Written by Missy Johnston
Luxury Yacht Charter Dining
One of the many benefits of a private yacht charter vacation is experiencing the wonderful local cuisine and specialties of the area in which the charter is taking place. While many of us are staying socially distant and may be hesitant to enjoy restaurant dining due to COVID, everything is full steam ahead in the yacht charter world.
Wondering how to stay safe on a yacht charter and still enjoy the regional cuisine? Your private chef will create an explosion of all of the local flavors right on board, bringing the local cuisine from land or sea to your private yacht dining table. Or your yacht crew can create a pop-up private ”restaurant” with one table just for you with private yacht crew service on a secluded beach.
Private Beach Dinner
Experience lovely fresh local foods that may not be available in your own at-home, local grocery store. Your chef can shop the local markets and craft a delicious meal featuring local cuisine right on board your private yacht that brings the region to life via a custom-tailored menu. Even those with special dietary restrictions or allergies can still experience the local flavors, thanks to a private onboard charter chef who can make the necessary—and delicious—accommodations.
Fine dining, casual family meals, wine pairings, and interactive dining experiences—it is all available as part of the yacht charter cuisine experience. Get ready to work up an appetite as we take a closer look at all that dining on a yacht charter has to offer in various worldwide yacht charter cruising locations. Here is a selection of some of our favorite destinations where a local culinary experience can always be a highlight of a yacht charter trip.
Yacht Charter Cuisine Around the World
Fettuccine pasta with shrimp, tomatoes, and herbs
Italy is well-known for delicious food and drink, and a yacht charter trip here is sure to please your taste buds. Your private chef can shop in all of the local markets (you can accompany him or her if you like) for onboard cuisine made with the freshest local ingredients. Picture yourself diving into a fresh water buffalo burrata, a ball of fresh mozzarella, with a center of fresh pieces or “rags” of mozzarella and heavy cream, served over vine-ripened local tomatoes, strewn with fresh torn basil, sprinkled with aged balsamic vinegar and virgin first press olive oil from a mill stone press. Or a bowl of homemade pasta topped with porcini mushrooms in a white cream sauce. Or enjoy tidbits of thin-sliced Prosciutto di Parma and seven-year aged Parmigiano di Reggiano. These local ingredients are oh so Italian, and so many more can all be found by your onboard charter chef, to create a lovely Italian cuisine experience right on board.
Cocoa Fruit growing on the tree in Grenada
The Caribbean is made up of many remote islands ideal for a private yacht charter vacation that features amazing local flavors. An island that has a lot to offer when it comes to food is Grenada, where that which is grown on this fertile island influences the cuisine of the rest of the Caribbean.
Grenada is known as “The Spice Island,” as the soil here is perfect for producing nutmeg, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, cacao, and more. Your chef can visit the daily market held in the island’s capital, St. George’s, and pick up local herbal teas, jams, and syrups to use to create local dishes on board. Your chef can also pick up whole nutmegs and a little nutmeg grater to grate fresh nutmeg onto the top of frothy Caribbean drinks or into savory souffles. Mace, cinnamon bark, chocolate, fresh roasted coffee beans, dried chili peppers, vanilla, bay leaves, and various combinations of spices making Caribbean curry powders at different levels of heat are also available.
All of the spices and herbs from this amazing “Spice Island” have been exported throughout the Caribbean for centuries, creating the special flavors identified today as local Caribbean foods. And these same spices, herbs, coffee, and chocolate are available in markets on other Caribbean Islands, so that if your charter is in the Caribbean your charter chef can make local Caribbean fare on board. Enjoy curries featuring Caribbean curry blends and other foods, such as beautiful desserts made with Caribbean chocolate and fat slices of French toast sprinkled with Caribbean cinnamon and nutmeg. Savor each bite no matter where in the Caribbean your charter takes place, cruising ahead of the balmy trade winds.
Black and White Truffles of Istria, Croatia
Food and wine lovers will enjoy a yacht charter trip in Croatia where the forests are a growing ground for truffles, where rivers empty into the ocean there is the perfect blend of brackish water to grow succulent oysters, and the minerals in the soil flavor wine grapes that create award winning wines.
The Motovun Forest in Istria has the ideal forest bed and tree varieties for white and black truffles to grow embedded in the roots that today are hunted by specially trained dogs. Typically, they have been enjoyed primarily just by the locals. More recently, fresh truffles have become available throughout Croatia, and many truffle products including lovely truffle permeated olive oils can be readily found in Croatian shops.
Black truffles are hunted all year, while the more fragrant and pungent white truffles only grow fresh during the short growing season from the end of August through half of December. As Croatia is not well known for truffles, few are exported, leaving the bulk of these delicacies available to be consumed in Croatia, and at excellent prices due to lack of export demand. If you are a truffle aficionado, this is your chance to enjoy truffle anything and everything without breaking the bank, and for those chartering in September or October, be sure to ask for fresh white truffles to be included in your onboard cuisine.
The Dalmatian coast has a centuries old tradition of mariculture. The top spot in Croatia for mariculture of oysters and mussels in Dalmatia is considered to be Ston and Mali Ston Bays. In both bays, which are side by side, underwater freshwater springs bubble to the surface of each sea bed. This creates brackish water in both bays with a special combination of minerals, nutrient salts, and a large quantity of phytoplankton, giving the oysters and mussels grown in the waters of these two bays a special flavor considered by many to be the tastiest oysters in the world. In London at the 1936 World Exposition, oysters from Mali Ston received both the Grand Prix and the Gold Medal. Never fear, however; the shell farmers are always happy to sell their harvest, often just plucked from the water right from the farm raft over the rail into your charter yacht galley. Have them served as fresh as a raw oyster can ever be served or created into a myriad of oyster and mussel dishes on board.
The Dalmatian Coast and Islands in the southern part of Croatia are home to many award-winning boutique wineries as the soil, sun, and climate produce spectacular wine grapes. These wine grapes are considered so special that several locations on the Peljesac Peninsula just north of Dubrovnik, where Plavac Mali grape vines are grown, have their own appellations-Dingač and Postup.
When cruising along the Peljesac Peninsula, several wineries can easily be visited (with advance reservations) for wine tastings, such as Korta Katarina Winery and Grgic Winery by just anchoring in front of them. Guests arrive ashore via the ship’s tender for a short walk up the hill to the winery. Anchor in front of Grgic Winery in Trstenik Bay, a beautiful bay on the Peljesac Peninsula. Head ashore in the ship’s tender and enjoy a wine tasting on the terrace under the warm sun with your yacht anchored in front of you, with the hull reflected in the sparkling clear water. Have your own wine tasting on board, with a selection of Croatian wines, and tidbits, while you decide which are your favorites.
Lobster boil on Butter Island, Maine
Most of us think of seafood when we think of New England, and for good reason. A benefit of taking a private yacht charter trip to New England is to have a chance to enjoy a myriad of cold water fish and shellfish caught fresh right out of the very waters in which you may be cruising. But the piece de resistance—that which can only be experienced and enjoyed in New England—is a lobster boil created by your crew on a New England beach, all cooked in clean ocean water on a bed of fresh seaweed. This isn’t available in any restaurant, nor can the special sweet flavor of the lobster meat created by boiling in the salty ocean water and seaweed be achieved any other way, making it a one-of-a-kind, and very special dining event.
Maine is the perfect location for a lobster boil, which is a fantastic way to truly bring local fresh-caught lobsters, fresh-harvested mussels, and fresh-dug clams to life. At your request, your chef can select the freshest lobsters, right off the lobster boat. A lobster boil contains lobster (of course!), soft-shelled clams, mussels, Portuguese sausage, potatoes, and fresh corn on the cob. The secret to a mouth-watering lobster boil is cooking all of the ingredients in seawater with lots of fresh seaweed. Once the raw eggs that have been placed in the bottom are hard boiled, they will rise to the top of the pot—and it is time to dig in. Pour everything out on the beach on a bed of seaweed and gather around. Add in blueberry muffins and strawberry shortcake for dessert, both traditional New England fare. What could be more authentic and fabulous than this?
A Truly Unique Dining Experience
Family Breakfast on Yacht Charter
Have a favorite drink? Craving a fresh fruit smoothie? Anything is possible on board. Enjoy an upscale dining experience one night, and then have a fun, family outing for a casual beach picnic the next day, with all of the water toys laid out on the sand waiting patiently to be used for an afternoon of fun in the sun.
Even dining with kids or other picky eaters is a breeze on a charter yacht. A simpler, more kid-friendly meal can be prepared at any time. Perhaps the kids have pasta in a butter sauce, while the adults indulge in pasta with a white truffle cream sauce. Or, the kids’ menu may feature chicken fingers, while adults enjoy beautiful freshly-grilled fish cooked to perfection. The children can eat with the adults, or they can be served separately. A popular idea on board is to select an evening when the children are served first and burrow in after dinner for a night of popcorn and a movie while the adults enjoy a more upscale dinner on the top deck under the stars.
Let your imagination run wild when it comes to meal planning. Interactive, themed dining is a favorite to create with most crews. Crew members truly enjoy getting involved in the action. Here are just a few suggestions from past charters we have helped plan:
- Pirate raid—Yo, Ho, Ho! Dressed as pirates, your charter crew can take some or all of your children “captive,” releasing them safely on a nearby beach for a treasure hunt that leads to a picnic on the beach and a treasure chest overflowing with delights.
- Casino Night—Indulge in a special casino-themed dinner and then move into a full-scale casino on board, complete with dealers, casino games, cards, and chips. What shall the one with the highest number of chips win at the end of the night?
- Time Travel—Visit any decade aboard your charter yacht. Crew and guests can dress up in clothing from the time period, and your chef can prepare a classic meal from any era. Steak or cheese Fondue anyone?
- International Theme—Amp up the local cultural experience beyond just the menu. Request a Mexican night or a Polynesian-themed luau. With the crew in full costume and table decor to match, it’s a night in another country.
- White Dinner—Have a magical dinner aboard your private charter yacht in an illuminated sea of white with white linens on the table, white candles, fairy lights, and white decorations. Even the crew (and guests if they so choose) wear white, and the entire menu is just that—all white foods designed to delight.
- Murder Mystery—Everyone can get in on the fun with a murder mystery dinner. Usually based on a pre-purchased Murder Mystery game, the crew makes this come alive (no pun intended) to create a truly interactive experience with full props. No need to worry about being named the “victim”; a crew member will take that role. But one of the guests will be named the “murderer.” Hone your detective skills while enjoying an amazing meal.
- Tropical Christmas—For those celebrating Christmas that might have “Believers” in the guest group, have Santa (your captain) arrive with a flourish by tender and come aboard in a full Santa suit, adapted for the tropics with red shorts and flip flops. After Santa visits on board, head ashore for a previously set up stocking hunt on the beach. End the morning with a breakfast picnic in the sand featuring mimosas for the adults. It’s a truly special tropical experience that will make a believer out of everyone in your group.
- New Year’s Eve Extravaganza—Ring in the new year on a private yacht charter for a night you will never forget. Your chef can prepare a menu for an upscale dining experience or keep it casual (or both) with a multi-course tasting menu featuring your choice of food themes. Whatever you want to do. Enjoy appetizers, a full tasting menu, and then a dessert extravaganza just before the strike of midnight.
Luxury Yacht Charter, Al fresco dining
While many of us miss dining out, that feeling of dining out and enjoying great, local, and fun dining experiences is alive and well and can be enjoyed privately and safely on every private yacht charter for every meal. A culinary experience filled with local flavors, wines, and fun is available any time, day or night. Food is such a huge part of enjoyment on a vacation, and a private yacht charter keeps dining right where it should be—a highlight of every trip. Enjoy fresh local foods in the country where you’re cruising along with a variety of other cuisines, and special diets if needed, all on board your own private yacht, while staying socially distant, just with your group, and never needing to interact with others, unless you choose to do so. Contact us today to start planning your culinary trip around the world.