ABOARD THE MSC DIVINA - Tucked into my luggage are two bags of pasta, some almond cookies and a bottle of Chinotto, a carbonated soft drink produced in Italy from the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree.
These are “souvenirs” from my journey aboard the MSC Divina. When I get home, I plan to have an Italian dinner to commemorate my fantastic cruise aboard the beautiful Divina.
I knew that the MSC Divina had a top-notch Italian restaurant known as Eataly and I was looking forward to eating there. However, I was surprised at the restaurant’s mini emporium that sells authentic Italian and artisan products, including olive oils, dried pastas, regional sweet and aged balsamics.
“We want to give you a taste of Italy, not just feeding you but showing you where the food comes from, ” said Enrico Borniotto, general manager of Italia Catering.
“This is dedicated to our American passengers,” he said. “It is like a trip within a trip.”
I can certainly agree with that. Sitting in Eataly restaurant, I could easily imagine that I am in Italy. The décor is simple but elegant. White tablecloth, white flowers, wooden floor, exposed brick walls.
And the food. Oh, my goodness, the food.
The starter of Parma Vs San Daniele was huge and delicious with two types of famous Italian prosciutto, topped with cherry tomatoes atop lettuce and served with crispy bread. It was enough for a meal.
The presentation is lovely, including the bread which was placed on our table in individual white paper bags for each diner. Special olive oil is wonderful for dipping the bread.
Next is Afeltra Gragnano Pacchero - shrimp, calamari and sea calipers in a seafood sauce with fresh tomatoes and parsley. For an entrée, I chose a grilled Norwegian salmon steak served with Salmoriglio sauce made of Salina capers. Dessert was Sicilian cannolo.
Truly I didn’t understand many of the words on the menu. The server was quite helpful in translating them and describing the dining choices but I knew that whatever I ordered was going to be wonderful. That is one of the joys of traveling – trying something different.
After the first two Eataly restaurants at sea proved a big hit on sister ship MSC Preziosa, the cruise line decided to offer one on the new MSC Divina. The popular Turin-based chain was founded by Oscar Farinette in 2007 and opened in the U.S. in 2010 in partnership with celebrity chefs Marion Batali and Lidia and Joe Bastianich. Eataly now has 16 locations around the world.
“Much like MSC, Eataly is taking its Italian roots and expanding in North America,” said Ken Muskat, senior vice president of sales and marketing for MSC Cruises USA.
For more information: Check out the website at www.msccruisesusa.com