Showing posts with label event. Show all posts
Showing posts with label event. Show all posts

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Summer with Gin Mare Med Roof Tops

Gin Mare

Gin Mare hails from Catalonia based outside the town of Vilanova near Barcelona. They are producing a gin, unlike any other. It's a rather savoury gin, full of aromatic herbs. Rosemary, thyme, olive, and basil are included in the botanical line up as well as citrus, cardamom, coriander and juniper berries.

Gin Mare is a top quality handcrafted Mediterranean Gin distilled in small batches in Florentine Copper Pot Stills.  Gin Mare distinguishes itself from London Dry gin in that the essential botanicals used are from the Mediterranean, thus giving it it's the only Designation of Origin in the world.  The botanicals utilised are from Italy, Greece, Turkey and Spain; Arbequina Olive, Thyme, Rosemary, and Basil are the main ones in every blend. They are also known for their single distillation process and subsequent blending of the eight separate distillates.
Gin Mare
Last year I had the pleasure to attend their Gin Mare Med Rooftops  London 2016 edition, and I wasn't disappointed!  What a show they put on! The roof top was inspired by the Mediterranean vibe of Gin Mare. In the spirit of a sun-soaked and relaxing day in Southern Europe, the beautifully decorated venue offered a place to escape and explore the unique tastes, textures, sounds and botanicals of Gin Mare.

This July, on Thursday 20th & Friday 21st, Gin Mare will host another exciting rooftop experience for gin lovers and those acquainted with the brand.  The upmarket pop-up will be situated overlooking the river Thames, with stunning panoramic views of the city of London.   While admiring the scenic sights and quaffing delicious gin cocktails,  seasonal canapes will be served including plump oysters dressed with no other than Gin Mare, of course! Let me tell you they were divine last year! 
Gin Mare and Oysters
Expect another show stopper of an event with cocktails featuring fresh mango, the Perfect Martini paired with a strawberry garnish, a cooling Frozemary cocktail, or a revitalising Basil Smash. Each of the cocktails will highlight the flavours and ingredients of the four Mediterranean countries where the gin’s botanicals are grown. 
Gin Mare

An occasion not to be missed! 
For more info and for a chance to win tickets register here

If you can't make to the roof top you can enjoy Gin Mare at home!

Available from selected Waitrose, Oddbins, Harvey Nichols, and Whole Foods outlets.  RRP £34-£41.00.

Online: and

You can also find it being enjoyed in some of the most discerning bars in London.

Happy Summer!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Champagne, Krug World Festival 2017

Krug  Champagne World Festival 2017
Krug World Festival 2017

The history of the House of Krug

In 1843 Joseph Krug founded his eponymous house, The House of Krug. Originally from Mainz, Germany, on the banks of the Rhine, he left Germany in 1834 to work in France.  He was employed by Champagne Jacquesson for eight years, working his way up the ranks, he learned to blend champagne as well as the machinations of the champagne market. He married and had a son, Paul Krug, and eventually founded Krug et Cie. in 1843. Joseph was a polyglot which put the company in a position to exploit key overseas markets.

Joseph wanted his son to take over the company once he was no longer around, and so he ensured that his son knew all the ins and outs of the business. They moved premises from Châlons-sur-Marne in 1866 to Rue Coquebert, in Reims. They have been in the same building ever since. 

Today the house is part of a vast portfolio owned by the multinational conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A. whose collection includes other well-known wine brands. Despite LVMH's majority ownership, the Krug family is still actively involved in all the critical decisions of the house.

The Krug World Festival

Olivier Krug

I met Olivier Krug, the sixth generation of the Krug family and who calls himself the 'gatekeeper of the heritage' of the House of Krug at a beautiful event organised by the House for media, journalists and bloggers from around the world.

The newly restored Maison Krug - a unique space housing over 150 years of history, was the backdrop for this occasion.  We listened attentively to Olivier's stories of his childhood in the house while Champagne was flowing, as you would expect, in aesthetically pleasing 'Joseph' glasses. These Riedel glasses are made of a single piece of crystal glass shaped in such a way that allows the bubbles to reach their optimal expression, enabling them to reveal a bouquet of aromas.

For the whole of the duration of our stay at Krug, we never drank from a champagne flute.  Olivier is totally against them. He's the founder of hashtag #noflute.

Olivier’s enthusiasm to share the Krug heritage with the world has resulted in the inception of the Krug World Festival; the first one was held in Rome last year.

This year, at the second edition, guests had a rare chance to savour some of the world’s most prized Krug throughout the day. They were also completely immersed in the world of the House of Krug at its headquarters in Reims, which included a visit to its cellars.
Krug  Champagne World Festival 2017
Wild Lunch by Krug

Guests were then driven to a secret location in nearby Verzy for lunch. We were greeted with a glass of the elegant Krug Rosé 21st edition.  A wine with savoury notes, it was developed to be paired with food, for a daring gastronomic adventure. Music features heavily at the House of Krug; we were given a 'silent disco' headphone to taste Krug Rosé with soothing music while walking through the forest to reach our lunch spot.  The big reveal was the new Krug Rosé glass,  expertly crafted by Riedel in collaboration with Krug.

The Wild Lunch menu was expertly paired with the pure elegance of the Krug Rosé 21st Edition throughout the meal. The menu consisted of mostly savoury dishes and gave us an idea of what a fantastic pairing this unusual Krug rosé can be with its robust, broad and extensive aromatic palate.

This champagne is the only Rosé Prestige Champagne to be blended from a rich palette of wines from three different grape varieties and different years. Skin-fermented Pinot Noir gives a seductive, sensual and rounded finish in the mouth.
The bottle we drunk at the meal was composed of 51% Pinot Noir, 41% Chardonnay, and 8% Pinot Meunier.

The  Rosé from Krug was paired with the following:
Foie Gras
Gnocchi vin jaune
Lobster tartare
Pan-fried Foie gras and artichoke cream
Monkfish, chorizo emulsion
Roast rack of lamb
Dry-aged rib of beef
Corn & Asparagus
Strawberry soup and verbena
Cannelé Bordelais
Lemon diamond
cupcake almond & apricots

Michelin-starred chef, Arnauld Lallement lead the guests through an extraordinary dining experience in gorgeous surroundings. We were also gifted with a book on mushrooms with recipes from noted chefs.

Dinner, Champagne and Music Pairing

Lianne La Havas
Jacky Terrasson

Sly Johnson

Krug has come up with a unique proposition: Krug Music Pairings. The House invites specially selected musicians to participate in a program of matching Krug champagne with their original compositions.  Inspired by what they taste, these artists choose a special playlist to reflect what they felt and how they connect to the tasting experience. These selections, made available to the public via or the Krug App, enhance Champagne lovers’ tasting of Krug Champagnes, taking the whole experience to another dimension.

As the evening approached, we had dinner al fresco at the House of Krug courtyard with more delicious food by Chef Arnauld Lallement and music by Lianne La Havas, Jacky Terrasson and Sly Johnson.

Michellin starred Chef Arnauld Lallement

The evening meal was sluiced with elegant Krug champagnes and gastronomic delights: 
Haddock and caviar - Krug 2003
Lobster  - Krug 2002
Squab (young pigeon)  Foie gras pie  - Krug Rosé 21st Edition
Roasted peach, verbena, muesli and dried fruit - Krug Grande Cuvee 160th Edition - instinctively pleasurable
Krug  Champagne World Festival 2017
The evening finished with a massive sing-a-long with all the guests and musicians. Perfect ending to a perfect night! 

The Krug iD

Every bottle of Krug Champagne has a story to tell. As a House with a contemporary spirit and a history of pioneering, Krug embraces new digital technology and its potential to disrupt and delight. Since 2011, the House has invited Champagne lovers to enter the Krug iD – the six digits can be found on the back label of every bottle – in different platforms such as the Krug website, the Krug App and Twitter. Now, when someone tweets a Krug iD (“#KrugiD 115014” for example), they receive an immediate response from Krug giving them and their followers access to all the Krug iD information. These tweets encapsulate the true spirit of the House, always with its finger on the pulse of today’s culture.

Krug is about the conviviality, emotions, and harmony of champagne, to be enjoyed by everyone
Krug  Champagne World Festival 2017
Krug World Festival 2017

'Krug festival in the UK - Into the Wild.'

Krug will host a special event in Hampshire, UK, on the 29th July 2017 from 4:30 pm - midnight. Expect an exceptional experience with  Argentinean Chef Francis Mallmann who will  headline the evening of open-fire cooking -   'Krug festival - Into the Wild.'  

This event will take place across the three sites on The Grange - pairing each dish with champagne from the Krug portfolio; Grande Cuvée, Rosé and Vintage 2002. Large open fires will give the evening a theatrical feel, while the chefs will be cooking locally sourced produce for up to seven hours.

Music will be by specialist music and online platform, Mahogany
For more info:

Explore Krug:

Disclosure:  I was a guest of Krug at this event.  All views are my own.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Las Vegas, Luxury Stays and Eats

Las Vegas Strip

Last month I discovered on my first trip to Las Vegas that this city is full of excellent places to eat and stay. Nor is glamour in short supply, this is a resort city famed for its vibrant nightlife, centred around 24-hour casinos, luxurious eateries and late night bars.

Its main street and focal point is the Strip which is just over 4 miles long. The boulevard is home to new and old Vegas glam with themed hotels featuring elaborate displays. One such display is the famed fountains of the Bellagio; they are synchronised to 'dance' to music coordinated to an elaborate coloured light show. You can also find replicas of an Egyptian pyramid, the Venetian Grand Canal, and the Eiffel Tower.

In the Strip, you can find some very opulent places to stay and eat. Here are some of the new-ish and cool places where I stayed and would recommend.

Luxury stays in Las Vegas

A Modern Las Vegas Atmosphere At The Cosmopolitan Hotel
The Cosmopolitan Vegas Hotel Bedroom

Unlike the traditional, old-school casino hotels I've seen in films, the Cosmo is built and designed for contemporary tastes. Its spacious rooms are decorated with modern interiors, and the establishment itself holds multiple bars and restaurants for your enjoyment. The Cosmo is famous amongst foodies, Vegas super-fans, fashionistas, and anyone else looking for a truly luxurious experience. It’s located near many other attractions such as the CityCentre complex and just next to the Bellagio casino. My room had a view of its magnificent fountains.

The Cosmo was established to challenge the traditional casino hotel model and has paired its contemporary interior with digital new media art. Still, it pays homage to the old styles with vintage touches throughout, including grand chandeliers, old telephones, and vintage seating in its huge reception area. I was dazzled by the magnitude of this hotel.

The Cosmopolitan enormous bath in my room 60th floor overlooking Las Vegas Strip

The Boulevard Pool at the hotel overlooks the famous Vegas Strip and makes numerous available activities for guests to relax properly. You can lie down in a cabana bungalow at the pool club, enjoy a Turkish-style bath at the spa, or take a stroll around the unique shops that are spread throughout.

There are nearly 3,000 contemporary rooms and suites, which were originally meant to be a private condominium.  The unique design of the suites allows for lots of space and facilities such as kitchenettes and at present the only hotel with balconie in Las vegas.

Foodies, like me, will marvel at the selection of eateries found at the Cosmopolitan, which includes restaurants run by renowned chefs such as David Chang of Momofuku and José Andrés of Jaleo. You won’t even be disappointed with the Cosmo’s Wicked Spoon buffet, which has achieved fantastic reviews from past guests - I thoroughly enjoyed their breakfast buffet too. If you’re looking for a well-crafted drink to finish off your evening, the triple-decker Chandelier Bar is sure to amaze with not only its terrific cocktails but stunning interiors.
Tapas at Jaleo

The Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan

Facilities like Wi-Fi, fitness centre and a tennis court are all available to hotel guests. Unfortunately, breakfast isn’t included with your room, but there are several options around like the hotel’s trendy spot, EggSlut.
The Cosmopolitan
3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA

Glamour and Comfort At The Aria
My room at The Aria

Just when I thought I've had stayed in the biggest hotel ever, here comes The Aria, located right behind the Cosmopolitan, just across a bridge, is the Aria Hotel. It’s a spectacular casino hotel designed in an entirely modern yet quaint design, absent of any ornamentation often connected to garish Vegas decor. The creativity of the hotel’s appearance is esteemed, as well as its ability to remain refined and elegant.

The establishment provides an air of comfortable luxury, and guests have access to numerous designer shops and an opulent casino. You’ll find 16 restaurants with fine dining options,  seven bars, and even more facilities to enjoy.

In addition to its fabulous casino and eateries, the Aria houses spa facilities, a fitness centre and five different pools with strict security. If all that isn’t enough, the hotel is located right in the heart of the Vegas Strip,  easy access to all Vegas desires.
One of the views from my room at the Aria
The Aria is a mega-resort that boasts an incredible capacity of 4,004 rooms. It’s the star of the 11-billion dollar City Centre, which was unveiled in late 2009. Grandeur is revered and valued at the Aria, which is evident in its number of luxury facilities, high ceilings and cut-edge designs.

My room at the Aria was smaller than the Cosmo, but this place oozes luxury with a spacious shopping area dotted with famous lavish brands like Chanel, Prada among others. I loved my American breakfast in my room in the last morning in Vegas.

3730 Las Vegas Fwy, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA

Dining and drinking in Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan 

One of the most beautiful meals I had while in Vegas. David Chang's restaurant offers an innovative take on Asian fare at this hip, spacious outpost in the Cosmopolitan. The place opened in January of this year (2017).  Sensational dishes with a diversity of tastes and textures that marry so well.

Jaleo by Jose Andres
José Andrés who is often credited with bringing the 'small plates' concept to the US. It's a very particular experience with open fires and Spanish dishes to die for using high-quality produce and ingredients. Highly recommended. 

O.M.G. this place, what can I say?  I wasn't expecting much, it's a small establishment inside The Cosmopolitan, but it was brilliant. Originally from California, this chain has reached Vegas. Offering comfort and gourmet egg dishes that can be eaten not just for breakfast but all day -  dining that is straightforward and lush.

The Venetian and Palazzo:
3355 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA

The Dorsey bar
A beautiful bar in The Venetian serving hand-crafted cocktail menu designed by award-winning bartender Sam Ross of Attaboy and Milk & Honey fame. I urge you to explore meticulously prepared signature cocktails. They also have shareable punch bowls.

A walk distance from the Dorsey bar,  Carnevino (meat and wine)  is an Italian steakhouse in the Palazzo Hotel Casino. It is a meat lover heaven, but they also cater to the non-meat eaters among us.  Their dry-aged steaks and wines were superb. CarneVino is owned and operated by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich.

LINQ Promenade

Virgil's Real Barbeque
545 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA

Virgil's Real Barbeque is the premier eatery serving southern-style barbeque and craft beers, a spin-off of New York’s long-standing BBQ house.  Set just minutes away from the High Roller (Vegas's attempt to answer the London Eye), the restaurant occupies 1300 square meters on multiple levels with indoor and outdoor seating, and, I was told they have live music nightly.  Look at their outrageous  Bloody Mary - a meal in itself.
Outrageous Virgil's Bloody Mary
Virgil's Real Barbeque -  where I tasted Southern food - what a feast!

Mix of grilled meats and jalapeño cornbread

I finally tasted grits - cheesy grits (cheddar)- Love it!

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and Delano Hotel 
3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA

Cocktails at Skyfall Lounge at Delano 
Skyfall Lounge, located next to Rivea restaurant, offers 180-degree views of  Las Vegas and the desert.   A truly beautiful experience.

Las Vegas and desert View from The Delano

Dinner at Rivea at Delano
The restaurant serves delicious Italian & French Riviera cuisine by Chef Alain Ducasse. The restaurant is a swanky space with a sweeping panoramic view of Las Vegas and the desert.
A very romantic space! Rivea
Very creamy and  tasty Asparagus & morel risotto with Parmesan crisp

 Juicy 'Rossini' Angus fillet Mignon  with slightly pan fried duck foie gras and black truffle sauce  amazing dish

Seafood soup - absolutely delicious
I really enjoyed my stay in Las Vegas - what a town! full of luxury things to do, eat and drink.  I learned that Vegas is what you make it!
Next post:  A Stroll Through Downtown Las Vegas

Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X  

Disclosure:  I was the guest on this press trip organised by Hills Balfour in conjunction with R&R Partners and Las Vegas Tourism Board.

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