Posts tagged with "vineyards"

New Summer Experiences at Toscana Resort Castelfalfi in Tuscany

 Toscana Resort astelfalfi, one of Europe’s finest eco-sustainable retreats in the heart of Tuscany, is pleased to announce its summer calendar of engaging events and immersive experiences. Including a new spa collaboration with LAJATICA featuring a range of innovative wine-based treatments; the second edition of OltreColle, a food, crafts and music festival; and an art exhibition showcasing works from the region’s own acclaimed sculptor Franco Mauro Franchi, the resort further demonstrates its connection to the landscape and resident community through the following exciting roster of activities.

NEW SPA COLLABORATION WITH LAJATICA FEATURES GRAPE-BASED TREATMENTS

  • Housed in Il Castelfalfi, the resort’s five-star hotel, La Spa extends a range of soothing treatments made from local, organic ingredients and provides an idyllic place to find calm, in keeping with the hotel’s dedication to holistic wellbeing. An 11,000 square-foot rejuvenating sanitarium, La Spa boasts a wide range of spiritual treatments and nature-inspired beauty rituals, indoor and outdoor pools, Finnish and bio saunas, sensory showers and relaxation areas. From this month, the spa is collaborating with Bocelli Wines to offer guests an organic, grape-based range of facial and body treatments, furthering the resort’s ongoing efforts to lead Italy’s green movement from within the hospitality industry. Created locally in Tuscany, the LAJATICA vinotherapy products are made entirely from the by-products of wine produced at the Bocelli family vineyards and blended with Tuscan plants and essential oils. Helping to reduce the signs of aging, boost circulation, and promote brighter skin, these products can be enjoyed by guests during indulging treatments on the property or by purchasing to use at home.

CASTELFALFI CELEBRATES RICH TUSCAN CULTURE WITH SECOND ANNUAL OLTRECOLLE FESTIVAL

  • After a successful first edition, the second OltreColle festival is scheduled to take place in Castelfalfi from June 29 – 30, 2019. The two-day festival will feature live acoustic, jazz and blues concerts, contemporary and street art installations, theater performances, colorful parades, vintage flea markets, and Italian street food – all overlooking the Tuscan countryside. A collective exhibition of artists, musicians, and sculptors from all over Tuscany, OltreColle extends the opportunity for guests to mix and mingle with dozens of unique Italian artisans and purveyors over the course of the weekend. Access to the festival is complimentary for hotel guests and Castelfalfi property owners.

INAUGURAL ART EXHIBITION OPENS UP THE CELLARS OF CASTELFALFI CASTLE

  • Paying homage to the rich history of Castelfalfi, guests of Toscana Resort Castelfalfi can now experience a new GEA art exhibition over the summer months curated by Alberto Bartalini. A celebration of life and rebirth, the exhibit embodies the renaissance of Toscana Resort Castelfalfi through the work of Italian sculptor Franco Mauro Franchi and will run through January 6, 2020. Dotted across various locales, part of the exhibition will be displayed within the cellars of Castelfalfi Castle, a space that has been hidden to the public for decades. Originally used as prison cells at the turn of the nineteenth century, the vaults gradually transitioned their purpose over the years, to become wine cellars and then a backdrop for the classic children’s film Pinocchio by Roberto Benigni. A hugely significant piece in the history of Castelfalfi, the official unveiling of the Castle Cellars is a noteworthy event for the estate. Now, for the first time ever, guests and the local community can experience the cellars first-hand.

Visitors looking to experience this summer’s guest programming can take advantage of the Castelfalfi You & Me offer, which includes two nights of accommodations at Il Castelfalfi – TUI BLUE SELECTION, a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts L.V.X. Collection; one dinner for two at La Via del Sale; and one spa treatment for two at La Spa, starting at US$952 for two persons, for two nights. To book, please visit www.castelfalfi.com. For more information on news and events, sign up for the Toscana Resort Castelfalfi newsletter at www.castelfalfi.com/en/newsletter.

About Toscana Resort Castelfalfi:

Situated in the heart of the medieval village of Castelfalfi, Toscana Resort Castelfalfi – a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts L.V.X. Collection – sits amidst 2,700 acres of protected vineyards, olive groves, lakes, and a wildlife reserve. Since its launch in 2007 by TUI Group, one of the world’s leading tourism companies, the resort is committed to providing an authentic and luxurious Tuscan experience that promotes eco-sustainability and supports the local community through luxury hospitality and organic wine and olive oil production. Comprising luxury apartments, villas, and farmhouses to purchase and rent, Hotel Il Castelfalfi – TUI BLUE SELECTION, Hotel La Tabaccaia, the region’s largest championship golf course, a deluxe spa, restaurants, and bars, Toscana Resort Castelfalfi welcomes travelers and those seeking real estate opportunities to explore, experience, and dwell in its spectacular natural setting.

STUTTGART × MICHELIN RESTAURANTS

With 23 Michelin Stars and Local Producers, Stuttgart Reveals its 

Depth as a Food and Wine Destination

  

Stuttgart, the capital of the German federal state of Baden- Württemberg in the southwest of Germany, is emerging as a culinary destination. This cultural and delicious city is stocked with 23 Michelin stars but more important are the regional culinary traditions, wine producers and food companies that have been around for years and set the stage for Stuttgart’s tasty presentation today. #tastystuttgart highlights the delectable experiences, restaurants, food and wines that Stuttgart has to offer. Join us in this whirlwind tour of Stuttgart’s delectable culinary region and experience.    

  

Of SouthWest Germany’s 85 Michelin-starred restaurants, 23 of them are located in and around the capital city of Stuttgart and eight of them in the capital itself. Only two hours from Frankfurt and three hours from Paris, the city of Stuttgart is easy to get to by train or plane. The Stuttgarters’ embrace of the high tech of the future is equal to their love of tradition and local culture and is just as evident in the factories of Mercedes and Porsche as it is in the restaurants and kitchens of the region.

The first stop on your culinary tour of Stuttgart is the Wielandshöhe Restaurant on the Alte Weinsteige (the old wine road). Not only is this a Stuttgart gourmet institution led by one of the city’s most popular chefs but it also gives you a beautiful view of the city. The Wielandshöhe is considered a traditional establishment, but Chef Klink’s cooking is state-of-the-art: “We deliberately do not modernize our dishes, but rather aim for authenticity and goodness, not for flashy effects.” This self-image, eschewing ostentation and “plate tattoos,” is a modesty appreciated by Stuttgarters. In 1978, Vincent Klink, who grew up near Stuttgart, earned a Michelin Star, which he still holds to this day.

Chef Klink suggests that the second stop on your gourmet tour is Feinkost Böhm as THE place to go for all gourmets. Since 1889, the delicatessen has been producing specialty foods and it has a long tradition in the heart of Stuttgart. Located just around the corner from the modern art museum close to the Market Square and Palace Square, it is a perfect jumping off point for your second, third and fourth stops: the over 100-year old Market Hall, the Palace Square and the Schiller Square where you will find culinary experiences all year long.

Stuttgart’s Market Square is a historical site which dates back to the year 1304, and it is typically a hive of activity during the week. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings many of Stuttgart’s inhabitants pick up their shopping lists and head for Stuttgart’s Marketplace and Schiller Square for delicious local products. In late August, the square is dressed with bowers as it plays host to over 350 wine purveyors and 500 different wines from the region. At Christmas time, the square is abuzz with shoppers going from one beautifully decorated cabin to another for charming gifts and decorations.

Next door, the Palace Square is the heart of the city and you will get a special treat if you are visiting this September when the Stuttgart Beer Festival will be celebrating its 200-year jubilee. From 26th September to 3rd October, in the middle of the Palace Square, people will commemorate the festival’s founding by King Wilhelm I of Württemberg and his wife, Queen Katharina. The “historical Festival” will have nostalgic fairground rides and showmen in the tradition of the 19th and 20th centuries. Parallel to this, the popular Stuttgart Beer Festival will of course be held as usual on the Cannstatter Wasen fairground, where Stuttgart’s large breweries keep the beer flowing freely in the festival marquees.www.cannstatter-volksfest.de

The Palace Square is where you will find the Stuttgart legendary beer maker: Dinkelacker. Synonymous with the city’s reputation for hospitality and conviviality, Carls Brauhaus is home to Stuttgart’s famous Dinkelacker beers. Alongside typical Swabian specialities, the pub’s wide-ranging menu offers a number of German and international dishes. A visit is rounded off with the beer specialties from the family brewery. www.stuttgart-tourist.de/tastystuttgart

Another home-grown Stuttgart institution is the coffee manufacturer Hochland Coffee Roaster Hunzelman. Started in 1920 in Stuttgart, this company remains in family hands and has grown and diversified into producing delicious chocolates and sweets and packaging coffee for all of Germany. With a charming café over looking the small palace square, Hochland is a must-stop for a morning or afternoon coffee break. Not far from the city center, the company offers tours of its coffee roasting factory.

The fifth stop on your tour is 15 minutes from Stuttgart’s city center on the S train in the half-timbered town of Esslingen. This is one of the most charming cities in all of Germany with houses crowded around cobblestoned streets and squares. At the center of it all is the award-winning sparkling wine producer of Kessler. Once the advisor to France’s Veuve Cliquot, Kessler returned to his native roots all those years ago and started his own sparkling wine cellar. To this day, Kessler offers tours of its exquisite cellar, tastings in the old house and an always popular sparkling wine bar. http://www.kessler-sekt.de

The sixth stop is the wine hills that encircle the city.Wine has been grown in the region since around 300 A.D. Still to this day, the city’s municipal vineyards cover an area of some 60 acres – more than in any other German metropolis. In the 19th century steps and paths were built order to cultivate Stuttgart’s steep terraces more efficiently – the famous “Stäffele” (steps). During the wine months, the locals go out to the Besen, or broom pubs. These are the temporary wine bars run by Swabian vintners, where you can enjoy wine and food for 16 weeks each year. A broom at the door shows that the tavern is open for business. Throughout the year there are wine walking tours, Segway tours, the Museum of Viniculture and seasonal festivals for gourmets on the go.

The seventh and eighth stops on your whirlwind weekend tour is the chocolate town of Waldenbruch, only 20 minutes from Stuttgart. This is where they make the famous Ritter Sport, the square, fit-in-your-pocket chocolate bar created back in 1912. Visit the store to taste and buy a wide range of flavors. For adults, there is the company’s totally hip art gallery (Museum Ritter) and kids get the chocolate exhibition and workshop! www.ritter-sport.de/en_US/Visiting/If you are visiting during the Christmas season, then it is highly recommended to drive just one hour south from Ritter to the charming university town of Tübingen where the chocolate market, Chocol’Art, presents an extraordinary display of artisanry with objects made of chocolate that look as if they were real. www.chocolart.de/english-info/

The ninth, tenth and eleventh stops on your culinary weekend tour include insider tips from the top culinary experts. For example, Gutbrodstraße 1 is the address for a little enclave for the great art of patisserie called “tarte & törtchen;” the beloved TV Tower has the Panorama Café way up high and Leonardt’s Restaurant at the bottom; at Ludwigsburg Palace, you can have coffee with the duke in full costume and a full tour of the castle in English. And, you can visit the world’s only airport restaurant with one Michelin star, top air, at the Stuttgart Airport. A perfect ending to your weekend whirl! www.restaurant-top-air.de

Hellfire in Wine Country 

By Matt Villard

It’s been over a month now since devastating wildfires erupted in Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino Counties and burned over 200,000 acres.  That’s over 313 square miles, or nearly the size of San Diego, worth of charred and destroyed land.  

The toll on the wine industry was, and still is huge.  23 properties in the 4 counties reported major fire damage.  The full extent of the damage to the vineyards will not be apparent until next year at bud break when vineyard owners will be able to count dead and damaged vines.  All of the wineries suffered, even if they were not directly in the path of the fire, due to power outages, road blocks, personnel being evacuated, etc.  But, the wineries and vineyards will recover.

However, the devastation to the people and communities will take far more time and care.  42 people are dead.  Over 8,000 structures ( including people’s homes) are destroyed.  Over 100,000 people have been displaced.  For most of those who lost their home, they had very little warning and had to leave everything behind.  Their entire lives went up in flames.  I’ve heard stories and seen pictures from friends of mine about how little time there was to evacuate.  One picture stands out in my mind of ash falling around their car and flames on the horizon as they desperately  loaded their young children and dogs into their cars to race away to safety.  This friend was fortunate enough that their home survived.  Many, many others were not as lucky.  

There are ways you can help.  There are a plethora of good relief funds and donation sites out there.  A quick internet search will yield many results.  A meta-site I found is https://www.northbayfiredonations.com which has a huge listing of links to other relief funds and donation sites.  Here’s  a gofundme page.  Here’s a link to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate donation page.  Please take the time and see if there’s anything you can do to help.


SOUTHWEST GERMANY × GENUSS!

Genuss! SouthWest Germany Celebrates a Year of Culinary 

Enjoyment and All that Goes with It in 2018


SouthWest Germany is preparing for a year of good eating drinking and everything that goes with it in 2018. With 85 Michelin stars, this third largest state in Germany has much to show off. Yet, it’s not just the gourmet meals that create a heavenly universe for oeniphiles, beer lovers and gourmands. Every day restaurants, charming pensions, farmers, vintners and cooks take pride in creating delicious meals, traditional dishes, growing just the right fruit and herbs, producing just the right grapes and growing the perfect white asparagus that find their way to the plates of admiring guests.  
SouthWest Germany, officially the state of Baden-Württemberg, is Germany’s third largest state that stretches from the palaces of Mannheim and Heidelberg in the north to garden island of Mainau in Lake Constance in the south. It is home to the Black Forest, the car city of Stuttgart where Porsche and Mercedes are based, the hills and countryside of Swabia speckled with Rococo churches and splendid palaces and the asparagus route near Hohenlohe. Extraordinary kitchens proliferate as does the production of local products and ingredients that go into the meals.  

 

The year of “Genuss,” or culinary enjoyment, in 2018 is spread throughout the state. Towns and chefs from all corners will be celebrating their local and traditional dishes and products. The wine and beer industries comprised of many excellent, small wineries and microbreweries support the delicious meals. Meeting the locals and having fun at a brewery or one of the family-owned wineries or festivals is a natural way to experience SouthWest Germany. Handcrafted gin and Schnapps are also found in many of the local restaurants. Monkey 47, a popular dry gin, is made in the Black Forest of 47 different ingredients. Rustic schnapps and refined brandies are also local favorites from the Black Forest. Still today, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of approved distilleries in the Black Forest producing small and sometimes the tiniest amounts of schnapps, ranging from the simple fruit schnapps made from apples or pears to the distillates of local plums, Zwetschgen, right up to Kirsch, the queen of all fruit brandies.

 

Michelin starred restaurants dot the landscapes of the country and the cities offering all sorts of sophisticated plates. Always popular however are also the traditional dishes that comprise part of many meals, including pretzels (of course), Spätzle (egg noodles), Kässpätzle (noodles with cheese); Fellchen (a white lake fish from Lake Constance), Flammkuchen (a quiche-like onion and bacon tart), Maultaschen (Swabian ravioli, filled with minced meat, onions, spinach); Ofenschlupfer (bread pudding); Rostbraten (steak and onions, with a red wine sauce); Schwarzwälder Schinken (cured, smoked ham) and, of course, the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake comprising chocolate cake, jam, cherries, Kirsch and lots of whipped cream). These delicious dishes you can find in almost every restaurant but they are only the starters for many chefs who take these basics to the next level with creativity and ingenuity comprising local ingredients and great training.

 

The best place to start and end your trip is in the capital city of Stuttgart. Whether you come by train or plane, Stuttgart is easily accessible and bookends the trip in a perfect way with a relaxed urban experience that blends well with the village adventures in the countryside. Baden-Württemberg’s state capital has a wide range of culinary highlights on offer: from gourmet cuisine and down-to-earth favourites to exquisite wines and refreshing beers, an informative walk round the Museum of Viniculture or fascinating guided brewery tours – there’s guaranteed to be something to suit every taste. Surrounded by the Württemberg wine hills, Stuttgart also is a great spot for a day trip to the half-timbered village of Esslingen that is renowned also for its centuries old sparkling wine cellar, Kessler, which sells out rapidly each year. In 2018, Stuttgart will be celebrating 200 years of the annual Cannstatter Volksfest (it was not held every year consecutively) and 100 years of the annual agricultural festival. In addition to these two great milestones in Stuttgart’s history, the historical Volksfest (folk festival) will take place in the city’s main square.   

 

There are no fewer than 24 starred restaurants in the Stuttgart Region, eight of them in the state capital itself. You’ll find everything from traditional and classic dishes to haute cuisine and creative, innovative gastronomy. At the Wielandshöhe, the emphasis is on organic ingredients and species-appropriate livestock husbandry; Yosh scores with its wine cellar and cigar lounge, while the Speisemeisterei, located in the Palace Hohenheim, offers a special baroque ambience and matching menus. All together there are eight restaurants with stars: are eight: Délice, Olivo, Speisemeisterei, Restaurant Top Air, Wielandshöhe, Zirbelstube, Yosh, 5. For visitors travelling by air, the first culinary highlight can be found immediately on arrival at Stuttgart Airport. The Top Air itself has been starred since 1991 and it’s Europe’s only Michelin-starred airport restaurant.

 

Beer made in Baden-Württemberg is an unforgettable experience for all your senses and is part of the year of Genuss in 2018. With 189 breweries, Baden-Württemberg is the second most important beer region in Germany after Bavaria. Many breweries offer tours and special behind-the-scene looks at their expert brewing processes. In fact, the world’s very first beer charter was bestowed in the year 776 in Geisingen an der Donau, a small village in the Württemberg region.

 

More recently, the small town of Ehingen (Donau) was named “Beer Culture City,” as it is home to four breweries that, together, brew more than 40 beer varieties. Surrounded by breathtaking landscapes between the rolling hills of the Swabian Alb and the shores of Lake Constance, this charming little town has the most breweries per capita in all of Baden-Württemberg. Especially fun times to visit Ehingen (Donau) in 2018 are the celebration of the beer purity laws on April 20 when the Bergbrauerei and the Schwanen Brewery open their doors until late into the night and offer a colorful program of live music, craft beer and open tours. From July 6 to 9, the celebration of St. Ulrich’s Festival goes on throughout the town; and on August 31, everyone enjoys the tapping of the special “autumn gold” beer.

 

Another tiny town with a big reputation and outstanding food production is culinary town of Baiersbronn. Surrounded by lush green forests, Baiersbronn is a culinary pilgrimage worth taking. With just 14,500 residents and eight Michelin stars it has the highest density of Michelin stars in all of Europe. Baiersbronn is an impeccable combination of startlingly beautiful nature and delicious gourmet food everywhere from restaurants and inns and even to picnic baskets filled with “Baiersbronn Treasures.” This tiny town nestled in the beautiful northern Black Forest has started a revolution of gourmet excellence that has been pervasive enough to spread to other cities in the region. Nearby in the Murg Valley, Eberstein Castle is continuing to flourish after being renovated by the Overlack family in 2005. The castle’s main restaurant, led by by Bernd and Roswitha Werner, now holds its own Michelin star. The Eberstein Winery’s vineyards have been replanted and are led by Jürgen Decker and Ernst Möschle who produce the highest quality wines.

 

SouthWest Germany also has two major wine-making regions. The Baden vineyards run north-south for 250 miles/400 km along the eastern bank of the River Rhine. The climate is similar to the famous French wine-making areas of Alsace, Champagne, and the Loire. The other wine-making region, Württemberg, is farther east, running to the north and south of Stuttgart. This is the only German region where red wine is the specialty. Both of these wine regions have their own scenic tours where visitors can drive, walk or take a car and explore the individual vintners and their vineyards.

 

About three-quarters of the vineyards are tended by farmers, and the same families have done so for over 100 years. Many families open their homes or have “Besens” and “Straussen,” special seasonal wine pubs or taverns, where you can drink the wine grown at the door, and eat homemade local dishes. The name Besen actually means broom – and a broom at the door is a sign that the pub is open for business. The Besens are in the Württemberg vineyards and the Straussen are in Baden. Either way, they are great places for good wine, good food and good company. It is yet another wonderful way to meet the locals and get a taste of SouthWest Germany.

www.tourismus-bw.de

www.stuttgart-tourist.de/en

www.bierkulturstadt.ehingen.de/en

www.baiersbronn.de/en

CHARDONNAY BOX

DIGITAL WINE TASTING SERVICE, CURATES + DELIVERS QUALITY WINES TO YOUR FRONT DOOR. 

Chardonnay Box, a buttery/creamy Chardonnay wine club, is curated to be conveniently delivered to your door every month. David Hewlett, CEO of Chardonnay Box, is among the top five percent of wine experts in the world. Hewlett works with midsize and boutique wineries to bring customers great, hard to find wines. Chardonnay Box only works with premium brands that make delicious chardonnays.

*David founded Chardonnay Box to bring the joy of chardonnay to his customers.  He is in the top 5% of wine experts in the world and uses his well developed palate for picking great wines to create each custom box.  He is so grateful to each and every customer for supporting this passion project.

**They ship to: CA, ID, NM, MO & Washington D.C.
No monthly commitment.  Cancel at any time.