04 December: Christmas at sea: the festive menu on board the MS EUROPA

We asked Tillman Fischer, the EUROPA's executive chef, what he could tell us about the menu for Christmas Eve.

Dear Tillman Fischer, Christmas preparations on board are in full swing. Does the head chef already know what festive menu guests can look forward to on Christmas Eve?

Tillman Fischer: The festive menu is set, I write the menu about a month before Christmas. But the orders for the special products - such as the geese, special chocolates, marzipan and so on - always go out at the beginning of the year. The Christmas menus vary from year to year to give regular guests variety as well. But what we really always have on board is Oldenburg goose. And, of course, Wiener sausages with potato salad are also a must.

The EUROPA's Christmas voyage will take it from Rio de Janeiro to Valparaiso. How does the chef combine the culinary delights of the region with the special wishes of a festive menu? 

At Christmas time, the EUROPA is usually far away from home in warmer climes. Of course, we will serve dishes accordingly. Nevertheless, we would like to offer a Christmas atmosphere on board during the holidays, even if there is no snow. Therefore, we work with typical ingredients - with spices such as star anise, cinnamon or vanilla, with chestnuts, tangerines and oranges, with mulled wine aromas. For dessert we use rum fruits and dark chocolate.

A holiday menu has to be a classic on the one hand, yet offer variety. Where do you find inspiration? 

In many different ways. Sometimes it's the cruising area where our EUROPA is located, or a visit to a special restaurant. Sometimes, however, a "street food" snack triggers something in me, a visit to the market, or I rediscover a fruit or vegetable for myself. Then there are the ideas from my international team, which inspire me, or the many creative suggestions from colleagues and friends. I find input in magazines, books and on social media. Cooking is felt to be omnipresent to me, and influences come from everywhere.

What other culinary moments can guests look forward to on the Great Christmas Cruise with the EUROPA?

In addition to the always special welcome and farewell evenings on this voyage, we celebrate the classic Christmas Eve dinner with Oldenburg goose. On Christmas Day, we serve a festive dinner with also very exquisite products. For the turn of the year, we prepare a multi-course New Year's Eve menu followed by a "caviar-from-the-ice-block buffet". We start the new year with a sumptuous New Year's brunch. And of course there will be no shortage of Christmas classics - cookies, wafers and stollen, punch and mulled wine. In addition, the voyage offers a grandiose backdrop when the EUROPA passes the coast of Patagonia, calls at the Falkland Islands and circumnavigates Cape Horn on New Year's Eve.