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  • Great Chefs Of The World

    Tuscany Luxury Wine Tour Part 1

    Tuscany Luxury Wine Tour Part 1

    Castello di Tornano in the heart of Chianti (Gaiole in Chianti) makes an outstanding wine…moreCastello di Tornano in the heart of Chianti (Gaiole in Chianti) makes an outstanding wine from the vineyards surrounding it. The complex was a medieval castle from the 10th century, lavishly restored. The Ricasoli family of Castello di Brolio dates back to the 7th Century. An ancestor of the current owner Francesco, Bettino Ricasoli, was prime Minister of Italy in the 19th Century and invented the Chianti formula. The winery is the oldest in Italy. Badia a Coltibuono once an Abbey from the 11th century is now a charming hotel, restaurant, winery and cooking school run by the Stucchi Prinetti family dedicated to the preservation of the oldest traditions of the Chianti region. Poggio Antico in Montalcino is the highest elevation winery growing Brunello. An excellent Restaurant run by Chef Roberto Minnetti is on the premises preparing dishes steeped in Tuscan history. Castello Banfi at Sant’Agelo Scalo is owned by the Mariani family dedicated to producing superior wines on their large 6,000 acres estate, marked by technological innovation. An old farm complex in nearby Collupino serves as residence for guests of the Banfi winery. Montepulciano is a Medieval Renaissance town on top of a mountain in the province of Siena known for its “Nobile wine” only produced here. Valdipiatta, an awarded winery, produces the vino Nobile from Prugnolo and Lanaiolo grapes. The owner Mr Caporali runs a wine school educating visitors about wine varieties and growing techniques. He also runs Il Grifon D’Oro, a trendy restaurant and Il Poliziano, an historic cafe in the center of town. Contucci is the oldest wine cellar in Montepulciano holding tastings since Renaissance times. It is located in the main piazza overlooking Palazzo Comunale. Avignonesi is a combination of 4 estates growing awarded wines. It is also a farmhouse growing its own products for its kitchen and its store. The open farm kitchen serves local specialties. Relais San Bruno is an elegant boutique Hotel set among an olive grove and fruit orchard under the walls of Montepulciano. less

    Cooking with Zarela: Beat it!- Beaten egg

    Cooking with Zarela: Beat it!- Beaten egg

    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

    The Dolce Vita Journeys

    The Dolce Vita Journeys

    A sizzler for a 6 X 30' TV series Imagine traditions that have been unchanged for 5,0…moreA sizzler for a 6 X 30' TV series Imagine traditions that have been unchanged for 5,000 years. Where food and wine give way to art and culture. Watch men and women engaged in a ritual year after year to bring forth and nurture the best grapes the Earth can grow. Watch as they pick, crush, and ferment this precious juice until all their labors come to fruition. Watch Michelin chefs and humble cooks pick the freshest products of their regions and follow them as they create dishes that will titillate the senses and awaken every taste bud. Finally watch how chefs and sommeliers marry the food to the perfect wines to create magical communal experiences at the table. Wine and food are about family, culture and history. Meet a Tuscan who embodies it all, to the hilt. And in the castle restaurant the baron highlights his wines with innovative Tuscan dishes. 2,500 years ago The Romans built a column at the end of the Appian way in Brindisi. Winemaker Rubino tells us why the Romans loved the wines of Apulia made from Negroamaro grapes still grown exclusively here. His chef works hand-in-hand with the winemaker. You will learn about the secretive and fascinating world of truffles. You will learn why some wines acquire personality. How to identify a great red. You’ll get great tasting tips from great sommeliers. You will learn why wine comes first, food second and not the other way around. You will learn the fundamentals of pairing. In season 1 we’ll visit Tuscany, Piedmont, Umbria, Apulia, Croatia, and Napa. Journey with us through medieval towns, waterfront villages, ancient and new towns in the Mediterranean and America to experience the culture and lifestyles of the people making magic in the cellars and the kitchens. The Dolce Vita Journeys. Informative. Inspiring. Intoxicating. 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

    Luxury Wine Tour of Apulia

    Luxury Wine Tour of Apulia

    The region of Apulia at the heel of Italy has 1000 hours more sunlight a year than the re…moreThe region of Apulia at the heel of Italy has 1000 hours more sunlight a year than the rest of the country and its local sun drenched grapes make superb wines. On this trip you will meet some of the top winemakers of the region, taste their wines and be dazzled by Apulia’s undiscovered richness of wine, food and art . Join us on this spectacular tour. Castel del Monte in Andria is a 13th Century castle and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Carlo de Corato, Rivera’s owner says the unique terrain around the Castle combined with the cool breezes coming down from the Balkans are the reason for outstanding wines like Falcone. You’ll also taste other top wines like Cappellacio and Rupicolo. Mr. Cocevola oversees the working farm, and winery near Castel del Monte producing superior wines likeVandalo. Other good wines are Rosso Cocevola, Pampanuto and Il Tratto. La Corte in Fiore, Trani. Housed in a 16th Century building, this restaurant has won many awards for its seafood specialties. You will love it. Trani is a medieval town built on the Adriatic Sea with one of the most spectacular 13th Century Cathedrals right on the water. You’ll have special access to the cript with splendid frescoes and mosaics. Hidden in the midst of an ancient olive grove this 500 year old Masseria where you will be staying has been a fortress, a farm and a refuge for pilgrims. Today Masseria Torre Coccaro is a 5 star resort, a sublime mixture of Apulian rusticity and world class luxury 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. Enjoy strolling through the hilltop town of Martina Franca, a beautiful baroque city full of great churches and palazzos from the 17th and 18th century. Small fishing boats deliver the fish daily to the door of L’Ancora Restaurant built on the rocks right on the sea in Monopoli. Enjoy “crudo”, the Italian equivalent of sushi or their cooked specialties. Enjoy a free afternoon at Masseria Torre Coccaro with its own private beach on the Adriatic sea. For further pampering retreat to a cool spa built in in an underground cave. Ostuni known as "the White Town" is an architectural jewel with a striking medieval cathedral and endless winding streets to get lost in before your first glass of wine. At Torre Coccaro the Chef displays his remarkable skills at blending tradition with innovation using just picked seasonal foods grown locally on Coccaro’s land. A private yacht takes guests for swims in the crystal-water coves of Monopoli. Brindisi was a major port city during Roman times and a column still marks the end of the Appian way. Rubino is a family owned winemaker in Brindisi growing local varieties in vinyeards near the Adriatic sea. Luigi Rubino holds his wine tasting at the restaurant Penny, a hot spot on the harbour, housed in a 12th Century building in order to highlight food pairing. Enjoy a lunch with orecchiette, a local pasta specialty with fresh tomatoes and basil that works well with the red negroamaro. Then artichoke ravioli with shrimps sauteed in garlic and slivers of parmesan and tagliolini sauteed with squid and crabmeat, both served with the white malvasia called Giancola. Giancola is a beach on the Adriatic and the sea breezes give it its unique character. Rubino revived a 2000 year old indigenous vine called Sussumaniello producing a superb red called Torre Testa to be paired with red meat and aged cheeses. Cantine Due Palme in Cellino San Marco, is a co-operative of 1,000 growers specializing in local grape varieties like Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera and Primitivo. The Top wines Primitivo Ettamiano, Red Salice Talentino, Canonico Negroamaro, have consistently been winning awards. Taste their top wine Selvarossa with the enologyst and Winery 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. Go out on the town. Lecce at nite is a throbbing city in a magical setting. The original Leone de Castris was a Spanish nobleman who bought 10 thousand acres in 1665 planting olive trees and vines. The most famous is Five Roses born during World War II in discarded GI’s beer bottles when the wine became popular with U.S. top military brass. Taste the top wine of the collection: the Salice Salentino Donna Lisa. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the harbour from your Palazzo Papaleo, a 5 star hotel in a 17th Century palazzo next to the Cathedral. Walk around Otranto, a bustling sea side town with remarkable monuments from the Middle Ages. Meet the fishing boats as they unload their catch at the harbour with Chef Massimo of Vico Lopez Restaurant. You will pick the fish to eat at his restaurant that night. After this magical tour Apulia will have carved out a place in your heart forever. copyright Christinatours,LLC 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

  • Great Hotels Of The World

    Cruising the Nile on the Oberoi Philae part 2

    Cruising the Nile on the Oberoi Philae part 2

    From Essna the cruise on the Oberoi Philae heads south. Navigating the Esna locks takes…moreFrom Essna the cruise on the Oberoi Philae heads south. Navigating the Esna locks takes a couple of hours though local salesmen conduct a brisk business throwing their ware up to the decks…. The ship sails to Edfu. It is the second largest temple in Egypt after Karnak and one of the best preserved. The temple, dedicated to the falcon god Horus, was built in the between 237 and 57 BCE. The temple of Edfu is the largest temple dedicated to Horus and Hathor of Dendera. Kom Ombo stands on a promontory at a bend in the Nile and is one of the most spectacular settings of any of Egypt's river temples. The temple was located in the ancient city of Pa-Sebek, "the Domain of Sobek", who was the crocodile god. The Nile flows among amber deserts and granite mountains to Aswan , a beautiful African city in a great setting. A short ride from Aswan is the beautiful Philae Temple on the island of Agilika, dedicated to the goddess Isis. The Oberoi Philae ranked 3rd in BEST SMALL SHIPS OF THE WORLD awarded by Conde' Nast Traveller, USA in 2009 http://www.oberoihotels.com/oberoi_philae less

    EXPLORING MADRID: THE PASEO DEL PRADO ARTS DISTRICT

    EXPLORING MADRID: THE PASEO DEL PRADO ARTS DISTRICT

    Four major museums, a world-class botanical garden, and culinary delicacies whet one’s ap…moreFour major museums, a world-class botanical garden, and culinary delicacies whet one’s appetite through this enticing taste of the alluring arts district of the Paseo del Prado in Madrid. Join Iris Brooks and Jon H. Davis of Northern Lights Studio as they explore Spain’s vibrant capital city in a cultural feast for all the senses. less

    Angkor Village Resort

    Angkor Village Resort

    Near the Angkor archeological park, Angkor Village Resort features an elegant wooden pala…moreNear the Angkor archeological park, Angkor Village Resort features an elegant wooden palace, exquisite spa and beautiful cottages set amongst lush tropical gardens and along a unique river-shaped pool. less

  • World Heritage Sites

    Split Diocletian Palace

    Split Diocletian Palace

    Split is a World Heritage Site on the Adriatic coast of Croatia with a very old history: …moreSplit is a World Heritage Site on the Adriatic coast of Croatia with a very old history: it has an amazing old city built inside the huge palace built by the Roman Emperors’ Diocletian. Diocletian built the massive palace in preparation for his retirement on 1 May 305 AD. It lies in a bay on the south side of a short peninsula running out from the Dalmatian coast, four miles from Salona, the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. After the Romans abandoned the site, the Palace remained empty for several centuries. In the 7th century nearby residents fled to the walled palace to escape invading barbarians. Since then the palace has been occupied, with residents making their homes and businesses within the palace basement and directly in its walls.[1] Today many restaurants and shops, and some homes, can still be found within the walls. This palace is today, with all the most important historical buildings, in the centre of the city of Split. Diocletian's Palace far transcends local importance because of its degree of preservation. The Palace is one of the most famous and complete architectural and cultural features on the Croatian Adriatic coast. As the world's most complete remains of a Roman palace, it holds an outstanding place in Mediterranean, European and world heritage. less

    Khajuraho Temples, a World Heritage Site

    Khajuraho Temples, a World Heritage Site

    the temples at Khajuraho with their intricate carvings from the Kama Sutra, are a famous …morethe temples at Khajuraho with their intricate carvings from the Kama Sutra, are a famous celebration of love. The Khajuraho Group of Monuments date from around 1000 AD, when the Chandella Dynasty ruled this area. Originally there were 85 temples, of which only 22 still exist. There are both Brahman and Jain temples at the site. The temples, a World Heritage Site are beautifully decorated on the outside: bands of sculptures surround the walls. These depict life in the time of the Chandellas. less

    Yangtze River cruise part 3 Huangshan, a World Heritage Site

    Yangtze River cruise part 3 Huangshan, a World Heritage Site

    Set in the midst of the most rural China is the dramatic Yellow Mountain, the subject of …moreSet in the midst of the most rural China is the dramatic Yellow Mountain, the subject of chinese paintings for two thousand years. Huang Shan (meaning Yellow Mountain) is a mountain range that has played a leading role in the cultural, literary and artistic history of China because of its scenic beauty. It has attracted a large number of poets, painters and other artists. Its attraction lies in the peculiar shapes of the granite peaks, in the weather-shaped Huangshan Pine trees, and in views of the clouds from above. The area also has hot springs and natural pools. The Huang Shan are located in southern Anhui province in eastern China. The mountain range comprises of 77 larger peaks. The mountains were formed in the Mesozoic, about 100 million years ago, when an ancient sea disappeared. Unesco declared Huan Shan a World Heritage Site less