Cooking with Eric Lanlard on P&O’s Britannia cruise ship

Masterchef on the high seas: Cooking with Eric Lanlard is the ‘icing on the cake’ on a mouth-watering cruise on P&O’s flagship Britannia

  • French patissier Eric Lanlard hosts masterclasses on flagship Britannia 
  • Daily Mail’s Lesley Bellew was thrilled when he said her souffle was ‘magnifique’ 
  • She sailed through the Norwegian fjords on the 3,647-passenger cruise ship

Whipping up a treat: Eric Lanlard and Lesley

Master Patissier Eric Lanlard’s laughter roars across the posh Norwegian cookery school in Stavanger. But, truth is, it’s all going wrong during P&O Cruises’ first onshore culinary outing to make a hay ice-cream dessert. Yes, hay.

A sea of boiling milk spews across the worktops, prized organic yoghurt is on the point of curdling and there’s no sign of the white chocolate caramelising.

Worse still, the toasted hay has been left in the cream too long. After last year’s hot summer, hay is a precious commodity in Norway and has to be imported from other Nordic countries.

After a relaxed, scenic sailing through the sparkling Norwegian fjords on 3,647-passenger Britannia, we are beginning to feel the tension, especially as Norwegians are serious about ice-cream — they eat more of it than most other European countries, about 12 litres per person each year, compared with our seven.

In the rising tide of chaos, our host, Norwegian MasterChef presenter Kjartan Skjelde, is surely questioning why he has agreed to let Frenchman Eric’s rookies into his pristine cookery training school.

As one of P&O Cruises’ Food Heroes, Eric hosts regular patisserie masterclasses and dinners in The Cookery Club on flagship Britannia — but this is the first time he has ventured ashore with passengers to create a specialist local dish.

Eric, from Quimper, in Brittany, is more used to crafting exquisite cakes for clients including Elton John and the Beckhams. He trained in France and worked as a pastry chef in the French Navy, then came to London to work for Albert and Michel Roux, before going solo.

He made Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s wedding cake and he is designing the afternoon teas for next month’s Royal Ascot race meeting.

Sail away: Lesley sailed through the Norwegian fjords on 3,647-passenger Britannia

Sail away: Lesley sailed through the Norwegian fjords on 3,647-passenger Britannia

Fame is the name of the game on this ship, with top entertainment for the mainly British, and often multi-generational, passengers.

Singers Chesney Hawkes and Gareth Gates are belting out their Nineties and Noughties hits in the Limelight Club, while magician Stephen Mulhern is on stage wowing us with his astonishing illusions.

I especially enjoy the Duo Balskett acrobatic ballet performance, a glorious day in The Retreat and spa, the L. S. Lowry art talk and staying up late on Soul and Motown night. That’s in between exploring ashore, hiking to a waterfall and eating in my favourite restaurants, Sindhu and the Beach House.

We’re a happy lot. Sue Cryer, 61, from North Wales, says she joined the cruise to spend ‘quality time’ with her ‘bestie’.

‘My friend Kate and I used to live near each other, but we have moved miles apart, so we came on Britannia to catch up,’ she says.

Taking part in The Cookery Club masterclasses is their highlight —as it is for me.

When Eric calls my calvados souffle and lemon meringue cupcakes magnifique, I go a little weak at the knees. Forgive me, but such an accolade is the icing on the cake.

TRAVEL FACTS 

Eric Lanlard will be on two more seven-night Britannia sailings in 2019, departing Southampton for Stavanger, Flam, Olden and Bergen. Choose from June 8, starting at £899pp, or August 31, from £699pp (0345 355 5111, pocruises.com).


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