Happy Friday, everyone! Well, we made it to the end of another week, and we are just days away from Christmas…I hope you’ve got most of your shopping done, and your Christmas cards in the mail. (I don’t….I’m hoping to play catch up this weekend!) I’ve been enjoying writing this blog, and hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do writing it. I plan to write about my experiences before, during and after my travels. So, there will probably be a lot of posts on cruising, Disney & Universal (and probably an entry or two about the Sandals & Beaches Resorts). As you probably know, I recently returned from my first Princess Cruises vacation. I honestly had a total blast, and cannot wait to return to my new favorite cruise line. I’ve now done 26 cruises (19 on Disney, 2 on Carnival, 1 on Royal Caribbean, 1 on Princess & 3 on Norwegian Cruise Line). I would sail any of them again in a heartbeat, with the exception of Carnival. Carnival is a fun cruise line…they even market themselves that way. It just isn’t the way “I” want to spend my vacation. Right now, there are literally thousands of people on Carnival ships having the best time of their lives…but it just isn’t my cup of tea. I like the option of quiet moments, and I like a bit of luxury during my time off. Princess Cruises has just stolen my heart. Princess is almost a perfect fit for the way I want to spend my vacation days.
I’ll be doing future blogs about why I also love Disney Cruise Line & Norwegian. They both are incredible vacation choices…and I truly love their “vibe”. I’ve been a Disney fan since forever, and Disney Cruise Line offers an amazing cruise experience. I love Norwegian’s Freestyle Dining, their shows, and to be perfectly honest, the Norwegian Bliss is simply a BEAUTIFUL ship…I can’t wait to sail on her to Alaska in September of 2019. But, today, I’m going to write about just one of the things that I loved about my Princess Cruises vacation. And that would be Pastry Chef Norman Love.
Norman Love—whose exquisite, silky, rich confections have been recognized by InStyle Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, and O, the Oprah Magazine—has designed some of the most decadent, hand-crafted treats in partnership with Princess Cruises for their exclusive Chocolate JourneysSM program, available onboard fleetwide. Trained in France, and named the Inaugural Inductee into the Chocolatier Hall of Fame by Dessert Professional Magazine, Love’s creations blend premium quality chocolate, unique flavors and artful designs that are perfect for any chocolate lover!
After your meal in the dining room, you are given a dessert menu. There is a selection of “Princess Favorites” that are available each night. Items like Creme Brulee, Cheesecake, Create your own Sundae, The Princess Love Boat Dream (heart-shaped chocolate mousse on a thin brownie..YUM!), fruit, or a cheese plate. Every night, there would be four or five desserts that were just available that evening…you never knew what would be on that section of the menu. Tiramisu, Limoncello Sorbet, Chocolate Pecan Pie, & Key Lime Pie immediately come to my mind. BUT, some nights, there would be a “Chocolate Journeys” selection. Whenever there was a Chocolate Journey, I always chose that! And, I was NEVER disappointed!
Yes. The Chocolate Pistachio Dome with Almond & Pistachio Nougatine was beautifully plated, and looked like an incredible work of art. It tasted MUCH better than it looked.
Here is Christopher, our amazing server with the last Chocolate Journey of the cruise.
I’m very happy that Princess Cruises has introduced Chocolate Journeys (which is an industry-first, premium chocolate experience onboard their ships). The program offers a variety of opportunities to taste the inspired creations crafted by one of the world’s foremost experts in chocolate, Norman Love.
One morning on one of the days we were at sea, the Cruise director, along with the head pastry chef (he is just a few cruises away from retiring with Princess after 40 years of service!) and another pastry chef did a Chocolate Journeys cooking demonstration in the atrium of the Island Princess. The chef made Chocolate Mousse with a red fruit compote, Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles and Chocolate Chunk Cookies. He brought trays and trays of these delicious cookies with him, and passed them out to the crowd. Princess also printed up a flyer with the recipes of each dessert.
Here is the recipe for Master Chocolatier Norman Love’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies. This recipe makes 28 pieces.
2 cups Semi-sweet chocolate chips; 1/2 cup Milk chocolate chips; 6 eggs; 1 tsp. Vanilla extract; pinch of salt; 1 cup of Unsalted Butter; 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour; 2 cups Granulated Sugar; 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder; 3/4 cup Walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
- Whip sugar, eggs, salt & vanilla together in mixing bowl, set aside.
- Melt the two chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Be careful not to burn. When melted, remove from the heat and stir well.
- In separate bowl, sift baking powder & flour together. Whisk into melted chocolate. Mix just until combined. Add nuts. Add egg mixture and whisk until fully combined. Let mixture cool.
- Using a small ice cream scooper, scoop dough and place onto ungreased cookie sheet. If scooper isn’t available, use tablespoon. Cookies will be large.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
I must not have taken a picture of the Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles…I was eating cookies.
Here are a few other Chocolate Journeys selections:
The Coconut Mousse with Dark Chocolate Cream & Crunchy Roasted Coconut was simply heavenly. I ordered a second one.
I may have not taken pictures of all of my Chocolate Journeys desserts…some times, the fork beat the camera to the plate. But, I did take a couple of pictures from my favorite Chocolate Journey:
The dessert pictured above was from the menu of one of the Specialty Restaurants, The Bayou Cafe (another entry for another day!). This meal was an extra $29.00, and the dessert may have been almost worth that. I think everyone else at my table had the sweet potato pie (I would NEVER order Sweet Potato Pie, when the above was an option). This was the Chocolate Journeys Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar with Roasted Peanuts…this dessert is a tribute to the love and marriage of peanut butter and chocolate. The base of this delicious dessert is a moist cake made from almond flour and brown butter, topped with silky, smooth peanut butter cream and topped with a layer of milk chocolate mousse. This may have been the best thing I ate on the Island Princess.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it or not, but I was SUPER impressed with the food on Princess Cruises. I never eat at buffets, it’s always my last choice. The buffet was very good, if not impressive on this ship. The dining room food was never a disappointment. (except for their potato soup). Every meal was delicious! There was always a good option for me on the menu, and the desserts were incredible! But, whenever there was a Chocolate Journeys choice on the menu, I didn’t think twice. Nor should you…if you like chocolate, that is!
As a parting shot, I just have to include a picture of the Princess Love Boat Dream. While this isn’t part of the Chocolate Journeys Experience, it is an amazingly wonderful, chocolate lover’s delight of rich chocolate mousse atop a thin chocolate brownie. And, it’s available EVERY night in the Main Dining Rooms. Don’t miss this one!
For more information about the Chocolate Journeys Experience, exclusively on Princess Cruises, visit: https://www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/food-and-dining/chocolate-journeys/
To book a Princess Cruise, email me at: Kenneth@moderntravelpros.com
Again, this isn’t part of the Chocolate Journeys experience, but heart-shaped chocolates on the bed is a lovely touch to your Princess Cruise vacation! We got chocolates each night when our stateroom host turned down our beds, but only a few nights were they heart-shaped. I’m guessing they don’t want you singing the theme to “The Love Boat” every night.