We Tried It! White Truffle Dinnerby Lisa Cheng | February 26, 2016
The Chef’s Table on Anthem of the Seas is one of the more intimate experiences on the ship, and when it’s truffle season — roughly October through January — it’s the site of one of the most exclusive dinners at sea. The Celebration of White Truffles dinner places the spotlight on this rare delicacy from Alba, Italy, featuring truffles that the culinary team bids for at an auction online.
Just 16 people can reserve a seat at this dinner, which is held at a communal table in a leather and dark-wood-clad room in the Chops Grille Steakhouse. Throughout dinner, the ambience is convivial, and conversation goes on over the sipping and swirling — it's more of a shared experience than a date night.
After an amuse-bouche and a glass of Gosset Champagne, the culinary journey begins. All five courses — starting with a velvety cauliflower soup with pancetta and sage croutons — are presented with a flourish: They’re topped with shavings of truffles sliced tableside right into your dish. The staff is generous with pours of wines that are specially selected by the sommelier, and frequently refresh glasses even before they’re empty. You’ll want to pace yourself.
By the time you get to the third course of melt-in-your-mouth tagliatelle with truffle butter and chives, you’ve already experienced a gamut of flavors, textures, and temperatures, all enhanced by the earthy aroma of the truffles, which add a subtle complexity that seems only to heighten with each course. The final creation? A sweet-savory combo of olive oil cake with ricotta and limoncello — sprinkled with white truffles, of course.
The Verdict: Sure, the Celebration of White Truffle dinner has a hefty price tag of $250 per person, but that said, the quality of the food — and the wine pairings — is far superior to anything else on the ship. (The only meal that comes close is Wonderland, the line's whimsical molecular gastronomy experience.)
If you have an excuse for a special occasion dinner, or just want to splurge, it’s a unique way to savor a rare delicacy. Price-wise, it's equivalent — or even a better value — compared to what you find on land, where truffle supplements can cost $60 to $155 on top of already expensive entrées and set menus that don't include wine pairings.
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.