My favorite Greek cruise line, Celestyal Cruises, is introducing a new, signature Greek menu and dining experience for guests. The culinary experience arose from a collaboration with Diane Kochilas, one of the world’s foremost experts on Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. She is the host, creator, and co-producer of My Greek Table, the highly acclaimed cooking and travel show airing nationally on Public Television.
Kochilas is also the author of more than 18 cookbooks on Greek-Mediterranean Cuisine, a consulting chef, and a cooking school owner. A Greek American, Kochilas grew up spending summers on her father’s native island of Ikaria, renowned for the longevity of its inhabitants. The New York Times described the island as “where people forget to die.” Today she runs the Glorious Greek Kitchen Cooking School there.
The premium “My Greek Table Six-Course Tasting Menu” will feature local and regional ingredients from many islands Celestyal visits. It will be offered as a supplemental charge for those opting to dine in Celestyal’s specialty restaurant.
A daily signature dish created by Kochilas will also be featured as part of the main dining room offering. These dishes are all centered around the healthy Mediterranean diet. Many are plant-forward or vegetarian, gluten-free, and/or vegan.
The special Tasting Menu starts with homemade dips (accompanied by freshly baked Pita and sesame-encrusted Simit bread). Also includes Syros Maintanosalata (made with pesto, capers, and herbs), Roasted Tomato Kopanisti, and Smoked Eggplant Caviar.
This will be followed by a first course featuring Cretan Octopus Carpaccio. I cannot wait to try this beautiful-looking dish. I vividly recall delectable memories of eating octopus in Greece on a previous cruise.
The second course will be Aegean Fisherman’s Saffron Avgolemono Soup. The third course is an Aegean Lobster Escallop boiled or grilled and served with ouzo-scented golden rice and a side of Kalamata olive mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.
I could stop here and be done, but an intermezzo course of Pappardelle of Zucchini with marinated tomatoes, mint, and toasted pine nuts will follow.
The fourth main course features a Kalogeros Terrine with sliced beef loin, sheep’s milk cheese, and tomatoes with Naxos oven-fried potatoes. The fifth course includes arugula, red onion, grilled Manouri, and Pasteli crumble salad.
The special Tasting Menu concludes with a choice of a Greek Village Cheese Platter or a Floating Greek Island in a Wine-Dark Sea along with a Greek digestive and spoon sweet. All courses in the Tasting Menu are paired with local Greek wines sourced from the destinations that Celestyal visits. Thank goodness, guests will only have to walk back to their onboard accommodations after that meal.
“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Diane that started in 2019 with our sponsorship of season three of My Greek Table. This dynamic culinary collaboration emphasizes Celestyal’s Greek roots through our cuisine experiences,” said Leslie Peden, Celestyal’s chief commercial officer.
Cover photo: Aegean Lobster Dunk, Saffron Jeweled Pilafi