Ecoventura has recently transformed the culinary offerings on their fleet and now offer locally sourced, healthy and gourmet style menus designed by the culinary talent of Chef Francisco Ventimilla, Director of the esteemed gastronomy school in Guayaquil, University Espiritu Santo. Chef Francisco trained our on board chefs in his techniques, many of whom have worked in the kitchens of Ecuador’s finest hotels or in popular restaurants in the upscale suburb of Samborondon.
While cruising in the Galapagos, you will look forward to each thoughtfully prepared meal. From breakfast through dinner the kitchens or galleys focus on using only the freshest ingredients, with fully 60% of the food used are sourced from these islands. Many fruits, meats and dairy products come from farms on islands blessed by rain. Organic fruits and vegetables thrive on San Cristobal and meat and dairy come from Santa Cruz. And of course the region is famous for fish and seafood. Minimizing the need for food that has to be shipped from the mainland helps protect the islands from invasive plant species, insects and even animals that can be unwelcome.
Ecoventura’s clientele are often drawn to this fleet because of the company’s commitment to environmental issues. Therefore it makes sense to align the kitchens with the sustainable philosophy. As you discover how fragile life is in the Galapagos, and as you experience the enormous effort that helps keep tourism possible in this region, you will appreciate even more the creative culinary presentations that appear as if by magic from small galleys on these expedition yachts.
Ecoventura follows a holistic approach toward healthier living on board.
Ecoventura’s pacesetting approach to healthier fare underscores our holistic approach to Galapagos cruising: continued environmental stewardship, promotion of healthier living and support for local communities inside the ship. To better cater to our clients needs, our culinary-school trained chefs have introduced a healthy dining menu built around natural and organic foods purchased locally from island farmers. The menus have increased its infusion of organic content; nearly 25 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. We can meet dietary requests for vegetarian and vegan meals as well as low-sodium and gluten free are available upon request.
Because you are on an adventure cruise and several times a day will be snorkeling and hiking, you don’t have to worry about calories. Also the chefs are watching out for you with reduced-calorie, health-conscious preparations (avoiding fried and heavily sauced foods) that are also low in fat and sodium content. Special-needs diets can be accommodated: vegetarian or vegan, gluten free and low sodium/low fat. Plus your chef thoughtfully presents desserts in small servings that you can enjoy without feeling guilty. House wine (red or white Chilean) and local beer (Pilsner) are served at dinner with no limit and at no additional charge.
Lunch buffets and dinner entrees offer creatively prepared chicken, fish, seafood, beef, pork or vegetarian. Lunches featuring local fish and ceviches can be served with music on the sun deck. Favorite starters include hand-rolled sushi, 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 or tender grilled octopus. 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.
At breakfast, a few early birds may already be savoring the first cup of coffee or hot chocolate (a specialty of Ecuador). Soon everyone is lined up for the self-serve buffet: fresh fruits of the season, fruit juices, including delicious berry and tropical fruit blends, granola and nearly every day a Swiss oatmeal (muesli) along with assorted breads and cheeses Hot dishes vary daily and range from quiche Lorraine to eggs Benedict to ham and cheddar cheese omelets, or even stuffed crepes with Nutella. A surprise one morning is the possibility of choosing a local dish, yucca dumplings stuffed with cheese and served with honey, and on another day green plantain dumplings with cheese. Young and old enjoy pancakes, bacon and ham. After returning from the morning shore excursion, our server will greet you when you return the yacht with a warm hand towel, delicious snack and fresh juice or water.
Lunch is always anticipated and indeed is often heartier than dinner because of the active afternoons to come. Served buffet-style either in the dining room or on the sun deck, guests often come back for second helpings. Fresh salads abound along with savory cold and hot presentations. Among the robust presentations look for a tuna tartar and tapenade along with chicken lasagna, a shrimp ceviche paired with a local fish en papillote, and international flavors in a bouillabaisse served with chicken Cordon Bleu, a Cuban-style shredded beef stew “ropa vieja” or Jamaican jerk chicken. One lunch goes local with a green plantain ball soup, sauteed shrimp with garlic, more plantains with potato cakes, refried white corn, a pork dish and a flan called queso de leche. At some time during lunch, a staff person will share with each guest the menu for that night’s dinner and ask whether meat or fish is preferred. A lingering memory of an on-board dinner is a Basque-style preparation of octopus, grilled langostinos (giant prawns) or Pistachio crusted Mahi. Another night goes Oriental with a pork and vegetable stir-fry. A creamy Ecuadorian potato soup may send some scurrying for the recipe. It is hard to choose on some nights between a roasted pork tenderloin or turkey roulade or preparations of a seafood fettucini or eggplant Parmesan.
Because the chefs play a deft hand with international and classical variations, and because so much of the regional cuisine focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, the vegetarian fare here is equally creative. And youngsters can feel comfortable with hamburgers and other child-friendly menu items. You can savor the menus while anticipating your cruise; but only when you’ve sampled the soups (hallmarks of really good chefs) do you really begin to understand the how creative and delicious these meals are. There is also no pre-arranged seating, thus encouraging guests to mix and mingle and get to know each other by the end of the cruise.
We are excited to announce Ecoventura’s new recipe book, Los Sabores de Galapagos/ Flavors of the Galapagos, Ecuador Cuisine!
Bring your Galapagos experience home to your friends and family by preparing a meal that reflects your trip in the Galapagos. This is your chance to sit down when you return, share stories of the wildlife you saw and culture you experienced over meals that were prepared by the chefs. Start your meal with a fresh fish and octopus ceviche, next prepare a
teriyaki style sea bass with rice noodle salad, and end your meal with a decadent opera cake.
The recipe book brings back memories of the unique style and flavors that you savored onboard.LEARN MORE
Recently our Green Plantain Dumplings with Cheese recipe was featured on Latin Times as one of their 5 recipes you should try from Peru to Puerto Rico. We wanted to share it with you and encourage you to check out our new cookbook with more delicious recipes from Ecuador!
2 Green plantains, peeled and cut in medium-sized chunks
4-5 tbs butter
5 tbs oil
1 cup grated cheese
Salt to taste Directions
1. In a saucepan with water cook the plantain chunks for about 40 minutes or until they are very soft,
2. Transfer the plantain pieces to a bowl. Mash the plantains using a wood masher – or just a regular potato masher – until you obtain chunky dough like consistency. Add the butter and salt.
3. Form balls and make a hole in the middle of each ball and fill it with the cheese, gently press the filling into the hole, cover the filling and make the form .
4. Heat the oil over high heat, add the stuffed plantain dumplings and fry them until they are golden and crispy on each side.
5. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels to drain the grease and serve immediately.
During lent, many Ecuadorians abstain from eating meat for the week of Semana Santa. When the fast ends on Saturday they celebrate with friends and family and plenty of fanesca.
Fanesca is a traditional and special soup of Ecuador that is only prepared once a year. The main ingredients are grains, squash and salted cod fish. A total of twelve different grains are used (which represent Jesus’ disciples) and salted cod, the fish symbolizing Jesus.
This soup is made with bacalao or salted cod, squash, fava beans, chochos, corn, peas, porotos or fresh beans, rice, onions, garlic, cumin, achiote, peanuts, milk, cream and cheese.
- 2 lbs bacalao seco or dried salt cod
- 6 cups of diced sambo or fresh squash (zucchini), about 2 ½ lbs
- 6 cups of diced zapallo or squash, about a small sized squash butternut squash
- 2 cups of shredded cabbage
- 4 cups of cooked and peeled fava beans
- 4 cups of cooked corn kernels
- 3 cups of cooked green peas
- 2 cups of cooked lima beans
- 2 cups of cooked alubias or cannellini beans
- 2 cups of chochos or lupini beans, peeled
- 2 cups of cooked rice (cooked in abundant water and very tender)
- 8 tbs butter
- 1 tsp of achiote or annatto powder
- 1 cup of diced white onion
- 1 cup of diced red onion
- 10 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbs of ground cumin
- 1 tbs of dry oregano
- 1 tsp of ground pepper
- 2 cups of roasted peanuts
- 12 cups of milk
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 12 oz of cream cheese
- 1 cup of feta cheese
- ½ bunch of cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Hardboiled egg slices
- Fried ripe plantains
- Fried cheese empanadas
- Hot peppers slices
- Aji criollo hot sauce
- Curtido de cebolla blanca or white onions marinated in lime juice
- Queso fresco or fresh cheese slices
- Avocado slices
- Soak the salt cod in water for 24 hours, changing the water every 6-8 hours, each time the water should be less and less salty, at the end cut the cod into medium sized pieces (if it doesn’t come already cut).
- Cook the diced butternut squash and zucchini separately, with a barely enough water to cover them, cook until they are very tender, drain the water and place them in a blender or food make a puree.
- Boil the shredded cabbage with a small amount of water for about 3 minutes, drain and add the cabbage to the squash puree.
- In a large stock pot or soup pot, heat the butter over medium heat to make a refrito or base for the soup, add the onions, garlic, achiote, cumin, oregano and pepper and cook until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked rice to the refrito and mash it into the refrito with a potato masher to make a thick sauce or puree.
- Add the squash and cabbage puree and mix well.
- Add 4 cups of milk and the fava beans, corn, green peas, lima beans and cannellini beans, stir in well and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stir frequently to avoid the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Meanwhile bring 6 cups of milk to boil, add the soaked and desalted cod, and boil for about 10 minutes.
- Add the milk and cod to the soup or if you don’t want the soup to have the strong salted cod flavor then strain the milk and add only the milk to the soup, reserve the fish, fry it in oil until browned on each side and serve on the side or place a piece of the fried cod in each individual soup bowl.
- At this point you want to taste the soup and add salt if needed, how much you need will depend on the whether you add the salt cod to the soup or not (as well as how well you soaked and rinsed the cod).
- Blend the roasted peanuts with 2 cups of milk, add this to the soup, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- About 5 to 10 minutes before serving, add the chochos or lupini beans, the heavy cream and the cheeses, stir to help the cheeses dissolve.
- Add the chopped cilantro or parsley and stir well. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve with the pieces of fried salt cod (unless they were already added to the soup), hardboiled egg slices, lime marinated white onions, fried ripe plantains, slices of queso fresco, fried cheese empanadas, avocado slices or cubes, and Ecuadorian hot sauce or slices of hot peppers. These can be added on top of the soup or on the side.
- 2 lbs Small Raw Shrimp, cleaned
- 4 tomatoes
- 6 limes, juice
- 1 orange, juice
- 1 cup Cilantro leaves
- 1 Red onion
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ cup Ketchup Tabasco
- 1 tbsp. mustard
- 2 Green Plantains Oil
- Cut the onion and tomatoes into thin slices
- Place the onion slices in a bowl of cold salted water, and let soak for 20 minutes
- Chop the cilantro leaves
- Cut the green banano into slices and fry in warm oil
- If the shrimp is not cooked, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the juice of one lime to the pot
- Boil the shrimp for one to two minutes, until just cooked
- Drain shrimp and rinse with cold water
- De-vein the shrimp and trim off the tails, and place in a bowl
- Drain onions and rinse with cold water
- Add the tomatoes, cilantro and mix
- Whisk together lime juice, orange juice, ketchup, mustard, tabasco, salt and pepper
- Toss with shrimp, corn, and onions.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper
- Chill shrimp until ready to serve
- Toss shrimp with cilantro before serving, and drizzle decoratively with the slices of green plantains