Today was the Goldring Travel
Special Food & Wine Event at the New England Aquarium. It went off without a hitch and was,
honestly, better than I had hoped for.
Goldring Travel’s clients were given access to the
entire New England Aquarium to enjoy the penguins, huge central tank and all of
the exhibits before and after private behind the scenes tours. Some were lucky enough to watch a huge sea
turtle being lifted by a specially rigged crane and then blood samples being
But then it was time for the Behind
the Scenes Tours. This was
no faux experience, but rather one which provided a wealth of information from
behind the exhibition tanks…with aquarists regularly walking in between the
visitors. The guides were a great mix of
knowledge, enthusiasm and charm. They
explained how the aquarium gets its sea water right from Boston Harbor and
showed the equipment in action that cleans and filters the water before sending
it to the tanks and then recirculates it.
(It was a bit ironic that they discussed how protein skimmers create the
same sort of turbulence that causes proteins to foam up from wind and skims the
proteins away…thinking back to my “discussion” of that in Saguenay about that protein
foam not being from the ship’s laundry.)
We were then shown a tank with various fish…and the tanks behind it with “backup fish” (Fish get sick too, but at the New England Aquarium they make sure you aren’t staring at identification signs looking for missing fish.)
Then it was to the Giant Octopus tank with its heavy cover required due to the octopus’s late night fishing exhibitions in the other tanks (I had a pet octopus, Herman, who did the same thing) and then the puzzles given to the octopus where it has to figure out how to get its food. Then there was the crash of water from the anemone tank simulating surf with cute baby lump fish behind it.
Next were the lobsters! A giant blue lobster. A calico lobster.
And, my favorite, a red and blue lobster…colored
red on the right and blue on the left!
What many of the folks really enjoyed was then going
back to the public areas of the New England Aquarium and looking anew at the
exhibits. Everyone agreed that they will
never look at an aquarium the same way.
now it was time to eat seafood!
What? At an aquarium? Let me not get ahead of myself.
The West Wing, with its black walls lined
with tanks filled with jellyfish, was ringed with a Sustainable Seafood & Wine Experience. It included:
England Clam Chowder (of course)
Chicken with dipping sauce.
After a “Thank You” toast with a Lamberti Prosecco to
all of my clients…something they well deserve!…it was time for an Oyster
Shucking Lesson for the newest fan of oysters.
Under the supervision of the New England Aquarium’s Chef Tiger, a new
talent was discovered.
It was then time to enjoy all of the food with some
great wines: Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) and Terrabianca Super
But then the real treat! Elizabeth Fitzsimons, the New England
Aquarium’s Outreach Coordinator for its Conservation Department’s Sustainable
Seafood Program gave an informed, inspired, and fascinating interactive talk
about sustainable seafood: The
Facts. The Fallacies. The Future.
(Those are my words.)
Elizabeth’s basic message was that by making smart use of
our oceans’ bounties we can actually improve ourselves as well as our
environment. By eating seafood other
than such popular items as salmon and shrimp, smartly regulating species so
that they prosper such as lobsters and swordfish, avoiding highly pressured
species like Chilean sea bass (actually it is not a sea bass, but a toothfish)
and orange roughy, we can make a huge difference…while enjoying all sorts of
seafood and flavors.
I love this stuff, but I didn’t know if this, no
matter how tasty, might have been a bit too cerebral for an extended
period. It was, I am happy and proud to
report, a huge success. Elizabeth could
have talked for two hours and still had the group mesmerized.
But all good things have to come to an end…and there was no better way to end the event than with incredibly good cupcakes!
After a lovely late afternoon wandering Quincy
Market, it was time to head back to the Seabourn Sojourn for a wind down period
in…you guessed it: the forward hot
tub. A wonderful dinner dining al fresco
in the Colonnade brought a relaxing end to a super day.
One day left to our Food & Wine Cruise and that
means the Food & Wine Tasting!