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How ‘bout Some S.A.L.T.? Silversea’s New Culinary Program

That pizza in Naples, its thin, perfectly charred crust topped with a bubbling, spicy tomato sauce and a blanket of gooey melted cheese. Mouthwatering fish and chips at a tiny pub outside London, a crisp, golden coating hugging the flakiest plaice filet while a heap of tender fries, liberally sprinkled with salt and malt vinegar, rests alongside it. Plump, savory fritters studded with nuggets of conch — the perfect accompaniment to a breathtaking view of an orange sunset spreading across a Caribbean sky.

There’s no question. Some of the best travel experiences are the culinary ones that reflect the heart and soul of a place and its people. And, now, Silversea Cruises has created S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste), an immersive, multi-faceted, and destination-specific program that captures the imagination of food-loving guests who are hungry for more.

The brainchild of Silversea Cruises and award-winning travel and food writer Adam Sachs, most recently editor-in-chief of the prestigious Saveur Magazine, S.A.L.T., as Sachs puts it, “applies an endless curiosity and adventurous appetite to deep-dive explorations of the ingredients, cuisine, and rituals of the countries and communities we visit.”

It does, indeed.

S.A.L.T. on Silver Moon 

During a Panama Canal sailing aboard Silversea’s ultra-luxurious 40,700-grt, 596-passenger Silver Moon, I found educational and entertaining S.A.L.T experiences everywhere.

Today, I’m at a station at the S.A.L.T. Lab, a contemporary working kitchen overseen by chef and culinary educator Eva Mulligan. Before me is a selection of ingredients that, once assembled and sauteed, will morph into tamal de olla, a savory casserole popular in Panama. I’m not optimistic: Not only am I a pretty lousy cook but, let’s face it, Panama is hardly the gastronomic capital of the world. Eva walks us through the process, the techniques, the history of the ingredients, and the dish’s place in Panama history, and suddenly the experience is elevated from a simple cooking lesson to a fascinating insight into the port that we’ll visit tomorrow. And, best of all, at the conclusion of the session, I find that I’ve created a beautiful, colorful, and delicious dish of chicken, peppers, capers, and olives that I’ll actually make at home.

Our enlightenment continues with S.A.L.T. Talks, informative lectures that explore a region’s culinary focus and, often, feature a cooking demonstration with samples and recipes distributed at its conclusion. On our sailing, Nicholas Gill, co-author of The Latin American Cookbook, takes us on a culinary journey from Mexico to the foot of South America while, at another session, S.A.L.T. Head Chef Nadine Stangel regales us with the ancient origins of South American dishes while whipping up a few of them at a mobile kitchen in the Venetian Lounge.

Perhaps the most extraordinary….

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This is an excerpt from the latest issue of Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine. To continue reading, click above for a digital or print subscription.

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Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.