Vinitaly goes digital

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The indomitable and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet TM on Vinitaly going digital because of the…

MONSTROUS china virus wilfully spread by china worldwide. It is just not the same not to be in Verona tasting the wines and learning from wine producers and enologists. You cannot taste wine digitally.


A unique platform for business, tastings and networking
Preview on Saturday 21 November with the International Summit and OperaWine with Wine Spectator.
B2b meetings are scheduled over the online platform from Sunday 22 to Tuesday 24.
Monday 23 sees the launch of the two-day business forum with over fifty appointments.

Verona, 12 November 2020. Digital switch for wine2wine with appointments from 21 to 24 November.
wine2Wine exhibition, the Veronafiere start-up dedicated to the wine sector, goes “digital”: and with more than 50 seminars during the wine2wine business forum as well as Operawine, the event transfers entirely to the already fully operative and dedicated “VeronaFiere Plus” platform. This change of direction became necessary following the Decree issued by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers on the 24th October that brought a halt to all physically attended exhibition activities until 24 November. These three-events-in-one – originally created to bring business, content, meetings, training and ideas together – have consequently been transferred online and will continue to support the relaunch of the wine market and the Italian system.

Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of Veronafiere, said “We had already developed maximum possible interaction for an event that we were then obliged to transfer online. This is joined by a schedule of content and business involvement of the highest quality. This is an event designed to support the wine sector and we would like to thank the numerous partners for their solidarity with us to help restart Italian wine. Wine2wine will also be able to bridge the gap between operators from all over the world thanks to b2b meetings, webinars, workshops and the expansion of the remote wine tasting schedule taking in Europe, China, United States, Japan and Brazil.”

The programme of events, including the previews of Saturday 21 November, has been confirmed. Sessions will open with the International summit discussing The future of wine: different visions, one perspective. Current scenarios and possible challenges for the next decade. Sponsored by Unicredit, the event will involve international and national figures in the sector, with institutional representatives including the director of Ismea, Raffaele Borriello, the president of ICE, Carlo Ferro, and the Minister Agricultural policies, Teresa Bellanova.
The meeting will present a research project implemented by Nomisma Wine Monitor for the Vinitaly Observatory which will provide market data for the most complex year ever; a survey involving Italian companies to trace the profile of the wine business in the post Covid era will also be outlined.

The afternoon welcomes OperaWine, with the presentation by Wine Spectator of the top 100 producers in 2021 followed by a question and answer session. The many appointments on the calendar also include the Assoenologi 2020 Congress Day on Sunday 22 and the Round Table on Monday 23 November Wine and major retailers responding to change dedicated to the Italian large-scale retail sector.
Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 will ensure significant emphasis on internationality with 12 wine tastings for international buyers linking up from the USA, China, Japan, Brazil, United Kingdom and Netherlands.

The wine2wine business forum will also offer more than fifty digital sessions with an audience of seventy international speakers discussing market topics such as globalization, the post-COVID era, new consumption and purchasing modes, wine tourism, marketing and digitalization. Two special focus events will highlight female leadership and inclusiveness in the wine industry.

Appointments also include the conference dealing with “Wine in the changing global scenario: challenges for the supply chain” (23 November) involving top management from Federdoc, Unione Italiana Vini, Federvini, Alleanza per le Cooperative, Fivi, CEO of ICE, Roberto Luongo and the CEO of Veronafiere, Giovanni Mantovani.
Lastly, the virtual show area of wine2wine exhibition digital edition offers wine-makers the chance to promote their brands and products, all of which are indexed with tags for quick searches by registered visitors through automatic filters and hints.

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Cosy Stays at Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The indomitable and debonair Travelling Gourmet TM tells you about cosy stays at the…

MANDARIN Oriental in Washington DC. One of my favourite hotels in the capital of the USA is the Palace by the Potomac. This luxurious 5 star retreat is prominently placed along the Capital’s revitalised Southwest Waterfront. I love the swimming pool here. The hotel is also strategically located near attractions, monuments and restaurants like the Washington Monument. It is a nice stroll from the Mandarin Oriental to the impressive Washington Monument.


Due to the horrid China virus wilfully spread by China and with health and safety in mind, the holiday celebrations have relocated to the guest rooms and suites for a more cosy and hygienic experience.

The In-Room Holiday Feast is an intimate Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner that can be enjoyed in a guest room or suite. Thanksgiving is on 26 November this year. It is also my Birthday so I always celebrate both! For slightly larger parties, the Feast in the Comfort of Your Suite is available in The Oriental Suite or Presidential Suite providing guests with additional space to social distance and a three tier menu option.

50 foot Indoor Pool

Guests can savour the tradition of enjoying Empress Lounge’s famed scrumptious Afternoon High Tea with a staycation and tea service in the safety and privacy of their own guest room. Executive Pastry Chef Claus Olsen has reimagined the tower of delights and sweets, which pair pleasantly with the selection of premium teas.

For safe and comfortable travel options guests can choose from a variety of exciting  offers including:

  • Staycation by M.O.: Receive a hotel credit, breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and more.
  • Suite Upgrade: Reserve a room and receive a complimentary upgrade to a suite.
  • Families by M.O.: The ultimate family stay with the second room at half price, children’s amenities, and a host of special family friendly touches.
  • Weekday Spa-cation: Arrive on a Tuesday or Wednesday and receive an upgrade to a suite with the indulgence of a spa treatment and more.

Gourmet Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

Cozy at M.O. invites guests to stay in, cuddle up, keep warm and indulge during the winter season. Available through February 28, 2021 with rates starting from USD 285 a night. This wonderful package includes:

  • Complimentary warm fleece blanket to enjoy and take home.
  • Special gourmet hot chocolate welcome amenity.
  • Daily in-room breakfast for two.
  • One complimentary in-room movie of your choice daily.
  • Complimentary upgraded streaming speed Wi-Fi.
  • Additional benefits available when you log into or join Fans of M.O.

The Travelling Gourmet TM always says, “Keep calm and carry on eating!”

Mandarin Oriental Washington DC

1330 Maryland Avenue,

SW Washington D.C. 20024, USA
Telephone :  +1 (202) 787 6064

For room reservations, please call +1 (202) 787 6140. To make a spa reservation, please call  +1 (202) 787 6100.  For more information, please visit



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Hive at Selfridges

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The irrepressible and intrepid Travelling Gourmet TM reveals a…

MOST unique restaurant based on honey to open on 4, December, 2020 in Selfridges department store. Selfridges on Oxford Street is one of my favourite department stores in London. The other is Fortnum and Mason’s where HM The Queen buys her food and wine.

Vegan demand bolsters Selfridges' strong Christmas sales - Retail Gazette


Aptly named HIVE, the restaurant will have onsite bee hives and keepers and an eclectic menu  of dishes all having the highest-quality natural honey. The decor is to have botanical
statement walls, decadent golden bee structures, plus planters with flowers
pollinated by the restaurant’s own bee population – which can be viewed
outside the window.
An all-day menu will feature healthy and comfort food and quality organic
ingredients. Hive will also offer a range of honey and cheese pairings to be savoured including Comte Cheese and Chestnut Honey, and Fourme d’Ambert with Buckwheat honey. For a truly unique honey-based dining experience,
Hive will also be offering a cheese and honey Afternoon tea  gives diners the choice of a range of cheeses to compliment the exquisite range of natural honeys. Lovely teas and pastries will also be part of the Afternoon Tea experience. Wine, Honey Cocktails and Veuve Clicquot Champagne are also served.



Safe Distancing

The health, safety and wellbeing of customers and teams remains Selfridges’ priority.
Carefully considered safety measures have been put place to help minimise the risk of the horrid China virus which China wilfully spread worldwide. Following guidance from PHE and relevant authorities all  Selfridges’ bars and restaurants in London include:
Reconfigured seating areas in all restaurants and bars to maintain
social distancing at 2m. Disposable single use recyclable menus  are used.

I love Honey!

Honey has a well deserved reputation as a pure and primordial natural ingredient for
over 5,000 years! Honey is known to offer unique remedial qualities, including reducing
anxiety, calming insomnia, and combating fatigue. Honey also helps wound healing. The ancient Roman doctors used honey to treat the sword, spear and arrow wounds of the Legionnaires. Honey is also very yummie to eat!

Winnie the Pooh will love this place 🙂 The Travelling Gourmet TM says, “Keep calm and Carry on eating!”

3rd Floor Selfridges 400 Oxford Street
Reservations: OpenTable

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The name’s Bond…James BOND


Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The intrepid and indomitable Travelling Gourmet TM tells the tale of the…

MEMORABLE Sean Connery who is undoubtedly the quintessential James Bond. Surrounded by his family he passed away peacefully in his sleep on 31 October 2020 in his home in the Bahamas.

Scotland Forever

A true-blue Scotsman, Sean Connery who supported Scottish Independence from the United Kingdom was born in Edinburgh on August 25, 1930. His humble origin featured a mother who was a cleaning lady, while his father worked in a factory. Who would have thought he could end up being ueber-famous as the gentleman spy 007 with a licence to kill? Connery dropped out of school and joined the Royal Navy. He acquired two tattoos emblazoned on his right forearm in the Royal Navy, which read “Mum and Dad” and “Scotland Forever”. Three years later he was medically discharged because of stomach ulcers. Sean then worked as a milkman, coffin polisher, bricklayer and lifeguard in Edinburgh. It was his hobby as a 6 foot 2 inches body builder that led to his big break in show business. Connery entered the Mr. Universe contest where he came third. A fellow contestant urged him to audition for acting parts. He got a part in the chorus in “South Pacific”. Other small roles followed in the movie melodrama “Another Time, Another Place” (1958), and in the Alfred Hitchcock movie  thriller “Marnie” (1964). IN “Marnie” Sean’s potential as a romantic leading man was noticed.

He caught the eye of Cubby Broccoli’s while screening Darby O’Gill in Los Angeles. Broccoli had previously met Connery while the young actor was filming Another Time, Another Place (1958). This was a movie where Connery physically disarmed a real-life gangster who started waving a gun around on set. Broccoli liked Connery, so did Terrence Young, who would direct the first-ever theatrical James Bond picture, Dr. No.

So one day Broccoli sat in a private screening room in LA to watch Connery’s Walt Disney debut. In that movie, Connery played Michael McBride, a young lad with eyes for his “darling Irish girl,”(Janet Munro played love interest Kati O’Gill. It was a supporting role in the Disney Gaelic folktale movie about pots of gold, banshees, leprechauns and ghostly carriages headed for the afterlife. Cubby Broccoli “thought he saw something worthwhile.” Cubby reached out to his wife Dana Broccoli. He asked if this Connery fellow had much sex appeal. “Yes.” was the answer. Dana encouraged her hubby Cubby to cast Connery as 007. The deal was sealed at another meeting with Harry Saltzman. After the meeting, Saltzman and Broccoli watched Connery cross the street from their window, Saltzman observed, “[He moves] like a big jungle cat.” He also had “dark, cruel good looks” which was the way Ian Fleming described James Bond in his books. The rest is cinema history and legend.

Sanhedrin 72a-b: Judaism does not subscribe to the idea that one should “turn the other cheek” when attacked. In fact, according to the Talmud “ha-ba le-horgekha, hashkem le-horgo” – if someone comes planning to kill you, you should hurry to kill him first.

Nur das Original is gut genug…like the Sacher Torte from Hotel Sacher in Vienna

Sir Sean Connery was the first and original James Bond. He starred as Commander James Bond 007 in seven James Bond films. The first was Dr No (1962) followed by From Russia With Love (1963) and then blockbuster Goldfinger (1964). Next came Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

Diamonds are Forever is one of my favourite Bond movies with the tile song sung by inimitable Dame Shirley Bassey.

Always with a caesura (a pause in the middle of a line) for emphasis. The classic line, “The name’s Bond…James Bond.”

Needless to say, 007 brought Sean Connery fame and great fortune.  He was paid a mere £6,000 for Dr No and then four times that amount for From Russia With Love. For his first Bond “comeback” in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, Sean got  a then-record US$1.25 million! Wow! Nicht schlect (not bad) for a former milkman with no University education. Sean Connery donated his pay cheque for ‘Diamonds are Forever’ to set up the Scottish Education Trust. The Trust is to help young actors. In the Bond movies his charismatic and commanding screen presence was unforgettable. Connery’s riveting portrayal of the MI6 Intelligence officer as a passive-aggressive charming man of the world, with a taste for beautiful women, gourmet cuisine and fine wines wowed the audience worldwide. Who can forget the really ravishing Bond girls from Honor Backman to Shirley Eaton to Ursula Andress and more. Swoon…All red- blooded men have a weakness for beautiful women n’est pas.

Connery also captured perfectly the ruthless violent edge and dark side of 007 when he had to dealt with the bad guys. As the George Orwell (1984) saying goes, “

“We sleep soundly in our beds, because rough men stand ready in the night to do violence on those who would harm us”


Thunderball: I think he got the point.


For Queen and Caviar

Terence Young the director of three of Connery’s six Broccoli and Harry Saltzman-produced Bond adventures, actually lived some of the adventures that were the hallmark of the Bond movies. Young was wounded twice fighting as a Tank Commander in the Second World War, After the war, Young acquired a taste for adventure and the high life. Young took the young Scottish actor under his wing. It was Young who introduced Connery to the legendary Turnbull & Asser to select custom designed shirts with turnback cuffs (better for quicker undressing OMG!) Young who got his personal tailor, Anthony Sinclair, to cut all of Connery’s Dr. No suits. Terence Young also brought Sean Connery to all the finest restaurants in London’s Mayfair area like Scott’s, (also one of my favourites)  and taught Sean how to order wine, judge fine champagne, appreciate “haute cuisine” and move with panache and savoir faire in society crowds.

Denise Perrier who played Marie was a former Miss World. The Japanese man Bond beat up is actually the late Sensei Enoeda, Shotokan Karate Grand Master 9th Dan.


Another amazing scene from Goldfinger. The angelic “butter won’t melt in my mouth” look on 007’s face as his explosive charges blow up just warms the cockles of your heart with a chuckle. So too is the sardonic line, “Shocking…positively shocking.” A classic double entendre.


Macho Connery received numerous honours, including being chosen as Commander (the same rank as Bond) of France’s Order of Arts and Literature and a Kennedy Center honoree in 1999. In 2000, Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed him a British Knight of the Realm in Holyrood Castle, Scotland, for services to film drama. In 2005 he was chosen for a lifetime achievement award by the American Film Institute.

Kill or be killed in From Russia with Love

Connery also found success in films like the 1974 ensemble mystery Murder on the Orient Express, the sweeping epic adventure movie The Wind and the Lion and John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King, both released in 1975. The elegant love story Robin and Marian, in which he portrayed Robin Hood to Audrey Hepburn’s Maid Marian was another winner.

Many thanks to Star in the Sky for kindly suggesting that I write this feature {:-)

James Bond’s original Walther PPK 7.65mm pistol is up for auction in Los Angeles on December 3, 2020.  Originally owned by actor Bernard Lee who played “M” the boss of James Bond in 11 movies from 1962 to 1979. Alas it is deactivated with no firing pin. It is expected to fetch 80,000 Pounds or more.

Walther PPK

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Min Jiang’s Makeover Goodwood Park Hotel

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Traveling Gourmet TM

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The indomitable and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet TM goes to…

MARVELLOUS Min Jiang restaurant in the 120 year old iconic 5 Star Goodwood Park Hotel. Min Jiang is named after the Min River in the Sichuan province of China. This much loved fine dining Cantonese and Sichuan restaurant is 38 years old! A fine record in Singapore where some restaurants do not even last one year. In fact, due to the horrid china virus, over 1,200 restaurants have closed in Singapore. The good news is that after an extensive renovation, Min Jiang has reopened on 8 October, 2020. It has a new decor and an exciting new Menu. The cheery decor features polished marble tables, huge round lamps that reminded me of scallops. I liked the eye-catching discreetly lighted Onyx wall panels. Dine with ninja-black chopsticks on black Senggala porcelain ware.

Master Chef Chan Hwan Kee has helmed Min Jiang for almost 10 years. Originally from Sarawak, Chef Chan has created some innovative and delicious dishes. I tried the signature Camphor Tea Smoked Duck with steaming hot Pancakes and Hoi Sin Sauce. The Pancakes came in a bamboo dim sum basket with fresh chunky batons of cucumber. Simply wrap the lean pieces of yummie succulent duck in the  pancake with the cucumber and Hoi Sin Sauce…then enjoy!

Camphor Tea Smoked Duck with Pancakes


The Claypot with healthy Tofu, Fish, Prawns, Egg, Carrots, Mushrooms, Scallops and French Beans is excellent. Savour it with crispy skinned Fried ManTou Buns which you can dip in to the sauce.

Try too good ol’ Sichuan Style Big Prawns with Dried Red Chillies in a SAS – sweet and savoury gooey sauce. The luscious prawns are stir-fried with ginger, garlic and scallions. The food is very well crafted with premium ingredients.

Sichuan Style Big Prawns with Dried Chillies

Accompany your delectable dishes with premium Snow White Dragon Well Tea that has lots of polyphenols and vitamins. There are other unique teas to choose from too.

Chilled Avocado Cream in Young Coconut with Gula Melaka!

For dessert, arguably the best part of any meal…I tried Chilled Avocado Cream with Coffee Ice Cream drizzled with Gula Melaka served in a young Coconut. The velvety Avocado Cream is so lovely and delicious while the Gula Melaka or Coconut Palm Sugar adds sweetness plus the sexy fragrance of coconut. The harmonious symphony of yummie flavours is very memorable, and the best part is scooping out the coconut flesh inside to enjoy.

The Travelling Gourmet TM always says: Keep calm and carry on eating! Guten Appetit!

Min Jiang

22 Scotts Rd,

Goodwood Park Hotel,

Singapore 228221

Tel: 67301704 Reservations recommended

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Shangri-La’s Mooncakes 2020

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The resourceful and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet TM features Shnagri-La Singapore’s…

MOONCAKES for the 2020 Mid Autumn Festival.

Those who value Mooncakes as business gifts and enjoy the taste of tradition always go for baked Mooncakes. Shangri-La’s Shang Palace has them in either an auspicious red or in tranquil turquoise. Both are decorated with lovely flowers in bloom symbolizing the bountiful harvest of the Mid Autumn Festival. Note that in the northern hemisphere the Wine Harvest takes place during this period!

The aptly named “Shang Palace Four Treasures” has four different flavours:

I love he fact that they have 3 reduced sugar options because nowadays consumers are very health conscious. Sugar makes you fat and rots your teeth and is also linked to Diabetes. That is why Sugar is now the “white poison” and very much in disfavour. You may have noticed that desserts not only in fine dining restaurants but everywhere, are less sweeter now. Apart from the health benefits, the cost for restaurants and bakeries is reduced when you use less sugar nicht wahr…Think about it.


The “Fab Four” are…

 Reduced Sugar White Lotus Seed Paste with Single Yolk is for the traditionalist and those who do not beleive in re-inventing the wheel.

 Reduced Sugar White Lotus Seed Paste with Double Yolk. Yolks to you! This appeals to those who love the sweet and salty flavours on your taste buds when you bite in the Mooncake.

 Mixed Nuts with Chicken Ham, I love MIxed Nuts especially with Ham and Jamon de Iberico from Spain, as well as Ham from Bayonne in France.

 Reduced Sugar Plain White Lotus Seed Paste. This is a favourite with many who are not in to the savoury flavour of Duck Egg Yolk.

Bird’s Nest!

For those with discerning tastes…theluxurious Shangri-La’s Signature Mini Baked
Custard with Bird’s Nest, conceptualised by Shang Palace’s Executive
Chef Mok Kit Keung is BACK!  Generous mouthfuls of coveted bird’s nest are encased in a SAS – smooth and sexy and creamy custard, then and baked till an appealing golden brown.

Aphrodisiac Mooncakes…

Fancy something with aphrodisiac vibes? Then try  Black Sesame with Taro/Yam Mooncake. guaranteed to be popular with those who enjoy theThe seductive perfume of aroma of roasted black sesame is very appetising and get this…Black Sesame is an aphrodisiac, Especially when taken with Honey. On a side note I love Sicilian Honey and Russian Honey. On my travels in the Middle East I discovered that the Arabs swear by this combination of Black Sesame and Honey. This original Mooncake boasts aromatic nutty roasted flavours which meld harmoniously with the velvety texture of Taro. Healthy Cashew Nuts and Lotus Seeds add more Yum! Nuts like Cashews and Almonds raise up your good cholesterol or HDL.I always remember what my Doctor friend told me at my annual check-up, “Wow! Your HDL Cholesterol is very good!” When I told him I had been eating a lot of nuts like Macadamias and Almond, he said, “No wonder!”

Snowskin Connoisseurs and those who appreciate XO and Sake, you must go for…

Hennessy X.O. Chocolate Mini Snowskin
Mooncakes. Maurice Hennessy created the noteworthy cognac in 1870 for his circle of
friends so pourquoi pas (why not in French) relish this savoured in the
company of your pals and loved ones…Chocolate is infused to further emphazize the caramel and honey notes of the XO liquor. They are presented in a set of eight  a quartet of  yummieYuzu Sake Mini Snowskin Mooncakes. J’adore Yuzu, that most Japanes of citurs fruits with its zangy mouth-watering flavours. The white Lotus Seed Paste is spiked with smooth Premium Sake, the classic Japanese Rice Wine.

Shangri-La’s mooncakes are available for sale from now till 1 October 2020. Enjoy early bird discounts of 30% for selected items till 16 August 2020. Order online to enjoy 20% off classic baked mooncakes. Delivery and self-collect options are available. Mooncake gift vouchers are also available for sale. For more information, please call (65) 6213 4511/4473, or simply email:

Visit too-  Keep calm and eat Mooncakes

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Diana Rigg was so beautiful…

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The indomitable and debonair Travelling Gourmet TM remembers the…

MESMERIZING Diana Rigg who was Mrs. Emma Peel in black leather in The Avengers as a MI6 officer.

She passed away on September 10, 2020 at 82. She was married to Archibald Stirling, the nephew of the daredevil Colonel Sir David Stirling, Founder of the intrepid Special Air Service better known as the SAS.

Look at those legs | Dame diana rigg, Emma peel, Diana riggs

She starred in many roles, among them as Mrs. James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In her heyday, she was incredible alluring and beautiful. Her onscreen charisma was unparrelled.

One of her best roles was in “The Assassination Bureau” with Oliver Reed.

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Amazing Date palms grown from 2,000 year old seeds!

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The indomitable and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet is astonished by…

MAGICAL Date palms grown from very old seeds…in Israel.

Seven date palm trees have been grown from 2000-year-old seeds that were found in the Judean desert near Jerusalem.

Scientists grow date palm plants from 2,000-year-old seeds

The seeds – the oldest ever germinated – were among hundreds discovered in caves and in an ancient palace built by King Herod the Great in the 1st century BC! They were found at the same site as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Sarah Sallon at the Louis L Borick Natural Medicine Research Center in Jerusalem and her colleagues previously grew a single date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera) from one of the seeds. The team has now managed to grow a further six.

The ancient seeds were prepared by soaking them in water, adding hormones that encourage germination and rooting, then planting them in soil in a quarantined area.

The team used radiocarbon dating to reveal the seven seeds were all around 2000 years old. Genetic analysis showed that several of them came from female date palms that were pollinated by male palms from different areas. This hints that the ancient Judean people who lived in the area at the time and cultivated the trees used sophisticated plant breeding techniques.

Sweet and juicy

Historical accounts of the dates that grew from the palms in this region describe their large size, sweetness and medicinal properties. The Roman scribe Pliny the Elder, for example, wrote that their “outstanding property is the unctuous juice which they exude and an extremely sweet sort of wine-flavour like that of honey”. Unlike Egyptian dates, they could be stored for a long time, meaning they could be exported throughout the Roman Empire.

Are Dates Good For You? Here's What You Should Know. | HuffPost Life

Sallon and her colleagues found that the seeds of ancient Judean dates are larger than modern varieties, which is often indicative of bigger fruit. They now hope to recreate the ancient fruit by pollinating females with males.

“It won’t be the typical Judean date, because dates that were grown at that time – just like dates that are grown today – are not grown from seeds that somebody puts in the earth,” said Dr Sarah Sallon, director of the Louis Borick Natural Medicine Research Centre at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. “They are grown from clones from very high-producing females.”

Date palms are thought to have first been cultivated in Arabia and Mesopotamia (now Iraq) more than 6,000 years ago and were once widespread in ancient Judea, a region of the Levant. As well as being an important item of food, said Sallon, they were used to treat various medical conditions, including depression and poor memory. “Dates were an enormous export from Judea and they were famous,” she said.

Judea’s date palm crops started to die out after the region’s wars with Rome in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Sallon believes the hot, dry conditions of the Judean desert probably helped to preserve the leftover seeds for so long.

Previously, the world’s oldest germinated seed was a 1300-year-old Chinese lotus seed recovered from a dried lake bed in China. In 2012, researchers in Russia grew a flower from 30,000-year-old fruit tissue recovered from frozen sediment in Siberia.

Out of 32 other excavated seeds, six sprouted, and two are female. One, named Hannah, bore 111 dates. The team at the Arava Institute tasted some, and sent the rest away for research.

And how do Hannah’s dates taste?

“Lovely,” says Sarah Sallon of the Louis L Borick Natural Medicine Research Center in Jerusalem, “I find Medjoul dates too sticky sweet. Hannah’s are blander and drier, with a honey aftertaste that makes me think of the land of milk and honey.”

The date experts at Kibbutz Keturah say they taste like the Zahidi species of Iraqi dates. That makes sense, as Hannah is genetically related to a species that grew in Babylon — present-day Iraq.

“Domesticating the date palm for cultivation started around 6,000 years ago in Babylon and in the Arabian Peninsula,” Sallon explains.


Journal reference: Science AdvancesDOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0384

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Interview with Marriott Singapore’s Director of Food and Beverage

Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lm The Travelling Gourmet TM

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The irrepessible and indomitable Travelling Gourmet TM has an exclusive interview with…

MARRIOTT Singapore’s Director of Food and Beverage, affable Owen Cooper, about how the 5 Star hotel is handling the horrid virus pandemic.


The Travelling Gourmet TM: Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel is following all the Singapore guidelines for the virus. Are there additional safety features that Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel is implementing?

Owen Cooper: The well-being and health of our guests and associates remain a top priority at Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. We are committed to providing our valued customer, with a safe environment that aligns with expert protocols for working to defeat COVID-19. We have intensified our preventive measures in line with the World Health Organization and Singapore’s Ministry of Health guidelines. In addition, our hotel has implemented measures in accordance to Marriott International’s Commitment to Clean programme. Some of the additional safety measures in terms of Food and Beverage include enhanced cleaning protocols throughout the hotel, including public spaces,; implementing of QR Code menus; elimination of self-service food stations. We are also in the midst of enhancing our contactless QR payment system.

The Travelling Gourmet TM:   How are the foreign guests finding all these measures?

Owen Cooper: Our safety management measures are well-received, as they help to create a safe and clean environment, letting them dine with peace of mind. 

   The Travelling Gourmet TM:  Will the good old Buffet dinners come back in due course in future?

Owen Cooper: I think in time we will see a gradual return to buffet operations in the future, however with enhanced safety and hygiene standards in place. It may not be exactly the same as it was before, but instead a renewed approach.

Yes, Buffets are now featuring cooked to order concept served to the diner at tableside with no more self-service food stations. When you stay and dine at Marriott Singapore you can be sure that you are safe and well looked after. Many thanks to dynamic and helpful Owen Cooper, Director of Food and Beverage and Marriott Singapore.

Keep calm and carry on eating! Stay healthy!

For 2020 Marriott has superb Mooncakes to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival!

Marriott’s haute cuisine Cantonese restaurant Wan Hao has really yummie Tim Sum that touch your heart and taste buds! Steamed Hokkaido Scallop Dumping, Deep Fried crispy Mango Prawn Roll and Triangular Char Siew Soh filled with SAS- sweet & savoury roast pork. A nice Riesling from Alsace or Germany goes well with Cantonese cuisine. I always remember my dear friend, the late Etienne Hugel of the celebrated winery in Alsace, who loved Vietnamese food.

Etienne brought me on a VIP tour of Hugel winery and did a Wine Tasting of his best wines, which I will never forget.



Wan Hao’s Dessert Chilled Zangy Lemongrass Jelly with Lime Sorbet is to rob a bank for!

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Mandarin Orchard’s Mooncakes

Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM

Copyright all rights reserved

The indomitable and irrepressible Travelling GOurmet TM tells you about…

MANDARIN Orchard’s Mooncakes for 2020!

The 15th Day of of the 8th Lunar Month for the Mid Autumn Festival is 1 October 2020! This year Mandarin Orchard are keeping to their classic flavours from last year.

The flavour which I like is the Low Sugar Pandan Paste Mooncake with little chewy morsels of the exotic Cempedak jungle fruit. Cempedak is a cousin of the Jackfruit aka Nangka which is another tasty tropical fruit not found in Europe. The Pandan flavour is not overpowering and due to the healthy low sugar option, eating this is not cloying at all. The deep emerald green Pandan paste contrasts with the cute little pieces of yellow Cempedak. Very nice combined with a crisp Austrian Gruner Veltliner white wine. With more and more health conscious people, low sugar is a good idea!

Jamon Iberico from Spain!

Have you heard of the special ham beloved of gourmets called Jamon Iberico? It is a Spanish delicacy. Well this flavoursome ham is in the Mooncake with Mixed Nuts. I really relish the taste and texture of Mixed Nuts Mooncakes. Nuts like Almonds are very healthy and boost your good cholesterol by up to 30%! It is true. The flavour profile is SAS – Sweet And Savoury.

Azuki Beans!

Vegetarians will be delighted by the Japanese inspired Baked Mooncake with Red Azuki Bean Paste. Azuki Beans are much beloved of the Japanese. Pine Nuts add a healthy crunchy touch to this innovative Mooncake.

The Charcoal Baked Mooncake with Mixed Nuts and Yuzu is palate pleaser with an unusual citrus aftertaste from the Yuzu. Yuzu always has that most distinctive lemony, tangy flavour!

I also found the cute Limited Edition Piglet Shaped Mooncake with a combination of Low Sugar White Lotus Paste and Azuki Red Bean Paste most appealing.

The Travelling GOurmet TM always says: Keep calm and carry on Eating! 

Low Sugar Pandan Paste with Cempedak Mooncake


Mooncake with Lotus Seed Paste and MacadamiasMandarin Orchad Mooncake Macadamia20200904_193817_resized

Mandarin Orchard

333 Orchard Road

Singapore 238867


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