I have just returned home from an amazing few days on board the stunning Silver Dawn, Silversea’s latest elegant new luxury ship to join their fleet. With only a few days before her inaugural voyage is due to depart, I can certainly say that the Silver Dawn team are certainly ready to welcome guests on board this beautiful new ship.
There are many new enhancements to Silversea’s latest offering, but one in particular stood out to me. This was their S.A.L.T. programme, the acronym for Sea And Land Taste that first debuted on Silver Moon last year.
As a self-confessed “foodie” I thoroughly enjoyed the extra interest this bought to my time on board and how this programme creates another link to the travel destination, by bringing local cuisine and culture on board.
We heard from Barbara Muckermann, Silversea’s COO and a driving force behind the development of the S.A.L.T. programme, that their aim is to create a unique programme for the Anthony Bourdain generation that want to get closer to their destination and get more closely involved with the local gastronomy. Silversea has recognised that increasingly true luxury is defined by experiences rather than things, and with S.A.L.T. Silversea aims to deliver this with authentic touch points that allow guests to immerse themselves in the places they visit.
There are 4 elements to the S.A.L.T. programme, all working together to connect you to the world through experiences associated to food and drink, the S.A.L.T. Lab, Kitchen, Bar and Experience.
Silversea S.A.L.T Lab
First, the S.A.L.T. Lab, an intimate cooking venue that allows you to take part in small classes where you get to re create the local cuisine. Whilst in Portugal this was a master class using Salt Cod, a preparation of fish that the Portuguese hold in great affection.
Whilst rustling up “Bacalhau a Bras”, a dish of eggs, potatoes and the salt cod, we were treated to a demonstration from the Head Chef of the S.A.L.T. Kitchen along with a potted history of this ingredient and how important this is to the Portuguese culture. I now know that the people of Portugal consume over 20% of the world’s total cod intake, which given they account for less than 2% of the total global population is quite impressive!
The S.A.L.T. Lab was a stylish venue, and as expected I was cooking with high end utensils and a ‘mise en place’ ready to go. As well as cooking, and feeling like a TV chef, it was a fun session as I compared my efforts to my counterparts!
Silversea S.A.L.T Kitchen
The evening after my culinary efforts, I was treated to dinner at the S.A.L.T. Kitchen, a restaurant where the menu and wine lists change to reflect the destination. Whilst a challenge for the team of chefs, it is clear to see how this concept works well for guests, especially those on longer duration voyages that would travel through many different regions and styles of cuisine.
S.A.L.T. Kitchen was a beautiful restaurant, an elegant environment that was light and more informal than some of the dining options on board. With soft furnishings using soft blue hues, Silversea has tried to bring the of the shades of the ocean on board.
As expected, the food was delicious and whilst in Portugal, there were many seafood choices, as well as sauces, sides and deserts that featured local ingredients including almonds and oranges. All as beautifully presented and as delicious as I had come to expect from my time on board.
Silversea S.A.L.T Bar
And where better to head after dinner than to the S.A.L.T. Bar next door. This venue was probably the smallest bar on the ship, but what it lacked in size it made up for in personality! A dark and intimate setting where I indulged in one of the most delicious cocktails I can remember. Again, these were local to the region with mine including a regional artisan gin. This visit was a trip highlight, made all the better by an expert mixologist who was only too happy to recommend something based on your personal preferences.
Silversea S.A.L.T Experience
And finally, after a packed Saturday, on Sunday I headed out on a S.A.L.T. experience, the last cornerstone of the programme. Silversea has created a programme of excursions based around food, drink and the local culture. This could be a trip to a restaurant, a winery or even a visit to a speciality market, or a local artisan producer where you would hear their history and passion for their craft before sampling their produce.
On this trip for me this was a trip to Vila Vita Park, to eat at Atlantico restaurant and enjoy a lunch sampling the local Algarvian cuisine. This certainly was lunch with a view, and as well as delicious food and fine wines, there were sampling stations where we saw the chefs prepare the food and were able to ask any questions about the preparation or ingredients.
As I look back at a wonderful weekend, I think Silversea have achieved what they set out to with this programme, and as Silver Dawn sets sail on her inaugural season of itineraries in the Mediterranean and then on to the Caribbean I can only imagine some of the treats S.A.L.T. will have in store.
To take a closer look at Silver Dawn’s itineraries click here.