Fabulous Food HotelAsia 2014!

Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

The indomitable Travelling GourmetTM goes to FoodHotelAsia 2014 and finds…

MARVELLOUS food, wines, hotel equipment, gadgets and lots more! I was featured in the Show Daily of the 1st day of FHA2014 on page 23 as a Wine Judge in the WSA Wine Challenge 2014, with the title ” Results of WSA Wine Challenge will draw buyers’ attention”. Now I must go and see what new foods and wines I can find…


To be continued

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Another love story in Verona…

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

The intrepid and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet travels to the romantic city of Romeo and Juliet to delve into…

MARVELLOUS Vinitaly, the largest wine event in the world held in Verona. Verona is where William Shakespeare set his immortal story or love and passion…and here you can visit Casa di Giulietta or Juliet’s House and see the balcony Romeo climbed! I always say Romeo must have had some SAS training to be able to climb up that very high balcony.

Anyone who loves wines must come here, if only once in their lives. I have been here many times and have also been a Wine Judge here in the Concorso Enologico Internazionale Wine Competition held here yearly too as part of Vinitaly. This year is the 48th Edition of Vinitaly, and I am looking forward to tasting superb wines and learning more about the world of oenology!

6th April, 2014.


I am in the Press Lounge writing this after a nice lunch in the Ristorante Club 89 of Gnochetti Sardi con Salome e Gamberi, Vitello (veal) in Salsa Tonnato and dessert of Macedonia which is essentailly fruit salad…plus Lamberti DOC Bardonlino 2012 wine. In the morning, my first wine tasted was at the Doctor Wine seminar by my friend Daneile Cerlini, former head of Gambero Rosso. It was the Ferrari 2007 Franciacorta sparkling wine. After the tasting, I went to see another good friend Antonio Nardini of the oldest Grapperia in the world, Nardini in Bassano del Grappa. It was the favourite Grappa of Ernest Hemingway. I also went to Bottega and heard Sandro Bottega’s new plans to open Prosecco Bars in places like Abu Dhabi and Vienna Airport, based on the ancient Venetian ‘Bacaro’ concept with finger food. it is hot and very sunny outside with powder blue skies. Now, I really need a Macchiato before venturing out again for more wine tasting…It’s a tough job being  The Travelling Gourmet but somebody has to do it…

I have discovered and tasted many wonderful wines and spirits here in VINITALY in Verona, the 48th Edition.

They include:



Marchesi di Barolo

I tasted some really lovely wines with the Marchesi di Barolo family. They are the oldest winemakers for Barolo wines in the Barolo area.



I was very happy to see my good friend Antonio Nardini of the oldest Grapperia in the world. I sampled his new 50% and 60% Grappa. They are also available aged in oak.

Castello Banfi


At Paladin Wines, I tasted their wines with Lucia Paladin with some very tasty Mortadella!

To be continued…

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If I’m going to be a cook then I’m going to be a good one!

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

The irrepressible Travelling GourmetTM goes to Dolce Vita in the Mandarin Oriental Singapore to interview…

MICHELIN Star Chef Thomas Buehner…who is in sunny Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit 2014. Chef Tomas is from Germany so I got to practice my German too.


To be continued…

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Wine and Spirits Asia 2014 and FoodHotelAsia 2104

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

All rights reserved

The indomitable Travelling GourmetTM judges hundreds of wines for Wine & Spirits Asia 2014 Wine Challenge Wine Competition at…

MOD Hotel Capri which was the venue for the Wine Judging with 8 judges in all. On 19 and 20 March 2014, as one of the Wine Judges, I meticulously judged the wines and we selected the Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal winners. With only a lunch break, I judged from 8.30am to 6.30pm for two days! Wine Judging is hard work and needs a lot of stamina and concentration. After tasting, I spat out the wines. This is de riguer because a professional Wine Judge and Wine Connoisseur is NEVER intoxicated! This si so your judgment will not be adversely affected. I tasted and judged Still White Wines, Still Red Wines, Sparkling Wines, Dessert Wines and Fortified Wines too from around the world. The Medal Winners will be showcased  during FoodHotelAsia 2014 from 8-11 April 2014. When I was a Wine Judge on many occasions in the Concorso Enologico Internazionale Vinitaly in Verona, Italy held in conjunction with Vinitaly, I tasted and judged even more wines! After tasting many red wines, your teeth turn dark red! It is true and quite shocking when you see them in the mirror. Vinitaly held in Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, is the largest Wine Exhibition and Trade Show in the world.

FoodHotelAsia 2014

In ASEAN, there are over 615 million consumers with a combined expenditure estimated to exceed US$1.5 trillion in 2015! This rising wave of consumerism has huge potential for the Food and beverage sector. Held in gargantuan Singapore EXPO, FHA 201 4 and WSA 2014 will take up all 102,300 m2 of exhibition space across 10 Exhibition Halls and Max Atria. FHA 2014 is Asia’s largest and most comprehensive international food and hospitality trade event with admission only for Business and Trade Professionals only. This shall be the largest FHA since it started in 1978. Sixty four countries will exhibit their products at this cosmopolitan exhibition and trade show. There shall be 56 international pavillions from Argentina to Switzerland and the USA. Do not forget to see the 75 manufacturers at our own Singapore Pavillion.

Some exciting cutting-edge products include Chye Choon Foods Basmati Rice Spaghetti which boasts a low GI and is gluten-free and fat-free. They also have Macadamia Oil from Australia. At a special preview, pretty Almy Goh May San, the Marketing and Research Manager of Fong Yit Kaya (since 1945) kindly let me taste her Durian Kaya. It was velvety and scrumptious! Samsiah Suliman, the MD of Jumain Sataysfaction bade me sample her award winning Chicken Satay. Very chunky, moist, not overly sweet and tender…it has NO layer of fat like your more traditional satay. I think that is a real PLUS point. Therefore, it is not only good to eat but healthy too. A very important point in this today’s health conscious society. I was pleased to taste Oishi International’s Yubari Japanese Hammi Melon Ice Cream as well as Mixed Berries and Matcha Green Tea Ice Creams. The flavours were fresh and vibrant and I particularly liked the Passion Fruit Sorbet bursting with its natural-tasting tanginess.

You cannot live well, love well, work well and sleep well unless you eat and drink well!

Enjoy! Bon appetit and a votre sante! :-)


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Beetroot Carpaccio, John Dory and Flat Iron Steak…

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

The intrepid and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet savour Epicurean Delights by Chef Ian Curley at…

MARVELLOUS The Prime Society on Dempsey Hill. Chef Ian Curley who is in Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit 2014 kindly cooked his signature dishes for me to taste. Born in England, his 24 hour restaurant “The European” in Melbourne, Australia has earned many accolades. The first course of maroon red Beetroot Carpaccio with crunchy Smoked Walnuts, Soft Curd and herbs was light and most refreshing. The dishes were matched with Japanese Sake! A nice bite was the Truffle Duck Liver and Smoked Eel Parfait. The tasty mousse was piped into a crispy ‘cigar’ and looked like a cute spring roll. The slightly sour Pear Chutney that came with it was nice too.  A nice one for seafood lovers was a generous slice of John Dory Fillet subtly spiked with Indian spices like Turmeric and Coriander. It came with orange segments and Roasted Witlof. As Chef Ian explained, “Now food is so expensive, we use everything! I saved the orange peel to roast the John Dory for extra flavour. I don’t put foam and stuff on my food.” His style of giving a contemporary twist to classical cuisine was evident in the main course…Cape Grim Flat Iron Steak done “rare” with a sleek Bone Marrow Sauce and Mustard Crust. Tender, moist and succulent. I loved it! Incidentally, ‘Flat Iron” is the cut of meat near the shoulder..

My motto, “das Leben es ist unbestimmt, iss erst den Nachtisch!” means ‘Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!’ so I really adore desserts. His signature dessert is Chocolate Salty Caramel with Creme Fraiche Sorbet and Caramelized Peanuts. Two spheres, slightly bigger than a golf ball…one black and one white was on my plate. The white one was the Creme Fraiche Sorbet while the black ball was the gooey Salty Chocolate Caramel  fudge enrobed in a 1mm thick chocolate shell. The level of saltiness to my mnd was just right, not too much and not too litle either. To keep things simple, creme fraiche is really another name for sour cream so it gives you that slight sour, tart flavour.

The Travelling GourmetTM interviews Chef Ian Curley

In an exclusive interview with The Travelling GourmetTM, I asked him, “What made you want to be a Chef?” Down to earth Chef Ian Curley confessed candidly, “In Coventry, there was no work. If you know Coventry, you know why you want to get out. Being a Chef was a good way to get out of Coventry and meet girls…”

TTG: What are your favourite spices to work with?

Chef Ian: Pepper, ginger…I like Cardamom, very good in ice cream and just boiled with milk.

TTG: I like your program “Conviction Kitchen” which helps former convicted prison inmates to learn culinary skill so they can change their lives. What inspired you to start this program?

Chef Ian: When I was young, I wasn’t lucky enough to get a good education. There’s NO unemployment in hospitality and food. I always believe you should give a bit back to society…anyone can make a mistake. That’s why I started this program.

TTG: What qualities makes a good Chef?

Chef Ian said emphatically: Hard work. Some Chefs want to be an ‘overnight sensation’…after a few years you never hear of them again. You have to be consistent. You can’t go out on the town and get drunk four nights a week. It took me thirty years to be an “overnight success”.

At The Prime Society, Chef Ian Curley is cooking with the restaurant’s affable Head Chef, Dallas Cuddy. My good friend, lovely “Prime Princess” Ingrid, the owner of The Prime Society, said, “The Prime Society is honoured to be having Chef Ian Curley, and having mentored our Head Chef Dallas Cuddy, WGS 2014 promises to push the envelope with the reunion of these two exceptional Chefs.”

Bon appetit!

The Prime Society

10 Dempsey Road

01-20 Dempsey Hill

Singapore 247700

Tel: +65 6474 7427

Hours: Mon and Tue 6pm -10.30pm

Wed to Sun 12noon – 10.30pm

Bar stays open till late

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King of Catering Award 2014 in Italy

The intrepid Travelling GourmetTM reports on the the award honouring the best Italian Catering and Banqueting companies, which has reached its 4th edition!

From Milan to Naples the best of Italian catering gathers together on the podium

Trial by jury, March 7th, 2014 at Four Seasons Hotel Florence

Award presentation, March 8th Taste – Stazione Leopolda Florence at 15.00
Ring, March 8th - Stazione Leopolda Florence at 14.00
Talk show, March 9th - Stazione Leopolda Florence at 10.30

Saturday March 8th at Stazione Leopolda during TASTE, the saloon event dedicated to Excellence in Taste and organised by Pitti Immagine, the award ceremony for the fourth edition of King of Catering Bisol (the only award dedicated to catering and banqueting companies) took place.


King of Catering, which was set up to showcase the best companies in the sector, presented the following overall awards:

King of Catering Platinum Plus/Ferrarelle Le Gourmet (Varese)

King of Catering Gold Sire Ricevimenti (Naples)

King of Catering Silver Santi Catering (Treviso)

King of Catering Bronze Caffè Scala (Milan)

Awards for the various categories were also presented:

King of Impossible to Frank Food (Milan)

King of Menù to Papillon Ricevimenti (Milan)

King of Service Top Automotive La Fenice (Ravenna)

King of Mise en place a Assaporando (Udine)

King of Style & Food Design to Casamanu Catering (Bologna)

King of Tradition & Innovation RCR to Aliante Catering (Florence)

King of Glamour Venchi to Design & Food House (Rome)

The theme for King of Catering 2014 was ‘marriage of tastes, Italian catering interpreting international cuisine for the big occasions.’

The four finalists presented a menu based on the traditional cuisine of Azerbaijan, China, the Arab Emirates and India with the preparation and presentation reflecting Italian taste and style. A complex undertaking, where only experience and careful analysis of the diverse cultures would allow them to skilfully interpret the theme.

This theme give ample room to the creativity of each catering style which had to express its own abilities both culinary and in scenographic decor.

The final challenge took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence in the presence of a prestigious jury made up of:

Gianluca Bisol (Bisol), Massimo Buli (Flamigni), Mauro Costanzo (RCR Cristalleria Italiana), Eleonora Cozzella (journalist), Federico De Cesare Viola (journalist), Marilisa Allegrini (Allegrini), Augusto Di Blasi (Ferrarelle SpA), Maddalena Fossati (journalist), Marisa Fumagalli (journalist), Giovan Battista Mantelli (Venchi), Christine Mauracher (Director of the Ca’ Foscari Master in Food and Wine Culture at Venice), Vito Mollica (Chef, Il Palagio-Four Seasons Firenze*), Riccardo Monco (Chef Enoteca Pinchiorri***), Raffaello Napoleone (Pitti Immagine), Davide Paolini (il gastronauta), Agostino Poletto (Pitti Immagine), Leonardo Romanelli (critic and journalist), Enzo Rossi (La Campofilone), Claudio Sadler (Sadler Milan**).

Fede & Tinto, the hosts of the radio program Decanter-Radio2, enlivened the final evening and the award ceremony on the TASTE stage where Gianluca Bisol and all the protagonists of the award crowned the winners of the 2014 edition.

King of Catering is backed by important ‘Made in Italy’ companies such as Bisol, the time-honoured Vadobbiadene wine makers, who have believed in and backed the award’s creator and organizer Riccardo Cioni since the very beginning. The new partners of this edition are La Campofilone, Flamigni and RCR Cristalleria Italiana together with Ferrarelle whose name is historically linked to the award. Lending a sweet note to the proceedings is Venchi, brand chocolate makers since 1878.

King of Catering is organised in collaboration with Pitti Immagine, Mondadori Pubblicità and the Four Seasons Hotel Florence.

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Exclusive interview with Chairman of SOPEXA on World Wine trends…

Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

All rights reserved

The irrepressible Travelling Gourmet gets an update on Wine & Spirits trends from Xavier de Eizaguirre, 64, Chairman of SOPEXA…

MENTIONING Vinexpo’s market intelligence study from the International Wine & Spirit Research, approachable Xavier told me, “China is the world’s largest red wine consumer and consumed more than 155 million 9-litre cases or 1.865 billion bottles of red wine in 2013. France is second with nearly 150 million cases. Most of the wine consumed in China is domestic…80%, and the per capita consumption is only 1.5 litres in China. There is a huge potential for growth…the market potential is enormous!”

On the quality of Chinese wine, Xavier commented, “Chinese wine is on its way to international standard but they are not there yet…”

Asia-Pacific is the region to watch

The Asia-Pacific region is number 3 after Europe and America in wine consumption. This is projected to grow by 22.84% to 4 billion bottles of wine in 2017.  Between 2008 to 2012, Italy became the world’s largest exporter of wines by volume. In terms of value, France was the largest wine exporter at almost 11 million USD in 2012. The consumption of Sparkling wines between 2008 to 2012 has increased  by 5.66%. Also, Still wines sold at retail prices of more than US$10 per bottle rose in the same period by 21.8%. Xavier explained, “People probably drink less, but they drink better.”

In 2012, the Asia-Pacific  region was the largest consumer of spirits in the world, consuming 62.76% of the total volume of spirits drunk in the world! Interestingly, Baijiu (literally ‘white spirit’), the spirit mainly drunk in China, which is distilled from sorghum, wheat or rice, accounted for 38% of the total volume of spirits consumed worldwide. The second most popular spirit in the world is Vodka followed by Brandy. Japan is the largest importer of spirits in the Asia-Pacific.

Wine & Spirits in sunny Singapore

The Wine and Spirits Market in Singapore remains vibrant and the total wine consumption in 2013 was 1.02 million 9-litre bottles. From 2008 to 2012, driven by tourism and two casinos plus general growth in on-trade business, sparkling wine consumption increased by 66.5%. Most Singaporeans prefer red wine and 64.3% of the wines drunk are red wines. The top three countries supplying wine to Singapore are Australia, France and Chile. For Spirits, Whisky is the tipple of choice with 103,300 9-litre cases consumed in 2013.

Fake Wines in China

I asked Xavier about Wine Counterfeiting and Forgery in China. He said candidly, ” It is still a serious issue. It has been a problem for a long time. I remember 20 years ago it was almost impossible to get a forger to be convicted. Things are improving. The brand owners are protecting themselves more than before. The Chinese government is helping more than before…you can bring the counterfeiters to trail now.”

Competition is good

Regarding the competition to French wines from Chile and Argentina, Xavier added, “It is very good…competition. We’re in a business that is growing. As long as the demand grows, there’s room for everybody. It’s helping the development of wine consumption. I think it’s a very positive phenomenon.” Xavier chuckled, “Everyone has to be more creative to keep their market share. Competition forces you to be better and smarter!”

In 2010 and 2011 there has been correction in the Bordeaux en premier wine market. I was interested in Xavier’s view of this. He commented with a wry smile, “There would be a correction because the price level went too much, too high…so much wine was going to China that the rest of the world was frustrated. It is never good to be dependent on a single market…that is China. Wine is to be consumed…and not speculation items!”

A big boulevard of opportunities…

Things are looking good for Wines. As the Chairman of Vinexpo for seven years, forthright Xavier de Eizaguirre puts it, “Asia is the big potential for all wines. The market in Europe is saturated. In Asia, the first market was Japan…the market is close to saturation in Japan. There’s never been in history…a huge potential with the largest population in the world that is China, with disposable income. There’s a big boulevard of opportunities ahead of us!

The main focus of Vinexpo remains Bordeaux and Hong Kong. Vinexpo Asia-Pacific will be in Hong Kong from 27 to 29 May 2014.


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