Destinations

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The Epicurean Hotel in Tampa’s SoHo district is opening its doors. With its state of the art culinary theatre, its own wine shop, patisserie, restaurants and roof top bar, it can truly claim to be a foody paradise and a wine lover’s dream.

Whether guests want to learn how to cook or about wine appreciation, or how to make cocktails, or whether they just wish to enjoy the treats served by the kitchens and bars this hotel is perfectly equipped.

Its 137 guest rooms and suites, a blend of urban chic and comfort, offer the latest technology as well as having their own pantries.

To celebrate the hotel’s opening various special events have been planned for the weekend of Friday 17 – 19 January featuring receptions and dinners along with tastings and classes hosted by industry experts and celebrities. Visit www.epicureanhotel.com

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New food and wine tours for Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

There are three new ways to explore Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula with exceptional food and wine tours launched by Green Olive at Red Hill and The Private Tour Guide. The tours include ‘Meet the Farmer and Chef’, ‘The Chefs Secrets’ and ‘The Farmers Lunch’ and combine tours to local wineries, strawberry farms and cooking classes with optional activities like visiting  the Peninsula’s hot springs. Tours start from A$260 (approximately £154) per person. www.greenolive.com.au

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Above & Beyond, the award-winning Chinese restaurant on the 28th floor of Hotel ICON in Kowloon, Hong Kong is serving up a Cantonese-inspired afternoon tea.

The Dim Sum Afternoon Tea, devised by Executive Chef Joseph Tse, starts with a Sweetened Almond Cream with Lotus Seeds and Lily Bulbs to invigorate the palate, then seven dim sum specialties take centre stage including a Crispy-fried Puff stuffed with Prawns; Pork Dumpling with Halibut and Black Mushroom; Mushroom Dumpling with Pumpkin; Crispy Taro Cake; Crab Meat Puff; Baked Goose Liver and Pineapple Puff; and Smoked Duck Breast delicately layered in a Steamed Bun.

A selection of melt-in-the-mouth sweet treats hand crafted by Executive Pastry Chef, Danny Ho, follows, including a Chestnut Crème Brûlée; Raspberry Lemon Cheese Ball; Blueberry Tea with Chocolate Brownie ; Sesame Tuille and several other temptations.

Dim Sum Afternoon Tea will be served every Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday between 3:00pm to 5:30pm, priced £39 per couple and accompanied by a choice of tea or brewed coffee. Reservations: www.hotel-icon.com.

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The iconic London hotel, The Dorchester is the setting for the opening scene of the new James Bond book written by internationally acclaimed best-selling author William Boyd, and the perfect place to read it, and enjoy a special breakfast, on publication day, Thursday 26 September. A book reading by William Boyd will be held on Saturday 28 September, when the author will also share his experiences of writing the book and sign copies for guests.

The breakfast, which Bond treats himself to on his 45th birthday in 1969, consists of “four eggs, scrambled with pepper sprinkled on top, half a dozen rashers of unsmoked bacon, well done, on the side and a long draught of strong black coffee”.   

From Thursday 26 September, guests quoting ‘Solo’ whilst making a breakfast reservation will receive a copy of the book or can choose to listen to the audio version on an iPod over breakfast. Restaurant guests also have the option of listening to hits from the 60s on an iPod, be given a copy of a national newspaper and the menu from 1969, and will be served their breakfast silver service in keeping with the 60s. Once a week, a table will be chosen at random to be charged the Grill Menu’s 1969 price, a sum just short of £2.

Martini master classes are also provided at The Bar at The Dorchester by expert alchemist bar manager Giuliano Morandin.

For ‘Breakfast with Bond’, available until 30 November 2013, book English Breakfast priced at £32 and quote ‘SOLO’ to receive a complimentary copy of the book. For tickets to the Saturday 28 September ‘Breakfast with Bond’ William Boyd reading priced at £69 per person, please quote ‘BOYD’. TheDorchester.com

West Sweden Tourist Board has launched a new dedicated culinary website. The region is renowned for the wealth and quality of its natural, organic produce and offers many foody experiences to visitors. This includes setting off on seafood safaris all year round, tasting the best of the region’s home-grown produce at its charming farm shops and Taste of West Sweden-accredited restaurants - a network of 36 gastronomic eateries that make the most of local produce - and sampling ‘fika’ in Gothenburg’s trendy organic cafés. www.westsweden.com

Spread out over a vast expanse of verdant forest, ESPA at Resorts World Sentosa is a Destination Spa designed for the ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation experience. The first of its kind in Singapore, guests are invited to combine the spa experience with a luxurious lifestyle retreat, featuring wellness, fitness, cookery, spa and beauty programmes.

ESPA’s destination spa provides the opportunity to explore the depths of spa cuisine at Tangerine, the first celebrity chef-helmed spa café in Singapore. Pick up delicious and nutritious cookery skills from the resident nutritionist and celebrity chef Sam Leong. www.yoursingapore.com

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Martini lovers in Fischers Fritz, the two-Michelin-starred restaurant at Regent Berlin, can now see their Martini prepared à la carte at their table with the only Martini trolley on the European mainland. Whether as an aperitif or as a cocktail in the Regent Bar, the skilled team is on hand to share their expert advice and mix the perfect drink. Bitter or sweet, classic or modern, shaken or stirred: the selection of six cocktails is available in a number of variations. www.regenthotels.com/berlin

The Jordan Tourism Board has launched a new dedicated gastronomic microsite designed to showcase the country’s diverse culinary scene, as well as its warm Bedouin hospitality. Visit http://www.visitjordan.com/food/

The National Glass Centre has opened the doors of its Brasserie following a major refurbishment, introducing a sleek new décor, new menus, and even its own speciality beer named St Rupert's Drop.There is a range of day time specials available Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm, featuring breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, as well as a 'grab and go' selection. The Brasserie is also open every Friday and Saturday evening from 7-11pm, with an early evening special from 5-7pm on Fridays. www.nationalglasscentre.com

Spianata&Co® adds real Roman Coffee to Menu

It took some time to craft the perfect Spianata® sandwich - Rome’s most popular lunchtime choice - to the taste of hungry and choosy Londoners. Now Spianata®, an essential part of Roman life, is a hit in the City and in Mayfair with its six shops.

Along with all the goodies is now Spianata 80/20, a bespoke coffee blend which delivers the perfect Roman taste. Hand roasted, the blend is 80% high quality Arabica, with its smooth, fine aroma and taste, and 20% Robusta, to give the ‘crema’ on top of the coffee and deliver a ‘kick’ on the palate. This Roman-style coffee is served in a glass cup when drank on site, with a small glass of water on the side. It sells at £1.45 for a single espresso and at £1.75 for a double. The blend is also used for cappuccino, which comes as the shorter Roman cappuccino at £2.10 and as a standard 12 oz at £2.20. Packs of the Spianata® 80/20 blend are also on sale from the shops at £5.75. www.spianata.com

The Ebrington Arms near Chipping Campden now brews its own beer. The owners, Claire & Jim Alexander, have fulfilled a lifelong ambition and are now brewing their own pale ale, Yubby Bitter.

At £3 a pint, Yubby Bitter is already proving popular with locals and ale enthusiasts and is available (alongside five other independent ales) at The Killingworth Castle in Wootton by Woodstock, Oxfordshire and the couple’s other pub, The Ebrington Arms near Chipping Campden.

La Coqueria has opened in Santa Catalina market Monday-Saturday. Katja Wohr and Maria Solivellas have teamed up to produce a local savoury called “coca”, a Mallorcan take similar to a pizza with a crispy pastry base and a range of savoury/sweet toppings.

Es Rebost , a new Etno-Food café has opened on Palma’s main shopping street of Jaime III featuring a range of snacks and drinks using local produce from selected farmer co-operatives, small artisan producers and Mallorcan family business. The menu features vegetarian and gluten free snacks.

Chef Alain Ducasse will be taking over the kitchens of Le Meurice and Le Dali restaurants at Dorchester Collection’s Parisian palace hotel Le Meurice at the beginning of September.

With his innovative style and distinctive take on French cuisine, Alain Ducasse will lead the hotel’s kitchen teams, bringing his 25 years of experience to the Le Meurice creating fine, haute dishes for guests.

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The fishermen of the Belgian coastal resort of Koksijde-Oostduinkerke are the only ones in the world to catch shrimp while riding on horseback.

Driving the horses up to chest deep, wearing yellow oilskins and waders, the fishermen advance side by side, dragging nets to scoop shrimps from the sandy sea bed and occasionally leaving the water to empty the net into wicker baskets, on each side of the horses.

The newly opened Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal is offering guests a taste of the Middle East with concoctions created by their in-house Camel Milk Mixologist.

The Camel Milk Mixologist crafts his beverages with freshly muddled ingredients infused with locally-sourced camel milk, resulting in flavours ranging from sweet strawberry to refreshing mint. Originally created for Ramadan the hotel will continue to offer its camel milk menu in Mijana, the hotel’s Arabic restaurant. The Mixologist will be on-hand to make recommendations on which camel milk flavours to pair with various dishes and can create a unique blend based on the guests’ tastes.

 

Craft brewer, Meantime Brewing has planted hundreds of hop plants across London in a bid to engage people with the art of British brewing. The hops grown will be used to create the City’s first “crowd-sourced” beer - Meantime True Brew of London.

The brewery has planted the hops in some of London’s most famous locations – including two Royal parks - St James’ Park and Regent’s Park, The Natural History Museum, The National Theatre, Battersea Power Station and Kensington Roof Gardens.

In September, the hops will be harvested and used to create a ‘wet hop’ harvest beer at the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich. Aroma hops have been critical to the growth of modern craft brewing. To make the True Brew of London, the hops will be dried and added together with other ingredients – malt, yeast and water. The beer will then be left to mature for a full eight weeks before being kegged and ready to serve.

Dozens of pubs will be contibuting to the brew by growing hops in their gardens, on balconies and rooftops. The brewers are also growing plants in allotments and urban farms across the capital. To see the location of each hop garden visit http://goo.gl/maps/GJKY9 and www.meantimebrewing.com

This year celebrates the 150th anniversary of Switzerland's first Grand Tour and the birth of modern tourism. Valid for either three or six consecutive days, the Jungfrau VIP Passes offer plenty of time for sightseeing, hiking and simply taking in all of the wonderful sights and sounds of the Jungfrau.

Located in the Bernese Oberland, against the incredible backdrop of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau massif, the region offers visitors the chance to enjoy an incredible variety of natural attractions. Easily accessed by cogwheel railway or aerial cableway are lush Alpine meadows, snow-capped peaks, glaciers, lakes and waterfalls, vast hiking areas and, of course, spectacular views.

The VIP Pass to the magnificent Jungfrau Railway system offers access to all of these unique natural wonders in the UNESCO World Heritage of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch. The highlight of the journey, and one of the modern wonders of the world, with the Jungfrau Railway link, carries passengers on an incredible journey through a world of rock, ice and snow. Seven of its nine kilometres pass through a tunnel hewn into the rock of the Eiger and Mönch mountains.

Climbing 1400 metres in 50 minutes, the final destination from Kleine Scheidegg is the Jungfraujoch. Perched at 3454 metres, this is known as Top of Europe and is the continent’s highest-altitude railway station. Here fine dining and unparalleled views from a choice of restaurants open 365 days a year can be enjoyed. Prices for a three-day pass start from CHF 235 and for a six-day pass CHF 250. Visit www.jungfrau.ch

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