TRAVEL ADVENTURES . . .
SOARING ABOVE LE FJORD-DU-SAGUENAY
Savoring the Fall Colors of the Saguenay Quebec Fjords
By Bonnie Carroll
Saguenay Quebec Canada is in the Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec on the Saguenay River, 120 miles south of Quebec City, at theconfluence with the St. Lawrence River. It combines three burrows Chicoutimi, Jorquera and La Ball. It derived its name from Innu word “Saki-nip” or “Where Water Flows.” The Innu formerly called Montagnais from the French colonial period, are the indigenous people who inhabited the eastern portion of Quebec-Labrador Peninsula.
Saguenay Fjord from Viking Star Veranda
During a cruise on the Viking Star in the fall I had the pleasure of flying in a seaplane to view this amazingly beautiful area of Quebec. I began watching the seaplanes flying by my veranda and landing in the morning and was filled with excitement to disembark at the Saguenay port center for my scheduled flight at noon. The port area and center are beautiful with a colorful flag display and modern port building that houses an information and refreshment area as well as a souvenir gift shop and bathrooms. I spoke with several welcoming port representatives, all with charming Quebecois accents, and then was introduced to my pilot, who helped me board the seaplane with a few additional passengers.
It was a dreary day but happily not rainy or windy, which assured a safer flight. This seaplane seated six people, and I was happy to be the co-pilot, where I could get my best shots of the wonderment below. Our pilot had a great sense of humor and was very professional, making sure everyone was buckled in and wearing their earphones.
The Saguenay Fjord National Park is a provincial park in Quebec and adjoins the Saguenay - St. Lawrence Marine Park for sixty miles. In 1970 Quebec began acquiring land around the Fjord to protect it and it was credited a National Park in June of 1983. In 1984 it was twinned with France’s Cevennes National Park. In 2011 it became Saguenay Fjord National Park and is one of the most southerly Fjords in the Northern Hemisphere. It was reported that in 2005 90,550 visitors enjoyed the 62 miles of hiking trails, camps, a Bateau Mouche tour of the Fjords, snow shoeing, and ice fishing while enjoying cabins, huts, and campgrounds.
The Fjords are simply gorgeous from the air, especially with the brilliant colors of fall covering the hillsides. The experience of Fjords is not describable. For me it is a combination of awesome, Godly, beautiful, and as peaceful as I imagine heaven would be.
On a past trip on the Viking Jupiter I woke up one morning and took a coffee out on the patio to find we were in the middle of the Danish Fjords, and I have never forgotten how dumbstruck I was. I said to my daughter “I think this is where God lives.” On this cruise I was unable to take a seaplane to do aerial photography, due to very bad winds. All flights were canceled. I did however go a shore to a lodge for an introduction to the best Danish coffee and pastry imaginable.
Our flight in Saguenay seemed too short, I could have stayed up there forever taking photos and savoring the incredible beauty of the blanket of fall colors covering the area below. Our seaplane landing, right in front of the Viking Star, was as smooth as glass and after slipping my handsome pilot a nice tip I trudged back to my ship for a delicious hot lunch and cup of tea with a view of Viking Star guests below leaving the ship to take helicopter rides and also enjoy the amazing views of the Saguenay Fjords.
I highly recommend taking advantage of a sky view of these National treasures if you are traveling the world and find yourself in an area that is home to a Fjord. Partake in the amazing joy of a Fjord by land, air, or a kayak. It’s so glorious! For cruising international Fjords information please visit: www.vikingcruises.com. For information on Saguenay Quebec Canada tourism visit: www.saguenaylacsaintjean.ca.
Bonnie Carroll Happy on the Viking Star Cooking
FUN FRENCH COOKING CLASS AT SEA
Viking Chef’s Cooking School at The Kitchen Table
By Bonnie Carroll
Viking Star guests were excited as the French Cooking Class, lead by the Sous Chef and ship Pastry Chef welcomed everyone to The Kitchen Table area (a room devoted to preparing recipes with the chef and dining on presentations), where a large table was set to enable guest attendees to prepare recipes and then to eat their morning recipe creations with a glass of fine wine as their luncheon meal.
After donning our toques and smart looking Viking aprons we began prepping the selected menu recipes in small groups. I worked on preparation of the Marmite Dieppoise (creamy fish stew), Beef Filet Mignon (leek fondue and chorizo salsa) and then we drooled over the preparation and presentation of the Baileys Chocolate Mousse, demonstrated by the ship pastry chef.
The small groups worked together with the Chef in preparation and presentation of the main courses, and it was great fun bringing all the ingredients together for the final cooking and presentation. Everyone had a hands-on experience chopping, cutting, and cooking. Our chef seared the filet mignon and then placed trays of the filet mignon in special ovens used on the ship to perfectly prepare entrees in minutes per guests’ requests (these ovens are made especially for Viking). This preparation only takes 5-6 minutes in our own home oven at 350 degrees. Our beef was perfectly cooked per request, and divine with the leek fondue and chorizo salsa we had prepared. The dish looked beautiful as well!
The Marmite Dieppoise, a creamy and delicious fish stew, had the team happily chopping and dicing, as the mussels were simmering to open in broth and white wine. The vegetables and apples were simmered with mussels and broth until perfectly cooked. Then cream created a beautiful sauce for the chives. This was so delicious garnished with chervil leaves and is a recipe I’ve always wanted to add to my repertoire to prepare for dinner guests.
The Baileys Chocolate Mousse with caramelized crushed hazelnuts and fresh raspberries was as delicious as it was beautiful. The ship pastry chef did a full demonstration of the preparation for this sinful ending that was so helpful in explaining how the warm not hot mixture must be mixed and folded for ultimate success. The glazed hazelnut step-by-step directions were very helpful as well.
Baileys Chocolate Mousse
Our Chef wished us all good appetite, as the sommelier served the wine, and we commenced to savor the delicious results of our expertly directed morning food preparation labor. What a fun, educational and delicious all-inclusive activity that I highly recommend to all my fellow travelers on their future Viking Ocean cruise adventures.
Many thanks to our chef and pastry chef who were so patient, gracious, and generous in sharing information throughout our French Cooking Class adventure in The Kitchen Table on the Viking Star. Also note that these classes fill up very quickly so get a reservation booked as early as possible. For information visit: www.viking.com.
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Chef/Owner Dario Furlati
Ca' Dario Cucina Italiana
250 Storke Street
Goleta, California 93117
1187 Coast Village Road
37 E. Victoria Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101