Cruising is a true sensory experience! Visual delights, entertainment and fascinating shore excursions fill the eyes and heart with sound and sight. For me, however, there is such a beautiful opportunity to indulge in sensory taste delights with the food served on board.

This includes the amazing breakfasts and lunches offered on cruise line buffets and delicious meals served in the dining room and in speciality restaurants. In fact, eating become a primary point of focus for many people while cruising. I love the sit down sessions!  They allow you to make new friends, experience new tastes and yes occasionally gain a few pounds!

Eating is a Sensory Delight When Cruising

On most cruise lines, in addition to fabulous smorgasbords of food and small café nooks, the dining rooms are where dinners are served at the table. These are the times you can enjoy a glass of wine (or two) and just sit and be completely pampered.  I usually ask for the first sitting, but early or late, dinner served on sparkling white tablecloths with candles and shimmering wine glasses is pretty much one of my favourite sensory delights!

My recent cruise with Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten took food to a whole new level and I’d love to share their unique and incredibly tasteful approach.  I always try to make a point of chatting with the head chef and this time was no exception. I met a man with a passion for Norway and a desire to bring the unique tastes of this fabulous culture to his cruise guests.

Here are 3 examples of how Hurtigruten really stood out for me, and the unique way it prepared its delicious evening meals! All of the pictures were taken by my good friend cabin mate Kathleen K who religiously took pictures of every meal!

As I mentioned in a previous article, in addition to carrying passengers, Hurtigruten is a working ferry, stopping 22 times on its journey from Bergen to Kirkenes. Along the way, it drops off mail and supplies but as we discovered, also picks up unique and wonderful foods. It was a pure delight and I’d love to share the ways that it the food served really told the story of Norway.  How the food chosen for dinners reflected the unique and mysterious culture, especially as we travelled north of the Article Circle.

The Hurtigruten Dinner Menus Tell a Story

Every lunch time as we sat down to enjoy our buffet meal, we found a printed evening menu on the table. It outlined what we could expect.  You might think a list of foods and wine choices would be enough. But Hurtigruten took it to a whole new level. Here is an example.

Caramelised Apples

Skjenning ice cream from Gangstad Gardsysteri

“Skenning ice cream is made of fresh milk from the same farm that produces skenning caramel, sourced from the nearby located Rana Bakery. During production the baker brushes the thin rolled skenning dough with sugar and milk. Later, when baking the bread on the griddle the bread become caramelised. At the end of the day, the surplus of caramel that has been forming on the griddle, is collected and used as an ingredient in the ice cream.”

So, while we were sleeping the Nordlys had stopped and picked up this very special caramelised ice cream, which trust me tasted amazing!

Here’s another example.

Salt Leg of Lamb from Hellesylt

Honey Glazed root vegetables, oven baked potato and red wine sauce.

“Geirganger, close to Alesund, appears on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is considered to be the world’s most magnificent fjord landscape. It’s proximity to the resources in the fjords and the mountains formed the basis for a Stone Age hunter-gatherer culture based on hunting, trapping and fishing.  If you look closely you will see the sheep on the mountainside. Today’s lamb comes from Hellesylt.”

And finally (this one was magical!)

Waffel Hearts

Vanilla crème fraiche and rhubarb compote

“Up here in the north, winter is a long, dark and cold affair. Naturally any sign of winter’s end no matter how small and discrete it may be, is welcome. Rhubarb is one of those fortuitous bringers of good news. Before you know it, the first harvest is possible and a homemade pie, marmalade or jam can be enjoyed.”

Connecting to food in such a personal way made the entire experience extraordinary and special. It gave us a sense of association and a relationship to Norway. It did what I feel Hurtigruten does best. It makes cruising in Norway a personal experience that finds a special way into your heart and a desire to go back again and again to the land of the Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights!

Do you enjoy the dining experience when you cruise? What do you think of the way that Hurtigruten leveraged local produce and businesses to make the meals so special?


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