In the Christmassy atmosphere of the festively decorated event ship, the evening will kick off with a champagne reception followed by an amuse-gueule. Then all the gourmets on board can look forward to the culinary highlight: an exclusive three-course meal. In creating the dishes, the head chef will gain inspiration from recipes from the Ahr Valley, and the crew will serve wines from the Ahr Valley, which provide the perfect accompaniment to the food.
A generous helping of excitement will be dished up between the courses: as the next dish is being prepared, Dietmar Bär, a popular German actor, particularly in the role of Inspector Freddy Schenk in the TV series Tatort, will amuse his audience by reading extracts from "Ave Vinum" by Carsten Sebastian Henn. This detective story is set – as you've no doubt already guessed – in the Ahr Valley. While you enjoy the meal, it is worth taking a look out of the window, because during the excursion you will be able to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of Cologne with its Advent decorations – a veritable feast for the eyes.
In an interview with RheinZeit, actor Dietmar Bär talks about the episodes of the TV programme Tatort set in Cologne, what he enjoys and his passion for reading.
RheinZeit: Mr Bär, this year you will celebrate your 20th anniversary as a Tatort inspector. How much pleasure do you still get from playing Freddy Schenk?
DB: I can hardly believe it myself that our first case was so long ago. But as we have a new team and a different director for every episode, there's plenty of variety. Together with my friend Klaus J. Behrendt, it certainly is incredible fun to do. For me, Freddy is like someone you've shared a flat with for many years: I really like him, but sometimes he can be a strain. Above all I find it fascinating to observe how he is developing.
RheinZeit: Surveys repeatedly show that the Tatort episodes set in Cologne are amongst the most popular. How do you explain this success?
DB: We always ask ourselves the same question (he laughs). It's really difficult to put your finger on it. Perhaps we've simply found the right mixture. On the one hand we have Cologne, a fabulous city, as a backdrop, and on the other the audience seems to like our stories and feel some attachment to our characters. We're particularly pleased that people are still happy to see us "old fogies" despite the fact so many young colleagues have appeared on the scene.
RheinZeit: Your character Freddy Schenk is also famous for being fond of currywurst. Are you also a fast food fan?
DB: Having been born and bred in Dortmund, I naturally grew up with currywurst and chips. But nowadays I'm more conscious of my diet and pay more attention to what I eat. My wife is a flexitarian and has had a major influence on me. I still enjoy currywurst, but now I prefer the sausage to be made of chicken meat. And it's important to me to know where the meat comes from.
RheinZeit: How important for you is taking pleasure in your food?
DB: The older I grow, the more important it becomes. I've developed into a real fan of things organic and make sure I know the source of my food. After a while, I noticed that I was doing something positive for my body by eating fresh regional ingredients. For me enjoyment involves not just eating, but all the trappings that go with it.
RheinZeit: On 4 December your reading on board MS RheinFantasie will provide some of the entertaining "trappings". What are you looking forward to most?
DB: Reading itself is always tremendous fun, above all because you can play several roles and revel in the creative scope this entails. You can also immediately sense the audience's reaction. But for me helping people appreciate literature is simply something wonderful. Naturally I'm also looking forward to good food and a beautiful view of Cologne.
RheinZeit: You will read extracts from the detective story "Ave Vinum". Are you also a fan of detective stories?
DB: I love reading – and every kind of literature interests me. For KD's reading excursion we've definitely chosen a very exciting story in which, most appropriately, good food and wine play a role. And that means the evening will be both exciting and tasty.
RheinZeit: Thank you for the interview, Mr Bär.
Dietmar Bär, born in 1961, started his acting career as an extra at the Dortmunder Theater. After graduating from high school he trained as an actor at the Westphalian Acting College in Bochum from 1982 to 1985. The native Dortmunder became famous among other things for his role as the sports physician Conny Knipper and as Inspector Freddy Schenk in the episodes of Tatort set in Cologne. Dietmar Bär is also much in demand as a theatre actor and audio book narrator.
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