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08.21.2017

Origins of alcoholic drinks are usually quite blurred, and in the case of vodka there is no exception to who the true inventor was. However, the word vodka today and in the past will always be synonymously associated with the Russian Empire. Despite the boozy battle of the Polish who tried to take claim the spirits origin, the word vodka comes from the Russian word voda, which means “little water”- confirming the doubts that its origins were indeed Russian. Often referred to as the ‘neutral tasteless spirit’, its body is mainly composed of water and ethanol with added notes of impurities and flavorings. Made through a distillation process of fermenting substances such as grains, potatoes and even fruits and sugar, vodka has long been considered on of the most loved and versatile spirits in the world. Beyond its versatility to be drunk straight on the rocks or also used as the main ingredient in popular cocktails, the divine benefit of drinking vodka is that its leaves no alcoholic smell on your body after consumption. Here are five classic vodka cocktails that will add a splash of flavor and zest to your vodka love affair- all the recipes are taken from the official archive of the IBA.  Moscow Mule The Moscow Mule is known for its simple and refreshing taste along with being a great entry level cocktail to enter the vodka-drinking playground.How to make it:  4.5 cl Vodka12 cl Ginger beer0.5 cl Lime juice, fresh1 slice lime in a highball glassCombine the vodka and ginger beer, add limejuice and garnish with a lime slice. Black Russian Created and crafted in the beginning of the Cold War, the Black Russian’s dark and mysterious composition was highly appropriate for the time.How to make it: 5 cl Vodka2 cl Coffee liqueurPour the ingredients into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes and stir gently.Note: for White Russian, float fresh cream on top and stir gently. Bloody MaryInvented by Fernand Petiot in the 1920s, this well-known hangover remedy cocktail was named after Queen Mary I of England. It features the perfect balance of heavy vegetable used to settle the stomach, salt to replenish the lost electrolytes and alcohol to relieve head and body aches.How to make it: 4.5 cl Vodka9 cl Tomato juice1.5 cl Lemon juice2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire SauceTabascoCelery saltPepperPour all ingredients into highball glass and stir gently. Garnish with celery and lemon wedge (optional). Screwdriver One of the first vodka cocktails ever created, this cocktail got its name from the American oil workers who discreetly added vodka to their orange juice while working jobs. Lacking a spoon to stir the drink, these workers replaced it with a screwdriver.How to make it: 5 cl Vodka10 cl Orange juicePour all ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice. Stir gently. Garnish with an orange slice. Sex on the beach As interesting as it name suggests, this cheeky cocktail has an interesting tail of its own. Created by a bartender in Florida in the 1980s during a competition amongst bartenders on who could sell the most peach schnapps, it was nameless until its inventor thought of the reasons why people come to Florida during spring break and resided at the conclusion of two things- the beach and sex.  4 cl Vodka2 cl Peach schnapps4 cl Cranberry juice 4 cl Orange juiceBuild all ingredients in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange slice.  

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08.17.2017

It takes two to tango. This is probably the very first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Buenos Aires, the city of the vibrant and sensual dance form beloved and admired all over the world. However, contrary to common belief, the tango is just one of the popular art forms that this vibrant diverse city has to offer, the second being Filete Art. Filete is a popular art form that was born in the early 20th century among Italian immigrants working in the wagon factories in Buenos Aires.Initially it was disregarded as an art form but gained tremendous traction as it was showcased on almost all the busses and wagons of the city, creating an iconic stance as a popular democratic and cultural practice. This stylized art form is highly recognizable due to its defining characteristics and elements such as the preponderance of vibrant primary colors, the use gothic and highly detailed lettering, the enclosure of each composition in a painted frame inspired by architectural elements at the time such as ribbon like spirals, and the use of symbolic imagery in the picture (for example, the horse shoes for good luck).   Today, Filete is an iconic symbol of the Buenos Aires identity, and it is seen everywhere form shop windows, buildings and even on vehicles. One artist that is bringing this art form alive is Alfredo Genovese, a renowned Argentine fileteador and author who puts a contemporary spin on this classic art form and has had a profound influence on its popularity in recent times. Spotting this distinct art isn’t hard in the city: it can be easily found on the streets of San Telmo and on Jean Juarès. If you want to cop some of these artistic pieces for your return, be sure to visit the San Telmo Market.  

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08.10.2017

Miraval is not your typical self-improvement resort. Located in the Sonoran Desert in Tucson Arizona, this magical getaway is the ultimate promised journey to wellness and life balance. The combination of services and hand-on workshop offered at Miraval Resort supports its ongoing mission to achieve the utmost excellence and serenity within the environment. Beyond the ordinary, Miraval offers an abundance of activities and experiences such as solo cooking classes with a personal chef, cocktail mixology, organic food harvesting, outdoor excursions and physical obstacle courses. One of the most enlightening activities offered at Miraval Resort is it's beekeeping program called “Honey: A Sensual Journey”- where beekeeping enthusiast Noel Patterson teaches the ins and outs of bees and their importance to the ecosystem and food chain.   Formerly a wine distributor, Mr. Patterson has curated Miraval’s very own bee community and resident apiary where he harvests honey to be used in the kitchen and for spa treatments. While educating guests about the current affairs of declining bee population globally is an crucial component to the workshop he also advises guests how to set up their personal backyard beehives to combat such effects. Like wine, honey reflects different notes and flavors depending on its region. Through sampling and tasting, guests are able to taste the honey straight from hive unveiling sensual notes and flavors they way you would when you sip a glass of wine. Bees have, and always will play a pivotal role in our daily lives. These small creatures are the reason why we enjoy fruits, vegetables and even a strong coffee in the morning. Miraval teaches us not to take these small but powerful creatures for granted.  

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08.07.2017

Unlike other classic spirits such as bourbon, scotch and tequila which can easily be differentiated through ingredients, location and origin, gin’s tale of definition is not as clean cut. Defined solely by its flavor, gin is made by distilling fermented grain and a number of different botanicals, including juniper - a female seed cone which has the appearance of a berry and can only be picked wild - which must be predominant in the taste. In other words, what gin is to one person may be completely different to another, as there is enormous diversity in how different gins taste. The best way to actually taste gin for comparisons is at room temperature diluted with equal amounts of water to unveil is flavors and flaws. Despite its sometimes misleading nature, gin represents one of the staple ingredients for the most classic cocktails in history. Here are five classic gin cocktails to inspire your summer boozing needs - all the recipes are taken from the official archive of the IBA.  MartiniContrary to popular belief, Martini is meant to be stirred and not shaken. Shaking a Martini actually binds ingredients that would normally be separated with stirring ,reducing the overall complexity of its flavors.How to Make It:  6 cl gin1 cl dry vermouthPour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain in chilled Martini glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel onto the drink, or garnish with olive. NegroniBorn from the classic Americano (Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda), the Negroni was invented by Count Camillo Negroni in 1919, when he traded the club soda for gin to add a little extra zing to his drink.How to Make It: 3 cl gin3 cl Campari3 cl sweet red vermouthPour all ingredients directly into old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir gently.Garnish with half orange slice. GimletWho says medicine can’t taste delightful?  Originally created as a natural remedy to fight scurvy for sailors in the British Royal Navy, Gimlet is the simplest and most refreshing drink on a summer day.How to Make It: 6 cl gin1 cl rose lime cordialStir & strain into chilled Martini glass. Garnish with lime zest. Vesper A close contender to the Martini, the Vesper is composed of gin, vodka and Kina Lillet.  The Vesper was the first "martini" to introduce vodka to the mix. Unlike the classic Martini this drink should be "shaken, not stirred."How to Make It6 cl gin1.5 cl vodka0.75 cl Lillet BlondeLemon twist (garnish)Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the garnish. Angel Face Inspired by the famous gangster of the American prohibition (Angel Face), this fully rounded and balanced cocktail has a sweet aftertaste thanks to fruity notes of apple and apricot. It pairs perfectly with a summer desserts such as tarts, apple crumble or cheesecake.How to Make It3 cl calvados3 cl gin3 cl apricot brandyPour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into a cocktail glass. 

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08.07.2017

   Located in Kawagoe, prefecture of Saitama, Coedo Brewery boasts a history of craftsmen using the best ingredients to make unexcelled beer. The area of Kawagoe was called Koedo in the Edo period, and was considered as the kitchen of Edo At Coedo brewery, you can enjoy a wide range of beers world, from the unequalled red Japanese beer made locally from sweet potatoes, to the golden Pilsner.Coedo Beer has won several prizes, including the iTQi Superior Taste Award in Belgium, the World Beer Cup, the European Beer Star and the Monde Selection.The collection is composed of five different tastes. KyaraRich golden brown with tinges of red, Kyara is made with aromatic hop that gives a faintly bitter flavour with nuances of white grapes and spicy citrus fruits, and five types of malt, for a medium body and a slightly higher alcohol content. It is fermented at low temperature with lager yeast. RuriClear gold with soft bubbles. It is a refreshing premium Pilsner with a perfect balance between deep flavour and hop bitterness. It can be paired with practically any meal. ShiroA wheat beer characterised by non-filtered, bright and smooth white colour. The sweet fragrance of the wheat malt blends wonderfully with the fruity nuances of the yeast, making the beer rich and refreshing at the same time. ShikkokuA long-aged beer with a vibrant brownish-black colour, obtained from 6 types of malt, including two black. It was named one of the best beers in the world. BeniakaA premium ale with a reddish amber colour. Its sweetness is given by a blend of local sweet potatoes with fine malt. Bottled without filtration, it is a rich original ale of Kawagoe. The premises in Kawagoe where Coedo Brewery was established were renovated and transformed them into the Coedo Craft Beer 1000 Labo, where you can enjoy all types of beer, including the limited editions. Furthermore, at the annexed restaurant Xiang Mai, you can explore the brewer’s creativity, by accompanying the beer with some modern Chinese delicacies, such as dim sum and rice-porridge.  

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Before becoming the heart and soul of London's Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design, where the new generations of design and fashion professionals are educated and trained, Susie Forbes has spent over 25 years working in the fashion and media industries and she now divides her time between London and Somerset. We had a chat with her about her idea of ethical fashion, the College and creativity in general. London and creativity are always associated. Do you think it is actually the most creative place in the world? SF: I think that creativity is pretty borderless now. London remains extremely dynamic but I don’t think that one can ring fence creativity with a single city anymore – everything, everyone is global. What is the role of your school within the creative industry and what is the concept and the foundation idea that drives all your choices?SF: The role of the Condé Nast College is to grant a unique educational offering to students looking to work in the fashion industry. Our programmes are defined by academic rigour, extraordinary industry connectivity and the amazing career outcomes that result from having studied with us. Ecology and green life today are exploited by many fashion companies as their most important asset, yet sometimes we feel this is more a marketing message than a true belief. What's your point of view on this? SF: I think that, despite the best efforts of a few very progressive companies, the majority of fashion businesses still remain pretty quiet on this issue. Let’s hope that the minority can continue to engender change among the wider majority. Fashion has the biggest social and environmental impact after chemical and oil industries. An “ethical” approach to fashion is much needed nowadays, yet where do we start from? Is this up to fashion companies, political institutions or consumers? SF: I think it needs to be a combination of all three which, as we already know, makes the picture very fragmented. Can education be another starting point for these changes? SF: Ethics and sustainability are embedded into our core curriculum and the students are highly engaged with all of the associated issues. I do believe that their behaviours/approach as they start their careers in fashion will be far more conscientious than a lot of the generation before them. With over 1,500,000,000 clothing items produced every year, fast fashion has profoundly changed the way people consume clothing items. Yet is this still working or are consumers starting to react to fast consumption?SF: Between the students and my three teenage daughters I really notice a change in how and where they like to shop – and their preference for second-hand/thrift/charity store clothes is certainly a reaction to fast consumption.  What do you think of the now very widespread phenomenon of great fashion designers creating capsule collections for mass market brands?SF: I think that some of the collaborations are better than others but broadly speaking I feel it’s a win-win for the designers and the high street. When the trend first started there was nervousness around the idea for all parties but now there seems to be a new collaboration announced daily to it seems to have just become the new “normal”. Who is Susie Forbes in her everyday life? What do you like to do in your spare time?SF: My spare time is spent pottering about at home (in London and Somerset) with my friends, family and the world’s two most frenetic spaniels. If you could start a revolution on the planet what would be the first thing you would take into consideration?SF: I would begin by asking myself if what I am about to do is intrinsically kind to both people and the planet. 

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Carlo Scarpa must have loved his hometown dearly. Born in Venice in 1906, an old-school architect following the tradition of the great masters of the likes of Bramante, Palladio and Borromini - but also a great admirer of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright - Scarpa he has left the mark of his exceptional talent on many places across the city. These include not only new and imaginative spaces, but also major restoration works in which he managed to intervene with subtlety and respect for the past. One of the most significant examples of intervention on an existing building is the Querini Stampalia Foundation in Campo Santa Maria Formosa. The restoration of the sixteenth-century palace by Scarpa, developed in 1949 and carried out between 1959 and 1963, includes, in addition to the access bridge and the entrance, even the ground floor, which was constantly threatened by high water, and the garden, then completely abandoned. Scarpa was able to juxtapose new and old features with great skill, integrating the water into his project and indeed focusing on this element through the bulkheads, the large garden tub and a small canal at whose ends there are two labyrinths carved in alabaster and Istrian stone. "If you want to be happy for life, build a garden", once said the great architect. And the garden was in fact one his favorite themes. His famous Garden of Sculptures at the Italian Pavilion of the Venice Biennial, built in 1952 and recently renovated, plays with light, shadow and water. Three heavy elliptical columns support a canopy roof which is shaped as if three circles would have been subtracted from a rectangle. Another must-see of Scarpa’s Venice is the Olivetti Showroom in Piazza San Marco, a small store on two floors that Scarpa designed in 1958 after winning the National Olivetti Award for Architecture. Despite the small size of the space, the architect was able to add amazing transparency and make it breathe, once again perfectly balancing the modernity of his design with the Venetian architectural tradition. The project showpiece is undoubtedly the magnificent staircase with staggered steps, placed at the center of the entrance to break up the store space. Finally, Scarpa worked on the restoration of the two major city universities, Ca' Foscari and the Higher Institute of Architecture. The restoration of Ca' Foscari was carried out in two successive interventions, in 1936 and in 1956, on different areas, including the entrance and the Main Hall. The renovation of the Institute of Architecture, where Scarpa had taught and which awarded him an honorary degree in 1978 (he had graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vicenza) is actually posthumous. The project, developed between 1966 and 1976 but accomplished in 1984, involves the entrance of the athenaeum, where an ancient arch found during the restoration works was laid down horizontally turned into a decorative pool. 

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08.02.2017

As the most important meal of the day, breakfast sets the ultimate tone for a successful day ahead. Weather it’s sprinkled almond croissant in France, cold cuts in Germany or miso soup and rice in Japan; every country does the first meal of the day very differently. In this series we wish to explore the interesting breakfast meals and customs around the globe. Despite being world renowned for their rich high calorie meals and eating habits, Italians see breakfast as an unelaborate occasion and view this meal as a very quick start to the day. At home, they typically enjoy a light breakfast consisting of coffee paired with bread rolls, sweet dried biscuits or dried toast called fette biscottate spread with jam and butter. On the occasion they might opt for cereal with milk and yoghurt. When breakfast is eaten outside the home, at a bar or cafe it is typical to order a strong espresso, cappuccino or caffelatte accompanied by sweet pastries and viennoiseries such as cornetto (local version of the croissant). Regional variations of this fluffy treat include the Roman maritozzo which is filled with abundant whipped cream or the Neapolitan sfogliatella, a shell-shaped filled pastry also known internationally as ‘lobster tail’. Like any country, meals vary by region and season. Yet the classic Sicilian breakfast is probably the most tempting and refreshing one in Italy.  A delightful combination of a sweet soft bun (brioche) is complemented with a refreshing shaved ice sorbet known as granita. This summer loving sorbet is made in a variety of flavors, but to do and eat like a Sicilian, it is highly recommended to try the fresh lemon flavor.    

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07.31.2017

It is not unusual to lose one’s appetite in Tokyo’s sultry summer weather. Chilled noodles are a wonderful cure-all in such disagreeable conditions, refreshing to the throat and nutritious. Nowadays, hand-stretched noodles can be found all over the country, but Miwa sōmen are probably the most famous, with a history that goes back to 1,200 years ago. The name and shape may vary from place to place. By one name or another, sōmen are staples of the Japanese home in summer. A peculiar way of serving sōmen is nagashi-sōmen: the noodles are placed in flumes of bamboo, which run across the length of the restaurant, with cold water. As the sōmen pass by, customers pluck them from the flumes with their chopsticks and dip them in tsuyu, a sauce made with bonito flakes. The trendiest restaurants in the city also feature nagashi-sōmen. Here is where you can find them. Awa ya Icchō (Nakano)Run by a Tokushima-born owner, Awa ya Icchō is a restaurant open 24h/day serving handa sōmen, which are typical of Tokushima. The most popular entry on the menu is gomoku abura sōmen, noodles and vegetables in a flavourful broth. Other delicacies include sōmen with sudachi (a green citrus fruit) or tomato and yukke sōmen with marinated bigeye tuna and vegetables, paired with an excellent selection of sakés. Sakura (Nishi-azabu)All the dishes in the restaurant are made with carefully selected meat and vegetables grown with a reduced amount of pesticides. On the rooftop terrace you can enjoy “the beer garden course”, with sōmen and barbecued meat. Every year the owner goes to Tateyama and personally brings back bamboo flumes for the nagashi-sōmen, which customers can dip in a home-made tsuyu flavoured with ginger. Depending on what is in the kitchen that morning, you may have barbecued Saga beef, Sangen pork from Kagoshima or chicken from Miyazaki. Seasonal Cuisine Restaurant Funayado (Chōfu)The family of the owner has been involved in the farming business for generations. This reflected in the décor, which creates the retro atmosphere of an old private house, an interesting departure from everything else that you have seen in Tokyo. Bamboo is used to decorate the floor for a cooling effect. In summer sōmen come with tempura and chilled tomato, paired with beer or traditional ramune.  

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More and more companies and start-ups in the world are devoting their business to green economy, matching the need to create profits with a sustainable core business or a responsible attitude towards the environment. Here are five companies that have drawn our attention TreedomThe only platform in the world where you can have someone plant a tree for you and then follow it online. The trees are planted around the world by local farmers and you can see it photographed and geo-localized on the web. As it grows, your tree will absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and will offer fruits and opportunities to the farmers who are taking care of it. AirliteA technology in the form of a wall paint that can be applied to interiors and exteriors, Airlite absorbs pollutants (smog, bacteries, mold etc...) and purifies the air just like a plant if activated by natural or artificial light. AgroilsBy using a natural seed called Jatropha, Agroils develops sustainable biofuel and also focuses on the reuse of waste materials. Impossible FoodsA new and utterly delicious meatless burger free of hormones and antibiotics which consumes 95% less ground and 74% less water than meat, producing 87% less gas emissions. How? Mission Impossible! HaraThis start-up offers its clients a custom-made software measuring energy consumption. Already adopted by several large companies, Hara allows you to estimate your carbon footprint and to act accordingly. Once you know, you can do something!  

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07.26.2017

Long before it became a great city, London was a major port on the River Thames. The river, which appears almost unnoticed from its source in the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire, reaches widths of up to 240 metres in the capital, and then continues its journey to its estuary and the North Sea. Since the year 50, when the Romans founded Londinium, all the country's most crucial historic events have taken place along the banks of the river; the Thames however is more than just a silent witness to the history of the city: it is itself the protagonist, it is "liquid history", as the British politician John Burns once said. A journey along its banks therefore brings to mind all the periods of history that the city has been through. Beginning at the eastern outskirts of the city, the first thing you meet are the huge barriers, built between 1974 and 1984 to protect London from high tidal waves that still occasionally threaten the city. Continuing west through an industrial landscape, you reach the meander that encloses the Millennium Dome and The O2 arena's large entertainment complex, on its southern bank. Here, we are right in the middle of new millennium London, something that is also reflected on the other side of the river by the ExCeL (opened in 2000) and Canary Wharf, which is dominated by its famous pencil shaped skyscraper, One Canada Square. The large London Docklands area also starts here: these are the former port areas where warehouses for goods transported by ship once stood. They were subject to a major restoration project in the 80s and 90s, turning them into sought after commercial and residential areas. In Greenwich, where the prime meridian passes through London and where the famous Observatory has stood since 1675, there are many traces of history linked to the life of the river, such as the Old Royal Naval College and the Cutty Sark, the last of the tall ships that sailed to and from the East Indies, transporting tea and wool. The nineteenth-century Tower Bridge acts as an ideal portal to the long stretch of the Thames that flows through the centre of the city, where you can journey through the most important periods and events of London's history. Today, this great drawbridge acts as a crossing between monarchical power, whose ancient emblem is the Tower of London, originally built as a royal residence, and the city's present day power, which sits in the futuristic, glass City Hall designed by architect Norman Foster. On the north bank you will then find The Monument, the column erected to commemorate 1666's Great Fire of London, and the majestic symbol of Anglicanism, St Paul's Cathedral, with the City behind it. On the southern bank, however, is the Shakespearean London of Southwark, one of the city's oldest settlements, with its magnificent cathedral and the reproduction of the legendary Globe Theatre - and there is also Renzo Piano's The Shard (2012), the city's tallest skyscraper. In the midst of this is London Bridge, the oldest bridge in London. Although the current structure dates back to 1973, London's first bridge was built right here in wood, by the Romans in the year 50. Until 1831, just a little way to the east, stood the historic London Bridge built in 1209. After the shallow profile of the Millennium Bridge, the river leads you to massive former power station that houses the Tate Modern art gallery on one side and the benches overlooking the river's romantic Victoria Embankment on the other. Here we're in the centre of tourist London, unfolding over the curve of the river with the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, where English monarchs have been crowned for a thousand years. Leaving these postcard views behind, we slip into the next curve, over the imposing building that houses the headquarters of the British secret service, and where the eye will lock on to a familiar sight: Battersea Power Station, the famous thermal power station that is immortalised on Pink Floyd's renowned Animals album cover. On the opposite bank, the affluent residential area of Chelsea makes way for Fulham where the ancient Fulham Palace (704), with its magnificent landscaped garden, still stands on the banks of the river. Then there is Hammersmith, a former industrial neighbourhood that once housed the famous Osram lamp factory. Just west, in Chiswick, former home of the famous Chiswick Records label (1975-1981), is British Grove Studios, the recording studio belonging to former Dire Straits' frontman, Marc Knopfler. We have now reached the western edge of London. While the affluent, green Richmond, which has always been the retreat of the royals and England's rich and famous lies to the south, our walk continues and comes to a end on the north bank, at Twickenham. Here, in addition to the English National Rugby Stadium, is a small island in the river known as Eel Pie Island, which, curiously, has a prominent role in the history of English music. Until 1967, the island was home to a famous hotel, the Eel Pie Island Hotel, known since the 20s for hosting great jazz musicians and, later, concerts by stars such as David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Pink Floyd. Even as I write the Eel Pie Island Museum, a museum dedicated to that golden age of music, is being opened in Twickenham.  

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07.24.2017

From the herbs and flowers that grow in the mountains around Lake Como - and the passions of Marco Rivolta and his mother Gianna - a new gin called Rivo Gin has been born in Lombardy with a fresh, balsamic aroma, that is already promising to take the world by storm. We asked Marco to tell us more about this amazing venture. Why did you choose gin and not a more traditionally Italian spirit?MR: Gin is commonly perceived to be an English product but it must be said that the first traces of wine distillates with juniper infusions were born in Italy and date back to 1055. They can be found in the Compendium Salernitanum of Salerno's medical school. With Rivo Gin we wanted to create something that was different from Italian tradition but also tied to our region, Lake Como. And I think we succeeded. What are the secrets of a good gin, and yours in particular?MR: I think they're the same as any other product: ensure the highest quality throughout the production chain and be authentic. In Rivo we only use the best ingredients, and those which are local are selected and picked by hand from the mountains around Lake Como. We then take advantage of the one of the oldest distilleries in Italy's experience, to transform our botanical ingredients into a spirit. We always like to highlight this authenticity because it differentiates us from the world of more commercial gins. We know that behind the "foraging" mentioned on the label lies Mrs. Gianna Rivolta's work of picking and selecting ingredients. Is she a botanist by passion or profession? MR: Foraging is the art of sourcing herbs directly from nature. It is a task that requires patience and dedication and a team effort run by my mum, who is passionate about botany, along with a group of botany professionals and pickers. The fascinating and magical aspect of foraging, and botanical picking in general, is the ability to identify the botanicals. It seems obvious but in nature everything is green! Knowing how to recognise even the most obvious botanicals is not easy. Fortunately foraging is now growing in Italy, a few years behind the Nordic countries. In addition to the idea of picking, it brings in an intrinsic respect for nature and love of discovery. In their dishes, famous chefs are rediscovering many botanicals that were used by our grandmothers in the kitchen or for medical remedies. Gin is based on juniper however many other herbs (or "botanicals") contribute to the construction of the bouquet. Can you explain the process from picking to distillation?MR: We wanted RIVO's bouquet of flavours to come from local botanicals, in order to represent our and the product's connection to Lake Como, where we come from. We pick the botanicals 3-4 times a year but the wonderful thing is that it is influenced by many factors that are beyond our control and closely related to natural cycles: the rain, wind, sun and, not least, the timing of the seasons. Once picked, the various botanicals are individually distilled and subsequently put together. Let's talk about the label. It is really beautiful but also very complex and full of different references. Can you tell us about them? MR: For centuries, local women have searched the meadows around Lake Como for herbs and flowers to make medicines and remedies. The history books would call them witches. We consider them pioneers of unique potions. And it is the idea of witches and magic that inspired the packaging. Geometrical lines chase each other, creating abstract figures, which capture two elements of the region in their details: the mountains and the waves of the lake. In addition, the geometric lines hark back to Italian Rationalism whose birthplace was in Como. In general, the idea was to create a design that references Italian craftsmanship whilst still being modern and able to present itself on an international level. You have already been to London, the world's gin Mecca, with Rivo. How did it go?MR: I would say very well. We are being distributed in the UK. It is like going into the lion's den, but unlike other equally complex markets London is always open to new, and above all authentic, craft productsWhat is the perfect cocktail recipe to best appreciate gin, and Rivo Gin in particular? And what is your favourite recipe? MR: RIVO is quite a versatile product. My mum loves a classic gin & tonic. I love a Negroni. Just to level the playing field.  

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07.21.2017

A farm-to-table philosophy, a passion for innovative cooking techniques and a sustainable ethos: with these excellent ingredients, East Dining has definitely brought a breath of fresh air to the Australian restaurant scene.Located in Mount Martha, Melbourne, and surrounded by the stunning Mornington Peninsula, East Dining revolves around the idea of creating unique dishes where the ingredients such as seafood have been harvested fresh from the Peninsula waters and where the herbs used to garnish the dishes are foraged directly from the surrounding coastline.While allowing East Dining to create and enhance original and distinct flavors, using fresh locally sourced seasonal ingredients also reduces the restaurant’s overall impact on the environment, an aspect which is deemed very important as well as their ability to condone sustainable practices and minimize as much waste in the process. Beyond its sustainable ethos, East Dining uses innovative cooking techniques to create inspired dishes that reflect a sophisticated yet playful delight. The house favorites include their nitro caramel popcorn, which is drizzled with maple bacon, saltbush and chili, and their oysters, which are served with shaved scallop and beach herbs. The restaurant also offers foraging tours where staff members share their knowledge and expertise about hidden treasures from the ocean and land and what the surrounding area has to offer. These tours provide a great opportunity to gain insight about how natural ingredients of the peninsula can change cooking practices at home, unveiling the distinct potential for the use of fresh seasonal ingredients in your everyday life.   

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07.21.2017

Yakushima is a round-shaped island with a 130km circumference, located about 60km south-west of Cape Sata, forming part of the Ōsumi Islands, along with Tanegashima and Kuchinoerabu-jima. With an area of 500km², it is the seventh largest island in Japan. You can drive around Yakushima in about 2 hours. Despite being very small, Yakushima has as many as 46 mountains over1,000m-high, called the Offshore Alps. With 7,200-year-old cedars and a rich flora, Yakushima was registered as a World Heritage Site in 1993. 90% of the island is covered in approximately 1,500 plant species that make up 70% of the indigenous species in Japan. For its extraordinary biodiversity, Yakushima is known as “the Asian Galapagos”“It rains 35 days a month in Yakushima”. The saying was supposedly penned by author Fumiko Hayashi while doing research for her novel Floating Clouds, and clearly describes how rainy it can be in Yakushima. The steam rises from the warm Kuroshio Current over the mountains and forms clouds, causing heavy rainfalls from March to June. Even when the island is not struck by a typhoon, rain falls to different degrees at least once every other day in summer and autumn. Yakushima’s typical fauna includes the deer and the monkey, which are slightly smaller than common Japanese species, with an estimate of 3,000 deer specimens, and 2,000-3,000 monkey specimens. You can also see dolphins and large sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs from March to August. Trekking, climbing, waterfall explorations and photo tours are a few of the many activities you can do in Yakushima. If you are looking for something different and unique, you can take a tour, which includes a night walk in the woods and turtle watching, a mystical experience with Nature as a soundtrack. If you are lucky, you may see turtles coming ashore to nest and turtle eggs hatching. AccessEvery day there are five flights from Kagoshima Airport to Yakushima. It takes about 40 minutes by plane. There are also high-speed boats connecting Kagoshima and Yakushima in about 2.5 hours. Finally, there are also ferries which take about 3h45m. FoodThere are many specialities that you can have in Yakushima exclusively, like the flying fish, served both cooked and raw, or miso soup with shellfish and crustaceans. A popular ingredient, kibinago is a small fish of the herring family. Other delicacies include frog crab, broken-neck mackerel and deer. In addition to the local cuisine, a number of French and Italian restaurants, gelato shops and fancy cafés are available. AccommodationIn order to preserve the environment pristine, there are no large-size hotels and resorts. Guesthouses get the lion’s share. Notwithstanding its small size, Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima offers the amenities of a modern resort with spa. On the Yakushima Tourist Association website you can find information about guided tours and accommodation-Yakushima Tourist Association  

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07.19.2017

Its highest height is large enough to house an entire New York City block complete with 40 story skyscrapers, yet Hang Soon Dong Cave’s grand stature is not the only thing at large - it is also one of the world’s most in-demand tourist excursion, resulting in a two-year waiting list to experience this extraordinary sight up close and personal. Located in the heart of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam, the largest cave in the world is a fascinating natural cavity that was formed as a result of the mighty Rao Thuong River, which over time has eroded the limestone surface resulting in a craved out tunnel and later into an enormous sink hole in the earth’s surface.What make this cave even more mesmerizing are its magical openings to the sight of lush green jungles and fluffy clouds, which were created when the roof of the cave collapsed creating what is known as dolines. With its vast landmass and size it’s no wonder that that this underground eco-system has its own distinct localized weather system, lakes, rivers and jungle and has been described as something that offers a sort of out-of-body experience where one feels like they have been transported onto another planet. As caves goes, Hang Soon Dong Cave is considered to be fairly new. Its discovery was made by Ho Khanh, a native Vietnamese farmer in 1990. Despite his fascination with this unusual landscape and the sounds of underground water gushing, he was unable to find his bearing back to the Cave after his return. 18 years later, while hunting for food, Ho Khanh stumbled across the entrance to the enormous cave once again and was able to alert professional from the British Caving Research Association of the spectacular discovery. In 2013, the cave’s entrance opened to the public for the first time with Oxalis Adventure Tours having exclusive rights to providing 5-day tour excursions through the depths of the cave. This once in a lifetime experience is extremely physically demanding, involving a two-day jungle trek and river crossing in order to reach the entrance in which trekkers must first pass through the Ban Doong Ethnic minority village. The Oxalis Adventures tour includes two cave experts, three native guides, and two chefs to join along in every expedition to ensure a comforting “home away from home” feel.   

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07.17.2017

With lush rolling hills, breathtaking scenic views and a world of natural adventure, Carmeron Highlands represents the largest hillside landscape in Pahang, Malaysia. Today, as one of the more popular destinations for eco-travellers, much of the highland character remains untouched and altered reflecting its true British influence and charm that was infused through the British officers in the19th century during colonial encounters. What once was just a landmass of forest vegetation and hill sides is now home to a diverse population of inhabitants of indigenous, Chinese and Indian descent. However, human diversity is not the only one that flourishes in this landmass: the hillside are also home to an array of flora and fauna species along with extensive jungle trails that lead to cascading waterfalls, scenic spots and a variety of aboriginal villages. Due to its rich terrain and natural elements, the hillssides provided perfect opportunity for the local population to grow an abundance of tea plants, fruit and vegetables in the local farms, which they use to sustain their food supply. Other pleasurable and relaxing adventures to uncover in the hillsides are visiting the butterflies, strawberry and bee farms

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07.13.2017

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With rising population density in urban areas and food scarcity and diminishing able land reaching an all-time high, the demand to find alternative solutions to maintain the human food supply has never been more prevalent. Though not a new phenomenon, urban farms are gaining popularity all around the world, especially in the US and UK where commodity farms have been popularized for many years as a means to combat food shortages. Traditionally, most societies relied on rural farms to meet food supply needs. However, with the increasing capability and techniques of growing fresh fruits and vegetables for your own consumption, a super trendy affair has emerged where city rooftops, unoccupied warehouse and community gardens have been transformed into lush food centers for the urban population. Picking up swiftly on the urban farm movement is the bustling metropolitan city of New York.  Despite the abundance of towering skyscrapers, buildings and infrastructure, New York is home to a multitude of indoor farms and garden centers. Driven by the desire for fresh, locally produced and organic produce, urban farming advancements have been gradually reaching the limelight in New York. Some of the most popularized alternative farming techniques is hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics, which are normally considered to be the more energy efficient and sustainable options to greenhouse farming. Here is a guide to five of the most remarkable urban farms in New York City and the techniques these use to reap the most organic produce in the concrete jungle. Bell Brook and Candle RestaurantA true sustainable gem, this restaurant ensures that its ingredients and produce are indeed the freshness of the bunch. By supplying 60% of the produce to the restaurant from its automatic hydroponic system rooftop garden these green growers were actually the first restaurants in NYC to employ this “grow what you need” commercial technique.   Riker island GreenhouseRun by the Horticultural Society of New York, this greenhouse acts more as land-based therapeutics. Located in New York City’s main Jail complex, this is where inmates are taught crop rearing techniques and gardening skills as a means to create a meaningful connection between human senses and nature.  La Finca Del Sur/ South Bronx FarmersTucked away between the Metro-North Railroad tracks and a congested highway in the Bronx is the unusual site of a farmland. Operated by women of color in the Bronx, this hideaway farm is used as a community unifying space where providing a means of education through nutritional awareness to the surrounding communities is that the core of their initiative. Growing an array of fruits and vegetables that reflect a diverse ethnic background such as English lettuce and thyme they truly bind the society together with the love of organic produce. Gotham GreensAs one of the most recognized commercial urban green rooftops NYC, Gotham Greens represent one of the most sustainable farms in the country. Powered by 100 percent renewable energy, it uses various forms of efficient farming techniques that are able to reap 50% more crops that the normal greenhouse using 25 percent less energy. Brooklyn Grange Another one of the most eminent rooftop green house In NYC is Brooklyn Grange. With over 50,000 pounds of organic produce harvested annually, Brooklyn Grange prides themselves as the largest soil based rooftop farm in the world. Beyond producing and selling vegetables to customer they have also incorporated the use of egg-laying hens to produce organic, free-range eggs. 

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07.10.2017

An unusual site for the typical overcrowded vibrant coastline of Brazil, the serine sand dunes of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park stretch for miles and miles with blindingly white natural landscape.It is no wonder that the literal meaning of Lençóis Maranhenses translates to “Bedsheets of Maranhão” in Portuguese: to the naked eye, this natural wonder resembles everything of picture perfect desert with horizons of white sand and little to no vegetation- but surprisingly its not.Located on the border of the Amazon Basin, Lençóis Maranhenses receives about 47 inches of rainfall annually. Here, the unique phenomenon occurs giving rise to this specular sight as fresh water collects in the valley between the dunes creating thousands of turquoise magical blue lagoons. At its peak, lagoon waters can reach up to 10 feet deep, making it ideal conditions for swimming and relaxing. Even though it’s hard to believe, life does exist on this park: interconnected lagoon link up with the neighbouring rivers creating a stream for fish to live amongst the temporary lagoons. In the dry season fish species such as wolfish spend the dry season dormant taking cover burred under the sand floors. With its immense beauty, these lagoons are only a temporary escapade. With the dry season approaching in the months starting In October, the winds begin to pick up and the sandy landscape becomes less bearable. The best time to visit the park is in July when the temperatures are scorching and the lagoons are at their deepest. To visit Lençóis Maranhenses​, it's best to fly into São Luís, the capital of Maranhão. From there, visitors can book tours or take public transportation to the town of Barreirinhas, which is located just outside the Park.   

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07.07.2017

The Caribbean, the land of pristine turquoise waters, magical reefs and the effortless and infectious island vibe. However, as one of the most popular tropical destinations in the world, it is sometimes hard to find peace and quiet among the large number of tourist jet setting from all over the world to enjoy these same pleasure. Have no fear; we have provided a list of three Caribbean under the radar destinations that offer everything from quaint seaside towns, plush beaches, slow paced mountain adventures and some of the world’s best underwater marine sites- all without the frustration of the crowd and masses.  Bequia – St. Vincent & the GrenadinesKnown as the “Small Little Island” this tiny under the radar paradise might only be 9.5 miles in size, but makes up for it with its enormous magical island charm. A true slice of paradise, Bequia (Beck-way) is the second largest island in the Grenadines and a popular destination for yachter, divers (over 300 diving sites around the island) and beach lovers alike. Its unique mountainous terrain makes it an ideal destination to enjoy the slow island pace, while been immersed in its lush natural flora and fauna. One of the more secluded and picturesque beaches these shores have to offer is Friendship bay.  Rarely ever crowded and only accessible by foot or water taxi, this beach will truly feel like it belongs to just you. AnguillaThis luxurious leeward isle will seem miles away from the crowed hustle and bustle typical of popular Caribbean islands. Anguilla’s rich local culture, beautiful beaches and scenic seaside towns makes it a popular destination among jet setters looking for a secluded genuine island experience. Though all Caribbean islands are synonymous for turquoise beaches, Anguilla is like no other. With more than 30 beaches island wide, each one perfectly unique and spectacular in one way or another, Anguilla provides nothing less than show-stopping beauty. Carriacou- Grenada Welcome to the island that uses the absence of things to enhance its meaning of genuine island life, just like it was 50 years ago. Carriacou (Carry-a-Cou), a small almost forgotten island of Granada, gives the perfect opportunity for pure relaxation and disconnection from the world as we know it. Here, most actives involve either being submerged under the crystal clear waters while snorkeling sensational reefs or experiencing the scenic view from the sandy white palm tree shorelines. All dive sights are graded based on proficiency; so beginners and more advanced divers can all enjoy the magical underwater marine flora and fauna.   

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07.07.2017

If you ask anyone, they will tell you that beer and gyōza are the best combination. Nowadays, from mere ramen side-dish, gyōza dumplings have become the pièce de résistance in a growing number of restaurants, where they are paired with wine and Japanese sake, in addition to the more traditional beer. This trend has brought about new variations on the theme, from traditional Japanese to ethnic, from casual to chic. Here below you will find a short list of gyōza shops to try out, alone, with your friends or on a date. Gyōza Shack (Sangenjaya)It is a New York style restaurant with wood-panelled walls, where the speciality is gyōza paired with wine and Japanese sake. The dumplings are prepared with Shōnai pork from Yamagata prefecture, garnished with organic vegetables and accompanied by a careful selection of wines and junmai daiginjō sake from Yamagata prefecture, such as TatenokawaGyōza & Tapas Rai-Mon (Shinjuku Sanchōme)Located at the heart of Shinjuku and operated by Marugo, Rai-Mon offers gyōza-based tapas and a rich selection of wines in a stylish ambience. Rai-mon’s forte is gyōza with no garlic that can be enjoyed without worrying about the morning after. On top of the usual hanetsuki grilled gyōza (“winged dumplings”), at Rai-Mon you can taste boiled gyōza seasoned with sesame, coriander or ginger, served with a Shanghai style sauce or in a spicy hot soup. Ikejiri Gyōza (Ikejiri)The restaurant was opened by famed chef Madame Rose after Higashi-Shinjuku’s Aoba closed down. Every item in the menu is a sure hit. The dumplings are strictly additive-free. They are served grilled and stuffed with shrimps, seasonal vegetables or chicken and coriander. The boiled version with ponzu sauce is pleasantly refreshing. Another recommendation is the tare sauce based on sambal from Bali and adjusted to the Japanese taste. As a starter, you can have a taste of one of each type, paired with a nice pint of beer. Chinkairō (Meguro)At this Asian-style shop located in Meguro you can have a beer and four types of gyōza: grilled, boiled, steamed or fried. The deep-fried dumplings stuffed with hand-squeezed vegetables are so irresistibly crispy you will just have another helping. Compared with the chive-rich boiled version, steamed gyōza have a softer dough and a clearer yet rich flavour. Finally, size is not something they skimp on at Chinkairō. Quality and quantity go hand in hand. Ryūkyū Chinese Tama (Shibuya)It is a famous shop named after its chef and owner Fumihiro Tamayose, whose grandmother was Shanghainese-born and whose mother was Okinawan-born. The cuisine is therefore a unique Shanghainese-Okinawan mix. The restaurant serves boiled shrimp wontons, with a soft texture and a rich flavour. The sesame and hot-chilli oil sauce will envelop your mouth with heat and extraordinary flavour. The drink selection is dominated by wine, with as many as 180 labels. 

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07.05.2017

New Orleans’ rich and vibrant cuisine is soaked in years of culture and history. Commonly referred to as the “melting pot” city, its distinctive cuisine is the result of the complex blending of cultural influences from African, European and Native American decent.   The quintessential New Orleans cuisine is defined through the tasty marriage of Cajun & Creole dishes and flavors, sharing interchangeable ingredients and commonly confused and mistaken as the same thing. However, there is a distinct cultural difference between the creations of these two styles.  For simplistic measures, Creole cuisine also known as “city food” originated from urban areas and it’s a unique mix of traditions, flavors and smells with influences from all over the world – France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Native America and Africa – relying on a wider variety of ingredients.  On the other hand, Cajun cuisine, referred to as “country food” originated from rural areas with influences from European and Native American cultures - the word Cajun stands for  Acadians, an ethnic group of former French colonists from the Acadia region of Canada who were later deported  to Lousiana - and its main feature is the abundance of seasoning.   Among the classics of Creole and Cajun are  gumbosoup, with shrimps, oysters, shellfish or meat,  po'boy  sandwiches filled with vegetables and fried seafood or meat, and  Jambalaya, a delicious spicy rice-based dish that somewhat reminds of Spanish  paella.  Since for many of these dishes there are both Creole and Cajun recipes, if you’re not an expert chances are you’ll keep mistaking one kind of cuisine for the other. Yet according to locals the best way to tell a Cajun from a Creole dish is the absence or presence of tomato, because Creole cuisine uses tomatoes and proper Cajun food does not.  As the only place to experience true authentic Cajun and Creole dishes is in Louisiana, here are three restaurants in New Orleans to whet your appetite.    R’evolution  Located in the heart of the French Quarter, R’evolution offers an imaginative interpretation of the classic Cajun and Creole ensemble. With a refined and elegant atmosphere, this eatery truly covers all bases with its exhaustible food choices and diverse flavors. On top of that, R’evolution features a custom-built glass and wood wine cellar featuring over 10,000 variations. A true cut above the rest and by far to most photographed and raved about dish is the famous “Death by Gumbo” which is spectacular in both flavor and presentation. This highly desired dish is made with boneless quail stuffed with rice, oysters and sauces served in a gumbo like soup.    Commanders  As one of the oldest continuously operating family restaurants in New Orleans, Commanders represents a true historic icon of restaurant royalty. Located in the middle of the tree-lined Garden District, this Louisiana Charm is highly distinguished by its commander blue stripes and historic storyline. A colorful and flavorful tribute to haute Creole cuisine, expect to experience the very best of classic New Orleans cuisine such as turtle soup, pecan-crusted gulf fish and the house favorite creole bread pudding soufflé drizzled with a whiskey cream sauce. Beyond its tasteful dishes, guest can enjoy up to three 25c martinis to accompany their meal- what a catch!    Galatoire’s  One of the most legendary and elegant restaurants; dinning in Galatorie is truly an experience to savor. Ushered and served by tuxedoed staff, this classic medley of French-creole cuisine is a hard one to come by and a favorite to the city’s most elite. With a no reservation policy for the main dinning room, guests are accepted on a first-come-first serve basis. A true local delicacy, the most popular time is on Fridays for lunch, where flocks of patrons gather in lines outside hoping to get a spot in the bustling vibrant main room where personal camaraderie between guest and waiters is the core of the dinning experience. The drinks are stiff and dishes such as stuffed eggplants and lump crabmeat blanketed by butter and artichokes are patrons most desired and loved. Galatoire is about as New Orleans as it gets.  

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07.03.2017

Australia, the land of iconic cityscapes, adventurous road trips and the wild outback is one of the most desired travel destinations in the world. It has immense diversity of breathtaking landscapes and terrains and an even more fascinating cultural history. Uncover its beauty from inside out with these five unusual places to visit on your journey through the outback.   The Pink Lake You truly have to see it to believe it: Australia is home to one of the world’s most astonishing mysteries, the pink lakes. Lake Hillier, a huge saline lake in Western Australia, is just one example of these bubble gum hue bodies of water that capture the imagination of many who witness them. This pink phenomenon is he pink colour is considered to be due to the presence of the organism Dunaliella salina. Explore it from the air and fully embrace this natural anomaly.   Camel Riding & Glamping  Saddle up and climb on board one of the many camels of the Australian Camel Experience. This tour takes you on a journey to the most breathtaking landscapes of Australia all in a comfortable ride. Explore the true natural environment from day to night with their overnight fully catered Camel Safari allowing for plenty of actives such as sightseeing, relaxing in a hammock or a fire wood dinner.      Slumber in an Underground Cave Hotel  With a vast abundance of aboveground natural landscapes to be discovered, Australia’s underground also deems to be a gem to be discovered. Transformed from an old opal mine, Desert Cave Hotels provides a unique 4 star quality accommodation to those willing to experience the “dug out style of living”.  Just like any other hotel, Desert Cave Hotels provides shops, bars, display areas and dining experiences all through the depth of the underworld.    Be In Two Places at Once    Ever wanted to be in two places at the same time? Cape Tribulation is the only place in the world where two World Heritage areas collide- The Great Barrier reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Not only does this give birth to a magnificent landscape scene where turquoise waters meet lush verdant forest, but also the Daintree is one of the world’s most ancient and primeval forests.    The Sinkhole to Eden Nothing might seem particularly magical about a natural sinkhole; however, Australia’s Umpherston Sinkhole has been transformed into a one of a kind fantasy garden. Known as the“ Sunken Garden”, this natural disaster formed when the ceilings of a number of small caves collapsed together leaving a large crater in the earth surface. Today, its depths and floors have been transformed into perfectly manicure rows of lush vegetation and blooms. At night, it comes alive with floodlights and is a regular gathering sight for locals and visitors.  

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06.29.2017

Resort trains are the latest trend in Japan, with all sorts of comforts, where the ride is more important than the destination. If you are in Tokyo, Izu Craile provides the perfect weekend getaway, offering a wondrous journey across the beautiful landscape of the southernmost part of Izu Peninsula, in a comfortable space and with the most delicious food. Izu Craile is a four-car train running from Odawara to Izukyū-Shimoda Station. You can enjoy the magnificent sea view while sitting back in different types of seating fashions, be they the ordinary face-to-face arrangement, the counter or the compartment seating. The ride also has a slow side to it, since a number of brief stops will allow you to fully enjoy the scenery from the train window. The interiors are elegantly decorated with sakura, sea breeze and ripple motifs. One further point of appeal is the bentō, assembled and packed under the supervision of Sakura Akimoto, the owner and chef of the renowned French restaurant Morceau, with the freshest ingredients of the area, original sweets and craft beer from Izu. The users of car no. 3 are also free to partake of the all-you-can-drink wine bar. The functional amenities and the tremendous attention to the details will make your Izu Craile ride a truly unique experience. 

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06.28.2017

Radiohead, July 5, Manchester Arena, Manchester (UK)A rare opportunity for experiencing the live performance of the acclaimed A moon shaped pool album outside the summer festival circuit. And hopefully, the twentieth anniversary of Ok Computer will be the excuse for a complete performance of the band’s masterpiece album Primal Scream, July 14, Convento dell'Annunziata, Sestri Levante (Italy)From the psychedelic years of Sonic Flower Groove and the lysergic electro sound of the 1991 masterpiece Screamadelica, Primal Scream have never ceased to astonish and change. And if you wish to be surprised again, just head to the beautiful Convento dell’Annunziata in Sestri Levante, Italy. Coldplay, July 15-16-18, Stade de France, Paris (France)It is no coincidence for a band to reserve three dates of their tour to perform to one of the largest stadiums in the world. And since their hit single Yellow, Chris Martin & friends have scored hundreds of concerts and millions (over 80) of copies sold.Bjork, July 30, Naeba (Japan)The former Icelandic enfant prodige returns with a mini-tour whose most striking date is - no doubt - that of the Fuji Rock Festival, the major Japanese festival taking place in the green mountain resort of Naeba. Erykah Badu + Mary J. Blige, July 12, Piazza Napoleone, Lucca (Italy)In the beautiful setting of Lucca Summer Festival’s Piazza Grande, controversial soul singer and songwriter Erykah Badu meets  the ‘Queen of Hip Hop-Soul’ Mary J. Blige. U2, July 22, Croke Park, Dublin (Ireland)U2 come back home for the tour that commemorates the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree, the LP that turned them into rock legends. To fans’ delight, the 1987 album will obviously be performed in its entirety. Muse, July 22, Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh (USA)Enjoy one of the most spectacular and theatrical rock bands ever performing at one of the greatest and most extravagant US concert venues, the Jones Beach Theater, whose peculiarity lies in its unique location, with the stalls’ staircases of the clinging to the shores of Zachs Bay and the stage suspended above the waterThe Who, from July 29 to August 11, Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas (USA)For die-hard mods and for those who have never seen Pete Townshend live as he spins his right arm before hitting his Fender during Baba O'Riley's intro, this dates held at the legendary Colosseum in Las Vegas may be just the right opportunity. Feist, August 2, Circus Krone, Munich (Germany)Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist, who rose to fame 10 years ago with her hit single 1234, takes her Pleasure to the unusual setting of the bizarre and colorful Circus Krone in Munich, one of the few permanent circuses still active in EuropeInterpol, August 13, Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade (Serbia)This summer, the standard-bearers of the early 2000s post-punk revival will celebrate their 2002 debut album Turn on the bright lights. Among the most fascinating tour dates is the one in Belgrade's Kalemegdan, a medieval fortress at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Van Morrison, August 13, Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle (Northern Ireland)If you are near Newcastle in mid-August, take the opportunity to see the man who wrote some of the most beautiful songs of the last 50 years - Glory, Brown-Eyed Girl, Domino, Wild Night - sing in the intimate atmosphere of the Slieve Donard HotelBelle and Sebastian, August 16, Chicago Theatre, Chicago (USA)Stuart Murdoch takes his Belle and Sebastian's bedroom pop from Scotland to the architectural splendor of the early 20th century Chicago Theatre. Patti Smith, August 16, Stadtpark, Hamburg (Germany)For 40 years, the huge and green Stadtpark in Hamburg has been hosting some of the best open air concerts in Germany. This summer, among others, the park will play host to American art rock veteran Patti Smith. Depeche Mode, September 9, Madison Square Garden, New York (USA)They managed to survive a career in synth-pop and never ceased to look for new sounds and ideas: over 35 years after their first LP, Depeche Mode return with a concert at Madison Square Garden that promises to be a true celebration. Gorillaz, September 18, Fox Theatre, Detroit (USA)The emblem-band of 21st-century cultural and musical crossover takes its live act to an icon of the twentieth century: the impressive Detroit Fox TheatreJesus and Mary Chain, September 21, Liverpool Olympia, Liverpool (UK)For many, the release of Damage and Joy was a real surprise: nearly 20 years have passed since the previous Jesus and Mary Chain album. And knowing the band’s low prolificity, fans would better not to miss this Liverpool Olympia Theater date. Beach House, September 23, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles (USA)Baltimore-based dream pop band performs in one of the world's most famous amphitheatres, the historic Hollywood Bowl, where artists of the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Kanye West, the Beatles and Nine Inch Nails have played from the late 1920s. Fleet Foxes, September 27, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Red Rocks, Morrison (USA)The flagship band of American indie-folk music is finally back after over five years. There will be plenty of tour dates and occasions to see them lives, but few locations can rival with the beauty of the Red Rocks natural amphitheater, immortalized in the famous U2 concert film Under a Blood Red Sky. Mogwai, October 22, Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht (The Netherlands)To promote their ninth album expected in Autumn, the Scottish post-rock band will tour Europe and North America. The date at TivoliVredenburg, whose halls have been designed to host the best contemporary European music ensembles, promises to be an acoustically perfect experienceFather John Misty + Weyes Blood, November 18, Sala Razzmatazz, Barcelona (Spain)He’s one of the funniest and most unlikely American songwriters of the next generation (and the former drummer of the Fleet Foxes), and she’s a rising star of the new psychedelic folk wave scene. This concert at the iconic Sala Razzmatazz in Barcelona is the perfect opportunity to see them both live.  

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06.26.2017

A true reflection of its vibrant and booming downtown location in Beirut, Kaleo offers a contemporary and artful twist on European fine dining. This cosmic eatery was crafted through the talented vision of David/Nicolas design studio. Motivated by a retro-futuristic spirit and inspired by architectural details of Old Byblos Churches, this duo created a space where design ethos and fine details are the key ingredients to stimulate a culinary experience. Living in an abundance of color, hues of pale pink and blue are the main focus with balancing accents colors of fern green and white. As a crucial component of their visual codes, patterns and textures are seamlessly integrated through velvet fabrics on the furniture, popcorn-like texture finishes on the walls and geometric shape-like details on the walls, tables and floors. For Kaleo, the use of texture goes beyond perfecting interior aesthetics rather, acts as a human storyteller to unleash infinite emotions and arouse senses for their guest.   Specializing in creative European cuisine, dishes are prepared with the best sourced seasonal meat, fish and vegetables accompanied by delicate desserts that might seem too picturesque to consume. To spice things up, international chefs often visit for occasional residencies to provide their very own spin on European cuisine.  

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06.23.2017

“Aging well is an art, for men and rum alike”. This quote truly is an accurate depiction of the persisted craftsmanship, refinement and delicacy of rum making at Mount Gay Rum Distilleries in Barbados for the past 300 years. As the oldest active rum distillery in the world, Mount Gay prides itself on providing the best rum blends, using century old techniques and unparalleled excellence to carefully carve its distinct and complex edge in the spirit world. To understand a rum’s craft we must first know its history. Hundreds of years ago, settlers sailed the sea in search of lands with ideal climates and terrains for growing sugar cane -which they found on the island of Barbados. The knack and abundance of harvesting sugar cane soon developed into experimentation with rum distillation, setting the stage for Mount Gay Rum’s excellence for years to come. As complex as it is in taste and stature, crafting an exquisite rum only requires a few key ingredients. At Mount Gay, these hero ingredients consist of water, molasses (a byproduct of sugar refinement) and years of cultivated techniques and expert taste palates. One distinguishing element in the rum making process is the use of wooden barrels - specifically, American white oak barrels that once contained American whiskey. As the rum matures it becomes smoother and rounder, infusing and harmonizing smokey oak notes and hints of whiskey along the way. Such a thoughtful technique seems purpose driven, but this distinctive process was actually stumbled upon accidentally when wooden barrels were used to transport rum across the sea. On its arrival, the rum was considerably superior and complex in taste. Creating a master blend can be an unpredictable and delicate process, especially in a warm climate where evaporation occurs 5 time more than the average rate. According to the master blender at Mount Gay Allen Smith, equal amounts of persistence, balance, flavor and pleasant arrogate are the cornerstone to a perfect blend. How to Drink your Mount GayIn the first casino scene in Casino Royale, where Bond wins the Aston Martin DB5 in the One & Only Club, he orders “a Mount Gay Rum with soda”. How you drink the renowned Mouth Gay rum is totally up to you, and how your feeling, but the classic way to enjoy this invigorating drink is on straight ice or mixed with your desired soda. If you ever have the pleasure, add drinking a rum and coke at one of Barbados’s many rum shops island wide to your bucket list. Mouth Gay Rum offers a unique experience to tour the distillery in Barbados, inviting guests to discover the mysteries and secrets behind Barbados’ finest and most celebrated spirit - all while sipping on rum blends which date as far back as 1703. 

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06.21.2017

The domino effect of overproduction and food waste continues to haunt our environment daily. Toast Ale, a British brewer, has unlocked the creative solution to sustainable beer production by turning fresh bread scraps and surplus into crafted ale beer. Tristram Stuart, the mastermind behind this venture, has been battling issues surrounding food waste for over 15 years. As an environmental activist, Tristram founded Feedback, an international environmental organization that strives to fight food waste at every level of the food system. With 100% of Toast Ale’s profits going towards Feedback’s campaigning mission to influence governments, international institutions and change society’s attitude toward food waste, Stuart remains one of the most recognized and respected environmental activist of today.   We briefly spoke with Louisa Ziane, Chief Brand & Finance Office at Toast Ale, about how companies and consumers alike can reduce food surplus and its negative domino effect on the wider environment. “Food production is the biggest impact we have on the environment with huge amounts of resources - land, water, fuel and energy - going into producing our food resulting in negative consequences such as climate change.” Even though some levels of surplus are inevitable to prevent, she notes, “every effort should be made to keep it in the human food chain through redistribution or, where not possible, as animal feed”.  At Toast Ale, they stand by the statement: “if you want to change the world, you've got to throw a better party than those destroying it”. Through fun and inclusive means, their charitable initiative, Feedback, aims to create awareness and shift consumer expectations and preconceptions that “shelves can’t always be fully stocked with cosmetically perfect produce”. Creating an engaging community around a specific goal is at the core of their initiative, and “what better way to engage people than over a beer?”, Louisa Ziane remarks. With sustainability at the epicenter, Toast Ale sets the standard for eco- driven companies through distribution realignment and sustainable production processes. “We work with a sandwich maker situated very close to our brewery partner, and they deliver the bread as part of their usual distribution routes.” With expansion on the horizon, they plan to do so by setting up operations in the countries that they wish to expand, such as brewing American Pale Ale in New York rather than exporting it from the UK. In her final remarks, Louisa Ziane spoke about how we as consumers can participate in simple everyday rules and rituals to contribute towards the movement against food waste. “Consumers have huge buying power and can influence the practices of the supermarkets. The first step is to ask supermarkets to report their food waste figures, as this puts pressure on them to reduce whilst helping entrepreneurs identify opportunities to develop brilliant solutions. Also think about what you buy - we can prove consumers prefer taste and nutritional quality over cosmetic appearance by choosing to buy imperfect produce. And of course, do everything you can in your own home to reduce waste - only buy what you need and eat what you buy.”  

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06.19.2017

Situated in the heart and soul of Brooklyn,  1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge  provides a pure breath of fresh air to the bustling city life of the New York City. Committed to sustainability and preserving the environment, this sophisticated boutique hotel seamlessly combines eco-conscious designs and architecture with  refreshing nature inspired experiences  and services.  Entirely powered by wind energy, the hotel is conceived so that every facet and all its amenities speak to conserving the environment with complex rainwater reclamation systems, low energy light bulbs Throughout the hotel to custom blend hemp mattresses and  access to premium electric vehicles Tesla .  The 10-story sustainable oasis was thoughtfully constructed to preserve the environment, with more than half of the building materials being reclaimed  and woods and steel from old Sugar Factories and Distilleries Crow. Beyond its natural elements, most rooms of the hotel enjoy the luxury of  a full panoramic skyline view  of the iconic landmarks of New York City such as The Brooklyn Bridge and The Statue of Liberty.  The use of pure and natural elements is diffused mindfully throughout the hotel interior. Crafted by landscape architecture firm Harrison Green, the lobby opens dramatically to a 25-foot green wall, featuring an abundance of lush botanicals and rich fauna that are used to set the mood of a nature haven. Thoughtful touches of nature are also incorporated into the guest rooms and into an array of experiences and rituals offered to guests, including the Lobby Farm Stand  featuring the freshest ingredients grown by local farmers and purveyors within the community. Last but not least, guests have full access to the Bamford Haybarn Spa offering a wide selection of holistic treatments along with the Botanically inspired roof top cocktail bar.