Taste for Travel
Bringing food, travel and wine together with Celebrity Cruises at Taste of London.
This year’s Taste of London event has been blessed with some uncharacteristic blue sky and gorgeous sunshine – through the smoke from nearby chargrills and laughter from a beer tent, the huge Celebrity Cruises space looked resplendent with it’s modern luxury theme – a vast canopy of stretched canvass and lovely hardwood deck – a really impressive space.
In the centre stands a theatre-in-the-round style kitchen – where three internationally celebrated chefs from Japan, the Galapagos and Italy took us on a culinary voyage, with three two-course tasting menus, paired expertly by the Wine Show’s engaging Amelia Singer and Joe Fattorini. It is Celebrity Cruises fifth year at Taste of London, and this year they have really done something a bit different. The focus was a world tour of authentic culinary delights that took us on a journey to indulge in a range of authentic dishes, local delicacies and fine wines from around the world.
I joined the first tasting session; A Taste of Japan, hosted by Master Sushi Chef Yoshiazu Okada who had also created the menu for this specific occasion. A mouth-watering Truffles Albacore Tataki dish was paired with one of the nicest white wines I have enjoyed for a long time – A Viognier ‘La Violette’ Jean-Luc Colombo, Languedoc (looking forwards to heading back to France next month, will pick up some of this gem!).
This was followed by a Lobster and Shrimp Wonton paired with a Junmai Daiginjo Dassai Sake. The Sake was a little too much of a mouthful for me but the Wonton was delicious and I was lucky enough to get seconds. We finished with a little chocolate treat; delightful lemon curd-infused truffles.
By this point I was having so much fun I stuck around for the next two tasting sessions… Taste of Tuscany, hosted by Executive Chef Alexander Capello who served a Creamy Burrata, Marinated Tomato and a Dry Aged, Grass Fed NY Strip. Taste of Galapagos, hosted by Exec Chef Victor Mancilla who served a Shrimp Cevivche with Avocado and ‘Leche de Tigre’ and Grilled Cod with Achiote Potatoes and Chimichurri.
With Celebrity Cruises, food is really a big part of the travel experience, having up to 30 restaurants on board their ships and offering experiences like the Chef Market Discoveries. These sound fantastic and seem like a wonderful and colourful opportunity to follow an experienced chef around the local markets of a variety of destinations with the objective of picking the best produce to cook a feast on board at the end of the visit.
When I was invited on board the Celebrity Eclipse ship earlier this month I was shown the incredible wine tower which holds 1,800 bottles, housing the rarest and largest collection at sea, offering over 400 varieties of wine. They have paired up with The Wine Show to offer shore excursions devoted to wine tasting in specially selected vineyards.
Exploring Tate of Galapagos, Japan and Tuscany has been and absolute joy. The chefs brought to life the regional delicacies inspired by their own heritage from each destination which are also available at three of the specialty dining restaurants on board the Celebrity ships. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year!