Crystal Cruises is celebrating “la buona cucina” (good cuisine) in Europe this year, with more than 60 shore excursions Hands-on cooking classes, multi-course meals, comestible history lessons, food sourcing and sampling will be hosted in traditional homes, farms, chateaus, Michelin-starred restaurants and markets. From spring through fall, Crystal offers 65 five- to 15-day European cruise itineraries visiting Spain, Italy, France, Malta, Greece, the UK, Sweden, Norway, Russian, Estonia, Romania and Morocco.
Ports offering edible excursions include:
Southern Europe/North Africa
· Valetta: Shop at a local open-air market with a Maltese culinary ambassador, then join her at home for a group cooking and dinner party.
· Agadir: Create regional family recipes with Berber chefs, among olive groves.
· Málaga: Glean signature Andalusian dish secrets from the chef/owner of Andalusia’s only two-star Michelin restaurant.
· Sicily: Study Sicilian cuisine such as arancine di riso (rice and tomato croquettes) and pennette alla eoliana (pasta with capers, olives, and tomatoes) with mandarin plantation owners.
· Constanta: Cook “sarmale cu mamaliguta,” a Romanian dish of minced pork, spices, pickled cabbage, and corn flour, at a local restaurant.
· Casablanca: Prepare traditional lamb with plums and honey while sipping orange juice in orange flower water.
· Barcelona: Learn Catalan recipes, from paella to Crema Catalana, in the Gothic Quarter.
· Corfu: See how bread is baked in a traditional garden wood-fire stove, in a private home in one of the island’s most traditional old villages.
· Mykonos: Go on a tasting tour of local bakeries.
· Sorrento: From a typical farm house to Michelin-starred restaurants, learn from the best local chefs, including the nuances of different mozzarella cheeses, and their application on pizza.
· Bordeaux/Bassens: Sample wild nettle pie, dandelion flower jelly, and multi-course gourmet dinners in a range of excursions with topics ranging from the Slow Food Movement to chateau visits.
· Bilbao: Indulge in Basque Country cheese in the land of Laxta sheep, or explore three types of pinchos, a bread-based appetizer of the region.
· Akureyri: Nibble Icelandic carpaccio, ice cream, and smoke hut lamb during a local farm crawl.
· Tallinn: Assist a Master Confectioner in creating Estonian chocolates and truffle fillings.
· Honningsvåg: Eat King Crab freshly pulled from the North Cape waters.
· Stockholm: Follow a modern-day Viking guide through medieval Old Town for Smorgasbord treats.
· Hellesylt/Geiranger: Taste homemade goat caramel from a 300 year-old goat farm on a fjord.
· Bergen: Learn how to prepare local fish like Atlantic salmon and cod at the Norwegian Seafood Center.
Prices for the culinary excursion series start at $62/person. All-inclusive cruise fares start at $1,895/person, with additional savings if booked by April 30.
For more information, visit www.crystalcruises.com.