Oceania Cruises is expanding its Culinary Discovery Tour series with new offerings in Barcelona, Marseille, Antibes (France), Catania (Italy) and Iraklion (Heraklion, Greece) during select sailings aboard Marina and Riviera this spring and summer.
Culinary Discovery Tours provide guests with the opportunity to interact with regional culinary experts while exploring local food markets, restaurants, vineyards, farms and cooking schools. During the entire tour, guests are accompanied by a chef instructor from The Culinary Center, Oceania Cruises’ hands-on cooking school. All tours begin with an orientation about the local cuisine and many conclude with a destination-inspired cooking class or tasting in The Culinary Center.
Highlights from the new Culinary Discovery Tours include:
Barcelona – Chef’s Gastronomy Tour and Tapas Lunch
This tour is designed to illustrate how Barcelona became a culinary mecca with its depth of produce, variety of fish, quality of meats and ingenuity of the region’s chefs. Guests will join the Culinary Center chef and local Catalan culinary expert for a short drive through the city to the famous Las Ramblas Boulevard. The first stop is a pastry shop called Escriba, where the art of chocolate figurines was pioneered. A few steps away is La Boqueria, the city’s most famed market, hosting over 250 stalls offering produce, meats and fish. After exploring La Boqueria, guests will take a short walk through the Gothic Quarter en route to Santa Caterina market, a smaller market with a colorful mosaic tiled roof and 70 stalls. The final stop is the restaurant Tapeo. There guests can enjoy a variety of Catalan tapas, paired with Spanish wines. After the lunch, guests will travel to the Bubó pastry shop to select a pastry to enjoy later on the ship.
Marseille – Michelin Chef Reine Sammut and Aix-en-Provence Market Tour
Guests will immerse themselves in the cuisine of Provence in this tour, which begins with a scenic drive to the town of Aix-en-Provence. There Guests will enjoy a stroll through the daily market along with the ship’s Culinary Center chef and local tour guide. Then another drive brings guests to the Hotel Auberge la Fenière near the village of Lourmarin, where Michelin starred chef Reine will welcome guests to her cookery school for a cooking demonstration of her recipes. Chef Reine will prepare a menu of Provençal cuisine while guests learn about the subtleties of flavor and historical influences. Once the cooking process is complete, guests will have a chance to enjoy the chef’s creations while taking in the natural vistas surrounding the property. After some time aboard the ship, guests will meet again with their chef at The Culinary Center for some additional time dedicated to the cuisine of Provence.
Antibes – Shopping with the Chef and French Cooking Class
Guests will pass through the port’s gates and enjoy a stroll to the town’s open air market. Along with their chef from The Culinary Center, guests will taste and shop for ingredients for the Provençal cooking class later in the tour. Guests will make stops at various stalls and taste local treats such as socca, a chickpea flatbread cooked in a wood-fired oven. Before heading back to the ship, guests will stop at one of the local shops for coffee and macaroons. Once on board, guests will participate in a 90-minute private cooking class and make a classic Provençal lunch using the ingredients purchased earlier. In addition, guests will be treated to samples of tapenades, wines and cheeses, including a tasting of Absinthe, a popular aperitif of Provence.
Catania – Chef Market Tour, Cannoli Making and Lunch
Guests will enjoy a short drive to Mercato del Pesce di Catania, an ancient street market, where The Culinary Center chef and culinary guide will offer knowledge in Sicilian cuisine. After a short walk, guests will arrive at a family-owned patisserie to experience cannoli making, Sicilian-style. As guests observe the Sicilian pastry chef, they will learn how to make their own Sicilian cannoli. A short drive will take guests to Osteria Nero d’ Avola in Taormina, a local restaurant. Guests will be greeted by the owner and slow food advocate, Chef Turi, who will provide an overview of the day’s ingredients and menu. Chef Turi will prepare a lunch accompanied with wines from the local Etna Benanti winery, served personally by one of the Benanti brothers.
Iraklion (Heraklion) – Cretan Cooking Class and Lunch
Guests will travel by coach towards the village of Zaros in the foothills of Mount Ida, the island’s highest summit, and according to mythology, the birthplace of Zeus. The Culinary Center chef and local tour guide will discuss native herbs and share highlights of Cretan cuisine. Upon arrival, guests will discover how the village has retained its methods of farming, weaving, wood-carving and cooking. Guests will wander through the gardens and cobblestone pathways to reach the central tavern for a hands-on preparation of seasonal dishes such as dolmadakia (stuffed grape leaves), gemista (stuffed vegetables) and cheese pies made with nuts and honey. The next stage of the tour offers guests the opportunity to meet a local specialist and learn about Cretan olive oil. The tour will conclude with a Cretan-style meal along with sampling of local Cretan wine.