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Galapagos Goes Gourmet

Small-yacht cruise operator Ecoventura, pacesetter for sustainable tourism in the Galapagos, aligns galley to offer locally sourced / upscale menus.

Food Art © Ecoventura

Ecoventura that operates an environmentally friendly fleet of small expedition yachts in the Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, over the past 18 months has transformed the culinary offerings on its three 20-passenger vessels that now offer locally sourced, healthy and gourmet-style menus. Here, Galapagos goes gourmet.

“Amazing wildlife encounters, perfect sunsets and pristine beaches now come with chefs trained in the kitchens of Ecuador’s finest hotels such as the Oro Verde or in popular restaurants and sushi bars in the upscale suburb of Samborondon in Guayaquil,” says Doris Welsh, Ecoventura spokesperson, noting that the equatorial position of the country and the great variety of ecosystems provide an unparalleled richness in fruits and other culinary ingredients.

Lunch buffets and dinner entrees offer creatively prepared chicken, fish, seafood, beef, pork or vegetarian selections. Lunches featuring local fish and ceviches are occasionally served with music on the deck. Favorite first courses include sushi rolls, salmon carpaccio and seafood bouillabaisse with crostini and Pernod. Salads range from Caesar to avocado with hearts of palm. Seafood lovers enjoy grilled langostinos (giant prawns) in garlic and a pistachio-encrusted mahi mahi with wild rice, among others. Other signature dishes are chicken cordon bleu and beef tenderloin in red wine. Ecuadorian and Mexican specialties are also on the menu. Desserts run the gamut from crème brulee to passion fruit mousse.

House wine (red or white Chilean) and local beer (Pilsner) are served during dinner with no limit and at no additional charge.

Along with a commitment to the sustainable operation of its fleet, Ecoventura’s chefs now source locally grown ingredients including organic fruit and produce. Fully 60 percent of produce comes from the Galapagos, with fruits and vegetables from San Cristobal and meat and dairy from Santa Cruz. Only 30 percent of food products are now shipped from mainland Ecuador.

Ecoventura’s clientele are often drawn to this fleet because of the company’s commitment to environmental issues. Therefore it made sense, says Welsh, to align the kitchens with the sustainable philosophy.

Chef training © Ecoventura

“Our yachts tend to attract an active and health conscious clientele who are concerned about environmental issues,” Welsh notes. “Now we can provide guests with a reduced-calorie, health-conscious menus, avoiding fried foods and high calorie sauces while reducing the fat and sodium content.” There are also child-friendly menu items as well foods accommodating vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and low sodium/ low fat requirements.

“The water in these parts is never too cold and one is reluctant to climb out after swimming and snorkeling. But we were coaxed out of the water daily with an array of delicacies rustled up by Assistant Chef Roberto Urgiles and Chef Xavier Moncayo, who went out of their way to indulge even the few vegetarians on board,” noted Sudha Mahalingham, a recent guest from India.

About Ecoventura: Ecoventura is a family-owned company based in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with sales offices in Quito and Miami. In operation since 1990, the cruise company transports 4,000+ passengers annually aboard its fleet of three identical, 20-passenger first-class motor yachts, Eric, Flamingo and Letty, and the 16-passenger luxury dive live-aboard the MV Galapagos Sky. Departures are every Sunday from San Cristobal offering two unique seven-night itineraries.