It has been 10 years since I was last on the Spirit of Norfolk. I was a 16 year old senior at Great Bridge High School and one activity prior to graduating was going on a cruise. Now ten years later I'm in the same boat, but instead of students and teachers, there are foodies and wine enthusiasts.
The Spirit of Norfolk and the Williamsburg Winery have come together for their Wine Down Wednesday cruise. Matthew Meyer, the winemaker for the winery pairs his wines with a 5 course meal, and I was given a ticket to share my experience.
Upon boarding I was presented with a glass of Prosecco and proceeded to tour the ship. It was recently renovated and the top deck has a modern decor with an eclectic twist featuring interactive games. The view was spectacular, and although I'm not a fan of dining alfresco, I could have spent the entire cruise up there.
My friend joined me on the cruise and we were delighted to be seated just one table away from the winemaker. It made the night much more special to be able to lean over and have in depth conversations about our experience.
Course 1: Fruit and Cheese Plate, Grilled Peaches, Figs, Farm Cheese and Marcona Almonds. This was my first time having figs, farm cheese and that specific variety of almond. The cheese was mild with a feta/ricotta texture, and the almonds were sweeter and softer than the ones I'm used to. While my attempt to treat this like an amuse bouche failed (eating all the components in one bite), everything I tried taste great on its own.
Wine Pairing: 2015 Wessex Hundred Viogner (White)
- Tasting Notes: Peach, Floral, Oak, Mineral
Course 2: Golden Tile Fish Fish with Long Beans, Celeriac, Violet Mustard and Lemon ThymeCourse 2: Golden Tile Fish Fish with Long Beans, Celeriac, Violet Mustard and Lemon Thyme. I did not know exactly what I was going to get with this dish other than seasoned fish. Once it was placed in front of me I said "ohhh". Long beans are similar to green beans and celeriac is a turnip with a mashed potato consistency. The fish was flaky and the texture was tender enough to allow you time to enjoy it before it dissolve in your mouth.
Wine Pairing: 2015 Acte 12 Chardonnay
- Tasting Notes: Green Apple, Apricots, Vanilla. Aged in Oak, Stainless Steel and Concrete
Course 3: Farm Salad of Golden Beets, Sugar Snap Peas, Greens and Peppered Pistachio. This was another lesson in learning about the different varieties of everyday food. From the firm texture and sweet flavor of the golden beets, to the seasoning on the pistachio. Every base of flavors that you would want out of a salad was covered here.
Wine Pairing: 2016 Virginia Dry Rose
- Tasting Notes: Raspberry, Pineapple, Floral, Honey
Course 4: Steak Oscar, Beef Medallions, Blue Crab Meat, Asparagus and Hollandaise. This course was my favorite of the night and a great play on Surf and Turf. The steak was cooked medium rare and the crab was as pure as you would hope with no filler.
Wine Pairing: 2015 Wessex Hundred Petit Verdot (Red)
- Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Black Currant, Black Cherry, Black Pepper, Chocolate, Spice
Course 5: Key Lime Tart with Coconut Jam and Hawaiian Black Salt. Did your mouth just water from reading that, cause mine did. The tart was smooth and heavy on the lime, and the coconut jam was creamy with a egg yolk consistency.
Wine Pairing: 2014 Petit Fleur (Dessert White)
- Tasting Notes: Orange, Pear, Honeysuckle
The night ended with line dancing with employees of the Spirit and saying goodbye to the great people we met. My experience aboard the Spirit of Norfolk and the Williamsburg Winery was not only educational, but delicious, fun and memorable.
The next Wine Down Wednesday cruise will be on November 1st, if you're interested in receiving more information or buying a ticket, you can go to their website here.
Tell me the last time you went on a Spirit of Norfolk Cruise.