I can’t claim to be a foodie, but I like to pretend that I am. I grew up with a grandmother that loved to take her three grandsons to Los Angeles’ finest restaurant establishments. (Yes, I was that three-year-old eating oysters.) I’ve done my fair share of traveling abroad—including the mandatory jaunt around Epcot’s World Showcase—but nothing prepared my taste buds for the mouthwatering, delicious dishes that I enjoyed onboard the AmaViola during Adventures by Disney’s Danube River Cruise.
Let’s set the scene: The trip follows the gorgeous Danube river from Vilshofen, Germany all the way down to Budapest, Hungary, stopping along the way at quaint little towns, majestic sights, and yes, Christmas markets. (And boy, do they know how to do Christmas in Europe!)
To my delight, on one particular evening I arrived in my stateroom with a special treat waiting for me: an invitation to dine in the exclusive Chef’s table restaurant—a private space at the back of the ship where one can enjoy an intimate meal with a select few passengers. What followed was the culinary experience of a lifetime; one that made me want to do somersaults down the Matterhorn and dance in an explosion of glitter.
Marinated Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, Caramelized Goat Cheese
What a way to start dinner. The goal of an amuse-bouche (a single bite-sized appetizer) is to delight the senses—to tease the impending onslaught of flavor. And what a tease this was. The sweetness of tomato and watermelon (a perfect pairing, mind you) mixed with the light and tangy caramelized goat cheese was the ultimate welcome to an amazing evening.
Marinated Salmon Trout, Papaya Salsa, Scallops, Wakame
I’m a fish fiend. Always have been, always will be. With a filet as soft as butter seated on a bed of the most heavenly greens and salsa, this appetizer was a perfect mix of yum and “welcome aboard!”
Carrots, Miso Cream, Apple Beetroot Celery Salad
What’s better than one appetizer? TWO APPETIZERS! In fact, I’m going through a beets phase right now so this was a pleasant sight to be seen. Have you ever seen a more elegant display of deliciousness? I’d venture to guess not.
Japanese Glazed Short Ribs, Cauliflower Mash, Quinoa, Broccoli, Plums
Porcini Ravioli, Nut Flavored Chive Butter, Vegetable Pearls
I’m having a really tough timing writing about this one—the short ribs gave me tears of joy. Cooked perfectly and with a sweet glaze, it was paired perfectly with a mushroom ravioli and was truly the pinnacle of the entire meal.
Chocolate Truffle Cake, Brûlée Cheesecake, Vanilla Ice Cream
Dessert—my favorite meal of the day. Seen above was the most adorable, petite, scrumptious creme brûlée cheesecake. With a crunchy top and spongy-sweet cake interior, this was the ultimate way to end a magnificent culinary journey with some brand new friends.
While the food, the atmosphere, and the staff aboard the AmaViola were all beyond spectacular, the best part of my travels with Adventures by Disney were the people. My adventurous, fun-spirited, and genuinely kind fellow travelers all became like family for those eight days sailing down the Danube. The food may disappear quickly, but the friendships I created will last a lifetime. Read more about my journey on the Adventures by Disney Holiday Danube River Cruise here and here.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and have an adventure. You’ll sure be glad you did.