August 3, 2015

Jacques Pépin’s Sweet Cheese Medley & Champagne on Fruit Rocks

From gingerbread cookies and delicious desserts to egg nog and fine wine, the holiday season is quickly approaching with all of its palatable glory, and it’s never too early to start planning. For the endless holiday celebrations, we pair two of Oceania Cruises Executive Culinary Director Jacques Pépin’s recipes perfect for entertaining friends and family.

Jacques Pépin’s Sweet Cheese MedleyJacques Pépin’s Sweet Cheese Medley

(Makes about 30 appetizers)

½ pound assorted cheeses (such as feta, blue, Gouda, Gruyère, or Camembert), room temperature

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (see tips)

1/3 cup dark raisins (soaked in port, if desired)

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Freshly ground black pepper

Kosher or sea salt (optional)

1 baguette, thinly sliced and toasted

Cut or crumble the cheeses into pieces about ¼ to ½ inch in size. Place in a medium bowl.

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly and watching to ensure they do not burn.

Add the pumpkin seeds, raisins, honey, and lime juice to the cheeses. Stir to combine. Season to taste with pepper and salt, keeping in mind that salty cheeses may not need any additional salt.

Serve on top of toasted baguette slices.

Jacques Pépin’s Champagne on Fruit RocksJacques Pépin’s Champagne on Fruit Rocks

(serves 4)       

1 (12-ounce) package frozen unsweetened raspberries

½ cup blackberry preserves

1 bottle sparkling wine

Defrost the raspberries overnight in the refrigerator. 

Pass the berries and preserves through a food mill. If you want seedless ice cubes, pass the fruit through a fine mesh strainer after the food mill. You should have about 1 1/3 cup of berry purée. Pour the purée into ice cube trays and freeze overnight (see tips). Once frozen, remove the cubes from the tray, place them in a freezer bag, and keep frozen until ready to use.

About 30 minutes before serving, place 2 to 3 cubes into each of 4 glasses. Place the glasses in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or on the counter for 15 minutes to soften the cubes. Pour the sparkling wine over the cubes and enjoy.

July 31, 2015

Around the World 2015 in Photos

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give,
to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.”
-Hans Christian Andersen

Many of our guests recently returned from our first Around the World voyage – a true journey of a lifetime. From magnificent cities and quaint coastal towns to soaring mountains and island paradises, Insignia explored a stunning range of the world’s greatest treasures on one unforgettable voyage.

Guests enjoyed ample time to explore each fascinating destination ashore and indulged in all of the comfortable amenities onboard during tranquil days at sea.

Below are a selection of photos highlighting a few of the special moments during this extraordinary journey.

Photos courtesy of David Smith

Insignia | Huahine, French Polynesia

Insignia | Huahine, French Polynesia

Marquesas, French Polynesia

Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Huahine, French Polynesia

Huahine, French Polynesia

5

 Cruise Director Andy Heath, Guest Lecturer David Smith with Insignia Photo Contest Winners

6

Insignia | Huatulco Port

1940s event on the Battleship USS Missouri | Honolulu, Hawaii

(Photos courtesy of Atlantic Adventure)

1940s event on the Battleship USS Missouri | Honolulu, Hawaii  1940s event on the Battleship USS Missouri | Honolulu, Hawaii

1940s event on the Battleship USS Missouri | Honolulu, Hawaii  1940s event on the Battleship USS Missouri | Honolulu, Hawaii

July 27, 2015

Around the World 2017 - Extraordinary Adventures Await

Oceania Cruises invites you to experience one of travel’s most time-honored traditions: circumnavigating the globe by sea, with our new 180-day Around the World Cruise aboard Insignia. Scheduled to depart on January 6, 2017, the voyage is the fourth in a series of epic globetrotting adventures and represents the longest and most comprehensive world cruise itinerary in the entire industry.

 

Embarking on an exciting new route in 2017, Insignia takes her cue from the sun and sails west, chasing balmy days and endless sapphire seas. Departing the Caribbean via the iconic Panama Canal, Insignia charts the legendary Pacific Riviera before bringing you to the golden shores of the Hawaiian Islands, dramatically framed by velvety green mountaintops. Further south, relax on stunning French Polynesian beaches and explore some of Australia and New Zealand’s most alluring destinations.

Sydney   Hawaii

Arriving in Asia, immerse yourself in the rare spirit of Bali, the thronging night bazaars of Hong Kong, and the temples of Rangoon and Mumbai. Stroll among the opulent wonders of Abu Dhabi and the ancient treasures of Israel and Egypt before taking in the masterpieces and monuments of several classic Mediterranean destinations. After leisurely days on the high seas, close your epic voyage with a grand exploration of Canada and New England’s most charming harbors and celebrated cities.

Bali   India

For those with a passion for exploring the far corners of the globe, Around the World 2017 is an extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover the very best your world has to offer. Guests reserving this journey will receive 2 for 1 Cruise Fares with Free First Class Roundtrip Airfare* and Bonus Value of up to 71%. They will also enjoy the Exclusive Prestige Package. 

Reserve your space on the Around the World 2017 voyage now!

July 20, 2015

Q&A with Travel Industry Veteran Ana Parodi: Mediterranean Favorites

AnaParodiWith more than 27 years of experience in the cruise industry, our Vice President of National Accounts, Ana Parodi, has spent plenty of time at sea and traveling around the world. It all began with a cruise at the age of 15, and by now Ana can’t quite remember how many times she’s visited the Mediterranean, but it remains one of her favorites to explore.

Below, Ana shares her top picks throughout the Mediterranean for cuisine, history, art and more.

SantoriniWhat are your favorite destinations for food and cuisine?
Barcelona is one of my favorites – there’s such a range of food, and it’s so cosmopolitan. There’s a particular place I always try to go back to – it’s called Los Caracoles. It really gives you a taste of Spain. It’s down a small little alley, and as soon as you enter you see the small little pork roasting. The interior is decorated with traditional Spanish tiles and they have live entertainment. They make the best seafood dishes that I’ve had.


And then in Santorini, which I just love, you have all of the cafes overlooking the sea. The squid is amazing, and the white wines are incredible. The setting is breathtaking – being able to sit and enjoy a meal while you look out upon this beautiful sea. And the sunsets in Santorini are to die for.

EphesusWhat are your top picks for historical destinations?
Definitely Ephesus. If you take a tour, you can really imagine the society and the way people lived. The civilization was so advanced during this time period. You can relate to it and understand the organization - there’s a library, a central shopping area, a living area and so on. You can also visit a street in Ephesus that Cleopatra VII and Marc Antony walked down which is fascinating.

Having an opportunity to travel to Egypt and visit the Valley of the Kings with King Tut’s tomb is also remarkable. I remember going into one of the temples and discovering there was actually a room devoted to recipes for perfumes! In Cairo, the Egyptian Museum is unbelievable. It showcases so many original artifacts m you can actually see King Tut’s throne. All of these details about the culture that come alive when you visit are just incredible.

SistineChapelWhere do you recommend for art?
There’s so many! Rome – of course you have to see the masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel. And then in Barcelona, the Sagrada Família is an experience – it’s really special to see the immensity of a project that has now been going on for over a hundred years. And then if you can do one of our land tours to Madrid, the museum El Prado is a must!

What keeps you going back to the Mediterranean?
There’s a different feeling in the air when you get there. People enjoy life in a different way than we do here. The culture – and the priorities in life – are different from the way we live here in the U.S. It’s more about enjoying time with friends and family, enjoying a good bottle of wine and good food. There’s also just so much to learn from the region, so many historic places – and there’s always somewhere more to visit that you haven’t been.

July 17, 2015

Caveat Emptor: All About Truffles by Chef Kelly

My most rewarding and memorable days are always spent in local markets with our guests – from Helsinki to Istanbul, Hobart to Tortola, Athens to Amsterdam. There is so much to be learned in these markets (and from these farmers) about the seasonality of food, and the joy of travel for many of our guests is learning the authentic cuisine, ingredients, wines, food traditions and culinary Truffles-closeuptechniques of the places we travel. Our Culinary Discovery Tours always begin with a 30-minute immersion into what’s truly unique about the cuisine we’ll investigate that day.

On a recent Culinary Discovery Tour in Slovenia, we had the chance to observe an authentic truffle hunt for their prized spring black truffle. The handler – and his dogs – were informative hosts, Truffles-dogshowing us the base of the trees where the truffles grow beneath the surface (like underground fungus). The dogs sniff out the truffle and the handler delicately removes it with a special shovel.

Guests frequently ask me if they should buy truffle oil when we visit markets in the north of Italy, south of France and here in Slovenia. Unfortunately, I have to tell them no because truffle oil is actually a perfumed oil and contains no truffles. With the exception of a few artisans, truffle oil is no more than a mid-grade oil with a compound called 2,4 dithiapentane added to produce the aroma of the truffle.

Truffles-pastaAs a chef, my inclination is to encourage our guests to refrain from the truffle oil and taste a fresh truffle when in season (at your favorite restaurant or online seasonally at D’Artagnan). Fresh truffles are typically shaved with a truffle slicer into paper thin shavings and placed on top of carpaccio, risotto, pasta and my personal favorite, scrambled eggs.

SilverTrident-wineIf you are fortunate enough to purchase a white truffle in season, here’s my recipe for a decadent midnight supper. Since my birthday is during white Alba truffle season, these eggs have become a tradition for me! This year to make it a true Oceania Cruises moment, I’ll pair my eggs with a glass of Silver Trident Cabernet.

 

 

CHEF KELLY’S HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH HERBS & WHITE TRUFFLE FOR TWO

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

8 farm fresh eggs, mixed but not whipped

1 teaspoon freshly snipped chives

Maldon salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1 white truffle

In a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. When butter is melted, pan is at medium heat and eggs are room temperature, add the eggs.

Stirring constantly with your favorite wooden spoon on medium heat, cook the eggs. Be careful not to let the eggs set, continually stirring. When eggs start to solidify, add the chives. Keep stirring.

Be careful not to overcook the eggs. They should be creamy and just curdled. Sprinkle with Maldon salt and white pepper to your taste. Shave just a few truffle sliced on top – remember that white truffle are quite strong. (Save your remaining truffle to shave over risotto!). Enjoy!