By Andrew Siebert, Executive Chef of the Carolina
Summer in Southern Europe is a scorcher, sometimes reaching temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius. We have spent the past few months in the Mediterranean sun, visiting Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, France and Spain. In the industry, we call it the cattle run.
The hot weather is a magnet for yachts of all sizes. A large number of the super yachts practice Mediterranean summers and Caribbean winters.
The Carolina has kept a busy summer schedule, with multiple guest trips and little to no turnaround time in between. The full itinerary can be challenging for me to keep the boat full of food. Though, unlike the average boater, I have provisioning options right at my fingertips. There are many agencies that are eager to simplify life by delivering supplies right to the boat, but it is expensive.
Europe’s grocery stores and many open-air markets will likely have what you are looking for, but for my needs, the stores are small and the shopping carts are smaller. Not to mention getting to and from the boat by foot or taxi or a combination of both can quickly become a hassle—especially when provisioning for one or two weeks with enough food for the crew and guests.
I’ve filled up 10 carts, taken them through the cash and used two taxis to get back to the ship. The stores don’t typically have staff to help bag your groceries and pushing 10 carts out of a store with one other crew member becomes very inconvenient. When you weigh the value of your time (and keep in mind, nobody here is in a hurry), the agency delivery service is often worth it.
I try to go to the markets as often as I can. Produce in Europe seems to be far superior to what we have in North American supermarkets. Vegetables and fruits are seemingly more flavourful. Farmers don’t use as many pesticides. This may mean a shorter shelf life, but the quality is definitely worth it.
In Italy, I’ve enjoyed what I feel are the best tomatoes, lemons, figs and berries I have ever eaten. And lettuces, zucchini and cheeses found in other parts of southern Europe are unmatched.
Eggs are sold off the shelf and not refrigerated. In North America, we wash eggs in a hot water solution and regulations enforce that they are sold refrigerated to ward off bacteria. Here, they don’t do that.
Flour is unbleached and milled differently. It took me a few tries to get used to baking with it. The bread comes out nice and fluffy and the flavour is incredible as well. I’ve even had American guests with gluten sensitivities eat bread and pasta made with this flour without issue. Makes you wonder just a bit.
There are many differences between provisioning abroad and provisioning for trips closer to home. It’s a bit of a learning curve to adjust to how other cultures do food, but discovering and adapting to local customs is what makes travelling the world such an incredible journey.
Roasted Figs with Goat Cheese Mousse and Macadamia Nut Vinaigrette
- 6 fresh figs
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces goat cheese (room temperature)
- ½ cup of heavy cream
- 1T honey
- 1 shallot chopped fine
- 2T chopped macadamia nuts
- 1T white balsamic vinegar
- 1t Dijon mustard
- ½ c olive oil
- 1T fresh chopped thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the figs into quarters and drizzle with oil and salt and pepper. Gently mix together and place on a foiled baking tray. Put tray hot oven and roast for 10 minutes.
- Whisk cream until soft peaks form. Add honey and whisk for 2 minutes. Place whipped cream in a bowl.
- Whisk goat cheese until smooth. Fold whipped cream into cheese and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for minimum of one hour.
- Add oil to frying pan at medium heat. When hot, sauté shallots until translucent, maybe 1-2 minutes. Add nuts and sauté until lightly browned. Move mixture to bowl and cool to room temperature. Add rest of ingredients and whisk together well.
- Place 6 fig pieces on plate, spoon a scoop of goat cheese mousse on top. Figs should be warm so mousse runs a little over figs. Drizzle with vinaigrette and garnish with greens like arugula or spinach.
This article is featured in the 2017 Fall issue of Boats&Places.