Monday, January 14, 2019

Celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Renaissance in Loire Valley


The Loire Valley is considered the birthplace of the French Renaissance. The year 1519 marked the beginning of the Renaissance period with the death of Leonardo Da Vinci in Amboise, the birth of Catherine de Medecis, and the commencement of construction of Château de Chambord.

In 2019, throughout the entire anniversary year, events, expositions, scientific symposiums, visits, and regional and European-themed courses revive the spirit of the Renaissance while confronting modern challenges, creating a dialogue between the history and the future.

Join in the celebration aboard French Hotel Barge Nymphea and cruise the River Cher in the Loire Valley, France.

By Vadim Kurland - originally posted to Flickr
Chateau d'Amboise

Guests aboard the French Hotel Barge Nymphea visit the extraordinary Château d’Amboise, its gardens with the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci, as well as the Château du Clos Lucé, where da Vinci lived until his death. Other excursions include tours of royal residences, wine tastings, and visits to local markets and other attractions.


About The French Hotel Barge Nymphea


French Hotel Barge Nymphea cruises the River Cher in the Loire Valley, France


Nymphea

Nymphea, a 6-passenger French hotel barge, is a classic Dutch design with shallow draft that makes her the ideal vessel for navigating the beautiful sandy reaches of the River Cher in the Loire Valley. Very few vessels are able to cruise this magical waterway.

We are delighted to offer Nymphea, currently the only hotel barge navigating the heart of the Loire Valley. The Valley of the Kings is as rich in history and legend as it is in beauty – little has changed over the centuries. The River Loire and its main tributary the River Cher have transported passengers and cargo for more than 2000 years.

There is much to discover in the Loire Valley, from the fabulous châteaux to the centuries-old villages dotted along the river. Wind your way through the narrow streets possibly discovering hidden shops with hand-painted pottery or stumble across an open market. Meet a winemaker or a cheese maker and learn why his goat cheese is the most famous in France.

The proximity of such a wealth of gorgeous Renaissance architecture makes a cruise along this waterway a unique travel experience.






Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book NYMPHEA
View Nymphea's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 


Sunday, January 13, 2019

RECIPE : Chocolate Soufflé


Fine Food Aboard French Hotel Barge Finesse



We received an email with a recipe from Mike Crowson, the chef aboard "Finesse", that we'd like to share with you.

On the Finesse I do a cooking demonstration every week, which is how to make a twice baked cheese soufflé, but we don't demonstrate a dessert soufflé. As promised to a number of guests, here we will work through the chocolate soufflé served throughout 2018.


Here we have served the soufflé with a passion fruit sorbet to cut the richness of the chocolate.

This soufflé is very easy to make if you have a basic knowledge of desserts, it is also very stable. The base is a creme patisserie which is basically a very thick custard.

For our North American guests, note that I use cornflour. in this recipe. It is very important you do not confuse this with cornstarch which is used a lot in the USA but is not the same ingredient and does not react the same. Cornstarch, as its name suggests, is made from corn, but cornflour is made from wheat therefore they don't react exactly the same. In a savoury recipe this probably won't make too much difference but working with pastry you have to be very precise.


Chocolate soufflé

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 40g plain flour
  • 35g cornflour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 6 egg whites
  • 120g caster sugar

METHOD
  • With room-temperature butter, butter and sugar 6 ramekins. Place them in freezer until needed.
  • Preheat oven to 185°C / 365°F / Gas mark 4.
  • Place egg yolks and 150g sugar into a pan and make into a paste.
  • Then add flour and cornflour, mix to combine.
  • Add a small amount of warmed milk place over a medium heat and add the milk slowly while mixing.
  • When all the milk has been added, cook over medium heat stirring all the time.
  • When the mixture is hot, add the cocoa powder and continue cooking the custard mix, watching it doesn't stick on the bottom of the pan, until you have a smooth thick creme patisserie.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film until needed.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites with 120g sugar until it is a stiff shiny meringue.
  • Fold meringue into the creme patisserie until no whites are visible in the chocolate mix.
  • Spoon mix into frozen ramekins, level off the tops, place into the oven, cook for around 12 minutes.

Sounds delicious, Mark. Thank you very much.


About The French Hotel Barge Finesse


Finesse


Book now! Contact Paradise Connections.
CLICK HERE




Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book FINESSE
View Finesse's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 



Thursday, January 10, 2019

Spring Barging Cruises in Holland With Panache


Make the Most of Spring with a Barging Cruise in Holland



A barge cruise is definitely the way to discover Holland. Experience quaint Dutch windmills, world-famous flowers, small European towns, historic cities, art history, and Delft pottery, all in one week.




Watch the windmills in their silent majesty as you sit in the opulent saloon with a delicious Jenever (Dutch Gin) and tonic in hand, 




Explore 100 acres of flowers at the world famous Keukenhof Gardens. The theme for 2019 is "Flower Power".




Be enchanted by the cobblestone streets and gabled houses of the 800-year old Haarlem. 



Visit Aalsmeer Flower Auction. Aalsmeer hosts the largest floral auction in the world, with over 40 million plants and flowers from all over the globe traded here.



Enjoy the excursion to Zaanse Schans during their cruise of Holland.

Zaanse Schans conservation area was created in the 1960s in order to preserve the buildings and crafts of the country's industrial revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. With a dozen windmills, a collection of traditional houses and workshops and a number of museums, it offers an unparalleled insight into Dutch social and industrial history.



PANACHE is still available for Dutch barging cruises in 2019.
  • March 24-30:   6 cabins open. Available for either private charter or cabin cruise. 20% discount for private charters.
  • March 31-April 6: 6 cabins open. Available for either private charter or cabin cruise. 20% discount for private charters.
  • May 5-11: 6 cabins open. Available for either private charter or cabin cruise. 20% discount for private charters.
  • May 12-18: 2 cabins open and 4 booked. Available for cabin cruise.

LA NOUVELLE ETOILE has one week available in Holland for 2019.
  • April 7-13: 1 cabin open and 3 booked. Available for cabin cruise.






Contact Paradise Connections to book your barge trip
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 


Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Special Offers for Hotel Barges - Updated

Happy New Year


Out with the old and in with the new. 

Today, we updated the special offers for our European hotel barges. Most offers are valid for new bookings made by February 18, 2019. There's a variety of nice discounts across France, Italy & Scotland making Spring 2019 the ideal time for your cruise. Departures range from the end of March through June. Check out our Special Offers page and don't hesitate to pop us a line.

Up to 20% off private charters means that groups of family & friends are well catered for. There are also discounts of up to 20% on individual cabin bookings allowing you to join a group with like-minded folks; while the "No Single Supplement" specials on select departures is a great deal for those intrepid solo travellers.




French Hotel Barge Anjodi Moored at Le Somail, Canal du Midi

Paradise Connections represents luxury hotel barges along various European waterways where attentive crew will pamper you with personalized service to ensure your enjoyment of this unique vacation.





Contact Paradise Connections to book your barge trip
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 



Monday, December 17, 2018

RECIPE: Ravioli alla Mantovana

This particular recipe has been created by Andrea Chin, the talented Italian chef who prepares wonderful regional Italian cuisine every day on board La Bella Vita, the 20-passenger vessel which cruises between Venice and Mantua in Italy. It is a dish that always gets top marks from guests whenever he serves it.


Ravioli alla Mantovana


Ravioli alla Mantovana
Experience excellent Italian cuisine aboard La Bella Vita



Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 300g Flour
  • 4 Fresh eggs
  • 1 Small pumpkin
  • 10g Amaretti
  • 100g Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 100g Butter
  • Sage
  • 1 Spoonful of apple mustard
  • Black Pepper


Method
  • Wash the pumpkin and bake it whole in the oven until it is cooked through (around 30 minutes depending on the size of the pumpkin).
  • Remove the skin and seeds. Pass the chopped pumpkin flesh through a strainer to obtain a puree.
  • In a bowl, mix the pumpkin with amaretti and a little finely grated Parmesan, the apple mustard and a generous grinding of black pepper.
  • Leave to rest for a few hours to cool so that the flavors are fused well together.
  • Put the flour on a clean work surface and form a ring, then add the egg yolks, a pinch of salt and a little olive oil. Mix together gently with the hands to form a dough. Knead the dough vigorously for about ten minutes until it has a smooth texture and is not sticky.
  • Let the dough rest for about twenty minutes. Roll it out very thinly.
  • Cut the dough into round disks about 8 cm across and spoon some of the pumpkin filling onto the center of each disk.
  • Fold each disk in half and seal the edges.
  • Cook the ravioli in salted boiling water for about 5 minutes (depending on how finely you spread the pumpkin filling).
  • Serve with a little melted butter on top, flavored with a few sage leaves and some grated Parmesan.


About The Italian Hotel Barge La Bella Vita



La Bella Vita


La Bella Vita

La Bella Vita is a stylish 20-passenger vessel offering comfortable, fully air-conditioned accommodations with a choice of single or double beds. She has two upper-deck junior suites and eight lower-deck staterooms, all with en-suite facilities; and a bright, spacious dining room/bar area. Louvred doors open to the side decks to give a perfect viewing platform. Above, there is a huge sun deck with an awning and comfortable loungers to relax on with a drink and a good book, or just watch the world go by.

The variety of charming waterways between Venice and Mantua (Mantova) promises a unique and magical cruising experience. The itinerary includes fascinating excursions that offer a real insight into the many cultures -- Roman, Etruscan, Istrian, Byzantine and, of course, Renaissance -- that have influenced the arts, architecture and history of the region over many centuries. Enjoy the diverse landscapes and nature en route, from picturesque lagoon islands with their colourful houses, to wild beach dunes and pine woods with an abundance of birdlife; from the charming Venetian port of Chioggia via the River Po and Bianca Canal to the captivating lakeside setting of the Renaissance city, Mantua.

Looking forward to your inquiries...






Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book LA BELLA VITA
View La Bella Vita's's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 



Wednesday, November 21, 2018

BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL



*** BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL ***
30% Off Private Barge Charters


Black Friday Special Offers

Valid on the vessels and dates below: Book between Thursday November 22nd and Tuesday November 27th November 2018 to receive 30% OFF listed charter rates. (Not to be combined with other special offers).



L'Art de Vivre


Departing April 14th 2019
Region - Burgundy
Capacity - 8 Passengers

Panache


Departing March 31st 2019
Region - Holland
Capacity - 12 Passengers




La Belle Epoque
 
 
Departing March 31st 2019
Region - Northern Burgundy
Capacity - 12 Passengers

Scottish Highlander
 
 
Departing April 14th 2019
Region - Scottish Highlands
Capacity - 8 Passengers




Anjodi
 
 
Departing April 28th 2019
Region - Canal du Midi
Capacity - 8 Passengers





Paradise Connections represents luxury hotel barges along various European waterways where attentive crew will pamper you with personalized service to ensure your enjoyment of this unique vacation.





Contact Paradise Connections to book your barge trip
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 



Sunday, November 18, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving from Irish Barge Shannon Princess

Happy Thanksgiving

The Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess (and Paradise Connections, too) would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

We would like to thank Ruairi and Olivia for this interesting and informative article on harvest time in Ireland.


from the Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess...

Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess - Barging cruises in Ireland

With Thanksgiving being this week, it got us thinking about the origins of harvest festivals and how the celebrations included ceremonies, family get togethers, games and food, a lot like today. In Ireland, the pre-Christian traditional harvest festival was known as Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-na-suh), named after the god of craftsmanship, Lugh. Of pagan origin, it marked the start of the harvest season, some time in August.

One of the few harvest celebrations to have remained to date, with links to Lughnasadh, is the Puck Fair in Co. Kerry. A tradition stretching back 400 years, it is a 3-day festival of storytelling, traditional music, horse fairs, street traders and a mountain goat is crowned King.  The itinerary includes lots of family fun such as puppet shows and face painting.


Harvest festivals – it's all about the food

From late Summer into Autumn, berries are in abundance and can be picked to make home made jams and preserves, a practice that is done less and less nowadays. Before the advent of the industrial era, humans relied on what nature provided and a bountiful harvest meant survival for families, unlike today where items are easily found in supermarkets.


Wild garlic, apples & nuts – the sight of nature’s provisions, with all their glorious colours, smells and tastes would have been a time for joy and celebration.

Of course, the most well-known harvest celebration is Thanksgiving in the US. Dating back to the early 17th century, it was originally only celebrated in New England by the pilgrims as a thanks for their first harvest.

Beginning in 1846, Sarah Josepha Hale wrote to five American presidents over 17 years, to advocate Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the American South. President Lincoln established a national holiday in 1863.

Traditional autumnal vegetables such as butternut squash & pumpkin are served with the main star of the show being the humble turkey.  One of the nicest elements to the tradition of Thanksgiving is that it brings families and friends together.


Celebrating food with Shannon Princess

All of the harvest festivals throughout history have their own origins but the one thing they have in common is being thankful for nature’s harvest and commemorating this with a celebration of food.

Here on the Shannon Princess, we like to celebrate the joy of food with our guests, every day of their vacation. Our chef Olivia, brings healthy, organic, homegrown produce to life in a multitude of scrumptious dishes from breakfast time right through to dinner. If you would like to know more, visit our menu pages.

Our classic cruise brings guests to some of Ireland’s most traditional locations. From castles and christian settlements to historical cities such as Galway, there are lots of places to explore when we moor up. Once back on the water, the Irish scenery is beautiful and ever changing as we cruise along the River Shannon – a real feast for the eyes!

Enjoy the mouth-watering food aboard the Shannon Princess

Happy Thanksgiving from all on board the Shannon Princess.

Thank you and Happy Holidays, Olivia & Ruairi...



About The Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess

The Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess - Cruising the waterways of Ireland


The Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess is a very popular barge and they book up quickly. They are almost sold out for the 2019 season. 


Current availability for 2019:
  • July 21-27 : 2 cabins open
  • July 28-August 3 : 5 cabins open - available for either a private charter or a cabin cruise week
  • Aug 4-10 : 4 cabins open
  • Sept 1-7 : 4 cabins open
We are now accepting bookings for the 2020 season.


Shannon Princess

The Shannon Princess has been thoughtfully designed throughout. The barge's inviting interior makes a charming floating living space – a perfect "Home away from home" for guests to enjoy. The welcoming atmosphere is enhanced by Ruairi and Olivia’s love of antiquities, crafts, pottery and art with many works by established and local Irish artists.  On board the barge a friendly & relaxed mood has been created by carefully mixing casual informality with quality service.

The Shannon Princess provides accommodation for up to 10 guests in 5 cabins which can be configured as double or twins, each with ensuite facilities. This barge is owner-operated with a total of five professional crew in attendance.You will be charmed with excellent but friendly service, gorgeous food & wines, and share in a slice of local life and knowledge.







Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book SHANNON PRINCESS
View Shannon Princess's's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 


Monday, November 05, 2018

Irish Barge Shannon Princess Shares Brownie Recipe

The Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess, turns our attention to a recipe on IrishCentral.com...


Bailey’s Irish Cream Swirl Brownie

A delicious Irish-ified recipe for delectable, boozy brownies.


Ingredients

For the Brownies:
  • 6 ounces sweet baking chocolate (I used semisweet), chopped
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½  cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½  cup all-purpose flour
  • ½  tsp baking powder
  • ¼  tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the Swirl:
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼  cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp Bailey’s Irish cream  

For the Glaze:
  • 4 ounces sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp Bailey’s Irish cream
  • Milk to thin out (amount will vary) 

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter an 8-inch square nonstick baking pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in medium bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in egg. Mix in flour, Irish Cream, and vanilla. Set mixture aside.

Stir baking chocolate and butter in a heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in large bowl until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in chocolate mixture and extracts. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread half of chocolate batter (about 1 1/4 cups) in prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula, spread cream cheese mixture over chocolate batter. Spoon remaining chocolate batter over top of cream cheese mixture. Using the tip of a knife, gently swirl through the batter, forming marble design. Bake brownies until tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes.

Make glaze. Combine powdered sugar and Irish cream. If too thick thin out with milk.

While still warm brush (using a pastry brush) glaze over brownies. Let sit for 15 minutes. Cut into squares.

Enjoy.

There's still a few dates open for 2019.


About The Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess


Shannon Princess entering a lock


Shannon Princess

The Shannon Princess has been thoughtfully designed throughout. The barge's inviting interior makes a charming floating living space – a perfect "Home away from home" for guests to enjoy. The welcoming atmosphere is enhanced by Ruairi and Olivia’s love of antiquities, crafts, pottery and art with many works by established and local Irish artists.  On board the barge a friendly & relaxed mood has been created by carefully mixing casual informality with quality service.

The Shannon Princess provides accommodation for up to 10 guests in 5 cabins which can be configured as double or twins, each with ensuite facilities. This barge is owner-operated with a total of five professional crew in attendance.You will be charmed with excellent but friendly service, gorgeous food & wines, and share in a slice of local life and knowledge.






Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book SHANNON PRINCESS
View Shannon Princess's's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 



Thursday, October 25, 2018

Special offer for French Hotel Barge Savoir Vivre

The French Hotel Barge SAVOIR VIVRE has a very special offer for their first week of the 2019 season...

French Hotel Barge Savoir Vivre Cruises The Canal de Bourgogne in Burgundy


Savoir Vivre - Special Offer


Savoir Vivre has a very special offer for the first week (March 31 - April 6) of their 2019 barging season with cabins discounted to $2500 per person. That's only $5000 for a cabin for two! You save $2500 off their normal value season rate of $7500/cabin.


  About The French Hotel Barge Savoir Vivre 



The luxury crewed French Hotel Barge SAVOIR VIVRE offers both cabin cruises and private barge charters along the Canal de Bourgogne in the Burgundy region of France. They have just announced that beginning next season (2019), Savoir Vivre will be including transfers from Paris to Burgundy where the barge is moored.


Savoir Vivre is 80 feet long, air conditioned (central heating, too), has 4 identical guest cabins which can be configured with a queen or two twin beds, each having ensuite private bathrooms, flat screen TV, DVD, iPod dock, onboard internet where available, 8 bicycles, etc.

Savoir Vivre is a bit different to the other hotel barges that we represent as they do not have an onboard chef. Pastries for the continental breakfast are supplied by the local baker. Lunch is catered by professional chefs who meet up with the boat with their prepared meal. Dinners are off the boat in locally selected restaurants (included in charter fee).


Book now! Contact Paradise Connections.
CLICK HERE




Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters to book SAVOIR VIVRE
View Savoir Vivre's online brochure
Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com