Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
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All food photos are of REAL food with no photoshop or props
On an epicurean escapade in Europe, the indefatigable and intrepid Travelling Gourmet fine magnificent wines in…
I attended Prowein 2013, Germany’s largest trade-only International Wines & Spirits Exhibition in Duesseldorf. Over 3 intense days in March there were 4,783 exhibitors from 48 countries & over 44,000 trade visitors from around the world (ProWein 2012: 40,667 visitors).
So many wines, so little time…
The sun was shining as I entered Prowein…it was bitterly cold outside so I was glad to be in the warm environs surrounded by wines from around the world in EIGHT huge Halls! Prowein like Vinitaly is HUGE & well organised. My first stop was De Bortoli wines of Australia famous for their Noble One Botrytis Semillon dessert wine. Next was Nederburg, a South Africa’s oldest winery. I attended the Seminar by Juergen Mathaesz on “Flavours of the Southern Hemisphere @ Prowein 2013” Eight wines were showcased, and the one I liked best was Achaval Ferrer Altamira 2010 from Mendoza in Argentina. Despite 15 months oak treatment, the Malbec grape was not over-oaked & had seductive flavours of dark chocolate & strawberries. Parfaitment with a Moellouex au Chocolat dessert. I also went to the Accolade Wines stand to taste Hardys & Robert Mondavi wines. The German Wine Institute Seminar “Schlau” I attended was most rewarding in terms of wine knowledge.
Brava Badia a Colitibuono!
MEETING my good friend La Presidente, Emanuela Stucchi Prinetti, of this most excellent winery was a pleasure. I tasted 2009 Sangioveto di Toscana IGT. ‘Sangioveto is the local (colloquail) name for the Sangiovese grape…’ With its good balance of red fruit & acidity and supple, silky tannins that show their presence with a subtle finesse, this wine really expresses the hilly terroir of this unique winery, high in the hills of Gaiole in Chianti where I have stayed. The name comes from ”Cultus Boni’, the name of the ancient abbey that was here in days of yore. This was one of the first places where the renowned Sangiovese grape was introduced. I told her, “You are as beautiful as your wines…” Emanuela smiled graciously…such an intelligent and beautiful lady…
Lebanon‘s iconic wine!
Through the many civil wars that Lebanon suffered, one winery followed that so British of maxims: Keep calm and carry on. That winery is Chateau Musar, and its Director General Serge G. Hochar is a very modest gentleman. He continued to make wine sometimes with 81mm mortar shells exploding nearby and 5.56mm bullets whizzing overhead. One of its most famous wines is the Chateau Musar Red 1988 comprising Cinsault, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet cherry fruit with cinnamon & nutmeg flavours coupled with good acidity and balance make it a very food friendly wine. Warm hearted Serge, 73, is not only a winemaker par excellence…he is a survivor. On how it all started, Serge explained wryly, ‘My father wanted me to take care of the winery. I was eighteen…I told him I want make wines known around the world…I want a free hand.’ My father said, ‘Yes.’ Serge continued, ‘And so I started…1959 was the 1st vintage. I did not know so much about oenology, so in 1963 I studied Oenology & wine making in Bordeaux for one year.’ Throughout his years of winemaking even during the Civil war, he never got even a flesh wound! Serge commented with a mischievious twinkle in his eye, ‘HE didn’t want me up there…’
URLA Wines from TURKEY!
Two beautiful Turkish ladies bade me try their Urla Winery. It was an offer I could not refuse. Turkish wines are from grapes most wine connoisseurs have NEVER even heard of. Warm and charming Nurcan, said, “Our wines are unique…” Bogazkere 2009 with balanced fruit and oak and soft tannins beats many Bordeaux wines! Tasting is believing…
Rakish Clovis Taittinger of Taittinger Champagne told me, “I am the black sheep of the ‘familie’ but our Champagnes are the best!” D’accord, definitely one of the best; simply perfect with Cantonese Tim Sum. Another beautiful boutique Champagne is Boizel from Epernay with a sufficient but not aggressive ‘attack’.
Where to stay:
In Duesseldorf, stay at the sleek & chic Hyatt Regency. Location is excellent and James Bond-like buttons allow you to open and close your blinds instantly…to reveal…no, not the curves of a voluptuous Czech blonde, but the ravishing views of the Media Hafen or Harbour…Exquisite! In the early mornings I like to jog all around the harbour and the old town and breathe in the salty air from the mighty river Rhine. If you have good taste, you simply must dine at…
MAGNIFICENT views of theHarbour & the spectacular skyline of Duesseldorf are a feast for your eyes…while the cuisine is a delight to your epicurean senses! You may be surprised to find ueber delicious Japanese cuisine here & the finest and freshest Sashimi in Duesseldorf! Very high-tech Sushi bar! The Chateaubriand for two is outstanding as is the luscious Lobster “Leipziger Art” with Spargel (asparagus) in season. Koenigsbergerklopse are marvellous German meatballs! Gourmet delights to go undercover behind enemy lines in war torn Syria for!
DOX RESTAURANT & BAR – Hyatt Regency, Speditionstrasse 19, Dusseldorf, Germany 40221
Tel: +49 211 9134 1775
MAGNIFICENT home of that most delicious of desserts…The name is Torte…Sacher Torte. To call it it a cake would be an insult. Mouthwatering, moist, sweet but not overly so, perfumed, redolent with the flavours of premium chocolate and sexy mouthwatering Marillen Marmalade (apricot conserve) with a tangy, zesty flavour, a light ,very well aerated velvety texture…OMG! It is to kill for! Just as the haunting theme played on the Zither from ‘The Third Man’, a classic movie set in Vienna, sets the movie…so the immortal Sacher Torte sets the Hotel Sacher & vice versa..
La Grande Dame of Wien…
SAS stands for ‘Splendide & Superbe’, for that is what the Hotel Sacher, La Grand Dame of Vienna is…Over many years of her glorious history it has hosted VVIPs whose photos and autographs decorate the walls near the discreet reception. Justin Bieber was a guest when I was here. So many of his enamoured teeny-bopper female fans surrounded me each time I left and entered the Hotel Sacher, until the courteous and efficient Vienna Police had to escort me in and out…I told the fans of Justin Bieber, “Ich bin der Onkel von Justin!” Ha! Ha! I absolutely adored my tastefully opulent, old yet modern and super-comfortable suite overlooking the Albertina. The imposing Albertina is where my favourite painting “Der Hase” by Renaissance genius Albrecht Duerer is displayed. My suite was decorated with lovely & immensely valuable old paintings. The bathroom was huge with a TV screen in the mirror a la James Bond! I could brush my teeth and catch up with the latest world news simultaneously every morning. It was the kind of super luxurious suite that you simply do not want to leave…
There are over 1000 genuine objets d’art & precious paintings all over this iconic and world renowned hotel. I adore the painting of the founder, Anna Sacher, an iron lady like my heroine Margaret Thatcher. The location of the Sacher is very strategic with the pedestrian shopping street & the iconic Stefansdom just 13 minutes walk away. The enchanting Belvedere Schloss which houses works by renowned Gustav “The Kiss” Klimt & other luminaries of the Impressionistic genre like Monet, is only a short ride away by tram…but that is another story.
One unique feature of the Sacher is the Steinwasser’ ( Amethyst Water) for breakfast. Big pieces of purple amethyst are inside the water. Austrians believe that drinking “Stone-Water” is good for your health. I felt really, really good so it must work! The young Chef at the ‘Hot Station’ is very good. His Spanish Omelette a la minute & the ,,hart gekoechte Ei”(hard boiled egg) were superb.
With the affable GM of the Hotel Sacher and super-Chefkonditor Alfred Buxbaum
In an exclusive interview, the dynamic Chefkonditor of “Das Original Sacher-Torte”, Alfred Buxbaum, explained, “The same top secret recipe since 1832 is used. The Sacher Torte is all made by hand and we make up to 1,200 a day! Celebrities like Michael Buble, Prince Albert of Monaco and Queen Elizabeth II love our Sacher Torte. Nicholas Cage stayed here for 6 weeks making a movie & he had Sacher Torte every day!” There is only ONE Original Sacher-Torte from the Hotel Sacher in Vienna and Salzburg! Beware of fakes! There is only one original The Travelling Gourmet TM…
Nur das Original Sacher-Torte ist gut genug!
Ravishing Restaurant Ann Sacher
Marvellous Austrian specialities served on finel Rosenthal German porcelain and polished Berndorf silverware make this ‘haute cuisine’ restaurant a favourite for discerning gourmets. The Kaiser’s favourite is terrific Tafelspitz, with premium beef that is so flavoursome, juicy and tender…plus the marrow…melt-in the-mouth YUMMY! It is my favourite too! Oh mein Gott! So many yummie dishes on the menu! Hotel Sacher’s Sekt (sparkling wine) is better than some lower grade champagnes! Erlesen! Ich liebe es!!!
Tel:+43 (0) 1514 460Hotel Sacher Wien
The indomitable Travelling Gourmet visits a very famous Museum in Vienna to admire…
MASTERPIECES by renowned artists including Albrecht Duerer. Duerer was a genuine genius who unlike artists who died poor, was a legend in his own lifetime & hugely successful & wealthy too. The Albertina is across from the illustrious Hotel Sacher. At my suite in the Sacher, I would look happily out the big windows at the Museum. I loved the statue of Minerva, Roman Goddess of Wisdom. I liked too the statue of Mars, the Roman God of War. It brought to mind, Mars and Minerva, the journal of an intrepid Regiment of the British Army whose motto is “Who Dares Wins!” That regiment is the Special Air Service regiment whose brave and daring men serve all over the world to defend freedom and democracy. My all time favourite painting here is the magnificent masterpiece by that celebrated Renaissance artist, Albrecht Duerer. “Der Hase” is astonishingly good. Every hair and whisker of the field hare can be seen. Watch closely for at least five minutes..the hare seems to be breathing and the whiskers seem to sway ever so slightly..So lifelike, you feel it could leap out at any moment. I spent hours just admiring “Der Hase” and marvelling at the genius of Duerer who painted it in watercolour in 1502. Ich leibe es sehr.
Life is short, enjoy life, live, love & laugh! 🙂