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On Louis Cristal cruise, Greek cuisine a delight

ABOARD THE LOUIS CRISTAL - I’ll admit it. One of the things I enjoy most on a cruise is getting to try various foods. Even a standard steak can taste different according to which chef created the recipe.

Greek cuisine a delight on Louis Cristal cruise
Greek cuisine a delight on Louis Cristal cruise
Jackie Sheckler Finch
Greek cuisine a delight on Louis Cristal cruise
Jackie Sheckler Finchi

So I am excited to learn that my Louis Cristal cruise will feature Greek cuisine. Makes sense since we will be cruising to places in Greece and Turkey. But the emphasis on Greek cuisine is a new one, says Demetra Vlachou, research & communications manager for Louis Cruises.

“We want to make it as authentic as possible,” she said. “Before it was international cuisine but our passengers requested more Greek cuisine so that is what we are doing.”

The Louis Cristal menus are so appealing that it is difficult to choose. For example, the lunch menu today had these delicious options: Cretan Bruschetta, Solomos se Ampeloffyla, Karrotosoupa, Spanakotiropita, Seafood Pikilia, Greek Kebab and more.

I’ve already seen the dinner menu and those choices include Anixiatika Rolla, Kalamata Chicken Liver Parfait, Kolokithosoupa, Artichoke a la Polita, Prawn Souvlaki, Beef Tas Kebas, Masticha Cheesecake, Pasta Pralina Sokolata and even other taste tempters.

Sure sounds like Greek to me. And it definitely is delicious.

The man in charge of all these feasts is Louis Cristal Executive Chef Ioannis Korologos who seems to be everywhere. He is giving a cooking demonstration, then he’s fixing a special appetizer at tableside for us. Plus he stops by to see if diners are enjoying his creations. Of course, I don’t speak Greek but I think the chef knows that I am quite happy with what he is preparing.

For dining on the Louis Cristal, passengers can have breakfast most days from 6 to 8:30 a.m. at the buffet in Amalthia Restaurant or from 6 to 9:30 p.m. in the Leda Dining Area. The buffet is loaded with so many choices – eggs poached, fried, scrambled, boiled; potatoes boiled or fried; bacon, ham and sausage; waffles and French toast plus Greek yogurt, cereals, porridge, fruits, breads and many other things.

Buffet lunch is usually served from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Leda dining area. One day the lunch features Paella by the Pool. Another day is Saganaki by the Pool and still another is a BBQ by the Pool. Afternoon tea with goodies is from 4 to 5 p.m. Dinner is served in Amalthia and Leda from about 6:30 to 10 p.m.

Believe me, there is never a shortage of fantastic food on the Louis Cristal.

The daily newsletter left in our cabins has a nice touch – Greek recipes that don’t seem too difficult to prepare. I’m saving those to try at home. And I’m sharing two of my favorites here for you to sample.

As the Greeks say before enjoying a great meal, “Kali orexi!”

Spanakopita
(Spinach-Cheese Pie)

2 lbs fresh spinach
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream sauce
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper
Dash of nutmeg
½ pound phyllo pastry sheets.
Butter, melted

Wash spinach and discard stems. Dry thoroughly on absorbent paper and cut into pieces. Saute onion in butter until soft. Add spinach and sauté a few minutes longer. Cool. Add cream sauce, eggs, cheese and seasonings. Mix well.

Place seven layers of phyllo pastry sheets in an 11x14x2-inch pan, brushing each sheet with melted butter. Add spinach mixture, then place eight phyllo pastry sheets on filling, again buttering each sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cut into small squares before serving.

Tzatziki

1 cup Greek whole milk yogurt
1 English cucumber, seeded, finely grated and drained
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Chill. For extra flavor add olive oil and coarsely chopped fresh mint. Serve with pita bread.

For more information: Visit Louis Cruises at www.louiscruises.com