One of the many wonderful things about the Viking Sun is the food! There are numerous dining options throughout the day and evening, starting with the Early Risers breakfast in The Viking Living Room and ending with Midnight Snacks at Mamsen’s, as well as 24 hour Room Service. But my favorite of all is the Chef’s Table, one of two specialty restaurants that are available by reservation. Unlike most cruise lines, which up-charge for the specialty dining options, Viking includes these options for all guests. Last night we enjoyed a “Gastronomic Journey through Time,” during which we explored culinary history with this five-course menu highlighting the development of Western European cuisine from the Roman Empire to today. Each course was paired with a premium wine which perfectly complemented the food. As always, the Chef’s Table did not disappoint!
We started our journey through time in the Roman Empire with an amuse bouche consisting of a romaine and cucumber, goat cheese mousse. We learned that ancient Roman meals regularly included vegetables such as lettuces, cabbage, leeks, and cucumbers as well as herbs and spices. Wheat porridges and homemade goat and sheep cheeses were also common, and these were reflected in this antiquity-inspired hors d’oeuvre. This was paired with an Altano Branco white wine from the Duoro Valley, Portugal.
Our first course fortified us with a hearty Gallic oxtail cosomme with julienned vegetables. Early Gauls relied heavily on domestic animals like cattle, pigs, and lamb as mainstays for their livelihood as well as cuisine. A soup of oxtails, which was slow cooked in a cauldron over an open fire, was the inspiration for this hearty consomme. It was paired with a Trivento Chardonnay from Mendoza, Argentina.
To cleanse our palate, we enjoyed an ode to the Middle Ages with a granita of mixed berries, mint, and vodka. Western Europe had little native fruit, although imports from Asia and the Middle East added variety. For the wealthy, fruit was served in pies or preserved in honey; while the poor made do with whatever fresh fruit they could find. Wild forest berries would have been a welcome fruit. This granita provided a refreshing interlude before the main course.
The main course was a Renaissance-style feast of lamb filet with sweet potato mash, glazed carrot medley, and quintessential jus. This was paired with a Maison Castel, Cotes du Rhone Syrah, Grenache Noir from the Rhone Valley, France. The Renaissance brought enlightenment, even to the kitchen, with a rise in the number of cookbooks and an emphasis on the real taste of food unencumbered by heavy spicing. Renaissance food was as sophisticated as the era itself, with dishes designed to delight both the palate and the eye.
For dessert we indulged in a 21st century pecan and walnut brownie with a chocolate mirror glaze, pistachio ice cream, and mascarpone whip. This was paired with Graham’s Six Grapes Ruby Port from the Duoro Valley, Portugal. The classic brownie was developed in the United States, and popularized across North America in the first half of the 20th century. It still endures as a “top 10” favorite.
After dinner we took a leisurely stroll around the promenade deck, and promised to do a more extensive workout tomorrow, but only after making reservations at the Chef’s Table for my birthday dinner in a few days!