Drink in the Holidays

17 December 2019 By Laura Dunn

There’s nothing quite as magical as the winter holidays, so we’re running a holiday series to warm you up in the coziest way possible. Tune in as we feature several holiday beverages that will impress any guest you may wish to share it with. (Or, if you just need a festive breather to drink in some holiday joy.)

In today’s edition, Chef Charly Valdez of M/Y Irisha shares his version of Christmas goodness. “The mulled wine is hard to miss and will certainly delight all [your] guests,” says Valdez.

Hot Wine

By Chef Charly Valdez

3 cinnamon sticks
250 grams brown sugar
Several slices and peels of orange, clementine, or even lemon (for a little acid aftertaste)
A dozen cloves
2 star badiane (be careful if you don’t love anis, because the taste is really very pronounced)
A small piece of minced ginger

Bring to a boil slowly, before simmering for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring regularly. To get rid of pieces left in the bottom of the pan, simply use a colander before pouring the mulled wine in your favorite glass, which can be decorated with a small slice of orange or another cinnamon stick. And that's all!

Christmas Q&A:
What’s your favorite holiday dish that you look forward to having every year?
My favorite dish is stuffed turkey and foie gras because they are synonymous with parties and sharing.

What makes this time of year so special for you?
This period is particularly pleasant for me because I cook for families and people I love.

Any holiday cooking tips for other superyacht chefs?
You must try to work a maximum of products of extreme quality which have traceability.

Any holiday/Christmas provisioning tips or advice for cooking for your guests?
My advice to prepare the holidays well is to take time off: Even a few days off will make the most of these holidays with friends and family. Be sure to disconnect.

What are wishing for Christmas this year as a Christmas gift?
My gift would be for all my loved ones: that they would have no problems in their life.

What’s the best way to come up with a new recipe?
A recipe must be precise, chronological, and above all we offer a recipe that we master perfectly.

About the Chef:

I became a chef on the yacht by accident. This happened when I was executive chef on a luxury cruise company in South America and was traveling near an iceberg in Antarctica. That’s when I was offered a place on a yacht in the Mediterranean on my return home.

What I love most in my work is to receive new guests and to make them taste new things of new products which they do not know ... to give them new tastes and new feelings.

The hardest part of the job is the pressure and the time — we are always running to be ready on time.

Something I’ve learned on the job is that it pays to work. If you are hardworking, you always come up with a few good things.

My favorite cuisine is French, and I love to cook Mediterranean food because I love cooking products from the sea.

The strangest thing anyone asked me: In French, fish bones are called “arête de poisson.” Well, someone asked me for a duck breast without “arrêtes,” which means “stopped.”

My ideal guest is one who likes to discover.