Thursday, September 17, 2020

RECIPE: Autumn Jams - Elderberries and Blackberries

 Here's a recipe for autumn jams from Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess.
 


Elderberry Jam
  • 1 kg elderberries (remove from the stalks with a fork)
  • 1 kg jam sugar (or 1 kg sugar with the juice of 1 lemon)
Method
  1. As elderberries have no pectin, is it best to use jam sugar or else use regular sugar and the juice of one lemon.
  2. For the jars, make sure that they are washed in warm, soapy water, rinsed and then put into a moderate oven or microwave to sterilise.
  3. Put the elderberries into a heavy based or stainless steel saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes - until the berries have softened.
  4. To strain the berry juice you can use a jelly bag or a fine sieve.
  5. Measure the strained juice and for every 1 litre use 1kg of your preferred sugar.
  6. Pour this elderberries juice back into the pot and bring to the boil. When it has come nearly to the boil add the sugar and stir until the sugar has melted. Again bring it back up to a rolling boil and when it has reached boiling point, use a jam thermometer or time it for 4 minutes.
  7. When setting point is reached turn off the heat & pour the juice into a measuring jug and carefully fill the jars. Cover with wax disc and jam pot cover and lids.
Thanks, Olivia


About The Irish Hotel Barge Shannon Princess


Shannon Princess Barging Cruises In Ireland


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.  Onboard 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.




Currently, there is one week open in 2021 for a private charter and a few weeks open for cabin cruises.







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


 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Hotel Barging Makes the Perfect Post-Lockdown Escape

Hotel Barging Makes the Perfect Post-Lockdown Escape


Privacy and Seclusion on a Private Barge Charter

How better to enjoy the very best of a destination on a post-lockdown escape than in the comfort and seclusion of a private barge charter? We are seeing a huge interest for charter bookings in 2021 for groups of friends and families in hopes of reconnecting and making up for lost time during lockdown. With the perks of what feels like having your very own private floating villa, equipped with a personal crew and private chef, it's not difficult to see why.

Our vessels accommodate between 6 and 12 passengers depending on the individual barge. With our small group cruises, from hygiene to haute cuisine, you can expect the highest standard of service throughout.

The Path Less Traveled

The beauty of canal cruising is that you can access the smaller waterways of Europe that are often inaccessible to the larger river cruises. This means that you'll get to enjoy the scenic countryside all to yourself at an unhurried pace.


Live Like a Local, Visiting Lesser-Known Gems

Many of our guests return to us for a second or third barging trip. Our cruises avoid larger cities and ports, and never moor alongside another vessel. You are offered the opportunity to visit the region's lesser-known gems for a true cultural immersion, with the chance to "live like a local" for the day. What better way to truly get to know the destination you're visiting.

Hop On and Off at Your Leisure

Your luxury barge is always just a few feet from the shore and, if you wish, you may hop off at the next lock for a walk or a bike ride and meet up a short while later. Therefore, the inevitable "stuck at sea" feeling aboard large cruise ships is completely non-existent here. And, with their air-conditioned minivans close by, heading out to explore the region is easy, comfortable, and hassle free.


Chauffeur Service Throughout Your Stay

From the moment you arrive at your pickup point, feel the pressures of travel float away in the knowledge that your barge's fully air-conditioned minivans are on hand to "take it from here". Their spacious and well-equipped vehicle will whisk you away to the barge, where a champagne reception awaits. From there, they will transport you to your daily tours, and will always be nearby, even when you're cruising.


Private (& Often Exclusive) Insider Experiences

We all love the thought of getting off-the-beaten-track, and with your daily "Insider Experiences", they take great pride in introducing you to people and places that often aren't available to anyone else. Imagine sipping tea with a French countess in her private apartments in the 18th century Château de la Motte, an exclusive hosted fine Italian dinner on the banks of Byron’s River Po, a personal address by a Scottish bagpiper as he marches alongside the barge with the Highlands as his backdrop, or perhaps, an exclusive live jazz session as sundowners are served on deck.

Space and Well-being

When you fancy stepping out to soak up the sunshine, breathe in some fresh air and stretch your legs in vast open spaces, feel free to go for a walk or take one of the barge's bicycles on a towpath discovery. When you’re ready to come back aboard, simply meet the barge at the next lock. Those who are especially keen cyclists may be interested in the Biking Plus option with cycling maps, offering a more adventurous route, away from the towpath. eBikes are also available at a supplement.


Tailor-Made Itineraries

Itineraries have been carefully designed so guests leave the vessel knowing that they have experienced the very best of the region – from food and drink to culture and history, and everything in between. Led by an onboard guide, private tours can be tailor-made to suit guests’ needs: perhaps to avoid any crowds or simply escape from the midday sun. Many of these tours also offer exclusive access to private venues, creating a unique experience with the space and freedom to fully explore at leisure.

The expert local knowledge of your guides, make your experience truly unforgettable as you discover ancient vineyards, medieval centers, charming châteaux, picture-perfect villages, and so much more. A host of fun-filled activities are also available for families and special interest groups, including tennis, golf, kayaking, and horse riding.

A Gastronomic Journey

Gastronomy plays a huge part on a barge cruise, with gourmet fares prepared by an expert chef, creating each menu using locally-sourced ingredients.  With irresistible menus served with full table service inside or out on deck, it is like you’re attending a different restaurant for each meal without a buffet table in sight. Of course, you can’t enjoy fine cuisine without a hand-picked selection of fine wines, and so your wine expert will present their choice to the table at every lunch and dinner.


Plan Your Post-Lockdown Escape

Enjoy 2021 and 2022 barge cruises at 2020 prices for a limited time! Be sure to check our current special offers HERE.

Also...
  • For bookings made by September 30, 2020 for cruises in 2020 or 2021, you may reschedule your cruise at any time up to 30 days prior to departure if certain COVD-19 related government regulations will or are likely to prevent travel to the barge. See Book Your Cruise With Confidence for more information.
  • Please visit our website for Safe Cruising Protocols being undertaken by the barges.






Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 












xxx

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Book your Barge Cruise with Confidence

Barge Cruises in our New Times

This post applies to the following barges: Anjodi, Athos, Enchante, Finesse, L'Art de Vivre, La Bella Vita, La Belle Epoque, L'Impressionniste, Magna Carta, La Nouvelle Etoile, Panache, Renaissance, Rosa, Scottish Higlander, Shannon Princess, and Spirit of Scotland.



For bookings made by September 30, 2020 for cruises in 2020 or 2021, you may reschedule your cruise at any time up to 30 days prior to departure if certain COVD-19 related government regulations will or are likely to prevent travel to the barge.

Privacy and Seclusion on a Whole Barge Charter

How better to enjoy the very best of a destination on a post-lockdown escape, than in the comfort and seclusion of a private whole barge charter. From groups of friends to families in hopes of reconnecting and making up for lost time during lockdown, we’re already seeing a huge interest for charter bookings in 2021. It’s not difficult to see why, with the perks of what feels like having your very own private floating villa, equipped with a personal crew and private chef.

See Book Your Cruise With Confidence for more information.

Please visit our website for Safe Cruising Protocols being undertaken by the barges.







Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 







Saturday, July 25, 2020

Wine & Cheese

Wine and Cheese
A Very French Pairing

On a hotel barge cruise, one of the wonderful ways you can experience the best of your cruising region is through the cuisine. Barge chefs and sommeliers are aficionados of the local produce and as such, they will pair some of the finest French wine and cheese. Prepare yourself for the flavors of a lifetime!


There are a number of similarities between French wine and cheese. Both go through a fermentation and ageing process; both have flavors that vary depending on the soil, sunlight, rainfall and geography of the area in which they are produced. In France, both are given the esteemed certification of AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) to indicate the quality and provenance of their traditional production.

Like wine, the tasting of cheese is something of a science, as different regions produce so many diverse flavors in all shapes, sizes and colors. If you are a cheese connoisseur, you will certainly be able to indulge your passion on any of our hotel barge cruises in France, where each barge takes pride on procuring and serving the best each region has to offer.

 A Cheese to Please All Palates

Cheeses can be classified in a number of different ways. For example, by the country or region of origin: a hard cheese made in the Alpine climes of Beaufort would be incredibly difficult to make in the flat, western region of Normandy.

Another difference is the method of production: for example, the outside of washed rind cheeses are repeatedly dusted with ‘morge’ – a mixture of brine, whey and old cheese scrapings – to create a colored rind, while the inside of a blue cheese is pricked with needles to grow blue mould.


A Bit About Cheese

Some specialized vocabulary is helpful in the understanding of cheeses. One who has become a turophile, or lover of cheese, will no doubt be conversant with the following terms.

Specialty Cheeses – It might be said that every French cheese is a specialty cheese, but some are more special than others. Artisanal cheeses are those which have been crafted by hand from the finest ingredients, cheeses made on a farm, chalet, or mountain hut are called fermier, a monastery-type cheese is a term that describes cheeses which once were or continue to be made in the monasteries of France.

The Parts of a Cheese – The pâte of a cheese is all that is within the rind or the crust of the cheese. The rind is the part of the cheese formed in the natural, external thickening of the surface, not all rinds are edible. A cheese has a natural rind when it has formed as a result of the drying of the outer surface during ageing. Some cheeses have eyes, which are holes or voids in a cheese produced by gas which has been unable to escape during the curing process.

These varying processes and environments create cheeses that are wildly different in texture, smell and taste, which we invite you to try as part of every meal during your culinary voyage of discovery.

So open your eyes to a world of delicious, French wine and cheese on any of our French hotel barge cruises – you won’t be disappointed!







Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 



Sunday, March 08, 2020

Meet The Barge Chefs

Barge Chefs for the 2020 Season


Each luxury hotel barge features a master chef with world-class training and a certain flair for creating mouth-watering taste sensations in particularly compact mobile kitchens. They play a huge role in your luxury barge cruising experience. Here's an introduction to some of this season’s barge chefs…


ANJODI, Dave Lawrence

 Aboard Anjodi - Canal du Midi, France

Dave is from the Australian island state of Tasmania.  He worked briefly on Anjodi’s sister barge, L’Art de Vivre, at the start of the 2012 barging season before returning to his hometown of Hobart, Tasmania to work as a Head Chef. In 2019, Dave joined the crew of Spirit of Scotland with his partner and fellow crew member, Michelle; and this year he is looking forward to returning to the markets of France.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


LA BELLE EPOQUE, Arnis Maskevics

Aboard La Belle Epoque - Burgundy, France

Originating from Latvia, Arnis (pronounced Ar-nee) joined the crew of La Belle Epoque in 2018, having spent most of the previous year working aboard Panache. Experienced in a multitude of culinary expertise, Arnis is looking forward to putting his skills to excellent use aboard La Belle Epoque.  A great multi-skilled crew member, Arnis also enjoys throwing a rope if necessary, in between courses.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


RENAISSANCE, Hannah Dunleavy

Aboard Renaissance - Upper Loire/ Burgundy, Framce

Hannah has been a much-loved member of the Renaissance crew since 2014. She was a hairdresser in the past but fell in love with food. Hannah moved to France to learn its fine cuisine, which she now shares with her guests.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


PANACHE, Jonathan Drew

Aboard Panache - Holland & Champagne, Alsace-Lorraine, France

Jonathan lives outside Glasgow where he trained and gained experience in high-end hospitality in the prestigious Number Seven Lounge of Celtic FC. While working for the Compass Group preparing private buffets and fine dining events for Directors and Senior Management at the new Scottish Power HQ in Glasgow, he competed in The Compass Chef of the Year Competition, finishing second. Jonathan, or "Jonny" to his friends, joined Panache when he was visiting Alsace. He is looking forward to a full season onboard and adapting his menus for both Holland and Northern France.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


ENCHANTE, Sylvain Moretto

Aboard Enchante - Canal du Midi, France

An extremely experienced chef, Sylvain has been barging for over ten seasons with Enchanté, and three seasons aboard Renaissance. Many guests who are fortunate to enjoy Sylvain’s cuisine will photograph and write about their culinary adventures.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


L'IMPRESSIONNISTE, Jim McGarry

Aboard L'Impressionniste - Burgundy, France

Jim is a seasoned barge chef having worked on a number of barges over the past seven seasons. His eighth season is aboard L’Impressionniste, where Jim shall continue to delight passengers with his varied menus and beautiful presentations.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


ROSA, Erell Delmotte

Aboard Rosa - Gascony & Bordeaux, France

Erell has been a crewmember on various barges since 2015, both as hostess and guide. Having worked closely with the chefs onboard barges Nymphea, Renaissance, Finesse, Panache, L’Impressionniste and Scottish Highlander, Erell gained valuable experience and spent the winter of 2018 training as a chef.  Her weeks as relief chef on Rosa in 2019 were more than enough to convince Rosa's owner to offer her the position of barge chef for the 2020 season.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


SPIRIT OF SCOTLAND, Robert Erdelyi

Aboard Spirit of Scotland - Highlands, Scotland

Robert is originally from Budapest and gained his experience working on the larger river boats. His first experience working on a luxury barge cruise was aboard L’Art de Vivre, where he thoroughly enjoyed a close working connection with the barge’s passengers. You’ll instantly warm to Robert’s outgoing character and broad smile.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


FINESSE, Mike Crowson

Aboard Finesse - Burgundy, France

A bit of a celebrity in the world of culinary blogging, Mike Crowson spends the barging season serving up delicious meals for the lucky passengers aboard luxury hotel barge Finesse. Born and bred in Cornwall, Mike is a stellar chef who takes a great deal of satisfaction from both barging and cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Online brochure: CLICK HERE


LA BELLA VITA, Andrea Chin

Aboard La Bella Vita - Venice, Italy

Andrea has been the Italian master chef aboard La Bella Vita since its launch. This culinary extraordinaire loves interacting with passengers and sharing his passion for Italian food. But don’t take our word for it – client reviews on Chef Andrea’s creations speak for themselves!

Online brochure: CLICK HERE
 


Enjoy Luxury Barge Cruising with the Experts

Whichever barge you choose for your cruise, your onboard chef will delight you with culinary creations featuring the best locally-sourced ingredients. He/she has the experience and imagination to produce dishes that cater to your specific dietary requirements. Typically, chefs are pleased to show off their skills with a cooking demonstration in the galley.







Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 


Monday, March 02, 2020

Discover the Canal de Bourgogne, Burgundy France

Barge Cruising on the Canal de Bourgogne

French Hotel Barge l'Impressionniste

The Canal de Bourgogne in Burgundy with its beautiful scenery that features charming French houses and colorful greenery is revered as one of the nicest canals to navigate in France. There are many sites to visit along the way including renowned vineyards, medieval towns, elegant châteaux, magnificent cathedrals, picturesque villages, and charming delightful local markets.
(Click image to enlarge)

The Long and Winding Road

Completed in 1832, this 242-kilometer waterway connects Burgundy to Paris, wending its way through the heartland of France. If you want to explore the Canal de Bourgogne on a French hotel barge cruise, we’d recommend a journey on L’Impressionniste’s route between Fleurey-sur-Ouche and Escommes or La Belle Epoque’s gorgeous stretch of Northern Burgundian countryside between Tanlay and Venarey-les-Laumes.

Attractions en Route

The great thing about barging in this region of France is that the canal roams its way through a number of beautiful French cities, giving you time to explore their history and soak in a little local culture. Cruising along the Canal de Bourgogne allows you to explore the Northern and Southern areas of this renowned region.

 Abbaye de Fontenay

In the north, be sure to visit the Abbaye de Fontenay. Founded in the early 1100s, its structure has been incredibly well maintained with its cloisters, scriptorium, and dormitories still intact. It’s a breathtaking piece of architecture. Now that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, even its gardens and ponds retain their original glory.

Notre-Dame de Dijon
By Welleschik - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

As you travel further south, you’ll want to visit the monumental Notre-Dame de Dijon. It’s a Gothic-style church with an ornamented façade that boasts stunning columns and archways, as well as the typical gargoyles. Inside, you’ll find lovely colorful stain-glass paintings. Both edifices are a compelling time capsule, the first providing unrivaled insight into Cistercian life and industry, while the second lets you revisit French Catholic practices.

If you have time, you should also stroll through Dijon’s market. It wouldn’t be a vacation in France without sampling French wines, local cheeses, and artisanal bread. There are also pâté and terrine stalls that are worth a visit, as well as local delicacies like snails on offer. Make sure to try Dijon’s famous mustard and take some back with you as a souvenir. It’s a real treat for the tastebuds!

History and Feats of Engineering

Entering a Lock

Conceptualised in the seventeenth century, the Canal de Bourgogne is an incredibly well thought-out masterpiece of engineering, perfect for your barge trip in France. The waterway opened in 1832 and took over 50 years to build. It features 127 locks, the most impressive of which is at Pouilly-en-Auxois. This lock is continuously filled by an underground reservoir via a tunnel system. It serves as a watershed from which the water flows both towards Dijon in the south and towards Migennes in the north.

The canal boasts many ingenious features. Its best one though, is the tunnel which links the Pouilly-en-Auxois lock with the small port of Escommes. It is a very narrow 2.5 mile underground passageway that was dug out from the rock in the early nineteenth century. Even today, it remains an essential connection between the north and south of France.

Discover Burgundy






French Hotel Barges Cruising the Canal de Bourgogne


La Belle Epoque
  • Route: Canal de Bourgogne between Tanlay and Venarey-les-Laumes
  • Accommodations: up to 8 guests in 4 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters and Cabin cruises
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure
L'Impressionniste
  • Route: Canal de Bourgogne between Escommes and Fleurey-sur-Ouche
  • Accommodations: up to 12 guests in 8 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters and Cabin cruises
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure
Grand Cru
  • Route: Canal du Rhone au Rhin and the Canal du Centre between Pontailler-sur-Saone and St Léger-Sur-Dhune
  • Accommodations: up to 8 guests in 4 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure
Prosperite
  • Route: Canal de Bourgogne between Plombieres-les-Dijon and Vandenesse-en-Auxois
  • Accommodations: up to 8 guests in 4 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters and Cabin cruises
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure

Rendez-Vous
  • Route: Canal de Bourgogne between Fleurey-sur-Ouche and Escomme
  • Accommodations: up to 6 guests in 3 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure

Savoir Vivre
  • Route: Canal de Bourgogne between Fleurey-sur-Ouche and Escommes
  • Accommodations: up to 8 guests in 4 ensuite staterooms
  • Private charters and Cabin cruises
  • Itineraries: See all itineraries
  • Learn more: Online brochure






Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com
 




Sunday, March 01, 2020

What's to like about a barging vacation?

A Barge Cruise Sounds Interesting!
What's It Like?


What to Expect On Your Luxury Barge Cruise

Part of the joys of luxury hotel barge cruising is the journey itself and, of course, which barge to travel aboard. While luxury hotel barges enjoy their own unique character and charm, there are a number of qualities that you can be sure to expect each and every time you travel.

If you like reading, then you’ll love the cozy salon library, packed with great reads


There’s nothing quite like getting stuck-in to a good book while on vacation. It’s a fantastic way to really relax and take your mind off everyday life.  Browse through the salon library to pick up a classic, or perhaps learn more about the area you’re visiting. Soak in the sunlight on deck, curl up on the sofa, or in the comfort of your room.

If you like good food, then you’ll love the creations of your onboard master chef


How better to enjoy your vacation than through the delicious creations of your very own barge chef? Your chef will visit local markets to pick up an array of seasonal produce, and you’re more than welcome to come along. Then, watch as these local ingredients are made into a true taste sensation!

If you like a cocktail, a digestif on deck, a sundowner… then you’ll love the open bar

 

The well-stocked open bar, filled with a wide selection of beers, wines and spirits, is accessible throughout your cruise. You can help yourself or place an order with one of the crew but, in all likeliness, they’ve anticipated your request and your favorite drink is already on its way. Cheers!

If you like exploring, then you’ll love the complimentary bicycles


If you want to stretch your legs but walking isn’t enough, why not take one of the complimentary bicycles along the tow path as the barge gently cruises alongside? You can choose to meet the barge at the next lock, explore a nearby village, or perhaps plan ahead for a longer cycle. Some itineraries have fantastic cycle routes with dedicated bike maps, and even the possibility of upgrading to e-bikes! (Pre-booking e-bikes is essential. Contact Paradise Connections for details).

If you like history & culture, then you’ll love the variety of daily excursions


Whether you consider yourself a bit of a history buff or are simply curious about the cultures of the places you travel to, the daily guided excursions will take you on a variety of fascinating journeys through the places you visit. From ancient Roman cities to UNESCO World Heritage sites; from world-renowned vineyards to private dinners with a countess. Whatever your interest, you’re sure to be impressed by what’s in store. Plus, many of the barges have a fascinating history too! Have a chat with your crew to find out more.

If you like wine, then you’ll love the recommendations of the onboard wine expert


The onboard wine expert hand-picks a selection of fine wines to perfectly complement each meal. From the "table talk", where he/she will explain how this particular vintage was chosen, to the tasting – you’re in great hands. They're also helpful when visiting local wineries!

If you like time to unwind, then you’ll love our spacious decks, cabins and comfy salons

Panache

Taking a break from exploring for some "me time" is an essential part of a vacation. Cosy-up in the salon with a cup of coffee, watch the world go by from a deck chair or perhaps take a well-deserved nap in the comfort of your room. Most of our barges offer hot tubs – an excellent observation point with a glass of chilled wine in hand.

Let's Go Barging!






Visit our website for more info on our barges and barging: www.BargeCharters.com