Visiting Corsica on All the Best with Zita Keeley

One of our filming stops in the Mediterranean was in Corsica. I had a short time to discover some of it’s delicacies thanks to Olivier of Coloratour and Holland America Line and the MS Oosterdam.


A Tropical Thanksgiving at Sea

When my mother and I were discussing what to do for Thanksgiving, she came up with the idea of a cruise. Well, who am I to argue with spending the holiday at sea. We quickly booked ourselves on the Holland America Line, Eurodam for a 7 day Tropical Caribbean sailing. As my mother likes to do things in style, she also booked herself a special suite as well as a private cabana in the ship’s retreat. (I love traveling with my mom.)

On the first day, things are a bit hectic as people find their way around the ship and the ships crew reorganizes for a brand new set of guests. However, it didn’t take long before we settled in to the relaxing and easy going pace having our first champagne toast on the very large balcony of my mom’s suite.1

I had a spa balcony room on the 11th deck just down the hall from the private retreat. What a perfect location this turned out to be since we spent all our days at sea by that cabana.

The ship first headed to Nassau and although we’ve been there numerous times we decided to at least hop off for a drink at Senor Frogs. That place is always a fun spot.20161120_142838

Dinner that night was in the ship’s beautiful Pinnacle Grill where I had the tastiest crabcakes and 16 oz bone in ribeye. (The dessert is my husband’s.) Needless to say, I needed a good walk around the promenade deck a few times to work that meal off.

Our next stop was Grand Turk. Here, we got off the ship to try and get a wifi connection. There’s not a lot to do here but snorkeling and diving which neither my husband or I were up for doing. So, we just strolled around by the water taking pictures of the ships. I know it doesn’t sound too exciting but it somehow was quite enjoyable to us.

Tamarind, the Asian fusion restaurant was tonights’ dining choice. I always enjoy their food and it was as good as ever. Excellent thai beef salad and a lobster dish that was delicious.

We ended up at sea for the next 2 days due to the unexpected hurricane that was on its way to Costa Rica. As I said, the cabana was our true retreat on these days. We had everything we could want with fruit, water, lunch delivered and later in the day, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.

Our next dinner at the Pinnacle Grill was a special treat. One night of every cruise the Eurodam hosts a tasting of De Librije, a Michelin starred restaurant in the Netherlands  owned by one of the Culinary Council chefs,  Jonnie Boer. I met the Chef a few years back at a culinary council lunch and remember loving his halibut dish. Tonight’s meal was  a feast for the eyes and stomach as we ate our way through 5 different courses plus the amuse bouche and all paired with wines selected by Jonnie Boer’s wife, Therese. She is partner and Sommelier extraordinaire at the restaurant who helped bring the restaurant to its highly acclaimed status. Starting with the incredible amuse bouche of foie gras, egg and tomato risotto, there was more foie gras (in the shape of an oyster) on my oysters on the beach dish. Next I had the pork belly with caviar and goat cheese, then the seared bass and finally miso glazed duck breast. The wines were all Spanish from a smooth and crisp Verdejo to a full bodied and bold Toro. How I still had room to even try to dessert was a miracle but how could I forego roasted white chocolate or my husband’s deconstructed apple pie. Oh yes, this was yet another night to walk around the promenade deck a few times.

Thanksgiving day was a treat at sea lounging around and sipping bubbly followed by a full Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. I loved how they gave both white and dark meat on the plate with just enough stuffing to satisfy that craving.

One thing on the ship that is quite special and also new is what they call Music Walk. As you walk through one particular deck of the ship you come across Billboard onboard where 2 pianists sing and play favorite songs and hits. Then,  the BB King Blues Club in the ship’s Queen’s Lounge playing motown, blues etc. and then what was our favorite, the Lincoln Center Stage where each night before dinner we watched incredible classical music performances by a fabulous group consisting of 2 violins, viola, cello and piano. On the last night on board, these musicians took part in a very special presentation of BBC’s Frozen Planet where they accompanied  footage from the incredible program with live music. It was a stunning finale to this ultra relaxing holiday retreat.

All the best,








What a Ride in Barcelona

It was now the end of the cruise and what a place to finish … Barcelona, Spain. I had been here once before, over 15 years ago when my son was just a little boy and I really loved it. I hope I’d feel the same way this time.

A very helpful part of this cruise itinerary was that the ship would be staying in port overnight so this meant I could go back there to sleep and wouldn’t have to rush off to the airport or find a hotel. It also meant a bit more time to enjoy this exciting city.

My time would be spent with Yves Nicolier, a local food guide and “social cooker” (as he calls himself.) Yves runs cooking classes, caters, hosts dinners and basically, loves bringing people together to cook and eat. Today would be my turn and I was ready to see what we would be doing.

I knew in advance that Yves had his friend coming with his Harley Davidson motorcycle with sidecar that he’d want me to ride. Since I had an entire day to get through I held off on that adventure until later in the day when I knew I wouldn’t care what the wind did to me. But, for now, a comfortable air-conditioned van would be just right.

We headed to the restaurant Spoonik, a modern and very original dining place recently opened by Chef Jon Giraldo and Jaime Lieberman.  I was given a glass of Cava to sip while looking around and waiting for Chef Jon to arrive, a pleasant start to this visit. When the Chef came in, he quickly moved into the kitchen and invited us in with him. He explained that he always includes his guests in the kitchen to observe his first dish. Today he made a vegetarian ceviche with mango and some olive oil caviar. He sat down with us and popped open a bottle of his favorite Champagne while we talked about the restaurant and his love of cooking. While we sat, he whispered something to one of his colleagues and suddenly, the lights dimmed, the table lit up with moving lights and color and the sound of thunder and rainstorms filled the room. This unusual event is one of the scenes that can be projected while you are eating here.

After that unique experience it’s time for tapas and we head back to the Barceloneta waterfront area and a tiny looking place called Maians. The place is packed and we struggle to find a spot to stand while Yves and the owner discuss what dishes we should have. Dish after delicious looking dish arrive and I’m thinking how good it all looks. There’s a salad of tuna, codfish and anchovies in romesco sauce, (made with tomatoes, garlic, almonds hazelnuts & a small round red pepper that I don’t remember the name of),  a marinated white fish (Yves says, a mini shark) floured and fried into nuggets, a traditional looking paella (yum) and then another paella that’s a  special round rice with cuttlefish ink, clams and an aioli sauce. That dish was absolutely fabulous- salty but creamy and impossible to stop eating.

I finally get my ride in the sidecar of  the Harley  on our way to the final stop at Yves place. It’s fun zipping by the sites and the  famous Sagrada Familia basilica as we make our way to his pretty town just outside of Barcelona. The views from his rooftop are spectacular and after my cooking lesson of romesco sauce with  codfish we head up there with a glass of wine and our food and finish our day off spectacularly.

It might be many years since I had my first great experience in Barcelona but I now have had another. I truly feel at home here and thank my wonderful friend Yves for making it so.

That’s the end of another fabulous cruise thanks to Holland America and the MS Oosterdam crew.

Cheers and all the best,