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Celestyal Cruises, the award-winning, number one choice for cruise travellers to the Greek Islands and the Mediterranean, is pleased to announce the introduction of a new, signature Greek menu and dining experience onboard sailings starting in April. Celestyal, already known and recognised for its focus on authentic Greek cuisine and signature warm hospitality, has developed the culinary experience in 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 that airs nationally on Public Television in both the US and Australia. Celestyal is a sponsor of the series, set to launch season four this autumn. Kochilas is also the author of more than 18 cookbooks on Greek-Mediterranean Cuisine, consulting chef and cooking school owner. A Greek-American, Kochilas grew up spending summers on her father’s native island of Ikaria, a Blue Zone renowned for the longevity of its inhabitants, where today she runs the Glorious Greek Kitchen Cooking School. The New York Times described the island as the place “where people forget to die”.
The premium “My Greek Table Six-Course Tasting Menu”, which features local and regional ingredients from many of the islands Celestyal visits, will be offered for a supplemental charge to guests 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 included offering. The dishes are all centred around the healthy Mediterranean Diet, with many being plant-forward or vegetarian, gluten-free and/or vegan option available.
The Tasting Menu starts with homemade dips including Syros Maintanosalata (made with pesto, capers and herbs), Roasted Tomato Kopanisti and Smoked Eggplant Caviar, accompanied by freshly baked Pita and sesame-encrusted Simit bread). This is followed by a first course featuring Cretan Octopus Carpaccio and a second course of 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. This is followed by an intermezzo course of Pappardelle of Zucchini with marinated tomatoes, mint and toasted pine nuts. The fourth main course features a Kalogeros Terrine with sliced beef loin, sheep’s milk cheese and tomatoes served with Naxos oven-fried potatoes. A fifth course follows with an 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. In the Main Dining Room, guests can enjoy an Ikarian Longevity Greens Phyllo Pie filled with seasonal greens, summer squash, carrots and herbs.
“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Diane that started in 2019 with our sponsorship of season three of My Greek Table and has developed into this dynamic culinary collaboration which places additional emphasis on Celestyal’s Greek roots through our cuisine experiences,” said Leslie Peden, chief commercial officer. “As more and more travellers seek healthier food options, we are delighted to have joined forces with such a well-loved and admired Greek culinary icon as Diane to provide our guests with authentic onboard experiences that no other line sailing in the Mediterranean can offer.”
“As the Mediterranean diet continues to gain popularity and more travellers discover the variety of Greek cuisine beyond the classic Greek street food, I am so excited to bring my love of Greek cuisine, its products, regional flavours and health-giving qualities on board Celestyal. Greece is an amazing gastronomy destination, with delicious adventures in every port of call. The interest we both have in sharing the love for the culture and food of Greece made my partnership with Celestyal a no-brainer,” said Diane Kochilas.