Monday, January 26, 2015

Sabering at Sea

Glass of Bubbly, Champagne & Sparkling Wine Magazine
Issue 3, October/November 2014

As Guest Wine Lecturer on Holland America’s MS Maasdam recently, a week-long cruise sailing from Montreal to Boston, I had the pleasure of presenting a flight of wine to guests in the Rotterdam Dining Room with Cellar Master Sasa Grujicic.  The theme was “France vs America,” in honor of our departure from Montreal. I illustrated the differences between the riper American wines and the lighter, tarter, and sometimes earthier French wines in a side-by-side comparison.

Sasa (pronounced “Sasha”) sabers frequently for the guests. When I found this out, I suggested we saber in tandem. He agreed, and at the end of this tasting, we went up to a balcony overlooking the dining room and opened bottles of Moet & Chandon Rosé Impérial with our swords! It was pretty spectacular, and a lot of fun.

Later on in the cruise, I held a more informal tasting in The Mix, a meeting space with three specialty venues: Martinis, Spirits & Ales, and Champagne. From cocktail hour through the wee hours, all three venues were very popular.  Of course my favorite was Champagne, where more than a dozen Champagnes were available by the glass, including the delicious Moet & Chandon Rosé Impérial.

The Maasdam offered daily events in their Culinary Center as well as fine dining options in both the Pinnacle Grill, a Pacific Northwest Steak and Seafood restaurant that features “An Evening at Le Cirque,” in a partnership with the famed New York restaurant founded by Sirio Maccione, and in Canaletto, an Italian restaurant with special dishes inspired by Sirio’s wife, Egidiana.

Writing this today, on the 13th anniversary of 9/11, got me thinking back to my days as Windows on the World Cellar Master and Wine School Coordinator with Kevin Zraly, and to my first kitchen job, garde manger, with Chef Alain Sailhac at Le Cirque. You can tell which side of the restaurant I ended up on!

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