There is food and there is art. Combine the two, as many cruise ships do, and you have a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
There is some debate about whether the art of food carving first originated in Thailand or China, but it is undeniably a skill that started in the East as early as the first century, it is thought.
Food carving makes food look more appetizing and adds an element of elegance to a buffet, both of which are high aspects of most cruise ship itineraries. Chefs train hard to learn the art that can turn an average buffet display into something spectacular.
Here are 10 incredible food sculptures served up on cruise ships:
1) Cow Head Beef Platter
Melon cow surveying his beef platter. Photo by JohnBurke.
Adding interest to an everyday beef platter, this cow head is carved from melon and served at the midnight feast on the cruise ship Carousel. Watermelon is a popular fruit for carving and should be selected to display its red flesh and green outer rind with no wrinkles.
2) Pineapple Owl
Prickly pineapple transformed. Photo by clry2.
Animals are a favorite food carving option, and this owl has transformed an ordinarily prickly pineapple into something much more exotic. Creatively using the pineapple top for arms transforms this fruit into a feathery friend.
3) Cheese Husky
Cheese husky adds interest to an average cheese platter. Photo by Mike Legend.
Instead of using fruit and vegetables to dress up this cheese platter, cheese has been used as the subject of this food carving. Cheese is becoming increasingly popular as a basis for food art, as it is durable and can be easily carved.
4) Banana Monkey
Funky banana monkey. Photo by Sap Beast.
Monkeys and bananas are often closely associated so using bananas for the arms of this carving is a fun addition. This display is featured on the Royal Caribbean Cruise and is a good example of food art that can capture the imagination without a great level of artistic sculpting.
5) Red Indian Head-dress
Impressive carving and arranging skills on this melon platter. Photo by Brian O’Donovan.
Impressive imagination has gone into the compilation of this melon display. Intricate carving skills have created the Red Indian’s face, while the food being served has been carefully placed to create his head-dress.
6) Fruit and Vegetable Flower Baskets
Take a closer look at this floral arrangement to see fruit and vegetables. Photo by Archangeli.
With only a fleeting glance you might not instantly recognize that this basket of flowers has been assembled from fruit and vegetables.
The favorite fruit for food carvings, the watermelon, is once again featured as the vase, while vegetables have been whittled into a bloom of flowers. When selecting vegetables for carving, choose those resistant to wilting like carrots and radishes.
7) Dressed Turkey
Turkey transformed. Photo by Brian O’Donovan.
A full-sized turkey has been creatively brought back to life in this example of food that has been beautifully dressed and turned into art. With the simple addition of a feathered neck and bright fruit slices, an otherwise brown cooked bird has been transformed into something more.
8) Orange Band
Fun orange band makes this cheese board much more interesting. Photo by Brian O’Donovan.
Oranges are another popular fruit that are easy to work with, especially for simpler creations, as they make good bodies and heads for fruit animals.
This example is slightly more elaborate with a cucumber drum kit and carved guitar creating a band that was the highlight of this cheese platter.
9) Mermaid Watermelon
Contrasting green and red works well on this mermaid carving. Photo by Archangeli.
The contrast of the green watermelon skin and the inner pinkness of the flesh have been used very effectively in this carving that’s featured on the Crown Princess cruise.
A good measure of artistic skill is required to create such an intricate carving that no doubt wowed that evening’s diners.
10) Bird of Freedom
Cheese is a good base for food carving due to its durability. Photo by toastforbrekkie.
This eagle took pride of place over the cheese board aboard the Costa Magica. The carving is another example of the presentation efforts invested for the midnight feast.
If you want to try cheese carving at home, cheddar has a good consistency for amateurs.
Do you have a favorite food carving that you’ve seen aboard a cruise? Let me know in the comments below.
If you liked this article, you might also like: 6 Best Cruises for Your Special Diet.
Main photo: Red Indian watermelon by Brian O’Donovan.