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  • Great Chefs Of The World

    Cooking with Zarela: Ranch style- Dry chile.

    Cooking with Zarela: Ranch style- Dry chile.

    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

    Chef Ken Frank of La Toque

    Chef Ken Frank of La Toque

    Napa Valley with its endless vineyards, year round freshness in its orchards and gardens …moreNapa Valley with its endless vineyards, year round freshness in its orchards and gardens is a perfect environment for wine and food pairing. Ken Ken Frank, has spent more than two- thirds of his life in the kitchen. He learned how to cook in France then moved in Los Angeles where he became a celebrity chef with his restaurant La Toque on Sunset pioneering food and wine pairing there. After running it for 15 years He moved to Napa because he says La Toque has always been a “wine restaurant” and he opened his new La Toque inside the Westin, a true ”wine Hotel”. Since the 70’s Ken has been experimenting with classic technique using the freshest local ingredients. Napa offered immediate access to fresh produce and the best heritage meat suppliers of Northern California. “Moving to Napa Valley was the smartest thing I’ve ever done,” says Frank. “I couldn’t have this kind of restaurant just anywhere.” From his early days in France Ken’s passion for innovation has always been fueled by his attachment to the soil . His move to Napa is part of his journey toward finding his authenticity as a chef in a rich natural environment. So what if it takes a little more travel time to eat at his restaurant? People will keep coming because excellence is the magnet. Michelin stars earned in 2007 and 2009 attest to that. Most recently La Toque was named one of “America’s Best Top 100 Wine Restaurants of 2011” in Wine Enthusiast Magazine. less

    Cooking with Zarela: Thorny issue-Nopales

    Cooking with Zarela: Thorny issue-Nopales

    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

  • 10 Best Things To Do

    10 Best Napa: Amorosa Castle

    10 Best Napa: Amorosa Castle

    Castello di Amorosa is a winery located near Calistoga, California. First opening its doo…moreCastello di Amorosa is a winery located near Calistoga, California. First opening its doors to the public in April 2007, it is the pet project of 4th generation vintner, Dario Sattui who also owns and operates the V. Sattui Winery named after his great-grandfather who originally established a winery in San Francisco in 1885. The castle interiors, which include 107 rooms on 8 levels above and below ground, cover approximately 121,000 square feet. Among many other features it has: a moat; a drawbridge; defensive towers; an interior courtyard; a torture chamber; a chapel/church; a knights' chamber; and a 72 by 30 feet great hall with a 22-foot -high coffered ceiling. The torture chamber has an authentic 300-year-old iron maiden which Sattui states he bought for $13,000 in Pienza, Italy, a replica rack, prison chambers and other torture devices. The great hall features frescoes painted by two Italian artists who took about a year and a half to complete and showcases a 500 year old fireplace. The masonry, ironwork and woodwork was fashioned by hand using old world crafting techniques. Building materials included 8,000 tons of locally quarried stone, in addition to paving stones, terra cotta roofing tiles and some 850,000 bricks imported from Europe. Extending into the hillside adjacent to the castle lies a labyrinth of caves some 900 feet in length. Beneath the castle are a 2-acre barrel cellar and tasting rooms where visitors can sample the wines-all sold only at the Castle. less

    10 Best: Bangkok- personal Chef at Lebua Hotel

    10 Best: Bangkok- personal Chef at Lebua Hotel

    Bua means lotus in Thai and the french"le" before it clearly spells this Hotel mission to…moreBua means lotus in Thai and the french"le" before it clearly spells this Hotel mission to be the ultimate in East-West sophistication offering all suites and amenities like a personal chef cooking in your room featured here. Ranked as "2008 best Luxury Hotel", by Traveler's Choice, Trip Advisor, Lebua at State Tower is located in the heart of Bangkok a few steps from the Chao-Phraya river. This is a different Bangkok from the familiar hustle and bustle one and its restaurant and bar on the 65th floor terrace offer the most breathtaking views of the city. Hosted by Sunida Thirasak, a Bangkok native presently living in New York. less

    Apulia Wine Tour promo

    Apulia Wine Tour promo

    The region of Apulia with 1000 hours more sunlight a year than the rest of the country ma…moreThe region of Apulia with 1000 hours more sunlight a year than the rest of the country make superb wines.Let iexplore guide you on this magical Luxury wine tour. You ‘ll toast with top winemakers and will be dazzled by Apulia’s richness of wine, art and food…. Right next to Castel del Monte is the Rivera winery and the unique terrain here is the reason for outstanding wines like Falcone. Mr. Cocevola with a working farm near the Castle produces also a superior wines likeVandalo. The restaurant Corte in Fiore in Trani has won many awards.You will love it. Trani boasts a spectacular 13th Century Cathedrals right on the Adriatic sea water with splendid frescoes and mosaics. You’ll be staying at a 500 year old farmhouse locally called Masseria hidden in the midst of an ancient olive grove. Today Masseria Torre Coccaro is a 5 star resort where you’ll begin to understand the magical allure of Puglia. Alberobello is famous for its 1,500 conical trulli homes. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll through the hilltop town of Martina Franca, a beautiful baroque city full of great churches and palazzos. Enjoy Masseria Torre Coccaro’s private beach on the Adriatic sea. Or retreat to their cool spa built in a cave. Ostuni known as "the White Town" is an architectural jewel with a striking medieval cathedral and endless winding streets to get lost in. At Torre Coccaro the Chef will seduce you with his delicious cuisine. Be wisked by private boat for a swim in the crystal-water coves of Monopoli. Brindisi has been a major wine grower since roman times. Luigi Rubino holds his wine tasting at the restaurant Penny in a 12th Century building in order to highlight food pairing. Be swept away by his superb red called Torre Testa . Cantine Due Palme, is a co-operative of 1,000 growers specializing in local grape varieties. Taste their top wine Selvarossa with the enologyst and Director Angelo Maci. Lecce is nicknamed "The Florence of the South" because of the rich Baroque architectural monuments carved out of the local white stone. In Lecce you’ll stay at the Hotel Risorgimento, a five star Luxury Hotel in a spectacular 18th Century Palace in the heart of town . Have lunch at Atenze a landmark restaurant housed in a baroque palace with superb Apulian specialties. Taste Leone de Castris Salice Salentino Donna Lisa, the top wine of the collection. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the harbour from Palazzo Papaleo, your own 5 star palazzo . Explore Otranto and its medieval monuments. After this magical tour with iexplore.com, Apulia will have carved out a place in your heart forever. For more information on this privately guided, dream luxury wine tour call us at 1-800 iexplore or visit iexplore.com less

  • Great Hotels Of The World

    The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai

    The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai

    The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai is one of the legendary Grand Hotels in Asia and an …moreThe Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai is one of the legendary Grand Hotels in Asia and an architectural marvel bringing together Moorish, Florentine and Asian styles. It faces the Bay of Mumbai right next to the India Gate which was built in honor of King George V and Queen Mary's visit in 1923, both iconic landmarks of this great City. Since its opening in 1903 it has played host to the most celebrated personalitites of the century, from Maharajas to Kings. John Lennon and Yoko Ono survived in the Rajput Suite on a macrobiotic menu specially designed by the Chefs of the Taj. 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

    Luxury Wine Tour of Piedmont promo

    Luxury Wine Tour of Piedmont promo

    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. Let iexplore guide you on this luxury wine tour among castles and vineyards. There you’ll meet the makers of these great wines and the chefs working their dazzling 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. 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 search for truffles in the woods with his dog Diana. Tartufi Morra is a truffle emporium Established in 1930. It has the ultimate selection of everything truffle. The restaurant Piazza Duomo owned by the Ceretto winemaking family is a shocking pink space with frescoes by Francesco Clemente.The avant-garde cuisine of Chef Enrico Crippa has earned the restaurant a one Michelin star. The healthy pastry shop created by chef Luca Mentersino uses no sugar, milk or flour. So go ahead and splurge. Neive is at the heart of Barbaresco. Katja and Ivan Rivetti are the third generation of Rivetti making this wine here. Tops labels are Bricco Barbaresco and Bricco de Neveis. The Stupino brothers winery is housed in a sprawling 18th century castle. In the 70’s the Stupino’s cloned an old variety of Arneis vine producing a remarkable sparkling Pinot Noir besides their well known Barbaresco. The restaurant La Ciau del Tornavento is owned by chef Maurilio Garola. The Chef has consistently received one Michelin star for his groundbreaking dishes. The fortified Castle of Grinzane was erected in the XIth Century. Today it houses a very large Enoteca representing the best of Piedmont wines and grappas. Barolo is a charming medieval town surrounded by wineries The Marchesi Falletti created the first Barolo in this village.The first bottle, "Cannubbio 1861” is on permanent display.Today the original 19-century chestnut barrels have been reconditioned to age the Barolo Cannubi or Barolo Riserva. Locanda nel Borgo Antico is set in an hamlet outside Barolo. In this elegant restaurant Chef Massimo Camia prepares the classic dishes which have earned the restaurant a Michelin star. The Ceretto brothers have created a 300 acres network of small estates producing some outstanding labels. Top wines are Bricco Rocche, Brunate and Prapo’. They have also sponsored major art projects the Sol Lewitt Chapel among the vineyards and in their winery their futuristic wine-tasting glass cube. You will stay in the Hotel Villa Beccaris an 18th century palazzo surrounded by vineyards near the historic town of Monforte DAlba. 3 sisters from the Burlotto family run the Castle which their grandfather bought from the first King of Italy. The family restored the original frescos and furniture. Here you’ll attend cooking lesson in classic Piedmontese dishes. Their winery has some of the oldest vintages going back to the 1850’s. Top wines are Verduno Basadone, Barbaresco Rabaja’ . 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. After this magical tour with iexplore.com, Langhe Roero will stay with you forever. For more information on this privately guided, dream luxury wine tour call us at 1-800 iexplore or visit iexplore.com Copyright Christina Tours, LLC less

  • World Heritage Sites

    Salvador de Bahia's Olodum Drums

    Salvador de Bahia's Olodum Drums

    The Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia, frequently called the Pelourinho, is extremely …moreThe Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia, frequently called the Pelourinho, is extremely rich in historical monuments dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Bahia was the first colonial capital of Brazil and the city is one of the oldest in the New World (founded in 1549 by Portuguese settlers). It was also the first slave market on the continent, with slaves arriving to work on the sugar plantations. The Olodum drum band here helps young people find a purpose in spite of poverty and crime. Unesco declared Salvador de Bahia a World Heritage Site. less

    Istanbul

    Istanbul

    Istanbul biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Her…moreIstanbul biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sultan Ahmed Mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. At its lower levels and at every pier, the interior of the mosque is lined with more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles in more than fifty different tulip designs. Dolmabahçe Palace, located in the Beşiktaş district on the European coastline of the Bosphorus strait, served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. Topkapi Palace was the Sultan's residence during Ottoman's times. Construction began in 1459, ordered by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople. The palace complex consists of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people, The Spice Bazaar, or Egyptian Bazaar is one of the largest bazaars in the city. Located in Fatih, in the neighborhood of Eminönü and is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar. The building itself is part of the külliye of Yeni Mosque, and rents from the shops within was intended to help pay for the upkeep of the mosque. The structure was designed by the chief court architect Koca Kasım Ağa, but completed by architect Mustafa in 1660. less

    Edinborough, a Unesco city

    Edinborough, a Unesco city

    The Old and New Town districts are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting some thirteen…moreThe Old and New Town districts are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting some thirteen million visitors a year. As a centre of the 18th century Age of Enlightment Edinburgh was nicknamed "Athens of the North", also earning the soubriquet Auld Reekie for its belching chimneys and insanitary living conditions. Historic Edinburgh is divided by Princes Street Gardens, reclaimed in the early 19th century from boggy land that was once a finger of the loch. To one side Edinburgh Castle perches on its volcanic crag, with the Old Town trailing down the ridge. The medieval plan is preserved and many buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Royal Mile leads away from the castle. There are market squares and squares surrounding major structures such as St.Giles Cathedral, begun in the 12th century. The Law Courts, Mc Ewan Hall, Surgeons Hall and Royal Museum of Scotland are also noteworthy. The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom in Scotland. The palace stands at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle. Holyrood Palace is the setting for state ceremonies and official entertaining. Holyrood Abbey was founded by David I, King of Scots, in 1128, and Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 15th century. Queen Elizabeth II spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies. less