That’s one of the first questions our clients ask when we discuss a new-to-them river cruise line. Some clients are worried that there will only be “foreign” foods with too many sauces. Others are concerned that the selections will not be authentic regional dishes. Happily, the menus satisfy most guests. There will be a variety of choices but if they won’t suit, passengers can opt for one of the “always available” entrees which may include a fish, poultry or beef dinner.
To give you an idea of the food served, here are recipes from popular river cruise lines.
From summer through fall, Bucharest’s markets present a parade of seasonal fruits. None is more Romanian than the sour cherry. The tasty berry garnishes this classic Manhattan made with rye whiskey and vermouth. You might try it in an Old Fashioned, too. Find this cocktail onboard the River Duchess on the Highlights of Eastern Europe itinerary or make it at home!
• 6cl (2.03 fl oz) straight rye whiskey
• 3cl (1.01 fl oz) sweet vermouth
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• 1 sour cherry
Build over ice in a mixing glass. Stir and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a sour cherry.
One of the most delicious aspects of traveling is to indulge in the incredible cuisine of the places you visit. Inspired by French velouté soups, this rich and flavorful cream of Chardonnay soup is made and paired with Chardonnay, of course. Leeks at the peak of their freshness and the bright sweetness of white grapes combine with butter and cream to create the perfect springtime comfort food. You can serve it as an appetizer or make it the star of the meal, served along with rustic French bread.
CREAM OF CHARDONNAY SOUP
Try this recipe for Cream of Chardonnay Soup that’s often served onboard AmaWaterways ships. Chardonnay contributes the most richness of any dry white wine commonly used for cooking. For rich, creamy soups, wine can provide a welcome note of freshness and contrast – almost like a squeeze of lemon or an extra layer of flavor. The creamier a soup is, the more full-bodied a wine it can take.
3½ tablespoons of unsalted butter
½ cup onions, chopped
½ cup white leeks, chopped
1 cup white flour (or wheat flour)
2 cups Chardonnay
10 ½ cups vegetable stock
1 ½ cups of heavy cream
1 ½ cups of white grapes
½ cup of fresh parsley, chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
• Wash produce thoroughly
• Chop onions and leeks into small cubes and set aside
• Peel white grapes, remove seeds and slice
• Wash parsley, chop and pat dry
Use a large pot on medium heat to sautéed onions and leeks with butter until golden, then gradually add in the flour to thicken. Pour 1 cup of Chardonnay and all of the vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain soup through a mesh cloth and add in the rest of the Chardonnay. Add heavy cream to soup. Garnish with warm grapes and parsley before serving.
Makes 10 servings.
From Viking River Cruises:
Gougères are among the most popular hors d’oeuvres in France. A traditional specialty of the Burgundy region, gougères are often made with Gruyère cheese. You can also use other cheeses (such as parmesan) to add an extra depth. Enjoy these with a glass (or two) of good French wine.
• 1½ C water
• ½ C unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
• 1 tsp (5 g) salt, divided
• 1½ C flour
• 6 lg eggs
• 1 C (130 g) grated Gruyère cheese, packed
• ½ C (90 g) good quality parmesan cheese, packed
• ½ tsp (2 g) fresh ground pepper
• ½ tsp (2.5 g) salt
Place one oven rack in top third and a second rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 400°F (204°C). Line two rimmed baking sheets with lightly greased parchment paper. In a 3- or 4-qt saucepan over medium heat, bring water, butter, and half the salt to a simmer, stirring until butter melts. Add flour all at once, stirring rapidly with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a smooth, thick paste with no lumps. Remove pan from heat; allow mixture to cool until it feels just warm. Using a hand-held mixer, beat in one egg at a time until all are incorporated. Stir in cheese, pepper and remaining salt. Drop spoonfuls of dough 3 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake until dough is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes, swapping the position of baking pans halfway through.
• Prep time: 16 minutes.
• Cook time: 30 minutes.
• Makes 10 servings.
Wiener Zwiebelrostbraten might not exactly roll off your tongue, but it will melt in your mouth. The name, pronounced VEE-ner TZVEE-bell-roast-brotten, literally means “Viennese roast beef with onions.” Very popular in Austria and Bavaria, this recipe enhances the beef flavor of the sirloin steaks through slow oven braising with that staple of Viennese cuisine, beef stock.
• 4 T butter
• 2 med onions, peeled & thinly sliced
• 1 tsp (2⅖ g) sweet Hungarian paprika
• 6 8-oz boneless beef sirloin steaks, pounded ¼-inch thick
• Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 3 T(44 ml) vegetable oil
• 4 C (946 ml) beef stock or consommé, fresh or canned, boiled down to 2 C (473 g)
• ½ C (60 g) sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). In a large cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté onions until light brown, stirring often; add paprika; cook another minute. Remove onions from pan; set aside. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Add vegetable oil to same skillet and add steaks; brown on both sides. Turn off heat, add beef stock to skillet, arrange onions on top and cover. Bake until tender, about 2-2½ hours. To serve, place steaks on a pre-warmed serving platter with onions arranged on top. Cover loosely to keep warm. Return skillet with remaining liquid to high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in sour cream; immediately remove from heat and pour over steaks. Serve immediately.
This dish is traditionally served with roast potatoes or buttered parsley potatoes; you can garnish with crispy fried onions if you like.
• Cook time: 2-2 1/2 hours
• Makes 6 servings.
Mrs. Tollman’s Signature Honeycomb Ice Cream
1 cup corn syrup
8 oz granulated sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1-quart premium vanilla ice cream
Dissolve the syrup, sugar, and vinegar over a medium heat. Turn the heat up high and boil until the syrup turns to a light caramel.
Take the pan off the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda, then pour the mix into a high-sided baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and greased with butter. Leave to cool and harden: do not refrigerate!
Once hardened, this brittle, crunchy slab becomes your honeycomb base.
Slightly soften the vanilla ice cream in a chilled ceramic bowl. Carefully break the honeycomb slab into various sizes, none more than 2cm square, and quickly fold half into the ice cream.
Pour the ice cream into a desired ice cream mold or back into the original ice cream container and freeze again.
Keep the remaining honeycomb in an air tight container for topping when serving.
Sound appealing? Want to plan a river cruise for 2017 or 2018? I would love to make this happen for you.
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