We can’t say goodbye to the Dolphin II without a mention of the culinary wonders that emerge from its kitchen as we sail through the vast wilderness of the Pacaya-Sameria Nature Reserve. Our mornings begin with waiters bringing us our beverage of choice – Emma’s is always hot chocolate – before we circle the platters of fresh fruits – both familiar and brand new. Alongside are pitchers of juice – all fresh. My favorite? Passion fruit. Yogurts – flavored and not – cereals for the less adventurous, cheeses, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and olives for those inclined toward the savory.
Spread along the counter that looks into the kitchen is an array of pancakes, bacon, ham, sausage, blood sausage, frittatas, toasts, rolls and pastries.
Not enough choice? You can always order from the kitchen.
If you manage to restrain yourself at breakfast, or expend extra energy hiking through the forest, you may be ready for a three course lunch. But ready or not, how to resist the artful presentations, the new tastes?
Thank goodness for nap time, needed much more to digest than to recover from strenuous activity. Of course, Aldo is ever present at the bar to concoct your favorite or dispense complimentary pisco sours (see Learning on the River for recipe).
There is always a line when the dining room doors open at 7, though no one can possibly be overly hungry. Again, we face three courses. Day by day my amazement grows. The kitchen continues turning out gourmet dishes as we sail eight days through the wilderness. I can’t imagine their grocery list – and there’s no possibility of running out to buy a missing ingredient.
Just as impressive as the meals are the table settings. Unbelievably, they change at every single meal – no repeats. What colors will we find? What tropical flowers? What handicrafts? What Neverland interpretations of Amazon fauna?
Some hardy souls are ready for the nightly film, the younger among us. Mostly, we stagger to our room. Chocolates are waiting on our pillows.