Clouds, Champagne & Celeriac
“What do you love most about being at sea?” I ask the seasoned Silversea traveller seated beside me. We’re at a special luncheon hosted by Relais & Châteaux, in the dining room of the La Champagne restaurant aboard the Silver Cloud – the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea.
I expect an answer along the lines of, the freedom, the endless horizon, the food – because the Silversea, and in particular the Silver Cloud, is no ordinary cruise liner.
Instead, my lunch companion – seemingly demure and traditional – replies with, “The storms! The waves! The bigger the better!” And then she lets out a gruff roar; an “Aaarrrr” if I had to put it into letters, “I just love it! You can hardly feel the waves, since the vessel is so large but, mmm, when it takes on those really large rollers, I get so excited!”
“Yes, I can see that,” I reply.
But perhaps there is something to be said about being at the mercy of nature, about being so close to the oceans that make up much of our planet that you can feel their every turn, every rise and dip. For me, though, it is the sky I love.
On a clear afternoon, there is that unimpeded view of the blue above, sea birds swimming through it. It is a sight best glimpsed at sea. But on those other days, when the clouds in their many manifestations and complexities appear and shapeshift, that’s my “Aaarrrr” moment. It’s the daytime version of stargazing, with a Skywatcher Cloud Chart replacing the astronomer’s star map.
The Silver Cloud can accommodate 296 guests in comfort and style, with spacious ocean-view suites, private verandas and elegant dining and entertainment areas.
The yacht-like Silver Cloud was designed to cross oceans and yet be able to slip easily up rivers and into hidden harbours.
My lunch companion was one of a few invitees we hosted at Le Champagne, while the Silver Cloud was docked in the harbour of Cape Town.
Le Champagne is known for its exquisite food, with an a la carte menu created by the finest chefs of Relais & Châteaux. For our luncheon, the team from Ellerman House, a Relais & Châteaux hotel in Bantry Bay, Cape Town, came aboard, to cook a special luncheon, accompanied by Moët & Chandon, with Delaire Graff Estate wines and Nespresso coffee to end with.
It is a treat to watch Ellerman House’s Head Chef, Veronica de Canha-Hibbert in the kitchen. But even more special is watching her work with her team. In a world where Head Chefs are known for their cutting demeanours and their fiery temperaments, ala Bradley Cooper in Burnt, Veronica is modest and seemingly free of vanity, in spite of her talents and status. She is especially inclusive and inspiring when it comes to her team, Nyarai Mkolo and Pastry Chef, Devin Jones. They exhibit the joy of cooking better than any team I have witnessed.
It’s a uniqueness and a pleasure that comes across in the tastes, textures and colours of the dishes they serve, whether aboard the Silver Cloud or in the dining room of Ellerman House.
On the menu, compliments of Ellerman House…
Thank you to all who joined us for the event…
Above: One of the Silver Cloud’s Spa Therapists (left) and Singers (right). Below: On the menu at the Relais & Châteaux La Champagne Restaurant
The Silver Cloud will soon be converted into one of the Silversea’s expedition ships, which takes travellers on voyages to everywhere from the Arctic to the Antarctic, the Russian Far East to the Galapagos, as well as along our coastline in Africa and the Indian Ocean. Discover more about Silversea Cruises here.