree and strain the peanut cream and then return to heat. Beat in the egg yolks and strain again. Cool the cream and reserve for when you serve the soup.
To Assemble the Dish:
1. Gently heat the peanut cream, whisking the whole time to prevent coagulation.
2. Fry 3/4 cup Shiitake mushrooms julienned in clarified butter until crispy. Remove to absorbent towel and season.
3. Place soup into heated bowls, top with peanut sabayon, and drizzle a bit of chilli oil. Garnish with crisp shiitake mushrooms.
Seared Ahi Tuna Wrapped in Pancetta
served with grilled polenta and confit of cherry tomatoes surrounded with basil beurre blanc
4 medallions Ahi tuna (1/4 pounds)
1 ounce pancetta
18 cherry tomatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
For the Polenta:
7/8 cup maize flour
5 1/2 cup Fontina cheese (semi-soft Italian cheese)
6 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
For the Basil Beurre Blanc:
2 chopped shallots
3.5 ounce white wine
6.8 ounce cream
2 sticks of butter
1. For the polenta, bring 8 1/2 cups of water to the boil into a big saucepan. Cut the cheese in small pieces. When the water is boiling, sprinkle the flour and then mix with a spatula outside the heat. Add the cheese, season and then cook slowly for about 45 minutes—mixing regularly. Pour the mixture on a flat tray, and then roll up between 2 sheets of cling film (about .39 inches thick). Spread Parmesan on top and then place in a cold room for 1 night. Once cold and set, cut some regular diamond shapes, keep refrigerated.
2. Wrap the medallions of tuna in the pancetta. Sear the medallions quickly on a high temperature for about 1 minute on each side. After, let it rest on at 136° F to keep it warm. Best to season lightly with salt just before serving.
3. Drizzle the cherry tomatoes lightly with olive oil and keep in the oven on 140° F for about 2 hours.
4. To make a classic Beurre Blanc, simply blend all the ingredients above together.
5. Heat up a large frying pan then grill the polenta diamonds with olive oil on both sides.
6. Poor a bit of Beurre Blanc on hot plates then place the tuna in the middle. Peel the skin of the tomatoes and then place them around the plate, and add the polenta diamonds in between. Decorate with a nice heart of sweet basil.
Grapefruit and Champagne Rosé Sorbet
Serves 8 – 10
8 1/2 cups pink grapefruit juice
8 1/2 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
10 1/2 cups of Champagne Rosé
1/4 cup simple syrup
1 pink grapefruit
1. In a saucepan, boil grapefruit juice with water, sugar, and simple syrup. Let cool, and then add Champagne to keep the bubbles; put the mix into the ice cream machine to freeze.
2. Segment and clean all pulp from the grapefruit.
3. Arrange the grapefruit segments in a frozen glass bowl and add a scoop of sorbet.
Optional: garnish with a touch of Champagne.
Traditional Holiday Turkey
served with cranberry and macadamia nut stuffing, brussels sprouts in nutmeg butter,and sweet potato praline casserole
Serves 6 – 8
1 whole turkey
1 tablespoon wildfire spice
3.7 ounces salted butter
2 tablespoons of tamari
Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Stuffing Ingredients:
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup cranberry confit
3 ounces Macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons orange skin thinly sliced
1. Start by making the stuffing by combining the breadcrumbs, cranberries, macadamia nuts, and orange zest in a bowl. Add eggs and mix until combined.
2. Preheat the oven to 180° F. Sprinkle the skin and cavity of the turkey with wildfire spice and salt flakes. Then stuff the cavity with the cranberry and macadamia nut stuffing. Truce the turkey with butchers twice and place breast side up on a rack in a large roasting tray. Add a little water to the roasting tray and roast for 45 minutes.
3. While the turkey begins to roast, make the turkey basting. Heat the butter in a medium sized saucepan, then add the beer and tamari. Begin basting the turkey every 15 minutes. After the first hour remove, baste, then cover with foil and return to the oven for a further 60 minutes or 90 minutes depending on the size. Continue to baste every 15 minutes.
4. To check when the turkey is cooked, use a meat thermometer into the deepest part of the turkey. Ideally the internal temperature should be 180° F. When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest in a warm part of the kitchen for approx 20 minutes before carving.
Red Velvet Cake
with Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves 6 – 8
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon each baking soda, salt and vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoon (1 ounce) liquid red food color
2 teaspoon white vinegar
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 8 ounce softened cream cheese
2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter
Decoration (as desired): sweetened flaked coconut or chocolate
1. Heat oven to 350° F. Coat two 9 x 2-in or 8 x 2-in cake pans with baking spray (nonstick spray with flour).
2. For cake ingredients, place in large bowl. Mix butter, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla, and beat with mixer on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until creamy. Beat in eggs (1 at a time) until blended. Stir buttermilk, food color and vinegar in a 2-cup measure until well blended. Using a mixer, beat in flour, alternating with buttermilk mixture, until combined. Spread 3 cups batter in each prepared pan.
3. Bake approximately 30 minutes for 9-in layers, or approximately 40 minutes for 8-in layers, until cakes pull away from sides of pans (check by inserting a toothpick in center of cake(s) until it comes out clean). Then cool in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from pans.
4. For frosting, beat (on a medium speed) cream cheese and butter until creamy.
5. Place cake on serving plate and spread with 2 cups frosting.
Decorate as wished using flaked coconut or chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Appealing? Want to plan a river cruise for 2019 or 2020? I would love to make this happen for you.
There are so many reasons why river cruising is the fastest growing segment of leisure travel. But, a river cruise may not be your best vacation choice if your expectations include:
Ready to plan your River Cruise vacation? Contact us and we will prepare a quote for you!
We recently booked a group of active, empty-nester professionals on a Rhine River cruise in 2019. Several different cruise lines' features and benefits were considered, but ultimately the group unanimously chose an AmaWaterways itinerary. Here are some of the reasons why.
Health & Wellness on the River
During the 2019 season, a professionally trained Wellness Host will be onboard AmaWaterways cruise ships to help passengers stay active during the journey. Enjoy living well on the river with AmaWaterways Wellness Program! Guided biking and hiking excursions; a variety of exercise classes; and discussion groups with a focus on healthy eating and relaxation techniques provide fitness for the mind, body and soul. A professionally trained Wellness Host will ensure that guests have everything needed for optimal well-being throughout the journey.
Wine Cruises on European Rivers
AmaWaterways’ own wine specialist invites passengers to immerse themselves in the many flavors of Europe on one of the unique wine cruises.
Explore on Two Wheels
On an AmaWaterways river cruise, passengers can join guided bike tours or grab a bike from the ship and go out exploring on their own. It is a unique, active and immersive way to experience Europe.
AmaWaterways river cruises offer multiple dining venues that showcase the finest ingredients from local towns guests will visit along Europe’s great waterways. Experience AmaWaterways incredible, locally sourced cuisine for a taste of the good life.
Life on Board
A river cruise with AmaWaterways will be a luxurious experience from start to finish. After a day of discovery, it’s time to return to the ship. This is a floating sanctuary, and Ama has invested a lot to ensure that guests will truly enjoy their time on board.
Appealing? Want to plan a river cruise for 2019 or 2020? I would love to make this happen for you.
Contact us at (269) 372-1963 or (800) 372-1963, email us at info@ tastefuljourneys.com, or visit us at www.TastefulJourneys.com and we will prepare a quote for you!
1. Six Months Passport Validity Rule
International travelers know a valid passport is required for visiting foreign countries, but did you know that with only six months validity remaining on your passport, it is of limited use? Many popular visa and non-visa destinations require a passport with at least six months validity, without which airlines may not permit boarding and government officials can deny entry upon arrival.
2. Mobile Passport (https://mobilepassport.us/.) This new program, based on a smartphone app, is now in place at 25 airports and two cruise ports~Ft. Lauderdale and Port Everglades. The app is sponsored by the U. S. Customs and Border Protection (Department of Homeland Security) and by Airport Councils International (an airport association).
Currently, the app works at the following airports as of the day of publication — Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Houston Hobby, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Newark, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh Durham, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Sen José, Seattle, Tampa, Washington Dulles and West Palm Beach. The updated list can be found on the website as well.
Upon landing, follow the Mobile Passport Control signs, set up your profile for future trips, and use a kiosk for your reentry into the US. It is easy, private, and free.
Profiles can be set up for entire families that contains everyone’s passport numbers and other necessary data. Answer some question about your trip — the same that are asked today. Features:
3. Make Copies Of Your Travel Documents
Before departure, travelers should make copies of their passport and visas in case of an emergency. Leave one copy with a friend or relative and take one with you. It is highly recommended that you have at least one color photocopy of your passport ID page safely stored and separate from your actual passport. This will save you valuable time in case your passport is lost or stolen.
4. Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans.
Many such companies now place freezes on accounts when they see suspicious activity like out-of-country use as a means to prevent fraud.
5. Clean out your wallet and before leaving.
Remove any receipts and expired cards, along with anything else you don’t absolutely need to carry while traveling.
6. Purchase travel insurance -
There are many benefits to travel insurance but one of the biggest is ensuring medical coverage while abroad. Hospital bills can add up quickly, so purchasing insurance is vital.
A Viking River Cruise in Europe gives everyone the chance to enjoy wine while exploring the world's best known wine regions. A river cruise is a superb way to enrich your vacation by learning more about wines. Karine Hagen of Viking River Cruises introduces you to the significance of wine on European itineraries.
Delight in joie de vivre in Bordeaux, land of the world's finest wines, truffles, oysters, and cognac, as you cruise the Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers.
Introducing the vintner and executive chef of Viking River Cruises
Karine Hagen probes into the essence of the region's most popular wines with a local authority.
Karine Hagen takes a closer look with one of Sauternes' local experts. Delight in a preview of this intriguing sweet wine.
Learn about Port Wines with Karine Hagen as local experts in Porto, Portugal describe the history and production of Portugal's famous Port wines. This fortified sweet red wine, produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal, is most often served as a dessert wine though it also comes in a dry, semi-dry and Muscat varieties. It has a long history dating back to the early 18th century when the British, at war with France at the time, needed a new source of wine. Port wine is enormously popular in Britain and around the world and is still used today as the official wine to toast the Queen at formal dinners.
Appealing? Want to plan a river cruise for 2018 or 2019? I would love to make this happen for you.
AmaWaterways is committed to transformational and innovated river cruising. In 2019 that commitment moves forward new ships, amenities, and programs, all dedicated to offering authentic and luxurious experiences for their guests.
Three new ships will enter AmaWaterways European fleet in 2019.
The AmaMagna (right) will be almost twice as wide as traditional river ships with just 196 guests. Sailing exclusively on the Danube, she will offer several dining and bar options, more onboard activities, message and fitness rooms along with luxurious living spaces.
The AmaMora will be a sister ship to the AmaLea and AmaKristina and will sail exclusively on the Rhine River. With just 156 guests, there will be generous personal space and multiple dining choices.
The new AmaDouro will be a sister ship to the AmaVida, carry 102 passengers, and will sail exclusively on the Douro River. Features include four suites, a Sun Deck, a swimming pool, a fitness center and spa, complimentary in-cabin internet access, Video-On-Demand, and ship-wide WiFi.
Living Well Aboard AmaWaterways
The Wellness Program will expand fleetwide across the European vessels. Guided biking and hiking tours, onboard exercise activities and relaxation techniques led by a professionally trained wellness host, and healthy meal options.
The Concierge Golf Program
The AmaWaterways’ Concierge Golf Program, available on the new AmaMagna, will offer passengers the opportunity to golf at five of Europe’s top courses in Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Germany and the Czech Republic. The Concierge Golf Program arranges a flawless golfing experience where guests are transferred from the ship by a Mercedes to the golf course. The Exclusive Concierge Golf Program is available itineraries from May to mid-October on both the Romantic Danube and Melodies of the Danube.
Wine Themed Cruises
Famous in the industry for wine-themed cruises, AmaWaterways has expended the selection of wine regions and tastes to explore to 60 sailings.
New - Christmas Markets On The Danube Taste of Bordeaux – new pre-cruise hotel/land extension: 4 nights Bilbao and San Sebastian, Spain All Africa Itineraries – new 4-night post tour extension: Rwanda Gorilla and Golden Monkey experience More time in embarkation or debarkations cities such as Amsterdam and Budapest.
Appealing? Want to plan an AmaWaterways river cruise in 2019? I would love to make this happen for you. Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email.
Each suite in Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection's award-winning European fleet of exclusive floating hotels is a masterpiece. With Hermès bath and body products, handcrafted furniture, bespoke design strategies, Savoir of England beds, stunning original artwork and newly baked cookies delivered daily, you may never want to leave!
Appealing? Want to plan a Uniworld river cruise for 2018 or 2019? I would love to make this happen for you. TastefulJourneys.uniworld.com
Crystal launched its Crystal River Cruises experiences in 2016 with Crystal Mozart and was quickly voted “Best River Cruise Line” by the readers of Travel + Leisure in the magazine’s 2017 World’s Best Awards after only one year in operation. The newest ships comprise the first and only all-suite, all-balcony, all-butler ships on Europe’s rivers, boasting all categories of accommodations above the water line.
CRYSTAL RIVER SIGNATURE HALLMARKS
Charming medieval castles. Grand majestic cathedrals. And new shorter itineraries with multiple overnight stays along the legendary Danube and Rhine Rivers. Enrich your clients’ travel plans with a new Crystal Collection of curated, free excursions in each destination, extraordinary cuisine and the largest suites in all of European river cruising.
The excursion offerings focus on authenticity and are tailored to travelers’ individual interests, featuring smaller group sizes and extra special details. Nearly 200 enriching excursions are included, with more extravagant pursuits also available at an additional cost. The shore-side excursions highlight the multi-faceted character of each destination and comprises five types of experiences including:
· Personal Connections – Those looking to explore the culture of a destination can enjoy a one-of-a-kind tour hosted by local residents, artisans and experts;
· Tantalizing Gastronomy – Guests can relish in the signature culinary styles and specialties of the destination with a variety of dining and hands-on cooking opportunities;
· Cultural Discoveries – Guests will enjoy comprehensive insight from expert guides into historical landmarks, museums, iconic sites and architectural marvels;
· Exhilarating Adventures – Active cruise travelers can participate in a selection of invigorating pursuits that combine historical and cultural experiences;
· Design Your Time – For a more tailored vacation, guests can choose this option, which features a concierge service that designs unique private tours as well as a menu of customized choices.
To ensure that every detail of each experience is in line with Crystal’s exacting standards of service, excursion group sizes are limited to no more than 15 guests; for larger groups, guides are available to lead the tours in German, Spanish, Portuguese and other languages upon request. Crystal Collection shore excursions offer guest transport to iconic sites and regions via spacious motor coaches that include free WiFi.
From Holland's splendid tulip fields to the vineyards of the Wachau Valley, baroque cathedrals to modern cultural hubs and glittering Christmas markets, travelers can explore the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers on itineraries of 7- to 16-days.
Appealing? Want to plan a Crystal River Cruise for 2018 or 2019? I would love to make this happen for you. Click the button to contact us.
This Mother's Day give her the gift of travel.
Flowers are fine. Dinner, enjoyable. A movie, candy, even perfume.
They're all nice. But she deserves more.
What better way than showing her how much you care and appreciate her than by giving her the world?
Here are just a few ideas to get you excited:
A week in Paris with Delta Vacations
Food and Wines along the Danube River with AmaWaterways
The Greek Islands with Globus
Kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland with Brendan
Appealing? I would love to make this happen for you. Give us a call to plan all the details.
Scooter Tessari, MCC, owns The Cruise Center, Inc. in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and operates the website Tasteful Journeys devoted to enrichment vacations with a culinary accent and featuring cruises, tours, and custom designed vacation packages.