A Focus on Cuisine Aboard Silversea’s S.A.L.T. Cruises

ilver Dawn - Fiippo Vinardi

Cruise itineraries are evolving rapidly, away from one-size-fits-all trips to those that cater to a particular interest. Windstar, for example, has constructed a cruise around the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, while Avalon Waterways has Jewish heritage-themed river cruises. And Azamara offers best-selling golf cruises in partnership with PerryGolf. The most popular themed itineraries, however, are based on food-and-wine experiences. Among the many lines that offer such trips, Silversea stands out owing to its remarkable S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste) cruises, originally conceived by New York-based food writer Adam Sachs, formerly editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine.

Sunset dinner on Manukan Island, Borneo - Lucia Griggi
The Silver Moon off Patmos, Greece - Lucia Griggi

S.A.L.T. programs are offered on Silversea’s Silver Moon (the company’s flagship) and Silver Dawn vessels. Each shore excursion involves a behind-the-scenes experience intended to give participants a far deeper understanding of the food and cooking of the destination. In Naples, for example, the half-day S.A.L.T. excursion is hosted by Franco Pepe, Italy’s most famous pizzaiolo, who takes you to visit the farms that produce the tomatoes and buffalo-milk mozzarella he uses. This is followed by a pizza tasting at his restaurant Pepe in Grani, in the town of Caiazzo. More offbeat S.A.L.T. excursions include an Estonian cooking experience in Tallinn, which begins with a visit to a local market with renowned chef Tarmo Griffel, followed by a hands-on cooking class and lunch.

A variety of gourmet salts from a S.A.L.T. cruise excursion - Lucia Griggi / Silversea
Prawns from the Philippines in a S.A.L.T. cooking class - Lucia Griggi / Silversea
A banana flower in a S.A.L.T. cooking class - Lucia Griggi / Silversea
Produce from the Philippines in a S.A.L.T. cooking class - Lucia Griggi / Silversea
Fruit market, Malaysia - Lucia Griggii / Silversea
Peppers from Malaysia in a S.A.L.T. cooking class - Lucia Griggi / Silversea

S.A.L.T. excursions also include wine experiences, like a rare-sherry barrel tasting at the eighth-generation family-owned Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain, and a wine-and-dine outing to the 500-year-old Bibich winery in Plastovo, an hour’s drive from Zadar, Croatia.

In addition to shore excursions, the onboard S.A.L.T. Kitchen is a special dining room that presents authentic dishes from the ships’ ports of call. Similarly, the S.A.L.T. Bar serves regionally inspired cocktails made with locally produced spirits. Master mixologists can explain the flavor palate of your cocktail or describe how the unique botanicals in a specific gin affect the taste of a drink.

S.A.L.T. Lab, Silver Moon
S.A.L.T. Kitchen, Silver Moon

The S.A.L.T. Labs are cooking schools that allow passengers to have a hands-on experience making local dishes in a professional kitchen. Working in small groups, they learn about the ingredients employed (which can range from olive oil in Crete to sea-buckthorn berries in Scandinavia) and how to prepare a recipe. In addition, S.A.L.T. itineraries feature frequent lectures and cooking demonstrations.