Halfway the cruising week, two chefs decided to cook a meal for everyone, including all five crew, eightteen people in total.
I thought that was a great idea, although the idea of having all guests running around in my barge kitchen was a little scary, but why not….
In order to do this meal we suggested to go to the big covered market in Avignon, Les Halles. An amazing place! There are poissonieres (fish mongers), bouchers (butcheries), fruits et legumes (fruits and vegetables), spices and sweets. Also lots of boulangeries and patisseries, of course. They spent a good hour racing around the open market to find the best ingredients. Tour guide Nico had quite a job to keep track of all thirteen people, but he succeeded to come back on the barge with all of them. They even had the time to tour Avignon town, he brought cold bags to store the shopping.
The first idea of the chefs was to prepare a Salad Nicoise with lots of veggies. I think I looked a bit disappointed, because that is something we often eat ourselves for lunch. There was a lot of discussion going on and then this was their proposal:
Jay - One of our Guest-Chefs
*As a starter a leek and pear soup, followed by Ceviche (Poisson Citron) from three kinds of fresh fish including a beautiful swordfish, with crudités of assorted veggies, salad and citrus-braised Brussels sprouts.
*As the main course BBQ’d Tuscan Ribeye, on the barbeque, marinated in lots of fresh garlic and a good handful of rosemary (from the barge’s herb garden), a potato dish they had learned from a Tuscany adventure.
*As dessert two large apple and pear galette’s
The guests had to cook in both barge kitchens while cruising. That took some coordination. It was very serious cooking. They made their own chicken stock out of carcasses and a fresh stewing hen (purchased complete with feathered head and feet – luckily, they knew at least how to ask the butcher how to cut the head off!) All fish, meat and vegetables fresh and nicely cooked, the dessert was made from scratch. It took some time to convert the measurements, to find all pots and pans they needed, but it worked! It can give some funny things if you do not speak or read the French language, like trying to beat milk into whipped cream, just fun!
It was the first time guests offered us to make a meal and also the first time I’d ever sat eightteen people for dinner on L’Etoile.
It all was absolutely divine!
We were impressed, a big “thank you” to our guests!
With this group we were able to dine outside, on the sundeck of the barge, the weather was still great, although we cruised in October!