Culinary Cruise Down the Rhine

Two years ago we traveled up the Rhine river, enjoying a gourmet meal prepared by Nenad  Mlinarevic. This autumn we joined the gourmet festival cruise again and enjoyed a meal prepared by Tanja Grandits and Rico Zandonella (both with 2 Michelin stars each). My sister first introduced me to Tanja Grandits’ cuisine after she had had dinner at her restaurant. When Ms. Grandit’s latest two cookbooks on spices and herbs came out, I was sure to have a good look at them. When I saw her name pop up on the list of chefs cooking at the gourmet festival, I knew I wanted to sign up again for a cruise.
Unlike last time, where we had beautiful weather, it was cold and rainy and we were nearly drenched as we boarded the boat in Basel. Instead of enjoying the view from the upper deck, we settled into our cabin and in between reading we peeped out the window to see if it had stopped raining until it was time to get ready for dinner.

We gathered in the salon, where we met the two chefs, who spoke a few words before heading back to the kitchen. The two have a wonderful chemistry and listening to them talk and laugh with eachother we were sure we were in for a very special dinner. We were shown our table and were ready to enjoy our 9 course meal. Ms. Grandits’ dishes each represent a color, while adding a certain flavor (herb, spice, etc) to tie it together. Mr. Zandonella’s creations were not color-coded, but the flavors harmonized perfectly with hers.  I was served a fish option in lieu of the meat.

  • Pike perch cévice with fennel and tumeric (T. Grandits)
  • Lobster broth with a scallop, Puy lentils and squash (R. Zandonella) (not shown)
  • Quail tapas with foie gras, Uva Americana and corn / Crunchy red mullet with beet tabbouleh and mango (R. Zandonella)
  • Salmon, carrot tapioca and lupine miso (T. Grandits)
  • Open raviolo with crayfish and calamaretti, pomegranate, zucchini and lemon sabayon (R. Zandonella)
  • Alba-Truffle with an egg yolk, juniper butter and mountain potatoes (T. Grandits)
  • Poached Emmenthaler veal, Jerusalem artichoke and beets, baked veal sweetbread with Perigord truffle mayonnaise / Roasted halibut with chestnut sauerkraut and vinaigrette (R. Zandonella)
  • Quince dessert “Julien” (T. Grandits)
  • Friandises (T. Grandits & R. Zandonella) (not shown)

Each dish was special in it’s own way and it is impossible to say which course we enjoyed most. Ms. Grandits’ pastry chef Julien Duvernay won the GaultMillau award for best pastry chef this year and his dessert creation was an interesting mix of warm and cold, spicy and sweet and left our taste buds tingling!
We fell asleep happy and pleased with our dinner as our boat made its way towards the harbor in Strasbourg.

4 Replies to “Culinary Cruise Down the Rhine”

  1. (Email notifications are the best!!) This looks lovely and has my mouth watering at the dishes!

    1. I couldn’t agree more!

  2. It looks like you had a great time. The cruise ship looks fabulous. I like your photos of the ship going through the locks.

  3. Aunt Gail says: Reply

    Wow…what fun! Cruising on a beautiful boat and eating delicious food! Each plate is like a work of art. How many people where at the dinner?

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