One of the most enticing delights of canal barge cruising is the onboard cuisine. While it is has to be tasted to be believed, here is the next best thing: you are cordially invited to the petite kitchens of our favorite “floating Chefs” who serve truly memorable meals using the best meats, freshest produce, and their own limitless creativity. Meet a few of our favorite Chefs, and then enjoy their menus along with an exclusive recipe. We hope you will be floating and dining with us very soon!
Barge Saint Louis in Gascony
Saint Louis, a barge which carries just six guests, cruises in this remote and beautiful area adjacent to Bordeaux – one which we recommend to “Francophiles” who have already traveled the more well-known barge routes. Guests will experience well-preserved Medieval villages, local markets, unexpected art treasures in small museums and churches – as well as few other tourists! Envisioned by a husband-wife team of Tour Guide Peter and Captain Wendy Carrington, the cuisine aboard the Saint-Louis is known for its incredible menus showcasing the region’s rich flavors, sumptuous cheeses, and signature spirits.
Peter says: “How do we plan the menus and select the ingredients for the cuisine on the Saint Louis? We encourage our Chef to take the lead from what is seasonal and available in the markets and we create around that. Captain Wendy and I love to discuss the day’s dishes with the guests each evening as well!” A sample dinner menu on the Saint Louis is below, of course paired with hand-selected wines from Gascony vineyards both established and emerging.
Saint Louis Sample Dinner Menu
Amuse-bouche – Selection of Canapes
In the glasses, a take on Seafood Provencal with Shrimp, Mussels, Squid in a Tomato and Balsamic Sauce and Herbs de Provence
On the small dishes, Caprese Salad with Baby Vine Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Basil and a light Piquant Oil Dressing
* * *
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Lobster Bisque and Parmesan Shavings
Wine selection: “B.A. Ba” from the Brulhois cave
* * *
Roast Wild Atlantic Salmon, Pan Fried Gambas, Perfumed Rice
Pomegranate and Avocado Timbale
Buerre Blanc Sauce and Caviar Dressing
Wine selection: “Vieilles vignes blanc,” Domain du Moulin
* * *
Cheese Platter Featuring Regional Cheeses
Cabecou du Pertuis
* * *
Saint Louis Chocolate Mousse with a Sorbet and Waffle Basket
Served with a shot of Floc de Gascoigne
* * * * *
Courtesy of Peter Carrington
- 7 fl ozs double cream
- 6 ozs dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken onto pieces
- 2 ozs quality milk chocolate, broken into pieces
- 3 very fresh medium eggs
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 2tsp icing sugar to decorate
- Chocolate or Cocoa Powder for dusting
- Put the double cream in a small pan on a medium heat and leave to warm up.
- Once the cream is just starting to steam, remove it from the heat and add the chocolate. and leave it to sit and melt for about 5 mins or so
- In the meantime, separate the eggs, putting the yolks in a mug or small bowl and the whites in a large spotlessly clean bowl
- Whisk the whites, preferably using a hand-held electric whisk until they reach a medium peak. The peak should be floppy and not too stiff. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and whisk it up again until the whites begin to become shiny then add another tablespoon of the sugar. Make sure that the whites are whisked up well and all of the sugar is dissolved before whisking in the final tablespoon of sugar.
- The chocolate will most likely be melted by now, stir the cream and chocolate and then add the egg yolks and stir to combine.
- Once the whites are lovely and thick and glossy, stir in a spoonful of the chocolate mixture. Gradually pour all of the chocolate into the egg whites and then gently fold them together. Try not to be too heavy-handed or over mix this, as it is good to keep as much air as possible in it.
- Divide between the four glasses. Cover each one loosely with cling film and then pop in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to firm up. I like to take them out 15 minutes or so before I need them so that they are not too cold for the guests.
- To serve we will add a few touches to give a bit of presentation zing! Here we have covered each mousse with a dark chocolate sauce and topped with a small meringue. Then on the presentation plate we have added a waffle basket with strawberry sorbet and a few seasonal berries for extra color.
- For an extra kick, we add a shot glass with Floc de Gascoigne. The Floc de Gascogne is a regional apertif from the Cotes de Gascogne and Armagnac regions of Sud-Ouest wine region of France. It is a vin de liquer fortified with armagnac, the local brandy. However, any liquer such as Drambuie or Cointreau will work as well.
All in all a simple dessert with big impact and tastes great!