The High-End Dutch Restaurant That's In A Hot Air Balloon

For diners looking for their next adventure, Dutch master chef Angélique Schmeinck is ready to serve. Schmeinck, an accomplished chef, has turned her dream of creating an aerial culinary experience into a successful business venture: CuliArt is her restaurant located inside a hot air balloon.

Atlas Obscura notes that it was in 2003 when Schmeinck understood the cooking potential a hot-air balloon provides: the balloon itself is essentially a huge oven, and Schmeinck devised a pulley system to help raise and lower ingredients to be cooked in the balloon's hottest areas. Schmeinck has outfitted her balloon restaurant with counters to help her prep and serve beautifully-plated courses, and passengers are presented with multiple-course meals while soaring through the air.

Temperatures inside the balloon can rise to around 100 degrees Celsius, the perfect environment to slow-cook fish and meat for aromatic, juicy dishes (via CuliAir). According to CuliAir, guests can be treated to lobster, sea bass, and fowl, with wines chosen to complement the selection.

Meals in the sky

Schmeinck focuses on choosing seasonal ingredients when creating menus for the trips. Upon arriving at the take-off location, guests are served drinks and light snacks, and after the lift-off, Atlas Obscura notes the first course is often a seafood cocktail. While guests feast their eyes on the scenery and settle into the elevated experience, the next course cooks in the balloon. Usually, Schmeinck prepares sea bass that is coated in a 12-year bouillabaisse sauce and pairs the fish with vegetables prepared on the stove Schmeinck has hooked onto the basket of the hot air balloon.

"It's the best fish for balloon cooking because it has a little more fat, which goes well with low and slow cooking," Schmeinck told Atlas Obscura.

Before the balloon returns to earth, guests are served another course in the sky. After landing, dessert and champagne await — and live music often welcomes passengers from their trip (via CuliAir). Sunset rides can cost around $450 per person, according to CuliAir. A special memory is nearly guaranteed.