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Tag-Archive for "cooking school"

Day 19: Heaven Can Wait Oct 23

Rolling up the extra-wide driveway, a massive city gate looms into view. The uniformed sentry waves us through. Hmm, a full parade with floats and marching bands could easily fit on this road. It’s a sign of things to come.

Thailand T2 FAM 351In the distance, a sprawling complex appears with the main reception building in the center. We have been transported back in time and space to a recreation of a Lanna kingdom. The buildings are super-sized and rich in architectural detail. No, it is not a theme park but the impressive Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai.

I have to admit that I was quite unprepared for an entire village comprised of Asian-style palaces and villas plus colonial mansions within this 60 acre lush tropical landscape. We were only here for a one hour inspection tour and not staying overnight. But I can certainly tell you about every category of accommodation and all the facilities since we saw them all. Several things are apparent: large quantites of teakwood were used in  the construction of this resort. There are no mere hotel rooms here. The suites, single story villas and double story villas are all sumptously decorated.

Thailand T2 FAM 349The grounds are so extensive that guests are given a map and complimentary golf cart shuttle service. You could easily spend a week just exploring within the gated walls. There is an organic vegetable garden, working rice paddies (with water buffalo!) and a crafts village. The Thai cooking classes take advantage of the home grown produce as do the many themed restaurants on site. Of course, there are swimming pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, yoga and tai chi classes and even a championship golf course nearby (off property).

The real jewel in this crown is the Palace of Wellness, their Dheva Spa and Holistic Center housed in a separate Mandalay-inspired grand palace of its own. The center offers an extensive menu of Ayurvedic treatments, massages, aroma and aqua therapies.

This is truly a fantasy resort. A little over the top for my taste. But it all makes me wonder what heaven looks like.

For now, heaven can wait.

Day 11: Some Like It Hot Oct 14

Thai cuisine has gained worldwide popularity for its unique blend of flavors: sweet, sour, salty with fiery spice.  Dishes combine the best Asian ingredients with fragrant spices such as lemongrass, mint, cilantro, coconut or citrus and of course, ripe red or green chilis. These tasty concoctions are served over rice or noodles.

Some famous menu items include satay, appetizers of charbroiled chicken, beef or pork on bamboo skewers with a side dish of peanut sauce; tom yum, a hot and sour shrimp soup; pad thai, a noodle dish stir-fried with shrimp, chicken, eggs, bean sprouts topped with peanuts as a garnish; and various yellow, green or red vegetarian or meat curries.

This is not the time to be macho and ask for your meal to be prepared “Thai hot” unless you enjoy the sensation of a mouth on fire while sweat pours down your forehead onto your bright red face. They can provide as much heat as you can or cannot endure. The point is to enjoy ALL the flavors.

jackfruit

 jackfruit 

For dessert, coconut sticky rice is offered with slices of sweet juicy mango. Many other exotic tropical fruits are widely available. We are all familiar with naturally sweet pineapples, bananas, papaya and watermelon. You will also find guava, lychee, rambutan  and jackfruit. Mangosteen has a hard purple nut-like shell protecting the soft white delicate flesh inside. And pomelo is akin to grapefruit.

mangosteen

If you care to participate in the sensory experience of preparing and enjoying an authentic Thai meal with a Thai chef, there are 2 very famous cooking schools in Bangkok: the long-standing program at the Bangkok Oriental Hotel and another at the Blue Elephant Restaurant and Cooking School.

Whether you live to eat or eat to live, bon appetite my friends!

Category: Asia, Thailand  | Tags: , , , ,  | Comments off
Day 6: Wine by the Glass Sep 09

In recent years,  award winning, full-flavored Australian wines have been exported all over the world as a hot commodity. It’s time for a little day trip out into the picturesque countryside to sample some aussie wines not available elsewhere.

The Hunter Valley is a 2 hour drive north of Sydney and claims to have about 90 wineries within the region. It is Sydney’s equivalent of San Francisco’s Napa Valley.

hunter-valley-wine-tasting-2The Hunter Valley Wine School has a 2 hour wine experience at its on site winery program showcasing how wine is produced from grapevine to bottle. The tour portion takes you from the Shiraz vineyards to the crushers and fermenters and finally to the tasting cellar.

 

hunter-valley-wine-tasting-1The cellarmaster discusses the qualities of a good wine as you proceed through tastings of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Semillion wines this region is known for. Of course, you will have an opportunity to ask questions and also to buy some to take with you.

 

 

There is also a Hunter Valley Cooking School program that concludes with  a leisurely gourmet lunch – complete with wine parings, of course!

Before we start back, we’ll swing by a local cheeserie and a chocolatier for some goodies for the trip back. I’ll let you discover those delicious details for yourself.

Category: Australia, Pacific  | Tags: , ,  | Comments off
Day 19: Heaven Can Wait Jun 15

Rolling up the extra-wide driveway, a massive city gate looms into view. The uniformed sentry waves us through. Hmm, a full parade with floats and marching bands could easily fit on this road. It’s a sign of things to come.

Thailand T2 FAM 351In the distance, a sprawling complex appears with the main reception building in the center. We have been transported back in time and space to a recreation of a Lanna kingdom. The buildings are super-sized and rich in architectural detail. No, it is not a theme park but the impressive Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai.

I have to admit that I was quite unprepared for an entire village comprised of Asian-style palaces and villas plus colonial mansions within this 60 acre lush tropical landscape. We were only here for a one hour inspection tour and not staying overnight. But I can certainly tell you about every category of accommodation and all the facilities since we saw them all. Several things are apparent: large quantites of teakwood were used in  the construction of this resort. There are no mere hotel rooms here. The suites, single story villas and double story villas are all sumptously decorated.

Thailand T2 FAM 349The grounds are so extensive that guests are given a map and complimentary golf cart shuttle service. You could easily spend a week just exploring within the gated walls. There is an organic vegetable garden, working rice paddies (with water buffalo!) and a crafts village. The Thai cooking classes take advantage of the home grown produce as do the many themed restaurants on site. Of course, there are swimming pools, tennis courts, a fitness center, yoga and tai chi classes and even a championship golf course nearby (off property).

The real jewel in this crown is the Palace of Wellness, their Dheva Spa and Holistic Center housed in a separate Mandalay-inspired grand palace of its own. The center offers an extensive menu of Ayurvedic treatments, massages, aroma and aqua therapies.

This is truly a fantasy resort. A little over the top for my taste. But it all makes me wonder what heaven looks like.

For now, heaven can wait.

Category: Asia, Thailand  | Tags: , ,  | Comments off
Day 11: Some Like It Hot May 27

Thai cuisine has gained worldwide popularity for its unique blend of flavors: sweet, sour, salty with fiery spice.  Dishes combine the best Asian ingredients with fragrant spices such as lemongrass, mint, cilantro, coconut or citrus and of course, ripe red or green chilis. These tasty concoctions are served over rice or noodles.

Some famous menu items include satay, appetizers of charbroiled chicken, beef or pork on bamboo skewers with a side dish of peanut sauce; tom yum, a hot and sour shrimp soup; pad thai, a noodle dish stir-fried with shrimp, chicken, eggs, bean sprouts topped with peanuts as a garnish; and various yellow, green or red vegetarian or meat curries.

This is not the time to be macho and ask for your meal to be prepared “Thai hot” unless you enjoy the sensation of a mouth on fire while sweat pours down your forehead onto your bright red face. They can provide as much heat as you can or cannot endure. The point is to enjoy ALL the flavors.

jackfruit

jackfruit

For dessert, coconut sticky rice is offered with slices of sweet juicy mango. Many other exotic tropical fruits are widely available. We are all familiar with naturally sweet pineapples, bananas, papaya and watermelon. You will also find guava, lychee, rambutan  and jackfruit. Mangosteen has a hard purple nut-like shell protecting the soft white delicate flesh inside. And pomelo is akin to grapefruit.

mangosteen

If you care to participate in the sensory experience of preparing and enjoying an authentic Thai meal with a Thai chef, there are 2 very famous cooking schools in Bangkok: the long-standing program at the Bangkok Oriental Hotel and another at the Blue Elephant Restaurant and Cooking School.

Whether you live to eat or eat to live, bon appetite my friends!

Category: Asia, Thailand  | Tags: , , , ,  | Comments off
Day 6: Wine by the Glass Mar 17

hunter-valley-wine-tasting-2In recent years,  award winning, full-flavored Australian wines have been exported all over the world as a hot commodity. It’s time for a little day trip out into the picturesque countryside to sample some aussie wines not available elsewhere.

The Hunter Valley is a 2 hour drive north of Sydney and claims to have about 90 wineries within the region. It is Sydney’s equivalent of San Francisco’s Napa Valley.

The Hunter Valley Wine School has a 2 hour wine experience at its on site winery program showcasing hoe wine ids produced from grapevine to bottle. The tour portion tales you from the Shiraz vineyards to the crushers and fermenters and finally to the tasting cellar.

hunter-valley-wine-tasting-1The cellarmaster discusses the qualities of a good wine as you proceed through tastings of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Semillion wines this region is known for. Of course, you will have an opportunity to ask questions and also to buy some to take with you.

There is also a Hunter Valley Cooking School program that concludes with  a leisurely gourmet lunch – complete with wine parings, of course!

Before we start back, we’ll swing by a local cheeserie and a chocolatier for some goodies for the trip back. I’ll let you discover those delicious details for yourself.

Category: Australia, Pacific  | Tags: , , , ,  | Comments off