I recently had one of the best meals of my almost 30 year barging career on the gorgeous and classic 8-passenger barge Tango. While peacefully moored among the colorful sailboats lining the quay, as seen below, the Tango’s lovely luncheon menu highlighted vermouth, one of France’s most delightful and intriguing spirits. A favorite of barge chefs for its complex flavors and rich aroma, it is often an ingredient found in many types of fish dishes and seafood recipes.
Tango is owned by Captain Daniel Sak, pictured at right, who was beginning his 20th season on the French canals. Daniel is a perfectionist who makes sure that everything on Tango feels as relaxed yet sophisticated as he is. Daniel is also an accomplished chef, vineyard owner, world traveler, and trusted guide to the authentic and sometimes hidden corners of the French canals.
After my welcome aboard, we went into the salon, a haven of comfort with orchid plants everywhere and jazz playing in the background. Highlighting the French vermouth maker Noilly Prat, Captain Daniel and Chef James featured this liquor in before-lunch cocktails and in the menu. What a clever idea! To start, Daniel mixed up a drink of 50% red vermouth, 50% white vermouth, and a splash of orange zest. Back on deck, I sipped this delightful concoction as James passed gorgeous canapes, and then, along with the rest of the crew, we sat down. This refined menu spotlighting vermouth and was as elegant and flavorful as any meal I have enjoyed on the French canals.
Canapes Served on Deck
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Individual Ravoili Stuffed with a Goat Cheese and Egg Yolk Mixture
Splashed with Truffle Oil
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Filet of Cod with Lemon Crust
New Potatoes, Zucchini, and Asparagus
Noilly Prat White Vermouth Beurre Blanc
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Peach Poached in Noilly Prat Red Vermouth
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
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