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  • Great Chefs Of The World

    Cooking with Zarela: The root of it all-Jicama

    Cooking with Zarela: The root of it all-Jicama

    Mexican born Zarela Martinez is one the leading U.S. restaurateurs. Her namesake restaura…moreMexican born Zarela Martinez is one the leading U.S. restaurateurs. Her namesake restaurant is a Manhattan institution and a culinary trend-setter. She has authored several acclaimed books:"Food from my heart","Food and life of Oaxaca" and "Zarela's Veracruz". Her 13 part series "Zarela, Cocina Veracruzana" is airing on PBS. She has made guest appearances on many TV shows including "Julia Child:cooking with master chefs" and " Martha Stewart". less

    Ceretto: art, food and Barolo

    Ceretto: art, food and Barolo

    Alba in Piedmont is a very small town but it’s big in 3 areas: Art…. Food, being the worl…moreAlba in Piedmont is a very small town but it’s big in 3 areas: Art…. Food, being the world capital of black and white truffles and Wine, producing world reknown Barolo right here. The Ceretto family in Alba is literally and seriously involved in all 3 area. Established wine growers for 70 years they also own their own upscale restaurants and have enlisted major world artists to decorate their building. This never consecrated psychedelic chapel was painted by Saul Lewitt in 1999. Their winery is in nearby Castiglione Falletto, an old medieval town. However true to their adventurous spirit they picked Turin architect De Abate to design their modern building with a glass cube for the tasting room. On these hils on 20 acres they produce 3 outstanding Barolos which have won the company many awards: Bricco Rocche, Prapo and Brunate. So for their Piazza Duomo restaurant they picked Enrico Crippa, an awarded chef who paints beautiful dishes in the kitchen and the artist Francesco Clemente who painted the walls. Of course their Barolo is always on the table. The Chef explains that the fresco it represents happiness, the vineyard, nature and freedom. He also remembers that Clemente was painting with natural colors, made with flowers and natural herbs so while painting the room always filled up with insects and bees which were following the scent as if they were in an open field instead of a room in the center of town. less

    Luxury Wine Tour of Piedmont

    Luxury Wine Tour of Piedmont

    The area in Piedmont called Langhe Roero has given the world the gift of truffles, the Ne…moreThe area in Piedmont called Langhe Roero has given the world the gift of truffles, the Nebbiolo grape, from which Barolo and Barbaresco come from and a dazzling cuisine that is both aristocratic and simple. On this luxury wine tour among castles and vineyards you’ll meet the makers of these great wines and the chefs working their luscious cuisine in some of the most charming medieval towns in Italy. Your trip starts at the Villa Tiboldi, luxuriously renovated Villa and Farmhouse surrounded by Nebbiolo and Arneis vineyards with views that go on forever. The estate produces its own excellent Arneis Malvira. Alba has a beautiful Cathedral from the XIth Century and a rich historic center. However Alba’s heart beats to the tune of the truffle. Renato Agnello, truffle hunter of of 60 years leads a walk through the woods with his dog Diana, looking for truffles. Tartufi Morra is a truffle emporium Established in 1930 working with all the truffle hunters in the area. It has the ultimate selection of everything truffles from chocolate to oils The restaurant Piazza Duomo owned by the Ceretto winemaking family is a shocking pink space with frescoes by Francesco Clemente .The avantguarde cuisine of Chef Enrico Crippa has earned the restaurant a one Michelin star. This is a café and pastry shop created by chef Luca Mentersino uses no sugar, milk or flour. Everything is made with substitute. So go ahead and splurge. Katja and Ivan Rivetti are the third generation of Rivetti making barbaresco here. Tops wines are Bricco Barbaresco and Bricco de Neveis. Housed in a sprawling and movie-set-like 18th century castle owned by the Stupino brothers, the winery focuses on specialty wines. In the 70’s the Stupino’s cloned an old variety of Arneis vine producing a remarkable sparkling Pinot Noir. Among their wide range of wines they produce a top Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano. The restaurant La Ciau del Tornavento in Treiso sits on top of sprawling vineyards is owned by chef Maurilio Garola. It. The Chef has consistently received one Michelin star for his ground breaking dishes such as “ Plin de Seirass”, ravioli stuffed with ricotta and served in an actual nest made out of hay. The fortified Castle erected in the XIth Century on top of a hill once belonged to Count Camillo Benso of Cavour, one of the architects of the Unification of Italy. The castle has a very large Enoteca representing the best of Piedmont wines and grappas. Barolo is a charming medieval town surrounded by wineries. Therefore opening a corkscrew museum was a no brainer for Paolo Annoni who was once a pharmacist but abandoned his old profession to pursue his obsession. Over the years he has travelled the world and auction houses searching for the most unusual corkscrews, collecting 1,300 rare ones . Barolo was first created by the Marchesi Falletti in the middle of the 19th century around the village of Barolo. A bottle of the first Barolo, "Cannubbio 1859” is on permanent display, while vintages from 1938 on are available to collectors. The Enoteca has the most complete collection of Barolo in the world with 35.000 bottles of Barolo and the yearly addition of 400 bottles. Giant 19 century chestnut barrels have been reconditioned to age outstanding Barolo like the Barolo Cannubi or various Barolo Riserva. Locanda nel Borgo Antico is set in an hamlet outside Barolo. In this elegant restaurant Chef Camia prepares his signature traditional classic dishes which have earned him a Michelin star. In little more than thirty years, the Ceretto brothers created a 300 acres network of small independent estates producing some outstanding labels. They have sponsored major art projects like the Clemente frescos for their restaurant, the Sol Lewitt Chapel among the vineyards and for their winery in the town of Castiglione Falletto they have created their futuristic wine-tasting glass cube. Top wines are Bricco Rocche, Brunate and Prapo’. You will stay in the Hotel Villa Beccaris an 18th century palazzo surrounded by vineyards near the historic town of Monforte DAlba. 3 Burlotto sisters run the Castle which their grandfather bought from the first King of Italy. The family restored and maintains the original frescos and furniture. Here cooking lesson in classic Piedmontese dishes are conducted. The winery has some of the oldest vintages in the region dating back from 1850. Top wines are Verduno Basadone, Barbaresco Rabaja’ and the Dolcetto D’Alba Campot. A truly royal lunch is served in the castle courtyard. Pietro Ratti runs the business founded by his father in the 60’s. Today this state of the arts winery produces an outstanding Barolo Marcenasco. In the medieval town of La Morra on top of a hillside sits an old castle, now the restaurant Belvedere with spectacular views of the Barolo hills all the way to the alps. The Bovio family that owns it produces an outstanding Barolo. Copyright Christina Tours, LLC less

  • 10 Best Things To Do

    Bridge on River Kwai

    Bridge on River Kwai

    The Bridge on the River Kwai, (made famous by the omonymous film with Alec Guinness and W…moreThe Bridge on the River Kwai, (made famous by the omonymous film with Alec Guinness and William Holden and which won 7 Academy Awards in 1957) was a key strategic element for the Japanese war effort during WWII. The Japanese needed to build a railroad in record time between Thailand and India a and they used their war prisoners to do it. Construction of the Thailand-Burma Railway began on September 16, 1942. The Railway, was to transport 3,000 tons of supplies per day to the frontline troops in Burma. Much of it required high bridges cut through mountains and jungle. The human cost was incredibly high. The railway operated for just 21 months before it was crippled by Allied weapons, The train runs daily between Kanchanaburi and the current terminus at Nam Tok going over the bridge and passing over the equally impressive Wampo Viaduct, also built by prisoners of war. 61,000 Allied prisoners of war are believed to have labored on the railway under impossible conditions, including 30,000 British, 18,000 Dutch, 13,000 Australian, and 700 American soldiers. 16,000 of those troops died, many of them from diseases like cholera, beri beri, malaria, and typhoid, Another 200,000 Asian laborers, mostly Thai, were forced to work on the railway. More than 80,000 lost their lives. less

    10 Best: Bangkok- Ancient city of Ayutthaya

    10 Best: Bangkok- Ancient city of Ayutthaya

    50 miles North of Bangkok lies the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the Thai capital for 417 ye…more50 miles North of Bangkok lies the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the Thai capital for 417 years. Founded in 1350 by King U-Thong it was ruled by 33 kings before being destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. Auytthaya covering more than 2.5 square kilometers was one of South East Asia most prosperous cities trading with Europeans and leaving behind a most amazing architectural legacy. In 1991 Unesco declared it a World Heritage Site. Hosted by Sunida Thirasak, born in Bangkok and now living in New York. less

    S Medical Spa Bangkok

    S Medical Spa Bangkok

    S Medical Spa is one of the most luxurious rejuvenation centers in Asia winner of the Asi…moreS Medical Spa is one of the most luxurious rejuvenation centers in Asia winner of the AsiaSpa award in 2009. Unlike other spas, S is staffed by certified physicians, dermatologists, gynecologists, psychiatrists and nutritionists who seamlessly combine Eastern healing and spa treatments with cutting edge Western science. Innovative Intense pulse light treatments are known to repair sun damage and restore skin by removing the ravages of age. The Spa focuses on improving gynecological issues as they relate to aging and endorses rejuvenation therapies through hormonal rebalancing. http://www.smedspa.com/ less

  • Great Hotels Of The World

    Mount Kenya Safari Club

    Mount Kenya Safari Club

    William Holden, the Hollywood actor, bought the Mount Kenya Safari Club on a whim in 1960…moreWilliam Holden, the Hollywood actor, bought the Mount Kenya Safari Club on a whim in 1960 and turned it into a hideway for the super-rich. This is a spectacular resort at the foot of Mount Kenya, the second tallest mountain in Africa. n 1989, the owners saw potential for a luxury tented camp in this space and set out a plan to build 40 tents with a rustic main building and facilities that would rival the best camps in the Mara and the Serengeti. The main building would house a dining room, bar and reception area for the comfort of our Guests. The grounds would feature winding paths through lush flora and boast a swimming pool and observation areas to gather and gaze at the hippos, the crocs and the incredible bird life that inhabits this part of Kenya. The Mara Safari Club opened its doors in 1989 as an offshoot of Mount Kenya Safari Club, hence the name Safari Club. The Club stands on 100 acres of land, leased from the late Senior Chief Lerionka Ole Ntutu. A tented sanctuary lying at the foot of the Aitong Hills, the Mara Safari Club is surrounded on three sides by the Mara River, on the edge of the world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve. The land the Club sits on was an old hunting camp that had been converted to use for photo tours with the ban on hunting in Kenya in 1976. Originally the retreat of the movie star and his friends, the Club's illustrious former members have included Winston Churchill and Bing Crosby. less

    Michoacan

    Michoacan

    Michoacan has great colonial cities and spectacular natural events. In Sierra Chincua 4…moreMichoacan has great colonial cities and spectacular natural events. In Sierra Chincua 40 million butterflies wake up in Spring and mate! Morelia is a UNESCO World Heritage site with fun social life. At Villa Montana’ spa compulsive travelers can de-stress with a chocolate bath. Anyone looking for a mate hangs an image of St Anthony upside down at El Miguelito restaurant until a mate is found. Mating is on everone's mind in Michoacan. In Pazcuaro Mario spends 2 years to finish a bowl the way the ancients made them and sells it for $5,000! Giant turtles travel thousands of miles to the Michoacan Pacific coast to mate. At night we follow them laying the eggs and hatchlings returning to the sea with the moon pointing them to the water. less

    Saturnia, a Resort/Spa in Tuscany

    Saturnia, a Resort/Spa in Tuscany

    Maremma in Southern Tuscany is home to ….yes, Italian cowboy, state of the arts wineries…moreMaremma in Southern Tuscany is home to ….yes, Italian cowboy, state of the arts wineries and a spa resort which is a member of the leading Hotels the world. The Saturnia thermal baths are know since pre roman times. Water gushes out of an underground crater at the rate of 800 gallons per seconds filling the pools outside and inside the spa. The therapeutic value of the water lies in the high sulfur content and its moisturizing plankton. The resort is totally five star and pampering is the name of the game. There are numerous treatments at the spa but the active ingredient is always the moisturizing thermal plankton that has been the baths liquid gold for over 2000 years. Saturnia is a 2 hour drive from Rome or Florence. And definitely worth the trip. www.termedisaturnia.it/it/ less

  • World Heritage Sites

    Jerusalem: Wailing Wall

    Jerusalem: Wailing Wall

    The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the f…moreThe Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple's courtyard, and is arguably the most sacred site recognized by the Jewish faith outside of the Temple Mount itself. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, commonly believed to have been constructed around 19 BCE by Herod the Great, but recent excavations indicate that the works were not finished during Herod's lifetime. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards. The Western Wall refers not only to the exposed section facing a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, but also to the sections concealed behind structures running along the whole length of the Temple Mount, such as the Little Western Wall–a 25 ft (8 m) section in the Muslim Quarter. It has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries. In Judaism, the Western Wall is venerated as the sole remnant of the Holy Temple. It has become a place of pilgrimage for Jews, as it is the closest permitted accessible site to the holiest spot in Judaism, namely the Even ha-shetiya or Foundation Stone, which lies on the Temple Mount. According to one rabbinic opinion, Jews may not set foot upon the Temple Mount and doing so is a sin punishable by Kareth. While almost all historians and archaeologists and some rabbinical authorities believe that the rocky outcrop in the Dome of the Rock is the Foundation Stone, some rabbis say it is located directly opposite the exposed section of the Western Wall, near the El-kas fountain. This spot was the site of the Holy of Holies when the Temple stood. The Wailing Wall is part of the old city of Jerusalem and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. less

    Damascus: historic city, part 1

    Damascus: historic city, part 1

    The Citadel of Damascus is a large medieval fortified palace and. It is part of the Ancie…moreThe Citadel of Damascus is a large medieval fortified palace and. It is part of the Ancient City of Damascus, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The location of the current citadel was first fortified in 1076 by the Turkman warlord Atsiz bin Uvak,During this period, the citadel and the city were besieged several times by Crusader and Muslim armies. In 1174, the citadel was captured by Saladin, who made it his residence . Al-Hamidiyah Souq is the largest and the central souk in Syria, located inside the old walled city of Damascus next to the Citadel. Khan As'ad Pasha is the largest khan in the Old City of Damascus, covering an area of 2,500 square metres (27,000 sq ft). Situated along Al-Buzuriyah Souq, it was built and named after As'ad Pasha al-Azm, the governor of Damascus, in 1751-52. Khan As'ad Pasha has been described as the most "ambitious" work of architecture in the city. Throughout the Ottoman era, it hosted caravans coming from Baghdad, Mosul, Aleppo, Beirut and elsewhere in the Middle East. less

    Aleppo

    Aleppo

    Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world perhaps as early a…moreAleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world perhaps as early as the 6th millennium BC.The city's significance in history has been its location at the end of the Silk Road, which passed through central Asia and Mesopotamia. When the Suez Canal was inaugurated in 1869, trade was diverted to sea and Aleppo began its slow decline. At the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Aleppo ceded its northern hinterland to modern Turkeyl. Then in the 1940s it lost its main access to the sea, Antioch and Alexandretta (Iskenderun), also to Turkey. Finally, the isolation of Syria in the past few decades further exacerbated the situation, although perhaps it is this very decline that has helped to preserve the old city of Aleppo, its medieval architecture and traditional heritage. Until recently, Aleppo had been experiencing a noticeable revival and was slowly returning to the spotlight. It recently won the title of the "Islamic Capital of Culture 2006", and has also witnessed a wave of successful restorations of its historic landmarks. The most significant historic buildings of the ancient city include: The Citadel, a large fortress built atop a huge, partially artificial mound rising 50 m above the city, dates back to the first millennium BC. the great Umayyad mosque, and the extraordinary souqs . The old city of Aleppo has been named a Unesco World Heritage site. less