Dinner With Chef Jean Charles Lallemand

2019 HAL World Cruise

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

This evening, we were treated to a six course dinner, paired with wines inspired by the iconic flavors of tropical Polynesia and combined with the finesse and richness of French cuisine.  Chef Lallemand, born in France and now living in Tahiti (an overseas collective of France), is on board the MS Amsterdam as “Guest Chef” for for the segment of our cruise from Peru to Tahiti.  He has provided cooking demonstrations in the on-board facilities of “America’s Test Kitchen”.  He has also created several dishes for special events and wine tastings.

Tahitian food is well known for its exotic fruits, fresh fish and vegetables which are prepared with a strong French influence underlying the Tahitian ingredients.  The sauces served in these islands often feature the home grown vanilla beans.

Chef Lallemand came to Tahiti, lured by the island life and the chance to fuse old-world techniques with ultra-fresh fish and quality local produce.

Today, a few of us were able to taste the results of his art.

It was sublime!

 

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The food on this particular cruise is amazing. We are all commenting that Holland America has moved it up more than just a notch! This evening’s menu by Chef Lallemand is an example.
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The meal began with Tahitian “Poisson Cru” (marinated tuna with a delicate coconut sauce)
The first wine is Moet and Chandon Brut Imperial, France
The first wine is Moet and Chandon Brut Imperial, France
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Duck Foie Gras came next. I was so anxious to taste, I forgot to take a picture!!! I’m sorry–but I assure you, it was vey, very good!!! Served with Ploynesian vanilla, mango and pineapple chutney.
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The 2nd wine was Errazuriz Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Chile. Because it’s a late harvest, it’s sweet and served icy cold. Very smooth!
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Getting back into the blog groove, the 3rd course is properly photographed. This is Scallop and Citrus Carpaccio. The caviar was to die for!!!
The wine served with the scallops is from Spain, Fillaboa Albarino
The wine served with the scallops is from Spain, Fillaboa Albarino
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Butter Poached Black Cod served with passion fruit and ginger butter. Accompanied by coconut risotto and an asparagaus spear. The lace is the skin, deep fried. The cod melted in your mouth. The lace enhanced the flavor of the wine.
And that 4th course wine was Flanagan Beauty of Three Chardonnay, California.
And that 4th course wine was Flanagan Beauty of Three Chardonnay, California.
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The main course was Roasted Lamb Rack with a honey sauce; sweet potato puree; and petit vegetables.
The main wine was a Siverado Cabernet Sauvignon, California
The main wine was a Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon, California
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And for dessert: Raspberry and Pistachio Macaroon. Served with coffee or tea. This was an amazing meal!

 

Our next port is Papeete, Tahiti.  I can’t wait to tell you all about the Food Trucks!!!!

Pitcairn Island, British Overseas Territory

2019 HAL World Cruise

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

 

Pitcairn Island, one of four tiny islands in the group, is the only one inhabited.  This last remaining British Overseas Territory, located in the remote South Pacific, is the furthest inhabited land from any continent on the earth!  There is no airport; there is only one circuitous road; there is no TV reception although TVs with DVD players are numerous; there is no internet but the HAM radio tower keeps the inhabitants in touch with the outside world; there are only about 4 dozen people living there.  All are descendants of the mutineers of the HMS Bounty and their Polynesian companions.

The mutineers arrived on Pitcairn in 1790.  They set fire to the HMS Bounty in order to sink her and hide her from discovery.  The wreck is still visible underwater and was, in fact, discovered by the National Geographic explorer Luis Marden in 1957.

Today, half the population of Pitcairn came aboard the MS Amsterdam.  The pictures will tell the story about our day.  You all know the story of Mutiny on the Bounty!  We met the descendants of the Bounty Mutineers!

We anchored in Bounty Bay and awaited the Longboat from Adamstown.
We anchored in Bounty Bay and awaited the Longboat from Adamstown.
This is Bounty Bay and the  Longboat Shed.
This is Bounty Bay and the Longboat Shed.
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This is not a large island. Pitcairn is the only inhabited island of the group.
This is it!  A full view of Bounty Bay and Adamstown.
This is it! A full view of Bounty Bay and Adamstown.
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What we are looking at here is a switchback on the “Hill of Difficulty Road!” Aptly named!
The houses look quite nice.
The houses look quite nice.
Our guests are coming alongside.
Our guests are coming alongside.
The stern line is set.
The stern line is set.
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And half the population of Pitcairn climbs the ladder and comes aboard! Please note that there doesn’t seem to be much merchandise there. Hopefully, there is more under that plywood floor!!!
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And yes, there was more merchandise stowed under the temporary plywood floor of the longboat! Carts and carts were brought up to the Lido Deck.
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Thank Goodness! Even more merchandise. 1200 passengers, who spent the last 5 days at sea + an abundance of new and interesting wares equals…..
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…..a mob scene! I managed to buy a golf shirt by snaking my arm into the mass; pulling out the first thing I touched; and holding up cash with my other hand. Success: size close enough, color OK, souvenir bagged!
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Rog is pointing to Pitcairn on the globe. It truly is in the middle of nothingness. Notice the shirt.
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Got the logo; bought in Bounty Bay; so who’s gonna know it was manufactured in Honduras! Don’t tell!
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One table was set up to stamp the passports of passengers who so desired–US $5.00.
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Some people are buying postcards with a Pitcairn stamp to send out of Pitcairn on the next mailboat, scheduled to arrive in Mid-March. US $3.00/card (stamp included.)
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And all too soon, the day is over and the longboat comes back to pick up our guests.
We say farewell to Pitcairn Island.
We say farewell to Pitcairn Island.

Now another couple of days at sea as we sail to Papeete, Tahiti.

Speed Wine Tasting

2019 HAL World Cruise

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

 

Today, we got together with several other wine drinkers to try out a new form of “Tasting.”  The event was advertised as a SPEED Wine Tasting.  Rog and I had not heard of this but some others on board had participated before and assured us this was not a “how much can you guzzle” type event!  It is, I guess, a serious approach to a new way of sampling wine.  Anyway, we did it.  We had fun.  And we discovered a couple of new wines to buy when we get home.

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Once again, the ship provides an eating and drinking activity to keep us entertained!!!!
This time, it was a SPEED Wine Tasting of 4 different white wines.
This time, it was a SPEED Wine Tasting of 4 different white wines.
Always accompanied by good stuff!!!
Always accompanied by good stuff!!!
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Today, we had a flight of four. !st on the left is a Sauvignon Blanc from Simi Winery, Sonoma County, California.
This one turned out to be my favorite.  Crisp, refreshing, a hint of citrus!
This one turned out to be my favorite. Crisp, refreshing, a hint of citrus!
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The 2nd, front right, is Pedra Negra from Mendoza, Argentina. derived from Torrontes grapes.
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A Pedra Negra Torrontes from Mendoza Argentina. A heavier wine with a full body flavor.
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The third is at the back and on the right. This is Pouilly-Fuisse from France.
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Laboure-Roi Pouilly-Fuisse, St. Georges, France.  It is characterized as an “Old World French Wine.” This was Rog’s favorite.
The final wine, on the right at the rear, is Wild Horse Chardonnay.
The final wine, on the right at the rear, is Wild Horse Chardonnay.
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The final wine, Wild Horse Chardonnay from California, is characterized as a “New World” French wine. Neither Rog nor I cared for this one.
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This turned out to be quite fun. I had doubts about a “speed” tasting; but it was more “tasting” and education than quick ingestion. We were instructed to to take several quick sips in succession to experience the full flavor of each wine.

 

We are still on our way to Pitcairn Island.

Craft Beer Tasting

2019 HAL World Cruise

Monday, February 11, 2019

 

Sea Day!

The ship strives to keep its passengers entertained—especially on sea days!  Today was no exception.  At 1:00 pm this afternoon–just after lunch–a craft beer tasting was scheduled in the Sports Bar.  For $14.95/pp we were regaled with 4 different craft beers along with the appropriate salty nibbles!  A short lecture accompanied by the tasting gave us an introduction to ALES.  The following pictures should tell the story.

Our bartender explained that beer is judged by color, aroma, and taste.
Our bartender explained that beer is judged by color, aroma, and taste.
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Reb went on to explain that all bottles will list IBU (International Bitterness Units); ABV (alcohol by volume); and Standard Reference Method.
We used tiny beer tasting glasses!
We used tiny beer tasting glasses!
The tasting accompaniments were pizza and nuts.
The tasting accompaniments were pizza and nuts.
All things salty go with beer.
All things salty go with beer.
1st up was Liberty Ale by the Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco.
1st up was Liberty Ale by the Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco.
#1 Liberty Ale:  yellow color, bitter, hoppy aroma, 5.9% ABV.
#1 Liberty Ale: yellow color, bitter, hoppy aroma, 5.9% ABV.
Next up was Anchor Steam Beer, also by Anchor Bresing Company.
Next up was Anchor Steam Beer, also by Anchor Brewing Company.
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#2 Anchor Steam Beer was my favorite. Amber color, soft aroma, light mouth, a little bitter
The 3rd tasting was Dead Guy Ale from Oregon.
The 3rd tasting was Dead Guy Ale from Oregon.
Dead Guy Ale Rogue
Dead Guy Ale Rogue
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Dead Guy had a nice aroma with floral notes, amber color, a little sweet with an unpleasant aftertaste. 6.8% ABV. I didn’t care for this one.
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The last offering, La Fin Du Monde (End of the World) by Unibroue of Canada (now owned by Sopporo in Japan).
La Fin Du Monde
La Fin Du Monde
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#4 La Fin Du Monde is a light color with a foamy head. Full hoppy flavor, a citrus note in the aroma. No aftertaste but a heavy mouth. I didn’t like this.

 

We ended the session with the usual trivia game for prizes of beer along with a bar game.  I’m not including the bar game—if you know it, you’ll think we’re dumb ‘cause we didn’t.  If you don’t know it, why should we give it away!!!!!

We are still on our way to Pitcairn.

Easter Island, Chile

2019 HAL World Cruise

Sunday, February 10, 2019

 

So sometimes, we’re romantics at heart.  One of the reasons we chose to take this cruise was to explore the mysterious Easter Island.  We knew of it.  We had seen moai.  We knew there was uncertainty about the history of the island and the meaning of the moai statues.  We were eager to learn more; to be in the moment; to garner impressions!

Easter Island is known to the native people as Rapa Nui.  The culture dates back to about 500 AD.  It was named “Easter Island” by Dutch Admiral Jacob Roggeveen when he spotted the island on Easter Sunday, 1722.   The island is famous for the moai, those huge statues, nearly 9oo of them, dotting the island.  Each one is carved from a single stone of compressed volcanic ash.  The largest standing moai is 33 feet tall and weighs 83 tons!  (Archeologists have also discovered larger, unfinished moai in the Rano Kau quarry—69 feet high and 270 tons!)

The Rapa Nui National Park ranger explained to us that the moai are carved in the likeness of ancestors; the point is to honor their forebearers in hopes of protection and good fortune; the moai always face inland (with only one exception) to watch over the population; their backs are to the see because that’s were they came from and where there spirits still reside.  (That one exception is the Ahu Akivi.  Here seven moai, representing the original scouts left on the island to await the King’s arrival with the original settlers, face the ocean in anticipation.)

We arrived at our anchorage before dawn.  I’ll confess, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.  Got Roger up in the black of night to watch the sail-in!  So, you might sympathize with our frustration when it was announced that the tender operation would be very slow due to the large swells rocking both the ship and the tenders—not necessarily in unison!  We didn’t get to shore until after 2:00pm!!!!  But at least we did; by 4:00pm all outbound transport was cancelled and many passengers lost the opportunity to go ashore.  From 4:30 to 6:30pm only returning passengers were transported.  We were on one of the last tenders.  Our 8-hour tour had been accomplished in less than 4 hours!  It was a whirlwind tour, to say the least!

Here are the photos:

Sunrise over Easter Island
Sunrise over Easter Island
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The tenders are deployed, awaiting the customs team and thier OK before passengers may depart for shore.
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The Rapa Nui customs team coming on board to give the ship clearance and enjoy breakfast in the Lido!!!!
The customs team "rafted" with the tender to board quickly.
The customs team “rafted” with the tender to board quickly.
The Easter Island Airport is visible from the ship.
The Easter Island Airport is visible from the ship.
And we watched a Lantam airlines plane coming infor a landing.
And we watched a Latam airlines plane coming in for a landing.
Nice view from the ship of the landing.
Nice view from the ship of the landing.
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Later that afternoon, we watched the Latam Airliner take-off on its turnaround departure.
Loading up the first tender.
Loading up the first tender.
Watch the ship roll in this series of shots.
Watch the ship roll in this series of shots.
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It was difficult to board the tenders. As safety was of primary concern, each passenger had “handlers” to help them make the leap!
This was an extrememly time-consuming process.
This was an extrememly time-consuming process.
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We could see Moai from the ship!!!! These figures are in the village of Hanga Roa, not far from the tender dock.
We finally made it ashore around 2:00pm!
We finally made it ashore around 2:00pm!
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Our tour guide was waiting for us and we set off on the adventure we’d been anticipating! This is a view from the van as we headed toward the Rapa Nui National Park at Anakena.
Another view from the van.
Another view from the van.
Roger and the Moai at Anakena.
Roger and the Moai at Anakena.
The Anakena Moai
The Anakena Moai
We proceeded to the Ahu Tongariki Moai.
We proceeded to the Ahu Tongariki Moai.
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The moai are sculpted at the Rano Raraku Quarry. The “top hats” are obtained and created at the Puna Pau Quarry where red colored rocks (scoria) are found.
A moai with his top hat.
A moai with his top hat.
The Ahu Tongariki Moai.  This is the "Travelling Moai"
The Ahu Tongariki Moai. This is the “Travelling Moai”
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And we visited the Rano Raraku Quarry. We saw many fallen and unrestored moai in the quarry area.
Roger at the Rano Raraku Quarry
Roger at the Rano Raraku Quarry
The sharp cuts indicate where the moai were carved.
The sharp cuts indicate where the moai were carved.
The Quarry Rano Raraku
The Quarry Rano Raraku
only about 1/3 of a moai is visible.
Only about 1/3 of a moai is visible.
The Quarry Rano Raraku
The Quarry Rano Raraku
The Quarry Rano Raraku
The Quarry Rano Raraku
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We were told there are about 6000 inhabitants on Easter Island. And just as many horses! There are about 1000 moai. This photo may give you an idea of the size of the moai!
The Quarry Rano Raraku
The Quarry Rano Raraku
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Sandy at Ahu Tongariki, sitting with the “Traveling Moai.”  Because the Japanese people had provided assistance for the restoration of the moai, this particular statue was sent to Japan, on loan, to be shown at trade shows in Osaka and Tokyo.

 

This was a fabulous port-of-call.  I chose to end the series of photos with Traveling Moai because he so perfectly illustrates the joys, education, and opportunities of travel!  Our next stop will be at Pitcairn Island, although only an anchorage.  We will not disembark the ship.  Instead, a delegation from the island will come on board.  We look forward to meeting them!!!!!