The hotel was established by the Sarkies Brothers, in 1887 and named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. The property, which had only ten bungalow rooms, built immediately its reputation for high standards in services and accommodations becoming the most fabled hotel in the Far East and a must destination for royalties, celebrities and wealthy clientele, all pictures in an impressive hall of fame. Legends as Charlie Chaplin, Maurice Chevalier, Jean Harlow, Noel Coward. Hollywood royalties as Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor.
HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,
in 2012 the Duke and Duchesse of Cambridge, just to mention few. There is no lack of anecdotes: Somerset Maugham, who visited several times and worked all mornings under a frangipani tree in the Palm Court, apparently wrote the gossip and scandal he overheard at Raffles dinner parties into his short stories.
For more than a century, Raffles Singapore has offered luxurious all-suite accommodations, where the original style is perfectly preserved, giving a mesmerizing blend of luxury, history and classic colonial design. Within its walls are more than a hundred expansive suites, framed by polished teak verandas and white marble colonnades, clustered around lush tropical gardens. Each is serviced by the legendary Raffles Butlers and offers every modern convenience necessary.
The enchantment started from the very beginning, right when I approached the entrance and I was welcomed by the smiling doorman elegantly dressed with an immaculate
crisp white Gieves and Hawkes military uniform decorated with a black satin sash and gold braid, I could clearly imagine reliving the era of sovereign hospitality in the early days.
My Butler Jeff, was waiting for me in the Suite 117, one of the historical bungalow-room. It felt like a furnished apartment with high ceilings that I had already lived in, not a room that I was staying for the first time. I stepped through the door into a small ante-room, decorated with botanical prints.
To the right was a round breakfast table with an orchid and a welcome fruit bowl on it, not to mention the delicious kaya truffles.
A Nespresso machine was on the counter next to a selection of alcoholic drinks including the iconic 1915 Raffles Gin. Giant yellow tied-back curtains partitioned the ante-room from the huge bedroom with its two-post bed, chaise long, suit stand, writers table and giant armoire wardrobe. And beyond there was the timeless green marbled bathroom with two rooms; one with basin and Raffles amenities. the other with toilet, shower, giant bath tub and ceramic elephant pot holders
In the morning, I enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast that included very traditional recipes such as prata (fried flatbread cooked over a flat grill. served with a vegetable and meat-based curry), nasi lemak (fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf) and chicken fluffy char sue pau, the most famous classic Cantonese dim sum..
In the afternoon I took a tour of the venue. There were signature restaurants and bars since the 1900s, Long Bar, where visitors and guests will be welcomed to continue the tradition of throwing peanuts on the floor as they sip on a chilled glass of hand-shaken Singapore Sling. Then I stopped by at the Tiffin Room, A part of Raffles’ history since 1892, and serving up delectable North Indian cuisine. This beautiful space is also known for its signature High Tea, served with a tempting selection of cakes filled with banana, strawberry and carrot compote, and delicious cherry madeleines (I loved them…)
The tea is open to public, upon reservation.THE NEW RAFFLES
Raffles is now going under a careful and sensitive renovation supported by award-winning interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud. The reopening is scheduled for the second half of 2018. The restoration will update its distinctive suites with new amenities and technology while maintaining the sense of space and colonial ambience. Raffles Singapore will have 115 suites, some named after local cinemas during the early to mid-1900s, as the famous Alhambra, Diamond Marlborough, Odeon and Theatre Royal. The venue will boast new events spaces, including a majestic 300-guest ballroom, named Jubilee Ballroom as a tribute to the Jubilee Theatre, originally a cinema in the 1930s at the same location. Elegantly sophisticated in hues of cream and gold, complimented with an air-conditioned pre-event foyer, the new space will be the ideal venue for weddings and social galas. Once reopened, the Raffles Arcade will showcase social spaces and a variety of lifestyle experiences. This includes a refreshed Raffles Gift Shop that will house a History Gallery to illustrate the heritage of Raffles Singapore. The Arcade will also be home to a brand-new Raffles Spa, a holistic sanctuary for hotel residents and the community to escape the bustle of the city. Writers Bar will be expanded to a full bar and be the place for bespoke cocktails, discreet elegance and intimate conversations. All event spaces will also have striking lighting elements and the latest audio-visual technology, to be relevant for today’s social galas and events.
A TRIBUTE TO THE GRAND DAMES
One new Promenade Suite will be named after Lady Mountbatten Countess of Burma and wife of Lord Louis Mountbatten who was the Earl of Burma, last Viceroy of India and also Southeast Asia’s Supreme Allied Commander during the Second World War. In September 1945, Lord Mountbatten was in Singapore to witness the surrender of the Japanese Forces.The other will be dedicated to Lady Sophia, wife of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Modern Singapore, and for whom Raffles Hotel Singapore is named after.
For more info Raffles Singapore
HUA HIN HILLS VINEYARD PROVES IT’S NOT A JOKE…AND WORTH A VISIT!
by Philip Sinsheimer
Photo: Cesare Zucca, Philip Sinsheimer
It’s harvest season and 2017 appears as a challenging vintage in Europe (“a catastrophy” in Italy according to our host Cesare Zucca). Climate has always been a nail-biting stress factor in wine production and the recent warming observations are not helping… Well, not helping everybody! If some predict the growing production of wines in small Northern players such as the UK, Southern European big producers are feeling the heat and are worried. Wine geography has seen many changes with the emergence of “New World” wines of North America, as well as Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa in the Southern hemisphere. But wines of decent quality in tropical countries had never come to my attention… Until the discovery of Mansoon Valley wines in Thailand! During our one month trip in Southeast Asia at the beginning of the year, I had conditioned myself to limited opportunity of interesting wine discoveries. I was ready to enjoy the beers of the various countries visited and an occasional bottle of rather generic imported wine. But, our initial stay in Bangkok at the Centara Grand Central World already gave us a taste of how serious the wine lists were at its various restaurants.
When we visited their sister property Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin , around 3 hours South of Bangkok in the historic royal beach town of Hua Hin. The Centara Hua Hin is a magnificent venue designed to evoke the spirit of the 1920s. Colonial influences meet modern-day comforts and soothing views are to be had of the swimming pools or the magic gardens, populated by grass elephants and other animals.
The hotel opened at a time when the new railway line to Malaysia was transforming the sleepy fishing village of Hua Hin into Thailand’s first beach resort.
Sensitively extended and renovated, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin retains its air of that bygone age of elegance. I had an even greater surprise during our meal at the elegant, yet relaxed Suan Bua restaurant: a local white wine was offered to go along the traditional Thaï dishes, from shrimp with mango salad to roasted duck in red curry.
I have to say I was skeptical, but all preconceptions disappeared after a few sips of this Mansoon Valley colombard, both crisp and delicate, with exotic fruit and citrus aromas, along with floral notes. Wow! Perfect pairing with the lemongrass used in the dishes and perfectly cooling to counterbalance the heat of the chilies.I was very curious about it all and the adorable staff of the hotel arranged a visit to the vineyard located less than an hour away. The drive was a beautiful occasion to see a bit of the country side with many fields, mainly pineapple plantations. What a surprise to see in the background of one of the most iconic tropical fruit a well manicured vineyard of over 100 hectars. The surprise does not stop there, as I had the opportunity to tour the property on the back of an elephant (if you’ve never done this, just be prepared, it’s a beautiful, but rather rocky ride). The large and elegant tasting room dominates the valley and one can appreciate the key position of the vineyard that benefits from a cooler micro climate with breezes coming from the hills. This is essential to the production of wines that do not taste “cooked”. It’s also the occasion of learning about who is behind this incredible business operation: a man whose name you may not know, but whose fortunate was made by a beverage you definitely have heard about. No, not wine… Red Bull! Chalerm Yoovidhya is among the richest man in Thailand with a fortune approaching 10 billion US dollars according to Forbes this year. Upon returning from his studies abroad where his taste for wine was developed, Chalerm took up the challenge of growing grapes in his native Thailand and show the world that great wines can be crafted even at the 13th latitude of the northern hemisphere. New World wines are old, new latitude wines are in! Hua Hin Vineyards is actually one of three vineyards he owns, but it serves as the flagship of the Mansoon Valley brand. The winemaker is German born Kathrin Puff, who worked in several wineries in Italy and New Zealand before meeting this tropical challenge with brio. I had the chance to sample a few of the large collection of wines available at the vineyard and all showcased a serious winemaking expertise. A brut blanc de blancs, showacses the delicate a floral notes of chenin blanc, colombard and viognier grapes that compose this traditional champenoise method sparkling. Besides the colombard white, I tried the medium sweet chenin blanc, which was not cloying at all and promised a nice pairing with spicy meats dishes and seafood salads. Among the two high-end “Cuvée de Siam” bottles, made with the best grapes of chosen parcels, I was really impressed with the red, made with the oldest vines of shiraz and sangiovese, aged in French oak barrels and bottled unfiltered. The result: a spicy wine combining medium tanin and long finish (which earned 84 points by Robert Parker). The white was a serious wine, but lacked a bit of the freshness so pleasant in the other more simple whites. To finish on a sweet note, the chenin blanc late harvest with a nice balancing acidity invites to be enjoyed along with seared foie gras, aged gorgonzola or a more local mango, sticky rice and coconut dessert. Yes,!
Good tropical wine is a possibility and Hua Hin is the place to go to check it for yourself!
Text and Photos © Cesare Zucca
While in Munich, I had the pleasure to stay in the ‘one and only’ Design Hotel The FLUSHING MEADOWS, Fraunhoferstraße 32. The pleasant surprises started with the Glockenbachviertel district where the venue is located, which is not only home to Munich’s gay and lesbian scene, but a destination for a hip young crowd of all backgrounds. The area offers fashionable bars, snug bistros, trendy stores and supercool shops, all nested in one of Munich’s most picturesque boroughs.
At your arrival, downstairs on the street, your are welcomed by a small bar serving fresh juices, including their popular Super Danke, a green multivitamin shake.
Let’s get in. By a metallic elevator I reached the reception on the 4th floor, where Ramon and lovely Aglaia escorted me to a definitely surprising room on the 3rd floor.
Let me tell you that all the 16 rooms are different and each of them is dedicated to local celebrities who designed them, including Michi Beck , member of the well-known German hip hop group Die Fantastischen Vier , while the 4th floor rooms has been designed by the owners.
My room 305 was styled by the local techno musician, DJ Hell. Black was the inspirational color, including a metal skeleton band stand in an alcove and a vinyl record player ready for action.
Actually it couldn’t be more appropriate, since myself I have been spinning records for many years, back in the ’80 Milan disco scene.
Totally different atmosphere for the other room I experimented, the 306,that offered a combo of high-tech furniture, sound proved walls and 2 pretty romantic feathers ceiling lamps, ballerina style.
Other additions include a Nespresso machine, coffee capsules, complimentary bottles of mineral water, and a pile of trendy magazines to flick through.
The bathrooms are a sleek combination of white tiling and copper details on the powerful showers. Super comfy mattresses, private access to the rooms, free WiFi.
A rich and healthy breakfast is served till noon (or even later) in the nice roof top bar with its little terrace overlooking the City.
‘Be cool’ is staff’s password.
Original and unconventional, Flushing Meadows is undoubtedly the coolest place to stay in Munich.
I ‘ll go back …After all, I ‘ve got 14 more rooms to discover and …more surprises waiting…
E dopo questa full immersion di fede e musica, ti meriti un lunch soul food, la cucina afro-americana originaria del Sud degli USA. Da provare: fried chicken croccante pollo fritto, collards e turnip greens erbe amare e verdure saltate con salsa all’ aceto, black eye beans fagioli neri, cornbread, pane caldo di mais, candied yams patate dolci, grits semolino di mais tritato e pecan pie, fantastica crostata alle noci.
Big kiss from Pumpkin
Fotografie di Cesare ‘Pumpkin’ Zucca
Anna hotel, is one of Munich’s first design hotels, is located at the heart of the city, right by the Karlsplatz / Stachus, close to the central railway station.
At my arrival I had warm welcome with several pleasant touches in my room .
From a nice of the city,
to a beautiful perfumed bag of lavander, to a rich local fruits plate,to a smart couple of condoms hidden in a anna hotel box.
Nice thoughts, I though…. I felt a blend of contemporary design, elegance, warm colors and a mattress for a 5 star comfort…including the possibility to use free of charge the sauna, steam bath, whirlpool, fitness room and rest area can be used in the next door Hotel Königshof.
I started the morning with a rich breakfast buffet
and topped up your energy levels over the day from a
wide selection juices, bread, cold cuts, cheeses, salmon, fruits, delicious desserts,
including a seductive apricot tarte…
I ordered a poached egg ,unexpecatcly served with a kinda of a sweet n sour sauce.
Then I met with loveley Silva Caldera, Sales & Marketing Manager . She is from Italy and yes, we spoke italian…She was so nice to give me few tips on the City, where to go, what to do…and my curiosity was satisfied when I knew that the name Anna comes from the grandmother of the first owner, then we took a tour of the hotel.
Anna that boasts of 75 rooms, including 11 teak deck rooms with glass shower and coloured LED lighting , 5 tower rooms with view over Karlsplatz, among other rooms with terraces and a spectacular tower suite with great view.
Again, service, comfort, accuracy and a warm smile targeted anna hotel exactly like grand ma would have loved…
For your info
Schützenstr. 1 | 80335 Munich
The river Po, called the “gentle giant”, is the longest river in Italy. With its 650 km (about 400 miles), it runs through the Po Plain and flows into the Adriatic Sea, forming a delta and one of the largest wetlands in Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea. The Po Delta Park is a wonderful land, where blue sky and clouds get reflected on the water, like a magical palette of hundreds of shades. It should be experienced by bike, by boat, by canoe, or on foot, by walking slowly across, discovering the gentleness of its landscape, the warm and rough welcome of the fishing lodges, the emotion of the boat bridges, the wide horizons, the activity in the fishing lagoons and in the vegetable gardens. From equipped beaches of Rosolina mare, Boccasette and Porto Barricata to some isolated sandbars strips of land that are formed at low tide and where there are numerous colonies of wading birds: gulls, terns etc..making the area a wonderful bird-watching attraction. I discovered Scano Boa island, where the fishermen used to live in straw houses and recently retrieved to allow visitors to experience the life of these lands. You must get a boat to get there , ask locally and yes I have their ‘secret’ mobile number)
There I had a succulent lunch thanks to Signora Chef…….. who generously prepared yummy clams with tomatoes and garlic, fried mussels and fried fish
To get there , you must ask locally how to call a boat , to reserve a great meal … well you got t have Lady’s number ….which I do !!!! Check below..)
From September 18th to 23rd 2017 Po Delta and its jewel Venetian Botanical Garden, will host the World Youth Forum MAB UNESCO 2017.Hundreds of young people aged 18 to 35 coming from 120 countries around the world will gather in the heart its Biosphere Reserve.
The Forum is conceived as an event that will provide young people with a unique opportunity to meet, debate and share their vision and commitment to sustainable development. It aims to become a place where strategies and action proposals can be discussed and implemented in order to achieve,
Since the area produces the excellent Riso del Delta del Po, all the partecipants will be challenging in a cooking competition where that rice that will be the main ingredient of tipical dishes from different countries.
I am crazy for risotto and rice…I soooo wish to be in the jury …
Delta people just love their land.
“The Po Delta is a territory where development can start from the pursuit of happiness.” says Marco Gottardi, Po Delta Park’s director, while expert guide Sandro Vidali like narrate about the last 400 years when the Venetians diverted the course of the Po. Isabella Finotti guided me through the fascinating botanical garden, which is a unique habitat for many species of animals and plants. Alessio Greguoldo has experimented with a new oyster farming system in the Po Delta. Today, more than 1,500 Delta people are members of the fisheries Consortium of Scardovari. Numbers are huge! About 80,000 quintals of clams and 50,000 of mussels!
Where to stay
Ca’ Zen, a 17th-century Venetian villa, nestled in a garden.
Agriturismo Monte Scala, clean and cozy.
Where to eat
Osteria del pesce Via San Gaetano, 78 Cà Pisani Porto Viro (Rovigo)
Trattoria alla Rosa (my favorite) Via Treponti, 8/A, 45011 Bellombra (Rovigo)
Il Bilancione, Via Bacucco, 17, Ariano Nel Polesine ( Rovigo)
Scanno Boa (ask locally how to get there by boat, and yes….
I do have their cell number +39 345 92 34483
by Phlilip Sinsheimer
After a few days in Hua Hin city,
I checked in for 2 nights at the Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas about 30 minute drive south in a super quiet locality called Pranburi.
Even though unlucky with unexpected rain, the stay was just fantastic.
The villas are super spacious, comfortable and private.
Didn’t use the private pool to cool off from the sun, but after a long relaxing hot bath in the outdoor tub.
The food was awsome: just loved the breakfast buffet with various both Thaï and Western treats. Not the widest variety ever, but no one should be frustrated and everything was top notch. Who needs 90 items if half of them are disappointing.The à la carte menu of the restaurant with ocean view had me have the best Thaï food so far: true flavors with excellent ingredient sourcing. Loved the local Pranburi squid, partially sun dried for a great flavor and texture.
Killing time inside the villa, reading, watching TV, catching up with email left no time to boredom. The staff just couldn’t be nicer and professional.
Stepped out the resort to have a long walk along the ocean. The beach has been washed out on large portions, but discovered abot 7km South a beautiful beach.
Just outside the resort I had my favorite foot massage ever at Mali massage for a mere 300 Bahts. In the village great moment on a terrace with a Leo Beer and snacks.
Everyone in town seems relaxed and someone offered a free ride back to the hotel.
Loved that place.
There we were welcomed and pampered by the Faggioli family with the proverbial warmth and empathy of Romagna. For a Non Touristy Tourist like me, this place was heaven, far from noise, cars, immersed in a peaceful green valley. I was feeling the quality of life, in s natural environment that contributed to the health of its spirit and body.
healthy sauna with herbs and mud bath.
delightful Mrs. Simona Caselli.
authentic testimonial of the Romagna gastronomy.
All the best restaurants and the street vendors in the area are invited to participate and include in their menus several of Artusi’s specialties.
So, if you want to feel welcome…put Romagna in your next vacation agenda.
To celebrate their wines, Villa Matilde owners Maria Ida and Salvatore Avallone, invited distributors, buyers, bloggers to spend a wonderful time in Cellole, in the Caserta Region,
The location boasts a wonderful vineyard, a restaurant, a swimming pool, several bedrooms and, of course, good wines and delicious specialties from a traditional or revisited cucina napoletana.
We were all invited and the Villa looked really festive.
Actually the celebrations started the night before, indulging in a luscious dinner in the terrace of the five-star, overlooking the beautiful bay, unexpectedly lighten up by fireworks.
There I met Mr. Avallone. and his team among other journalists and several wine distributors from all over Europe. During the all event, guests were invited to try the wines.
I loved the golden and soft Falanghina Roccamonfina
a sophisticated fruity white that brings hints of pineapple, banana, yellow peach to rose and sage a great glass to star you meal , served with appetizer , light dishes, fish and white meat.
Then the Mata Rosé, elegant sparkling wine obtained from one of the oldest and noble native Carnation vines, the Alleanic.
My special applause goes to Terre Cerase Rosè, (I have to confess:I had 4 glasses) with a floral the bouquet of morello cherries, black and red wild berries, plus delicate hints of spices, ideal with fish, poultry, veal and making an outstanding paired with bufala mozzarella.
Last but not the list the reason why we all were there. We were graciously invited to Celebrate the king of the Villa, His Magesty Falerno del Massico, a red wine famous in literature and history is a blend of aglianico and piedirosso; the clusters are carefully quality-selected from the hillside vineyards on the San Castrese estate growing on the slopes of the extinct Roccamonfina volcano, in the province of Caserta. Showing a deep red, its intense, rich bouquet is brimming with fragrant sweet violets, cherries, blackberries, and raspberries, finely balanced in all teir components. The “Falerno Party” started with the Exclusive Ceremony of opening and tasting Falerno del Massico aging in Amphora:
What an entertaining show! Fabio Gennarelli (Wine Making Director) opened one of the “Phitos” the traditional clay Amphora used exclusively by Villa Matilde, followed by an a unique sensing experience: the Vertical tasting of Falerno del Massico Vigna Camarato spanning from 1995 to 2010. A parade of eight glasses where every “millesime” was telling his own story.
The outdoor lunch featured delicious seafood bites(I had to video some) and the one and only pizza fritta, freshly fried and stuffed by the expert hands of the Chef from “La Masardona”.
Not to mention the final dinner stuck between tradition and innovation, created by the chefs of
“Taverna del Falerno”
and the “Grand Hotel Parker’s 5 Stars Restaurant” pairing their dishes with the new Villa Matilde baby born:
sparkling Spumante Mata Falanghina, with its warm golden reflections and a fine and elegant perlage, thanks to the long stay on yeasts. Just put your nose to the glass to feel delicate scents of ripe fruit mixed with hints of yeast and crust of bread. The taste is fresh, elegant and harmonious, with acidic and intense fruity notes typical of the Falanghina, which are accompanied by pleasing sensations.
A dinner that brought the culture of food of Napoli and Campania.ending with a nice souvenir that anyone who is a little superstitious would have love it . A little red corn, mounted on a Villa Matilde cork, a traditional “Good Luck”
for the Neapolitan people.
Are you a wine lover? Do you like to discover new tastes while sipping a nice glass of white or red? Do you enjoy to end up a dinner with a sweet touch of dessert wine? Or …do you indulge meditation?
Here several good reasons to visit the Euganean Hills, to get acquainted with the local wines, starting from the typical Fior d’Arancio, a very golden Moscato to a variety of whites with the typical straw-yellow color and jasmine scent, The hills produce Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon reds, the Chardonnay, , the Merlot, to my fav, the sparkling Serprino
Where to stay
Abano Ritz Hotel
Abano Terme is famous worldwide as the “Thermal Baths of Venice”, thanks to the extraordinary curative qualities of the thermal water and the bio-thermal clay or aged mud: a true medicine without side effects. At AbanoRitz boasts two swimming pools, the SPA, wellness rituals and culinary experiences at our 3 restaurants; immersed in a territory that offers a wealth of culture and folklore, as well as golfing and other sports.
Where to eat
Antica Trattoria Taparo in Torreglia, since 1921.
Not to be missed the ‘baccalà itinerary’ stockfish cooked in 3 different ways.
Al Sasso in Teolo, celebrated for his one and only fried chicken, which (unfortunately ) I could not try… Instead I had an elaborate pasta dish, tagliolini with morchella mushrooms and snails.
What to visit
Villa Barberigo, Valsanzibio. A sumptuous residence dated 1600, so spectacular that has been renamed the little Versailles. Get lost in the amazing labyrinth garden.
Cini Castle, Sanctuary of the Seven Churches and Villa Duodo in Monselice
At the foot of the Colle della Rocca there rises an imposing architectural complex called Castello Cini, which incorporates several diverse types of building.
From the XI to the XVI centuries the castle has changed from a luxurious residence, to defensive tower to become a Venetian villa. The Council Hall with frescoes and wooden stalls on the walls,
the room Jacopino with bevelled fireplace and kitchen with a rich collection of tools in the medieval and Renaissance Romanesque House;
the Armory, a precious room with frescos walls and the Carrara motif of red and white checkerboard which contains one of the most important collections of arms and armours in Italy.
Photo Enrico Paggiaro
Located in Battaglia Terme, close to Padua, with 360 rooms, decorated by the amazing GianBattista Zenotti’s frescos, this castle is considered among the most unusual of the Villas in Veneto, it has served as a mansion, ducal palace and imperial residence. conceived in 1570 by the wealthy Obizzi family as
theatre to receive and amuse their guest.
Glamorous balls, sea battle scenes, huge theatrical productions…in a way hey were one of the greatest party planners of all ages.
Photo Art New Media
Where to stop
Arquà Petrarca one of the most beautiful Italian burg, included on the prestigious list of Parchi Letterari Italiani (Italian Literary Parks), those locations that where celebrated in the italian and international literature by famous authors. The quiet and enchanting beauty of the Euganean Hills has been an iinspiration for writers, poets and artists, Bruce Chatwin, Shelley, Byron, and Foscolo, narrates theses inspiring places that vibrate of beauty, passion, and poetry. Unique colors, flavors and scents bring to the attention of environmental oases, ancient abbeys, castles, villas, country retreats and other excellent stages. Visit the village where the iconic poet Francesco Petrarca Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) lived and the house that hosted his final days.
On the panoramic outdoor of the Villa Beatrice, a former Convent founded in12th century, on the top of the hill, we tried the Quota 101 wines, I loved the Malterreno an authentic expression of the Euganei territory. Authentic and true. The grapes are hand-picked in September, when the sun has made them nice and ripe. Warm yellow color, scent of Summer, in the mouth it is velvety and well-structured.
Next stop at Paolo Brunello’s Cantina Vignale di Cecilia, located in Baone.
My fav was the white Val di Spie, an experimental trip in the world of sparkling wine, blinks its eye to the traditional natural fermentation in the bottle, while maintaining its natural yeasts, followed by the first born at Vignale, the red Passacaglia made with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera boasting a long maceration as well as the handmade mixing of fermenting grapes.
In the evening I met with lovely Elisa Dilavanzo, owner of Maeli Colli Euganei featuring the yellow muscat
from these amazing volcanic hills, where Elisa decided to “work towards the production of a wine that is rich in emotion whilst at the same time a worthy ambassador for this prestigious territory”.Sparklyn Moscato Giallo IGT
Muscat 85% Chardonnay 15% Destemming and soft pressing, maceration on the skins for three days, pressing, fermentation on natural yeasts without added sulphites. The wine is bottled on its own yeasts with in-the-bottle secondary fermentation using the original must following the time-honoured method.
Grand finale with a wide varIety of Zanovello wines, hosted by Mr. Franco Zanovello, President of La Strada del Vino and owner of Cà Lustra wines. I ended my journey with the iconic Passito, born in the year 1200. Only in the Euganean Hills that the 100% Fiori d’Arancio muscat grapes keep that strong Mediterranean character, cheerful and vigorous.
Intense aromas, thick and colorful skin, crunchy pulp,are the hallmarks of this archaic variety that likes bright and dry sites. It’s a farmer’s tradition to harvest the ripest grapes and let them dry on racks in the old barns with the dual aim of producing a strong sweet wine and rustic cakes for the spring-winter festivals. Its intensity and complexity allow it to enter the category of “meditation wine.”
Believe me, no many other places on earth would enrich a meditation time
like being on the top of one of the volcanic Euganean Hills,
specially after sipping a glass of a delicious volcanic wine…
Monselice, the Cini Castle,
Villa Duomo and the Seven Churches street
Dinner at Al Sasso in Teolo
Sunday Another castle , in Lispida , hosting the Volcanic Wines event
Visit Castello Catajo, monumental palazzo hosting the Obizzi family.
Affrescos and room, outodoor , garden
Fabrics vagary at the Museo del Tessuto, 1700 amazing embroidery, biscuits dated 1858, how to became a crewelwork artist and more…
At the top of my list
The Museo del Tessuto hosting the exhibit Il Capriccio e La Ragione ,
Here you will find a luxurious display of embroideries, silks, brocades, and lampasses from 1600, when new nations were discovered and new costumes images and stories were imported to Europe.
Porcelains, paintings of landscapes, and the new profession of the fabric painter starting from the vagary of remembering antique historical ruins to portraits either official or private.
France launched and updated this elaborate fashion, stating different styles, from bizarre to dentelle, to the beautiful drawings of Jean Revel, a major figure in Lyonnaise silk from the 18th century and a pioneer of the French style, who carried his innovative style beyond the courts of Versailles and Paris.
The exhibit will be on till April 29th 2018.
Plan your visit to Prato because …here 6 more reasons to visit this Tuscany jewel.
Palazzo Pretorio Austere and imposing this impressive palace has dominated Prato’s Piazza del Comune for more than eight hundred years acting as a silent witness to the political, civil and military history of the city.
The Duomo with its spectacular pulpit by Donatello
The Non Tourist Tourist is famous for discovering hidden gems.
Last summer I discover a jewel into a jewel into a jewel…
The incomparable Tenuta Venissa Resort located in the island of Mazzorbo, which is home to a vineyard that has been able to overcome the challenge of the high tide for centuries, giving rise to a wine with characteristics that are entirely unique. Matteo Bisol created not only an amazing five star resort, but also a unique wine nested in a unique bottle.
Made from the dorona grapes, that brings minerality and delicate flavors such as peach and apricot.
Dorona stands for italian d’orata, (golden), while hand-crafted glass bottle boasts a hand made label enriched by gold foil. The vegetable gardens and orchards are located on the estate property beside the vineyards, and they are tended to by nine pensioners from the neighboring island of Burano
who supply the restaurant with seasonal fresh vegetables every day. Above : a delicious branzino with vegetables and ‘garusoli’ (sea sneals)
Guests can choose to stay on the island of Mazzorbo in the Casa Burano located within the walled vineyard, or they can opt for one of the colored guesthouse located in the splendid island of Burano, just moments away across a small wooden footbridge. Venissa Resort boasts room and suites, each differently decorated. Private bathroom with robes, hairdryers, and vanity set, free Wi-Fi, minibar, safe, A/C. My room had exposed-beam ceilings, parquet floor, various accent of China and vivid colors. A gourmet breakfast is served in the patio, while the Ristorante was serving a menu prepared by four Chefs, each of them specialized in his own territory: entreès, first dishes, main courses and desserts.
Above: Asiago cheese filled Tortellini with clams broth and mint.
Below: Seafood ‘Cicale’ served with squid black ink, marinated beans, white polenta, beetroot foam.
Dinner was amazingly pleasant. Matteo Bisol enchanted me with the history of his family, dated back to 1542, producing the renowned Valdobbiadene Prosecco and Desiderio, the patriarch of the family, nicknamed Jeio.
info at Venissa.it
AT CENTARA GRAND CENTRALWORLD, BANGKOK
by Philip Sinsheimer
I spent most of the month of January in Southeast Asia in company of colleague and dear friend Cesare Zucca. Our journey started with Bangkok, undoubtedly the touristic and business hub of Thailand and the whole region.
We stayed at The Centara Grand Central World, located in the heart of the shopping area of this other city that never sleeps!
Thankfully we did coming from far away thanks to the thick windows of the tower that isolates you from the constant noise far below.
Modern design and ultimate comfort was definitely for this 5 star hotel, but what was perhaps less expected was the quality and diversity of the food offering.
Follow the guide, from the ground up!
The ground floor hosts ZING cafe we were impressed by the quality of the food and beverages. We didn’t taste much, but what we did was bordering perfection: a double espresso for me served piping hot revealing perfectly roasted beans, intense flavor, regrettably often confused with burnt flavor… Not here! But as an Italian, Cesare has probably more expertise than the French when it comes to coffee tasting. Well, let’s just say that his macchiato brought a big smile to his face. Both our beverages were the perfect companions
to mini French style hazelnut macarons.
The technique for the delicacy which travels the world is one of the most difficult to master in the science of pastry. A+ here: top and bottom both crumbly and soft; hazelnut buttercream in between intense in flavor, not too sweet, cold but not chilled. As you arrive into the air conditioned hotel after facing the heat and commotion of town, relax there for a moment of poised, simple luxury. On your way out, arm yourself with a double shot espresso to hit the road full of fresh energy.
Take the elevator and discover the World! Located on the same floor as the gorgeous check-in lobby in midair, the restaurant is where breakfast is served. The concept: a scrumptious buffet with various stations allowing all appetites to be fulfilled. You have your classic western treats from eggs cooked to your liking with all the usual accoutrements to an array of breads straight up from Zing, moist muffins, jams, yogurts, cereals and various freshly squeezed juices. But you are in Bangkok and the more local and Asian at large treats are there to surprise the visitors from abroad and content the locals who should want to feel at home. Cesare and I were immediately tempted to enjoy a bowl of clear soup with your choice of noodle (thin or flat, rice or wheat) and various topping such as fresh baby bok choy, mini meat or fish balls, green onion, fried garlic and fresh chili for those who need a kick start besides the excellent coffee served to order. What a healthy way to start the day! A clean broth to hydrate your body in a savory way. There is also the ubiquitous congee, the boiled rice porridge typical of Southern China, but that you will find throughout Asia. Throughout our trip in Thailand and Cambodia, Cesare indulged in this soothing white breakfast staple we found each time at different levels of thickness. If the clear noodle soup is an adult get up and go type of thing, congee is as soft as a childhood memory allowing you to transition from the night to the day in a gentle way. To my opinion the one served here at the World was the best with a perfect flavor and texture and the selection of toppings were great. I loved to add a little kick to it with shreds of fresh ginger and a little dried shrimp or fish, as to prove that I’m no longer a baby! But wait, the soups are only the beginning for your Asian delights: over there are the dim sum (essentially the traditional pork siu mai and shrimp) hakkao and then various
Thai dishes such as a chicken green coconut curry, rice (plain or fried), sautéed vegetables…
Wait! Is this breakfast or lunch?
The only sweet I could indulge with was freshly cut fruit, including the dragon fruit, very bland but oh so pretty. In 2 days, I don’t believe we were able to taste more than half the offerings and each time we were set for the day while exploring the city. I personally couldn’t resist a good green papaya salad (som tam) at a street vendor in Chinatown, but I couldn’t eat much of the sticky rice that traditionally comes with it. We had to keep some appetite for the evening treats.
Our evening started with the complimentary drink and hors d oeuvres guests of the hotel can enjoy at the tapas bar way up in the tour on the 54th floor. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the view during happy hour from $ to 7 pm or go for a full dinner as the restaurant is open up to 1 am. Let me be frank, I was skeptical: throughout my travel, I’ve experienced numerous tapas bars which seemed to embody more of a marketing ploy than a true culinary experience: small plates of faint resemblance to their Spanish model that you pile up desperately trying to find one better than the one before for a rather hefty bill at the end of a mediocre meal made of mitch match oily preparations. Well, I was in for a big surprise. Uno Mas once again confirmed that the hotel was serious about the food and beverage offerings. For one thing, the chef is from Catalonia so authenticity is taken seriously. A cava sangria was served perfectly chilled and well-flavored with citrus and fruit. It was well balanced, but as I tend to like all mixed drinks on the dryer side, I asked if a little extra cava could be added to alleviate de sweetness. No problem at all, the demand was met with a smile. Service is top notch.
As for food, I chose “cochinillo asado” a beautiful little chunk of roasted pork deliciousness. Super simple revealing the quality of the ingredient and the culinary technique to treat it with the respect it deserved.
Wow, this bitesize treat will stay in my mind for quite some time.
For then, it served as a great “mise en bouche” for the dinner expecting us upstairs.
Welcome to what has to be one of the most exciting, trendy, sexy, chic dining experience of Thailand! And the word has spread, reservation highly recommended to be seated outdoor at one of the tables with a breathtaking view of the skyline. Hip music is in the air and well-clad hipsters of all countries seem at home 55 stories above earthly concerns. We felt like VIP’s with our table for two at the very end of the floor plan
enjoying one of the best views.
While Cesare perused the menu, I plunged in the depths of the impressive wine list. Top notch celebrity wines are there, such as the inviting 2008 Chateau Haut-Brion red Bordeaux ($1600), rare finds are there too such as a 1997 red Chateau Musar from the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon and the list abounds on Australian wines
We settled for a crisp and aromatic white Spanish Rueda, 2014 El Gordo del Circo (66$) to open the dance. It served as good match to the two first courses we ordered, pairing the freshness of the sea of the perfectly cooked octopus and cutting through the richness of a velvety cream of porcini mushrooms, very well done, perhaps a bit out of context in the tropics, but, as established for breakfast at The World, we are soup aficionados, anytime, anywhere! Here, we were transported to our native France and Italy by the magic of the chef.
For the main course, we got tempted to share the surf and turf tour, with grilled shrimp, king crab legs, prime beef, rack of lamb…
Perhaps not the wisest choice, as we both like our dishes to be piping hot and there was so much to tackle that we had to speed up to achieve that with a bit of confusion in the dimly lit table and sauces hard to identify. But, fun we had, the quality of the ingredients was definitely there and matched the mood of the place. Those who want the party to go on can take the elegant staircase one floor higher to the Red Sky Bar which remains open until 1 am offering a 360-degree view of the cityscape. Imperial mojito anyone as a nightcap? Or would you prefer to go yet above and discover, at the very top of the building, the newly opened Cru Champagne Bar for exclusive French bubbles to wrap the night on a high-end note? You could also start your night there since this unique venue opens at 5pm offering delicacies to go with your selection of vintage champagne, from freshly shucked oysters, to Caspian Sea caviar and French foie gras. We didn’t have a chance to go, but we definitely will upon our next visit…
Always leave something to wish for in the future, Centara Grand at Central World
had already wowed our palates and our eyes.
For more info check The Centara Grand Central World
By Philip Sinsheimer, Cesare Zucca
Photos: Cesare Zucca
Cesare had planned it all and planned it well.
We arrived in Cambodia’s capital and enjoyed a 2-night stay at the Intercontinental a magnificent venue that isn’t in the touristic epicenter of Phnom Penh which would be close to the river, close to the Royal Palace, but actually it is rather central taking the city in its full scope. There are good things about staying at a hotel that is NOT particularly meant for tourists and that ISN’T in the touristic hub of town.
For one thing, your fellow hotel guests do not resemble your neighbors back home! That is a change right there that you will not get from checking in the most popular touristic TripAdvisor foreign based venues. Grandiose lobby, courteous check-in, impeccable service and comfortable room with all amenities. Not to mention, a 24 hours business center a well equipped Spa, and a surprising swimming pool with ‘elephant fountains’
What else do you want?
A good meal, well, that we had, check, check!
THE BREAKFAST FEAST
The breakfast experience was outstanding, even after having experienced some of the most lavish spreads in Southeast Asia in the previous weeks. Outstanding by the luxury of the ingredients used or the diversity of the offerings? That’s not the point. The striking element was actually constraint. Less can be more. It is an asset to know just how many things one can get right and serve at its best of freshness.
Talking of freshness and quality of service, I think the best thing was this open bar of fruit and vegetables that you could choose before seeing them juiced before your eyes. Yes, we had seen at other breakfast buffets a whole variety of fresh fruit juices, but what is more luxurious than “made to order”? I had become shortly before our long trip a quasi-addict of fresh ginger juice. Not a tea, but fresh ginger extraction with just enough water not to choke in public.
Well, to my surprise, my request for a full glass of ginger juice was met with no surprised eyebrow meaning “are you sure? You must be out of your mind!”, but with a smile and a reassuring “yes, Sir, of course! I will bring that to your table in a couple of minutes”.
Real class is treating a client’s unusual demands appear as total normal.
Our second noteworthy experience was the dinner we had at Xiang Palace the hotel’s gourmet Chinese restaurant.
Besides the comfort and poise of the room, pleasure came from the expertise showcased by the chef in what are two of the most testing and iconic elements of Cantonese gastronomy.
The feast began with a trio of masterly prepared dim sum bites with a medal of honor to the delicacy of the sea scallop one for the exquisite freshness of both the filling and the wrapping.
Then we got to taste perfectly roasted meats with a winning trio of duck, chicken and crispy pork.
Having the pleasure of tasting true foreign cuisine is in itself a sign that Phnom Penh Intercontinental has become also a world class cosmopolitan culinary destination.
Italy, Veneto Region.Castelfranco Veneto, is the picturesque birthplace of Giorgione, an Italian painter of the Venetian school in the High Renaissance.
Only a few of his works are available today, but they are among the most valued art works of Italy: like the renowned Pala the altar-piece left in the Cathedral portraying a Madonna with the Child, San Francesco and San Liberale.
The spectacular square named after Giorgione is the heart of this town that still preserves great architectural and art works within its walls. These include the Cathedral (Duomo), built between 1724 and 1746 on a project of Francesco Maria Preti and which contains many art works, frescoes by Paolo Veronese, paintings by Jacopo Bassano, Paolo Piazza, Pietro Damini and other painters of the Venetian school of the XVI, XVII and XVII centuries.
Castelfranco means “duty-free castle” because its first inhabitants did not pay. The city recently hosted last weekend the FIACULT awards, dedicated to the audiovisual products promoting tourism, trade. culture, and local gastronomy.
Dozen of worldwide videos were selected and judged by an
international jury composed of journalists and video experts selected the winners.
FIACULT, International Audiovisual Festival of Culture and Tourism was born in Florianopolis, Brazil and for the first time brought its awards ceremony to the magnificent Castelfranco Veneto, a city well known not only for its historical Castle, The Tower and the Giorgione Arts and Museum,
The awarding ceremony was held with a gala evening
at the beautiful Teatro Accademico on Saturday, Nov 19th.
HERE THE WINNERS, BUT…
Third place for the video “Setubal is um Mundo” promoting the ancient city of Setubal, second place for David Cooper’s “Cities We Love Unesco” about 15 World Heritage cities of Spain, and the winner “Infinit Blu Resort & Spa, great venue in Balneário Camboriú, nearly 1 million tourists favorite summer destination.
A well deserved “food tourism” trophy went to the National Park of the Cinque Terre with the first episode of Passport & Plate series,
produced in cooperation with World Nomads.
First time the Giovanni Sartori prize
Castelfranco Veneto Carlo Rosselli Institute for the realization of a short montage of the contest nominees.
I was a little bit disappointed, because my favorite
Viver, experiementar, sentir
(A cute story promoting the Serra Gaúcha’s Termas & Longevidade Tourist Route)
…was snubbed as well as
(visionary short where a tour in Thailand can magically relive even in the Big Apple)
…was only awarded for best in its category.
Here they are
please watch and enjoy!