European Waterways The European Waterways Newsletter
Issue 75
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in this issue...

Video: A Cruise in Italy


Special Offers

We have some great 2015 special offers

New Upper Loire Cruise
New summer route for Savoir Faire


Welcome to Issue 75 of The Lock-Keeper 

Hello Lock-Keeper Reader,

Our 2015 brochure has just been released and this time we have redesigned some of the introductory pages to tell you more about the various characteristics of the regions we cruise through and the unusual, ‘off the beaten track’ places we visit that the larger river cruise companies cannot. More details later in this issue.
We have some great articles to read, including an evocative one by Andy Alpine, owner of Specialty Travel, about the cruise he took with his wife aboard Anjodi on the Canal du Midi to celebrate their 70th birthdays. So many people are choosing our hotel barges these days for a family celebration.
Continuing our regular ‘Cheese of the Moment’ feature about some of the cheeses you can expect to enjoy on our cruises, this time we look at Roquefort, a classic blue cheese from Southwest France.
And this time, the Chef’s Recipe comes courtesy of Jim, the talented chef aboard L’Art de Vivre, one of our Burgundy barges, who gives us the recipe for a delicious fish dish he loves preparing.
After the success of the World War One Commemorative Cruise aboard Panache in Belgium and Northern France last May, we are offering four similar cruises in April 2015 on another hotel barge, La Belle Epoque. Read more later.
And staying with the history theme, our hotel barge on the River Thames, Magna Carta, will be offering two special cruises next June to mark the 800th anniversary of the famous document after which she is named. Read more later. We also get an insight into Emma Dyson's recent wedding in Normandy.

Finally, why not take a few minutes to look at our increasingly popular YouTube channel where we have added some great new videos – we have now reached over 300,000 views! And, of course, remember to visit our website for new offers, articles, videos and other barging news, or perhaps join us on Twitter or like us on Facebook (nearly 40,000 likes!)

Derek Banks
Derek Banks - Chairman



New 2015 Brochure

Our new brochure has just been released and mailed out. This time, as well as giving all the usual details about our hotel barges, cruise regions and itineraries, the brochure gives more of an insight into the characteristics of our cruise destinations, such as the Cathar history of the Midi, the rolling hills and storybook villages of Alsace, or the Renaissance architecture of Venetian Italy.
There is also more about the whole ‘hotel barging experience’ and how different it is from other types of cruising, plus a feature on many of the unique, out of the way excursions we offer such as private castles and stately homes, distilleries and even film locations
You should receive your copy within the next ten days, but if not, please call us or complete the Brochure Request Form.


Cruises for History Buffs

World War One Commemorative Cruises

As we all know, 2014 marked 100 years since the outbreak of World War One and we commemorated it with a cruise through Picardy in Northern France aboard Panache. It was a great success, so we are offering some more Commemorative cruises next April aboard another 12-passenger hotel barge, La Belle Epoque.
The cruises will be along the Canal du Nord and the Canal de la Somme. Both these waterways were the at the centre of battles during the War and there will be excursions to sites in Flanders, such as the Menin Gate in Ypres for the moving Last Post ceremony, the battlefields and museums of the Somme, and the forest clearing at Compiegne where the Armistice was signed.
Two cruises will follow the Canal de la Somme, starting or finishing near Villers Bretonneux on the weekend of the ANZAC Day Dawn Service, an event of deep significance to Australians and New Zealanders.
These fascinating cruises right through the heart of the battlefields along waterways not accessible to other larger river cruise vessels are sure to be popular. Click here to find out more.


800 Years of Magna Carta

And if 100 years since World War One is too soon for you, how about a cruise next June along the Royal River Thames to coincide with the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John on June 15, 2015? Our hotel barge of the same name will cruise right past the site of the signing at Runnymede and the itinerary will include a very special excursion to Salisbury Cathedral to see the world’s best-preserved original copy of the famous charter. Click here for more details

The Wright Choice

A few weeks ago Emma Wright (Now Emma Dyson) our Sales and Reservations Coordinator tied the knot in France.  After hearing all the wonderful feedback from our clients about the beautiful scenery and delicious wines and cheeses, France was the only country on the shortlist.
The venue was Chateau Monfreville in Calvados, Normandy.  The Chateau was commissioned almost a thousand years ago by William the Conqueror & was once home to Walt Disney’s family & then later occupied by German soldiers during WW2. The Chateau is steeped with history & central to the D Day Landing Beaches.  The cremony took place on September 6th 2014 by the Major of Monfreville, 84 yrs old Michel Dessoude! 
“Our rustic wedding included lots of French traditions, Normandy cheeses, plenty of Calvados and Pommeau from the local apple orchards and we carried on in true French wedding style until the early hours”
“We both have had a love for France since our early childhood, enjoying family holidays and camping trips in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux regions. Working for European Waterways, has given me the opportunity to experience life on board our hotel barges cruising along some of the most picturesque canals and waterways France has to offer. We are both looking forward to going back to France again next year as Mr and Mrs!”
Mr Dyson grew up in the North East of England, close to the fishing town of Grimsby. He works as a TV producer for an international sports company in London.



Cruise Reviews

The Canal du Midi Revisited

Andy Alpine and his wife Judith enjoyed a self-drive boating holiday on the Canal du Midi many years ago and always promised themselves they would return one day. Well, this year they both celebrated their 70th birthdays and decided to cruise this historic UNESCO World Heritage Site waterway in style – aboard hotel barge Anjodi. They obviously had a wonderful time that brought back many happy memories. Click here to read all about it


Luxury in Western Burgundy

Barbara Kingstone, a well-respected Canadian travel writer, enjoyed a week aboard Renaissance on France’s oldest canal, the Canal de Briare in the Western Burgundy/Upper Loire region. She certainly seemed to appreciate the whole experience. Click here to read her article.

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Since the last issue, we have added some more short videos including one of the 20 passenger river cruiser La Bella Vita cruising the River Po and Venetian Lagoon, and another of hotel barge Panache during her Spring ‘Tulip’ cruises in Holland. The videos were created by Kit Forrman and Sam Wood-Dow, with some of the music composed by Nick Banks.

Click here to watch our video tour of Venice.
Click here to watch our tour of Keukenhof Gardens.

With over 300,000 views on our YouTube channel now, people are obviously really enjoying watching the video clips and seeing what hotel barging is all about.

Chef’s Recipe

‘Jim’s Lemon Sole Paupiettes with Risotto’

The origin of the mis-named lemon sole probably comes from the French word ‘lime’ meaning file and which may refer to the texture of the fish’s skin. Whatever its origin, this recipe by Jim, the talented chef who cooks aboard hotel barge L’Art de Vivre in Burgundy, is stunning!
4 Lemon Sole Fillets, Smoked Salmon, Fish Stock, Seasoning
For the risotto: 1 Diced and Roasted Red Pepper, White Wine, Aborio Rice, Diced Onion, Diced Fresh Mint, Vegetable Stock, Peas, Asparagus, Grated Parmesan, Parsley, Mascarpone Cheese
Place a slice of smoked salmon on top of each lemon sole fillet, roll in cling-film and poach in the fish stock.
Lightly saute the onions in a little butter, add the rice, a cup of white wine, then add the stock slowly a ladle at a time. Let the rice absorb the stock and cook until it is al dente.
Add the roasted red pepper, peas, asparagus, parmesan, mascarpone cheese and the chopped fresh mint.
Place the paupiettes on the risotto, top with a fish veloute and decorate perhaps with a slice of lemon and cherry tomatoes.

Cheese of the Moment

This time, we look at Roquefort, a wonderful blue sheep’s milk cheese, produced in the Aveyron departement of southern France, which is rich, creamy and salty in flavour. It is served most often on our hotel barges on the Canal du Midi and is perfect with Muscat grapes, figs or walnuts.

Legend has it that the cheese was discovered when a young shepherd, eating his lunch of curds, saw a beautiful girl in the distance. Abandoning his meal in a nearby cave, he ran to meet her. When he failed to catch her, he returned to his now mouldy lunch and ate it out of pure hunger. Roquefort was also apparently a favourite of Emperor Charlemagne, hence in France it is called the 'cheese of kings and popes'.
In 1925, Roquefort was the first cheese to be granted the title of “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée – AOC”, and is an international  guarantee of Controlled Designation of Origin.
Roquefort is made from the flavourful milk of ewes of the Lacaune breed produced throughout Aveyron and a single ewe produces enough milk for around 100 pounds of Roquefort each year. Traditionally the cheesemakers extracted ‘Penicillium Roqueforti’, the mould which gives the cheese its distinctive character, by leaving bread in the caves for six to eight weeks until it was consumed by the mould. The interior of the bread was then dried to produce a powder. Nowadays this mould is made by more sophisticated methods!
Once the ‘loaves’ of cheese have been made, they are put into a salting tub for 5 days before any excess salt is removed. Once this ‘pampering’ process is over, the loaves are pierced with needles some forty times from top to bottom, before being stored in the famous Roquefort cellars to ripen slowly uncovered for 2 to 3 weeks on oak wood that helps capture the humidity.
When the cellar manager decides that the mould has developed sufficiently, the loaves are wrapped in tin foil and stored at a slightly higher temperature to further mature. Roquefort cheese will take up to nine months to reach maturity. Well worth the wait!

And Finally....

At European Waterways, we believe in training our bright young crew members as early as possible. However, our latest recruit Thomas Charbonnier, son of Anjodi’s captain Laurent and his chef wife Sarah, doesn’t seem quite ready yet and will have to buck his ideas up if he wants a job with us!

That's about it for this issue of The Lock-Keeper. We hope that you’ve enjoyed it and the next one will be out soon with some more news, so we'll see you then.

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