I recently returned from an amazing foodie experience that included tasting ports in Portugal, tapas and seafood in Galicia, oysters in Brittany, Calvados in Normandy, grand Cru wine in Bordeaux and regional cheeses, fish, sausages, pastries and wine all along the way. This was offered on the Silver Explorer, an expedition ship better known for penguin sightings in Antarctica and walrus and seal viewing in the Arctic.
The cruise line's culinary trainer, Chef David Bilsland, the director of culinary development, Chef Rudi Scholdis, the Silversea wine ambassador, Lawrence D'Almeida and historian Imogene Corrigen gave Almost daily lectures, demonstrations and tastings. The chefs led tours of local markets and bought fresh fish, shellfish and regional specialities back to the ship for us to taste. Several times the chefs cooked in the center of the dining room, preparing paella, bouillabaisse, mussels marinara and Breton galettes. We felt totally spoiled by all the extra emphasis on food and wine in addition to the normally excellent Silversea dining experience.
The Silversa team was joined by Tom Badcock, a cheese educator and expert who teaches at London's Cordon Bleu school. Tom purchased local cheeses at several ports and held well attended tastings four or five days. Eileen Crane, CEO and winemaker at Napa's Domaine Carneros spoke to us about sparkling wines as we tasted several examples. A group of her wine club members were on board enjoying it all.
Food and travel writer, Sharon Hudgins, from Dallas, also gave interesting food related talks on sea days.
The service is friendly, many staff people know you by name after a day or two, they are well trained and seem to go the extra step for their guests. This ship is small, we were only 110 passengers with a crew of 120. The maximum is 134 guests. There are not as many public rooms or dining options such as offered on their larger ships, but the decor, atmosphere and service is equally fine, as is the food and beverage offered.