Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Surprisingly good food on Viking Line

I’ve been meaning to post a short review of Viking Line Food Garden, as we went on a mini-cruise right before Christmas. The boat is fairly new, and called Cinderella. These cruises aren't exactly classy, but it seemed like a fun mini-break from holiday preparations, and besides, we had a free trip. We left Stockholm on Sunday evening, at 6 pm, and returned back the next day at 3.30 pm. We had a traditional Christmas smorgasbord for lunch on Monday, but on Sunday night, we had a hankering for more advanced cuisine, and thus went to one of the restaurants on board. The food was, surprisingly, absolutely excellent! And that really should not be so surprising to me anymore, as the food on the cruise ship to Tallinn (where we went a few years ago) was just as good. I suppose the restaurants on the ships really do hire some excellent chefs. At least this one must have.

For starters, I had a lardo-wrapped terrine with pheasant, deer and reindeer served with rosemary crutons, sundried berries and a truffle-scented honey. Lardo is conserved pork fat – that doesn’t sound incredibly appealing, but it’s actually very tasty. You can read more about it here. It gave a pleasant sensation paired with the very lean meats of the terrine, which truly was a little work of art. The sundried berries were wonderfully flavourful and chewy, and the rosemary crutons were a nice pairing. There was also quite a bit of rosemary in the terrine, maybe a tad too much for the other delicate flavours. It mixed very well with the honey, that was drizzled onto the plate. It could have had a slightly more distinct truffle flavour – but other than that, perfect.

Per had a beef carpaccio with olive oil, parmesan, cracked black pepper and a mushroom cappuccino. The mushroom in question was karljohansvamp, which is equivalent to porcini. It was a very tasty little foaming soup, and the carpaccio was great. I much preferred my own terrine though.

For the main course, we agonized over the menu – there were so many yummy choices! Per ordered deer, which came with a calvados sauce, a chutney from apple and walnuts, and a great little potato terrine flavoured with Vasterbotten-cheese. (A very sharp and flavourful cheese from northern Sweden.) I decided on roast breast of duck, served with the same potato terrine, some glazed parsnips and scorzonera. It had a yummy sauce, flavoured with a lot of fresh ginger and star anise. Mmm! I’m salivating just thinking about it!

I wish I could have taken pictures, because the presentation was beautiful, but alas, my digital camera is much too large to haul around. I will – must! – get a smaller one this year that’s more portable.

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