Rum, Fungi and Seafood! The BVI’s First Ever Culinary Month‏

September 9, 2014 on 2:24 pm | In Beachbooker, Caribbean, Dine Drink, Virgin Islands | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowThe British Virgin Islands’ First Ever BVI Food Fete Kicks Off This November

As the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board (BVITB) wraps up a busy season of Summer FREEdom deals, the destination is announcing their first-ever culinary extravaganza, BVI Food Fete, which will offer a variety of delicious, locally-focused events and activities throughout the month of November.

“The BVI Food Fete is a wonderful opportunity for the Territory to showcase the finest Caribbean cuisine and we’re excited to invite travelers to taste the best of the BVI,” said Sharon Flax-Mars, Director of Tourism. “Due to the variety of program offerings, diners will have the opportunity to island hop while sampling local ingredients like famous Anegada spiny lobster, our signature cocktail, The Painkiller and more.”

Throughout the month-long BVI Food Fete, unique events and programming will feature the destination’s finest cuisine and chefs, including, BVI Restaurant Week, the Anegada Lobster Festival, On The Rocks Bar Crawl, international chefs, wine and rum tastings, and Local Fridays.

BVI Food Fete Programming

· Visiting Chef Program (Continuous)

Chefs from around the world are invited to bring their expertise to the festival and prepare dishes that incorporate ingredients traditional to their home countries with those local to the BVI. One of our visiting chefs will be Roshni Gurnani, Executive Chef and Culinary Chef instructor at The Art Institute of Houston.

· BVI Restaurant Week (November 14th-23rd)

Participating restaurants throughout the destination are serving luxurious three and six course meals at reduced prices. Over the course of the week, each restaurant will offer a fixed, special menu made with authentic flavors and ingredients of the Caribbean.

BVI Restaurant Week has developed into an interactive culinary event that continues to drum excitement and participation from restaurateurs, chefs and food lovers throughout the Caribbean region and internationally, introducing patrons to the varied dishes offered throughout the Territory for breakfast, lunch or dinner at significantly reduced prices. Restaurants that participate in BVI Restaurant Week will offer a special discounted menu for the entire week. These menus involve a maximum charge of $45 for a three-course dinner; $15 for lunch; $9 for breakfast. Each menu will include a complimentary drink.

To see a list of the participating restaurants in Restaurant Week visit BVI Food Fete online:

BVI Restaurant Week will feature the following activities:

o Taste of the BVI, Tortola (Nov. 14th) and Virgin Gorda (Nov. 15th) – Restaurants gather at one venue in a market-style setting offering free samples of food, which will be offered during BVI Restaurant Week. BVI wholesalers and beverage retailers will also be on site to offer free drink samples of various wines, spirits, mixes and juices.

o Celebrity Chef Cook-off – During the Taste of the BVI events, four local chefs, two on Virgin Gorda and two on Tortola, will compete with the visiting celebrity chef in a BVI style cook-off for the title of Best Chef.

o Barefoot Gourmet Soirée (Nov. 23rd) – A highlight of Restaurant Week will be the Barefoot Gourmet Soirée dinner on November 23rd. Set in a private villa, this incredible 5-course meal will be prepared by international and local chefs. Proceeds from the evening will go to a student interested in pursuing a career in tourism. With a theme of barefoot elegance, this exclusive evening is not to be missed.

· On the Rocks Bar Crawl (November 15th)

Enjoy an evening On the Rocks. This exciting bar crawl will take place at 6 PM on Virgin Gorda. Participants will be transported in party safari buses to six well-known bars on the island with the last stop ending in a grand finale party. Customized drinks and hors d’oeuvres are some of the highlights of the night.

· Local Fridays (continuous)

On Fridays, restaurants on Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola and Virgin Gorda will be serving some of the best local fare found on this archipelago. Get ready to choose from a wide selection of delicious dishes.

· Callwood Rum Distillery Happy Hour (November 7th)

The BVIs’ historic rum distillery will feature a unique rum tasting. Experience tradition and culture amid this authentic family-owned property. The Callwood Distillery, located off a back road in Cane Garden Bay, has been in operation for over four centuries, on the Arundel Estate, Tortola. That legacy has been handed down from father to son over the centuries. The existing building that the distillery operates from is over two hundred years old, and still has much of its original stonework.

· Wine Tastings (continuous)

Special wine tastings will be held throughout the month, including select South African wines, and other top picks from our sommeliers and bartenders.

· Anegada Lobster Festival (November 29th-30th)

The BVI Food Fete culminates into a two-day event, the Anegada Lobster Festival, celebrating the Caribbean’s indigenous spiny lobster. During the two-day event, travelers can expect to indulge in lobster dishes prepared by several restaurants on the island of Anegada, each with their own unique twist on the Caribbean favorite. In addition to the participating restaurants, beachside music and entertainment entices guests to linger a little longer on the “drowned island.”

The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, together with the population of Anegada, will feature talented local chefs who will be on-hand to prepare, cook, and serve plated sample lobster dishes at participating Anegada restaurants. Participants will dine on three different lobster samplers at each restaurant at a cost of $10-$12 per sampler plate. Travelers don’t have to stay on Anegada to experience the festival – ferry services will be running daily from the other islands, including Virgin Gorda and Tortola.

Property Offerings

Hotel and resort properties participating in the destination’s culinary month have created programs that bring the BVIs’ culinary flare to guests on-site with new offers that incorporate ingredients and flavors local to the islands. For full details please see

Peter Island Resort and Spa is teaching travelers how to eat like an islander during BVI Food Fete with a variety of on-island grilling and wine tasting activities. As an added bonus, the resort is offering 35% off Beach Front Junior Suites, Nightly Villa Rates and Ocean View Rooms.

· Peter Island’s Tradewinds restaurant will offer a special “Taste of BVI” menu for November’s ‘Restaurant Week’. Every Friday night throughout the month of November, Tradewinds restaurant will showcase a local BVI dish on the dinner menu such as Conch Ceviche and Fish-n-Foil.

· Grilling Classes: The resort is offering guided grilling and smoking classes to guests. Amateur grillers can expect to learn how to fillet a fish, clean an Anegada Lobster and prepare the perfect steak with one of Peter Island Resort & Spa’s world-class chefs. The class includes a grilled and smoked feast for dinner on Deadman’s Beach.

· Wine Social Tuesdays: The resort hosts tastings with resident wine and beverage expert, Rimple Nayyar, who allows guests to sample a variety of wines while learning more about proper wine pairings.

· Caribbean Buffet: Wednesday’s Caribbean Buffet features live music at Deadman’s Bar & Grill.

· Vintner’s Dinner: On Thursdays, the resort hosts a Vintner’s Dinner in the private wine room at Tradewinds restaurant. Reservations required.

Rosewood Little Dix Bay is bringing the flavors of the Caribbean to the BVI Food Fete with their Dish of the Week and a six course menu by new Executive Chef, Torsten Rumprecht. In addition to their participation in the BVI Food Fete, Rosewood Little Dix Bay is offering guests staying four nights a complimentary fifth night at all accommodations (with exception to the Beach Houses) while guests staying five nights can receive a complimentary sixth and seventh night at a Deluxe Cottage, Beach Front Cottage, Rosewood Junior Suite or Villa.

· Dish of the Week: The resort will showcase a host of dishes indigenous to the BVI through their locally-inspired beachside barbeque each Friday. The oceanfront dining experience will be dedicated to native island dishes such as Local Grilled Potfish, Jonny Cakes with Mild Scotch Bonnet-Creole Sauce and Virgin Gorda Bread and Butter Pudding with Rum Sauce and Banana Ice Cream. Additionally, during the second week of November, Rosewood Little Dix Bay is highlighting its new Executive Chef Torsten Rumprecht and Executive Pastry Chef Miguel Somoza. Chef Torsten and Chef Miguel will be creating special dishes such as Bitter Chocolate Crème Catalana with Pineapple Salsa and Pecan-Caramel Ice Cream and Pork Schnitzel topped with Crabmeat-Mushroom Ragout, which fuses local ingredients with internationally-inspired flavors.

· Restaurant Week: During Restaurant Week, Rosewood Little Dix Bay will offer special menus in each of the resort’s three, distinct restaurants and Chef Torsten will host cooking demonstrations and kitchen tours, sharing his international techniques and skills with guests. Guests will learn how to add Caribbean touches to staple dishes such as grilled fish or Tropical Pork Oscar with Lobster.

· Anegada Lobster Festival: In addition to themed dishes and cocktails on property, Rosewood Little Dix Bay is offering guests private boat charters to and from Anegada throughout the week, allowing diners to easily island hop between activities.

Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina is celebrating the finest cuisine in the Caribbean during the BVI Food Fete with a calendar packed full of culinary activities throughout the month of November.

· Hosting Top Chefs: Chef Chad Johnson – 2012 and 2014 James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef: South – from their sister property Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, will visit Scrub Island on November 12th and will participate in a Supper Club dinner with new executive chef, Chef Juan Morrison. The Supper Club at Scrub Island Resort is a way to bring together adventuresome lovers of food and drink for an evening of discovery. The entire multi-course meal will be prepared and carefully paired with wines that will surely elevate the evening. Dinner will be served in the elegant Candle Room at communal tables to foster lively conversation and debate. The event will be open to hotel guests and local foodies.

About the British Virgin Islands

An archipelago comprised of 60 islands and cays, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) are located 80 kilometers east of Puerto Rico, in the northwestern region of the Caribbean Sea. The main islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. Road Town, located in Tortola, is the British Virgin Island’s capital.

The BVI is renowned as a destination for sailing, diving and snorkeling. The destination’s vast topography provides unique opportunities for hiking, outdoor adventure and sustainable tourism. The BVI is home to many famous attractions that include The Baths on Virgin Gorda, the Wreck of the Rhone off the coast of Salt Island, The Caves off the coast of Norman Island, the flamingos on Anegada, White Bay Beach on Jost Van Dyke, and Sage Mountain on Tortola.

Despite its status as a United Kingdom territory, the BVI uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency. The BVI Tourist Board invites everyone to experience the seduction of our pristine and exquisite home. For more information on all that BVI has to offer, visit

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The Newport Beach Restaurant Association Dine Newport Beach

September 8, 2014 on 6:10 pm | In Beachbooker, California, Dine Drink, Festivals, Los Angeles, San Diego, Webbandstand | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowIn an effort to enhance and better promote its extensive dining community, the Newport Beach Restaurant Association is launching its new Dine Newport Beach brand, a program to expand awareness and create a more consumer friendly way to search all restaurants in Newport Beach and discover the unique dining neighborhoods around town.

The first organization of its kind in Orange County, this new venture is designed to build a unified dining brand and execute strategic marketing programs to drive awareness of, and boost the economic vitality to the culinary community.

The Newport Beach culinary community can expect a thoughtful and holistic program through a variety of marketing channels year-round, as the Dine Newport Beach program will support all local foodservice establishments. Newport Beach & Company, the destination marketing organization of Newport Beach, has partnered with the Newport Beach Restaurant Association in the creation of Dine Newport Beach.

This strategic marketing initiative cooperatively created and managed by these two groups, will enhance the economic vitality of the community by showcasing and promoting Newport Beach, California as a dining destination offering innovative cuisine, fresh fare, diverse experiences and exceptional restaurants.

“The Newport Beach Restaurant Association is thrilled with this new partnership,” says NBRA President Jim Walker of The Bungalow Restaurant, “we are looking forward to a showcasing our strong and united culinary brand and will continue as a restaurant community leader in Orange County.”

Dine Newport Beach makes its debut with a new website at which not only showcases all Newport Beach restaurants, but also includes the latest food and restaurant news, culinary trends, dining hot spots, neighborhood gems and more. The source for the latest on a fresh mix of offerings and seasonal menus around town, and its Tasting Notes blog, provides insider tips and personal experiences curated for all food enthusiasts and feature a blog.

In addition to a variety of restaurant promotions, sweepstakes and special offers from Dine Newport Beach, diners can also look forward to new and renewed local culinary events, including a refreshed Dine Newport Beach Restaurant Week in 2015.

“This program is designed to elevate the restaurant marketing effort and create more desirability for our outstanding dining community,” said Gary Sherwin, president and chief executive officer of Newport Beach & Company.

Newport Beach & Company appointed seasoned marketing and communications professional Polly Peak, a Newport Beach resident, to head up Dine Newport Beach. Specializing in hospitality and restaurant industry marketing, Peak has over 30 years of expertise in strategic planning and innovative program development, and successfully spearheaded the dineLA program and Los Angeles Restaurant Week. In addition to heading up marketing and business development for the California Restaurant Association, Peak has also worked with several marquee hotel brands including Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.

Newport Beach offers a variety of unique dining experiences and cuisines ranging from American favorites to authentic ethnic fare and formal fine dining to hip and sandy-feet-casual. Best of all, breathtaking coastal views, mild breezes and al fresco dining options are just a few of the added benefits when enjoying breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktails in Newport Beach. For more information on Dine Newport Beach, please visit

About Newport Beach & Company
Founded in January 2013, Newport Beach & Co. is a non-profit organization established to serve as the official marketing agency for the city of Newport Beach. The agency seeks to bring together all of the marketing entities connected to the Newport Beach brand, and is designed to oversee separate business units that include Visit Newport Beach, Dine Newport Beach, Celebrate Newport Beach, Enterprise Newport Beach and Newport Beach TV. Additionally, Newport Beach & Co. includes the Newport Beach Foundation focused on creative charitable endeavors that support the business community.

About The Newport Beach Restaurant Association
The Newport Beach Restaurant Association (NBRA) is a non-partisan, non-profit cooperative marketing association that brands Newport Beach dining and promotes the commercial welfare of restaurants and the food service industry in the City of Newport Beach, California. Comprised of over (400) restaurants and foodservice operators, NBRA was founded in 1996 and is an official Business Improvement District (BID) of the City of Newport Beach.

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Margaritaville Hollywood Beach is Coming

September 8, 2014 on 6:03 pm | In Beachbooker, Dine Drink, Florida, Miami | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowYou won’t have to be a Parrothead to enjoy a stay at the upcoming Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

The resort, which is scheduled to open next summer, is being designed to appeal to a wide array of both leisure and group customers, said Cate Farmer, the property’s general manager. “We will offer something that is very unique and very special and provide an opportunity for people to escape to paradise and enjoy the laid back Margaritaville lifestyle.”

Parrotheads, of course, are welcome too. “We’re absolutely looking forward to having Parrotheads but also other travelers as well – people who appreciate Jimmy Buffet, his music, his stylings and Margaritaville,” Farmer said. “I think we’re really well suited for families, for couples – across the board.”

For all intents and purposes, the resort will boast a diverse array of features and amenities designed that enable guests to custom design their vacation experiences. “The hotel is really conducive for the guests to create their own escape, their own paradise,” said Manny Corral, Margaritaville Hollywood’s director of sales and marketing. “We are really offering a variety of experiences that are all consistent with the brand and what Margaritaville represents.”

With seven food and beverage options, guests will find all the signature Margaritaville hallmarks, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, LandShark Bar & Grill, License to Chill Rooftop Bar, Lone Palm Bar and 5 o’clock Somewhere Bar.

Details on JWB’s, an upscale dining option, will be released at a later date.

The 17-story property will include 349 rooms, hammocks, 27,000 square feet of oceanfront meeting space, a spa, two pools, 480 feet of white sand beaches and dueling Flo Riders.

Margaritaville Hollywood sits on the site of the venerable Hollywood Beach Casino, which, along with the boardwalk, was created by Joseph W. Young, a founder and developer of Hollywood.

Corral said Margaritaville Hollywood will not only pay commissions but “be very engaged with the travel agency community at all levels.”

There are currently Margaritaville properties in Bossier City, La., Pensacola, Fla., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.; and one under development in St. Thomas.

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Cruise the Amazon for Less with Rainforest Cruises‏

September 7, 2014 on 3:17 pm | In Adventure Travel, Brazil, Dine Drink, South America | Comments Off

With summer wrapping up and autumn approaching, Rainforest Cruises is offering its last minute deals on a number of Amazon River cruises this fall. Rainforest cruises, a boutique travel company specializing in traditional and authentic Amazon River cruises and riverboat tours, is offering discounts on its tours for several regions of the vast Amazon.

Peruvian Amazon

An Amazon River Cruise in Peru will take you on the Pacaya- Samiria National Reserve, a protected area of some five million acres of flooded forests, one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth, and home to iconic Amazonian species such as pink river dolphins, giant otters, macaws, sloths, and caiman.

La Amatista

The 31-passenger riverboat, La Amatista – meaning Amethyst – is a classic wooden Amazon River vessel built by Amazon carpenters and shipwrights, creating an authentic atmosphere while providing all the facilities for a relaxing and comfortable stay.

Amenities aboard include delicious international and local cuisine, an observation point on the boat’s upper deck equipped with a full service bar, and cabins that are air-conditioned and with hot water in the private bathrooms. One of the few remaining traditional wooden riverboats on the Peruvian Amazon, cruises aboard La Amatista give passengers a real glimpse into the old charm of Amazonia.

With incredible savings of up to $1000 per person on selected four-day and six-day cruises aboard La Amatista, guests will enjoy action packed itineraries that allow them to get up close and personal with the rainforest’s inhabitants as they swim with river dolphins and visit the canopy walkways of the Yarapa River’s Tree House Project.

Four-Day Cruise

Was $1,630, now $935 | Top Deck Cabin

Six-Day Cruise

Was $2,240, now $1,240 | Top Deck Cabin

Departures: Four-Day October 7th; Six-Day October 5th

Brazilian Amazon

Tours on the Amazon River in Brazil explore the Amazon Ecological Corridor, or Central Amazon Biosphere Reserve, 20 million hectares of protected habitat where numerous uncontacted tribes still reside, at one with the incredibly diverse natural world all around them.

M/V Desafio

The M/V Desafio is a classical schooner that allows guests a comfortable intimate atmosphere. With only 12 cabins onboard, the one of a kind boat is small enough to explore remote area yet still spacious enough to provide comfort and casual elegance. Recently refurbished to a high standard, guests can expect the red carpet treatment as they sail amongst the beautiful river islands of the Anavilhanas Archipelago, exploring its many creeks and channels by canoe and on foot with the help of an expert naturalist guide.

On board, passengers can enjoy rich Amazonian cuisine in the panoramic restaurant, and plenty of relaxation in comfortable cabins or well-appointed public areas.

Save $300 per person on an adventurous four-day cruise aboard this unique schooner, the only one of its kind in the Amazon.

Four-Day Cruise:

Was $1,975 now $1,675 | Twin Upper Deck Cabin

Was $1,595 now $1,295 | Twin Lower Deck Cabin

Departures: Four-Day October 9, 23

Ecuadorian Amazon

Despite being one of the smaller South American countries, Ecuador is home to a huge variety of species, many of them endemic, making it an ideal destination for an Amazon River cruise filled with wildlife-spotting opportunities.


The 40-passenger Anakonda Amazon Cruise is the only superior, boutique riverboat operating in Ecuador’s Amazon region. Operating in the upper basins of the Napo and Aguarico Rivers, around Limoncocha Wildlife Reserve and Yasuni National Park – Ecuador’s largest protected animal reserve – the devoted, highly-knowledgeable guides come into their own, as they willingly share their wealth of information about the Amazon’s tropical rainforest and the many indigenous communities that inhabit the area.

A great feature of the Anakonda is its concierge service whereby guests can request itinerary activities they would like to do depending on weather conditions and timing. The activities can be included, adding a personalized touch.

Guests will also have the unique opportunity to spend an optional night camping glamourously (glamping) in the jungle in luxury tents, with comfortable beds, charming rustic furniture and superior service, including gourmet meals, champagne and hot showers.

Save 10% per person on four and five-day expedition cruises aboard the most luxurious boat in Ecuador’s Amazon. Her deluxe suites even have Jacuzzis and private balconies for guests pleasure.

Four-Day Cruise

Was $1,995 now $1,796 / Deluxe Suite

Five-Day Cruise

Was $2,495 now $2,246 / Deluxe Suite

Departures: Four-Day October 26 & November 16, 23; Five-Day November 26


Prices quoted are per person in double occupancy accommodation

Offers are valid for new bookings only and subject to availability

Visit for more information or call (+1)727-498-0234 to book.

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts Creative Culinary Expereinces

September 3, 2014 on 2:24 pm | In Dine Drink, Golf Resorts, Hotels | Comments Off

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts® is demonstrating its A Sense of Place® philosophy – one of infusing the locations’ culture, history and environs throughout each property – in delicious, authentic style with the debut of its new signature culinary program, A Sense of Taste.

A Sense of Taste offers extraordinary culinary journeys and experiences at the most luxurious hotels and resorts around the world. From exploring the region and local culture through curated Epicurean Encounters to delighting in customized and memorable Bespoke Dining, Rosewood has created a series of exquisite experiences tailored to each property. Additionally, as part of Rosewood’s Partners in Provenance commitment, guests enjoy fresh, locally sourced foods whenever possible, literally offering them a taste of the location.

Epicurean Encounters

Private, guided tours to exclusive locations in each Rosewood destination offer rare access to local culinary experiences, from diving for lobsters at Rosewood Little Dix Bay and a floatplane trip to Salt Spring Island to learn the art of cheese-making at Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver, to deep-sea fishing in the Red Sea with the catch prepared to perfection by chefs at Rosewood Corniche in Jeddah. Whether challenging the chef at Las Ventanas al Paraíso or blending one’s own wine at with a master winemaker at Rosewood CordeValle, each element of the Epicurean Encounters reveals the local culinary landscape’s history and traditions.

Partners in Provenance

Rosewood’s Partners in Provenance commitment is borne out of respect for local farmers, indigenous agriculture, and a dedication to delivering the highest quality foods. Based on each hotel’s unique location, a defined radius is established within which the chefs source artisanal ingredients to feature on menus. Rosewood chefs partner with local farms and purveyors that provide them with fresh, seasonal produce throughout the year, meat from resident farms, and fish line-caught in an ethical, sustainable manner. The concept emphasizes maintaining a seasonal and diverse menu featuring local fare.

This attitude is carried forward to each and every associate of the Rosewood food and beverage teams: build a relationship; know your product; and enjoy selling it with the same passion as if you would have produced it yourself.

Bespoke Dining

For the culinary connoisseur, Rosewood introduces once-in-a-lifetime Bespoke Dining journeys, offering extraordinary, private dining experiences arranged at unique and exclusive locations both on and off property, from wine cellars and desert tents to private islands. Whether stargazing dinners and Caribbean rum tastings at Rosewood Little Dix Bay, gourmet picnics in Vancouver’s beloved Stanley Park created by the chefs at Rosewood Hotel Georgia, or the ultimate romantic, fireside dinner at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, these epicurean experiences can be tailored to guests’ palates and preferences.

“Rosewood has always strived to offer guests authentic local experiences and fully immerse them in the community,” said Radha Arora, president of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. “It is our belief that one of the best and most satisfying ways to gain knowledge of a culture is to experience its cuisine.”

About Rosewood Hotels & Resorts:

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts® manages 18 one-of-a-kind luxury properties in nine countries. Each Rosewood hotel embraces the brand’s A Sense of Place® philosophy to reflect the individual location’s history, culture and sensibilities. The Rosewood collection includes some of the world’s most legendary hotels and resorts, including The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel in New York and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek® in Dallas, Texas, USA. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts targets to double its portfolio within five years with 12 future hotels currently announced.

For more information:

Connect with us:  or Twitter @rosewoodhotels

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Vineyards Prepare to Harvest Grapes and Visitors

September 3, 2014 on 2:13 pm | In Australia, Beachbooker, Dine Drink, New South Wales, Sydney | Comments Off

There is something about the ruddy colors of Autumn that sends travelers out to the vineyards to do some tasting. Around the world, destinations are stomping the grape in the hopes of winning a few awards and attracting wine-loving visitors. The German National Tourist Board once estimated that about 17 percent of American travelers engage in culinary or wine-related activities while traveling. As well as wine sales do for a country like Germany, the visitor spend of wine loving tourists is more.

Wine is a tourism business. That’s why USA Today puts Best Wine Regions to Visit among its Top 10 lists. That list, chosen by its readers, features many popular tourism areas. The list includes Alentejo in Portugal, Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Maipo in Chile, Marlborough in New Zealand, Croatia, Napa Valley in California, Tuscany in Italy, Australia’s Hunter Valley, Oregon and Virginia.

Just consider one destination on that list, the Hunter Valley. Located just outside of Sydney, the composition of businesses in the Hunter Valley demonstrates the essential role tourism plays in wine. The region features 150 wineries, vineyards, and cellar doors along with 65 restaurants and more than 180 places to stay. According Tourism Australia’s former director Andrew McEvoy, the combined business of wine and tourism was worth A$140 billion annually to the country’s economy.

“These wineries are not simply venues to taste and purchase wine he said in a 2013 interview. “Most of them offer a complete tourism experience – restaurants, accommodation, tours, as well as exciting behind the scenes winery experiences,”

Even in China, wine is laying down roots. This Nov. 29, the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter will take place at the Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai. The encounter features wine producers coming together for a day of tastings and master classes. Attendees will be able to sample wines, meet top names in wine from around the world, and more.

European Harvest

Tuscany is one of the first places that come to mind as the harvest begins to ripen towards its day. “As the leaves start to think about changing color, activity gears up at Castiglion del Bosco,” said Emanuela Setterberg, general manager of Castiglion del Bosco is a 4,500-acre country estate, 30 minutes from Siena. From Sept. 20 to 30, Castiglion del Bosco’s plump Sangiovese grapes will be harvested. On Sept. 26, the estate’s enologist Cecelia Leoneschi will host a full-day program to explain harvest techniques and the secrets of winemaking.

Guests will participate, do a little harvesting and wine making before finishing the day with a picnic. Between Sept. 10 and Nov. 16, guests can also join hunts for the wily truffle or join the olive harvest between Oct. 15 and Nov. 16.

The Castiglion del Bosco is comprised of a village and its surrounding farmlands that have been transformed into an agrotourism resort complete with suites and villas. The estate is also home to Italy’s only totally private golf club as well as vineyards producing Brunello di Montalcino wines. There is also a heli-pad, fitness center, tennis courts, bocce court, hiking trails, Kids Club and spa.

Wine means a lot more to France than apple pie means to America. The first French vineyard dates to 600 BCE in an area that later became Marseille. Scenic Cruises’ 2015 Europe River Cruising program has added several new experiential cruises including a 12-day Bordeaux River Cruise that puts the world’s most envied vineyards into the itinerary. There’s also plenty of time to look at Gothic architecture and other historic activities in the area. The cruise does no overnight sailing; instead it docks in Cadillac, Libourne, Blaye Pauillac and Bordeaux.

Scenic Cruises’ “Space-Ships” are the only ones in France with full-size private outdoor balcony suites. The Space Ships are so-called because of their 474-square-foot luxury suites. The ships feature a 3-to-1 guest to staff ratio, unlimited beverages, including premium wines and spirits, all meals, and personal butler service, to all excursions, events and entertainment; from Wi-Fi and airport transfers to all tipping and gratuities on board and ashore.

In recent decades, Europe’s pre-eminence as the top of the wine world has been challenged by upstarts from Sonoma to the Casablanca Valley and from Cape Town to Australia/New Zealand. This coming Jan. 29 to 31, Queenstown, New Zealand will host the 11th annual Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration for wine lovers and connoisseurs from around the world as local winemakers gather to celebrate the region’s acclaimed Pinot Noir. Wine appreciation is only the lead activity that takes participants from one divine table to the next and from one beautiful landscape to the next.

“The local wine community looks forward to hosting the celebration,” said festival Chairman John Wallace. “It’s a must-do for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in our stunning region, our wine and to meet the people. Whether they’re a wine appreciator, wine professional or wine writer, we want to show them our unique part of the world.” The 2015 Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration is now open for registration.

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Champagne Charlie’s At The High Line Hotel Welcomes NYC Fashion Week with Expanded Menus‏

September 2, 2014 on 2:56 pm | In Dine Drink, East Coast, New York City | Comments Off

New York – August 28, 2014: Champagne Charlie’s at The High Line Hotel has announced extended hours and expanded menus to welcome New York Fashion Week. Opening from 11AM to 10PM Monday through Thursday – and until 11PM Fridays and Saturdays – starting September 3rd, Charlie’s will also add a full cocktail menu and new dessert options on the dinner menu.

Located in the hotel’s historic courtyard in Chelsea at 10th Avenue and 20th Street, Champagne Charlie’s is an outdoor restaurant and lounge featuring small plates (oysters, crudos, salads, burgers and a daytime brunch menu) designed to accompany a selection of premium Champagnes and wines (by the glass or bottle), signature cocktails and beer. Ideal for socializing before or after viewing a show in the hotel’s Refectory, Champagne Charlie’s will be the perfect vantage point from which to take in one of the most dynamic times of the year in New York City.

For more information on Champagne Charlie’s, visit  and follow @ChampagneCharlies on Instagram.

About The High Line Hotel:
Nestled within a cluster of landmarked buildings in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, The High Line Hotel is an urban sanctuary offering guests a respite from the city in a historic setting. Originally built in 1895 as student housing for the General Theological Seminary, the intimate 60-room Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors-designed property is located within a rare, cloistered community overlooking the High Line park and an enclosed private garden. Blending eclectic Americana with European style, the property pays tribute to its English collegiate Gothic roots. A destination of its own, the hotel’s lobby is the home to Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee’s first East Coast outpost. The High Line Hotel is a development of MCR Development LLC and The Brodsky Organization.

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An Italian Truffle Experience in Tuscany

September 1, 2014 on 12:41 pm | In Adventure Travel, Dine Drink, Italy | Comments Off

Join me November 9 – 16 on a culinary tour of Tuscany. Truffles, wine, olive oil, charming hill side towns, Chianti wines, and rooms in a beautiful villa–are the ingredients for a food lover’s perfect trip to Italy! We can accommodate you if you wish to travel solo.

My husband Mark and I have handcrafted the schedule, packing it with experiences you can’t find on any other trip. There are new places and tastes for this year. We are staying at a new location nestled in vineyards and olive trees of Strada in Chianti at Villa Il Leccio. We will go truffle hunting with a truffle hunter and his dog and have an amazing first-hand experience! Then to the ancient town of Certaldo Alto for a cooking class with truffles. We added a culinary shopping tour in Florence and a trip to the beautiful tiny village of Montefioralle.

To make this trip extra special, the group will be small: there are places for only 8 guests, and solo travelers we have space for you. If you are interested, call or email me and I can answer any questions and give you further details. I hope you will be inspired to join us in Tuscany in November!

The Tuscan Table in Autumn: Truffles
November 4-11,2012

Tuscany in the fall is considered the most glorious time to visit. Our sojourn into this beautiful part of Italy is an opportunity to experience the elusive white truffle–rare and precious with its’ intoxicating aroma, a hidden treasure at the height of its season. White truffles are the most expensive and sought-after culinary wonders in the world and they can be found in Tuscany. We will go truffle hunting with a truffle hunter and his dog and have an amazing first-hand experience! The trip includes early morning truffle hunts, cooking classes, and visits to small boutique wineries. The olive harvest will be in process at this time too, you’ll also learn how to taste and evaluate extra-virgin olive oil. We’ll visit small producers of artisan foods of the region and there will be several hands-on cooking classes featuring the best of Tuscan cuisine, using local ingredients from the villa and our daily trips. Tuscany in the fall is special, a foodie paradise–the end of the grape harvest and the beginning of the olive. Nowhere else in Italy offers such spectacular scenery plus incredible food and wines in such a compact area. On this trip, you’ll experience Tuscany through its people and its food.

* Truffle hunt with local truffle hunter and his trained dog.
* Dinner in Panzano at the most famous butcher in Italy.

* Cooking class in Certaldo with a local chef
* Learn about truffles, extra-virgin olive oil, Chianti wine, saffron and pecorino cheese.

* Classes almost daily with Julie at the villa
* 7 nights accommodation at Villa Il Leccio

* All meals (including wine), travel services with the tour itinerary, service charges and VAT

Join Janet Fletcher’s Planet Cheese:

a fragrant, fascinating universe devoted to great cheese. In Planet Cheese, you’ll find profiles of the world’s best cheeses plus insights into everything cheese: shops, recipes, interviews, pairing discoveries, classes, videos, travel. If you haven’t already done so, sign up here – it’s complimentary.

Julie and Mark in Greve

Chianti Hills

(Julie and Mark)

Julie Logue-Riordan
(707) 227-5036

National Harvest Festival Brings a Bumper Crop of Entertainment to Branson

September 1, 2014 on 12:26 pm | In Dine Drink, Festivals, The South, Webbandstand | Comments Off

Branson Missouri is known for its endless attractions and activities that keep its guests hooked. Aside from the tourist spots in the area, Branson also boasts of the festivals it hosts for the year. Branson locals and guests are always in for a treat whenever there are festivals in the area. Thousand Hills Golf Resort is encouraging it’s fall guests to take advantage of one such festival–the National Harvest & Cowboy Festival.

This festival is held in Branson’s Silver Dollar City every September to October. This year the festival runs from September 12th through October 25th Guests visiting Branson in these months will be treated to a festival which features more than a hundred of the best craftsmen and women in America and all over the world. Silver Dollar City has also been known as “The Home of American Craftsmanship” because it gives craftsmen the chance to showcase their talents in crafts making. Some of the crafts making skills that can be seen in the National Harvest Festival are glassblowing, basket weaving, painting, and many others. Visitors can also take home a unique souvenir for themselves and for their loved ones back home.

Silver Dollar City provides its guests with more entertainment by bringing in the Texas Trick Riders, a group of trick riders who work with trick horses. There will also be Roman riders, ropers, comedians, and a lot more. For the guests who have enjoyed the shows in Silver Dollar City, they will see the National Harvest Festival bring back the original production The Pinkerton Man, which will be performed in the Echo Hollow Amphitheater. The stunts show in The Pinkerton Man will include three-story falls, rappels, and street fights. Music of The Pinkerton Man will be provided by the Sons of Silver Dollar.

The National Harvest Festival will not be a festival fully dedicated to crafts only. In fact, it also pays tribute to the American cowboys by incorporating music into the festival. Some of the performers that the guests will enjoy are Riders in the Sky, The Carolyn Martin Swing Band, Kristyn Harris, Jimmy Burson and many more.

Another feature of the National Harvest Festival is the Buck Taylor’s Cowboy Emporium. This will surely delight the people who are huge fans of the TV show Gunsmoke. This gallery, which runs the duration of the festival in Silver Dollar City’s Frisco Barn, showcases the magnificent pieces of cowboy art created by Buck Taylor. Other craftsmen to watch out for are Tina Richards, known for her framed hand-painted turkey feathers; Don Dane, known for his western art; Keith Knight, known for his carved benches and signs; Judi Orr, known for her Gourd Art, and a lot more.

With these activities and attractions, one would think that they have had enough already. But Silver Dollar City aims to bring you even more. The famous theme park has partnered with Midwest living to offer Culinary and Craft School Classes throughout the festival. There will be classes like a BBQ Smoker class, tailgating class, Southeast Asian cuisine, and many others.

For more information regarding the National Harvest Festival, visit . Thousand Hills Golf Resort is a condo and cabin rental resort in the heart of Branson located minutes from Silver Dollar City and many other Branson attractions. To plan their festival lodging guests are encouraged to visit  for pricing, reservations, and visitor information.

Webbandstand for Concerts and Performing Arts

Five Restaurants at The Venetian Macao, Sands Cotai Central and Sands Macao Win Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards

August 31, 2014 on 3:41 pm | In Asia, China, Dine Drink | Comments Off

Restaurants distinguished for their quality wine lists

Macao – Five restaurants from among Sands China Ltd.’s Macao properties have earned a Restaurant Award from U.S.-based lifestyle magazine Wine Spectator for their excellent wine programmes in 2014: Canton, North and Portofino at The Venetian® Macao, Conrad Macao’s Dynasty 8 at Sands® Cotai Central, and Sands® Macao’s Copa Steakhouse. These latest accolades are just five of the over 20 food and beverage awards Sands China Ltd. properties have received to date this year.

The distinction by Wine Spectator is given to restaurants across the world for quality wine list selections and presentation, awarded at three levels: the Award of Excellence, the Best of Award of Excellence, and the Grand Award. The recognition demonstrates Sands China’s long-term commitment to provide the best dining experiences, part of its ongoing effort in making Macao a world centre of tourism and leisure.

“We are honoured to be recognised by Wine Spectator again this year,” said Charles Newland, Senior Vice President of Food and Beverage and Director of Paiza Operations for Sands China Ltd. “Our restaurants strive to offer the best dining experience to our valued guests, and we take pride in our award-winning dining. We will continue to maintain the highest standards of quality and excellence for our guests, as part of the many spectacular experiences to be enjoyed at our integrated resorts.”

Having received the prestigious award for the third consecutive year, the awarding-winning Italian restaurant Portofino at The Venetian Macao received the Best of Award of Excellence again. North, the restaurant known for its open kitchen and pulled noodle demonstrations, and the Chinese fine-dining restaurant Canton, both at The Venetian Macao, each won the Best of Award of Excellence for the second consecutive year. Dynasty 8, the signature Chinese restaurant of Conrad Macao at Sands Cotai Central offering a memorable culinary journey embracing thousands of years of culinary wisdom with dishes designed to delight all the senses, also earned the Best of Award of Excellence. In addition, the best steakhouse in Macao and Hong Kong, Copa Steakhouse at Sands Macao also garnered the Award of Excellence again this year.

Founded in 1976,Wine Spectator magazine in 1981 introduced its Restaurant Awards programme to review wine lists. Its Restaurant Wine List Awards recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.

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The befittingly named Cotai Strip Resorts Macao, situated on reclaimed land between the islands of Coloane and Taipa, is the one destination that provides a stunning array of experiences at the heart of Cotai. Cotai Strip Resorts Macao has transformed a gaming-centric day-trip market into an integrated resort city and international hub for business and leisure travellers.

Pulsating with life, both night and day, Cotai Strip Resorts Macao features an expansive offering of affordable luxury available nowhere else in Macao, with approximately 9,000 hotel rooms and suites, international superstar live entertainment, duty-free shopping with 600 retailers offering an unparalleled array of name brands, 1.3 million square feet (120,000 square metres) of meeting and exhibition space for Asia’s leading conferences and exhibitions, gaming excitement, transportation offerings and well over 100 dining options, including international restaurants, bars and lounges. Cotai Strip Resorts Macao is a must-see destination providing every guest with an unforgettable experience and unparalleled excitement.

Comprised of The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel; The Plaza™ Macao, featuring the Four Seasons Hotel Macao; and Sands® Cotai Central, featuring the world’s largest Conrad, Sheraton, and Holiday Inn hotels, Cotai Strip Resorts Macao is where Asia’s ultimate destination is all within reach.

Cotai Strip Resorts Macao….Macao Starts Here. For more information, please visit

About The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel

Opened in 2007, The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel is Macao’s first integrated resort featuring stunning replicas of the famous canals and architectural icons of Venice, Italy. The Venetian Macao features 3,000 suites, 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of convention and meeting facilities as well as a 15,000-seat Cotai Arena designed for world-class sports events and electrifying entertainment. The Venetian Macao is also home to the unique, 1,800-seat luxury Venetian Theatre, hosting the best in international and Chinese entertainment; more than 30 renowned restaurants; TAIVEXMALO Day Hospital & Spa; the incredibly fun QUBE indoor playground and more than 300 retailers at Shoppes at Venetian. Outdoor recreation areas include swimming pools and cabanas and a mini-golf course.

For more information, please visit

About Sands® Cotai Central

Opened in April 2012, Sands® Cotai Central is the pathway to adventure, fun and fortune at the centre point of the Cotai Strip. Featuring three celebrated hotel brands – Conrad, Sheraton and Holiday Inn – Sands Cotai Central offers visitors to Cotai an expanded offering of affordable luxury available nowhere else in Macao, with approximately 6,000 hotel rooms and suites, and 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of retail, entertainment and dining facilities, and meetings and convention space. With over 90 retail outlets, Shoppes at Cotai Central joins Shoppes at Venetian and Shoppes at Four Seasons to offer a selection of 600 luxury duty-free stores – the most in any one single location in all of Macao. And with two spas, three health clubs and 300,000 square feet (28,000 square metres) of gaming space in two, uniquely themed gaming areas, Sands Cotai Central provides a new level of luxury and accessibility to Cotai.

For more information, please visit

About Sands® Macao

Opened in 2004, Sands® Macao is a world class hotel and entertainment complex with 289 luxury suites. Its stunning gold glass exterior houses a wide range of diversions including specialty restaurants, a heated outdoor swimming pool, deluxe spa and salon, conference and banquet facilities and unrivalled gaming excitement and live entertainment. It is also home to the Paiza Club: an invitation-only international VIP club with 51 premium suites with size, opulence and grandeur that rivals the best the world has to offer.

As the first hotel and entertainment complex in Macao owned and operated by an international operator, Sands Macao quickly set the benchmark for future developments in Macao.

For more information, please visit

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