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In Focus: F&B@Sea

Virgin Voyages expands Eat & Drink Festival over two months

PHOTO: VIRGIN VOYAGES CRUISE_Virgin_Voyages_The_Dock_bar.jpg
Ship-wide bar experiences are among the activations during Virgin Voyages' second annual Eat & Drink Festival
Virgin Voyages' second annual Eat & Drink Festival spans two months with a bevy of events and guest chefs, mixologists and beverage partners creating hands-on activations.

This August and September, passengers on Scarlet Lady, Valiant Lady and Resilient Lady can sink their teeth into a series of gastronomic happenings, from multi-course dinners and wine pairings to chef-led demos, ship-wide bar experiences, healthy walkabouts and special amuse bouches.

Back for the second year are culinary powerhouses including Brad Farmerie, Sohui Kim, Eric Kim Haugen, Matt Lambert, Silvana Salcido Esparza, Waki Ng and Virgin Voyages’ own Chef Levi Mezick, along with mixologists Charles Joly and Miami beverage creators Unfiltered Hospitality and Cocktail Cartel.

New participants

Joining for the first time is George Motz, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, author and producer called the foremost authority on hamburgers by The New York Times. Also new, The Taste Curators Lish Steiling and Abbey Cook, cookbook authors and a wife duo who showcase the connections between food, fashion and color.

The Couple’s Kitchen is with James Briscione, former Food Network personality, and Brooke Parkhurst, who opened their first restaurant, Angelena’s Ristorante Italiano, in Pensacola, Florida. Effie Panagopoulos is said to be the first Greek woman to start a liquor brand: Kleos Mastiha Spirit, made with mastiha, an ancient Greek superfood found only in Chios.

Mark Farrell founded Ten to One Rum, grounded in authentic elements of Caribbean culture and heritage. Burnt Sage, out of Barcelona, is a consulting firm that emerged from the fusion of two rival bars: Lilith & Sons and Kyoudai 33.

Miami’s Finest includes Danilo Bozovic of Swizzle, Robert Valls of The Sylvester, Arnoldo Ferrer of Cafe La Trova and Naren Young of Sweet Liberty. Barcelona’s Finest features Marta Calero of Piñata Cocktail Cantina, Baptiste Etcheverry of Lilith & Sons, Ivan Di Giovanni of Marlowe and Ana Michel Alves Martínez of Collage Cocktail Bar.

Virgin Voyages is also collaborating with its beverage partners Intelligentsia, JoJo Tea and Filthy Food to host hands-on events.

More than 30 activations

This year’s lineup has more than 30 special activations including two anchor events and dedicated happenings aboard each ship.

Anchor event 'Taste of The Galley' transforms the food hall every sea day between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. into a gastronomic showcase offering flavors from around the world. The cost is included in the fare.

The other anchor event, 'Seven Sea Sippers,' is an elevated bar crawl disguised as a cocktail treasure hunt. Following a map that would impress Capt. Jack Sparrow, participants embark on an adventure across the ship tasting seven distinct cocktails or mocktails and get stamps to earn a shot at claiming a secret treasure. The cost is $9 to $15 per cocktail.

Besides the two anchor events, other fleetwide events include 'Razzle Dazzle by Night,' an elevated dining experience, and amuse bouche at signature eateries (both included in the fare). Among the extra-charge events is 'Flavors Uncorked,' a five-course dinner hosted at The Wake, the steak and seafood eatery, with Champagne, oysters two ways, a Tomahawk steak and wine pairings, $125.

Ship-specific activations

Plus, each ship has its own distinctive events. For example, Scarlet Lady's include 'Let's Mushroom Around,' 'Bubbles & Bites, a Champagne and Fried Chicken Affair,' 'Rum Runners,' ' Shot for Shot' (a signature cocktail-making class), 'Miami's Finest: Bar Takeover' and chef cooking demos by Eric Kim Haugen (a vegan version of Nashville hot chicken), Waki Ng (Japanese cold soba noodles), George Motz (Motz burgers, washed down with Heineken) and Matt Lambert (tuna red pepper tart with bonito custard and chili lime dressing).

Bookings come with a $300 bar tab

Sailors seeking a taste of the Eat & Drink Festival will receive a $300 bar tab when they book voyages during August and September.