Culinary Cruising: Cliff Hanging

Marisol, the author of The Lady, the Chef and the Courtesan, a sensual, romantic novel that comes complete with recipes, has left landlocked Denver for a stint as a celebrity chef. She's sending daily missives from her temporary home: a cruise ship.

Day Three: Santorini, Greece

The locals are proud of the fact (and will tell you so) that Santorini – which they call Nisos (Island) Tira -- is the most photographed place on earth, and the second most visited destination in Europe. (I assume the first is Paris.)

And yes, it is prettier in person than in pictures, something that seems impossible. Its famous, cliff-perched towns have a stunning beauty I will not soon forget. But since I’m in Europe as a chef, I must ask everyone I meet about the food, the food and the food! And my questioning yields a surprise: They make the most amazing wine in Santorini.

The rough-hewn cliffs (the result of a volcano eruption a long time back) turn out to be the perfect soil for unique wines.

The ride to the top of Tira on a lazy donkey is uncertain and unnerving. The sea below looks true and blue, except when the donkey falters and you think it’s the last time you might see this beautiful place.

After this, no more sightseeing for me! I’ll be on at the Wajang Culinary Center inside the MS Rotterdam. How do I know this? When I return to the ship, people look at me and point, which seems strange since I haven’t met any passengers. Yet.

Ahhhh, here’s the reason: Throughout the ship, there are marquees announcing upcoming attractions for the next day. One has a photo of George Clooney in the movie Michael Clayton. The other event in the rotating marquee: “Tomorrow Chef Marisol turns up the heat in the Kitchen. Space is limited. Sign up today!”

I decide to go to my stateroom and PREPARE! Deep inside I’m thinking, "Jesus. What have you done?"

Suddenly, I wonder if I can cook! -- Marisol

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun