MIAMI – Ecoventura has raised the small ship cruising bar in the Galapagos yet again. Its culinary-school trained chefs have introduced a reduced calorie, healthy dining menu built around natural and organic foods purchased locally from island farmers.
Said Santiago Dunn, owner, “In general, our yachts tend to attract a more active and health conscious clientele who are also concerned about environmental issues. We make it our mission to cater to our clients with more varied activities on the Islands taking full advantage of snorkeling, longer interpretive hikes, kayaking, even scuba diving,” he continued. “We have specifically tweaked our menus to avoid fried foods and high calorie sauces while reducing the fat and sodium content that may be popular with locals but not with our guests.”
Already the leader in responsible, sustainable travel in the Galapagos, Ecoventura’s pacesetting approach to healthier fare underscores, he added, “our holistic approach to Galapagos cruising: continued environmental stewardship, protection and preservation outside the cabin; promotion of healthier living and support for local communities inside the ship.”
The new menu has increased its infusion of organic content by over 12 percent; nearly 60 percent of produce comes from the Galapagos, mainly fruits and vegetables from San Cristobal and meats and dairy from Santa Cruz Island; only 32 percent of the food products are now shipped from the mainland of Ecuador and the company continues to annually reduce that percentage (two years ago it was more than 40 percent).
In order to prepare for the new menus, four chefs, three assistants and the purchasing manager attended a weeklong cooking course at the Escuela de Gastronomia de la Universidad Espiritu Santo located in Sanborondon (Guayaquil), Ecuador. They learned techniques including sauces, temperatures to create new dishes, the importance of presentation and new, lighter desserts.
“Head chef Francisco Vintilla will be going on board our yachts over the next six months to ensure the menus are being carried out properly,” said Dunn.
The new menus with a calorie content of each dish are featured on the company web site. Some of the new leaner items include: sautéed flounder with grapefruit salsa, marinated prawns, steamed, roasted or grilled vegetables with balsamic reduction; chicken roulade with lemon zest, beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce. At breakfasts, there is a variety of fresh local fruit juice, breads including whole grains, healthy cereals and oatmeal plus specialty items such as Eggs Florentine. Fresh cut fruit is offered as an alternative to dessert.
“We will still offer pastas for our heartier eaters and continue our popular Ecuadorian buffet lunch,” Dunn said, noting that kid-friendly and vegetarian meals are also readily available.
About Ecoventura: Ecoventura is a family-owned company based in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with sales offices in Quito and Miami. In operation since 1990, the Galápagos cruise company transports 4,000+ passengers annually aboard a fleet of three expedition vessels; identical, superior first-class 20-passenger motor yachts with 10 double cabins. The company also operates the Sky Dancer, a 16-passenger dedicated dive live-aboard offering 7-night weekly itineraries visiting the northern islands of Wolf and Darwin. All of its vessels have been purposefully retrofitted to meet or exceed the highest possible environmental standards.
In 2009 Ecoventura was the recipient of Travel + Leisure’s Global Vision Award for Green Cruising and Conde Nast Traveler’s 15th Annual World Savers Award in the category of Cruise Lines.