Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Types of Belgian Beer

Trappist Beer
   In the past, some of Belgium’s finest beers were made by the Trappists, a silent order of Cistercian monks. Now it’s produced commercially by five breweries with close ties to the monasteries (Chimay, Westmalle, Orval, Rochefort and Westvleteren). Yeast is added at bottling to induce a second fermentation, so pour off carefully in one go to avoid disturbing the sediment.

Abbey Beer
   Other abbeys also produced beer, but unlike the Trappist monasteries, many have licensed them to commercial breweries. Leffe, for example, is now closely connected with InBev. That said, many of the abbey beers are excellent. In addition, there are good “abbey-style” beers, such as Ename, Floreffe and St.Feuillien.

Witbier/Biere Blanche
   Most beer is made from barley, but it can also be made from wheat to produce a distinctive “white beer” to which flavourings such as coriander and orange peel may be added. The result is a light, sparkling and refreshing beer, often served cloudy with sediment. Examples: Hoegaarden, Brugs Tarwebier.

   In the valley of the Senne, the river that flows through Brussels, there is a natural airborne yeast called Brettanomyces. For centuries, brewers have simply left their warm wheat-beer wort uncovered during the winter months, and allowed air to deliver the yeast into it. The fermenting beer is then left to mature in wooden casks for a year or more. This creates a very distinctive beer, with a slightly winey edge, called lambic – the quintessential beer of Brussels.

Chez Moeder Lambic - Brussels

- a justly revered beer-shrine serves 450 kinds of beer

   Lambic of various ages can be blended, and then fermented a second time in the bottle. This produces a beer called queuze, fizzy like champagne and matured a further year or two to accentuate the winey qualities of the original product.

   Lambic can be flavoured with cherries (formerly the cherries of the north Brussels orchards of Schaerbeek), added during fermentation to create a highly distinctive drink called kriek; with raspberries, to make framboise; or with candy sugar, to make faro. Of the three, newcomers may find faro the easiest to begin with.

   Traditionally, breweries graded their beers by strength: apparently single was around 3%, double 6% and treble 9%. Some breweries – notably the Abbeys – still label their beers double (dubbel) and triple (tripel). Double is usually a dark and sweetish brew, triple often golden – blond.

Lager – style Beers
   Lager, or pils, is a bottom-fermented beer: the yeast remains at the bottom of the brew (stronger, heavier ales tend to be top –fermented, which seals in more flavour). Although such light beers may be sniffed at by connoisseurs abroad, in Belgium they are brewed to a high standard. Despite its ubiquity, InBev’s famous Stella Artois, brewed at Leuven, is a good – quality lager.

Pub De Dulle Griet - Ghent

- a celebrated pub serving 250 brands of beer.

Strong Ales
   Some breweries pride themselves on the sheer power of their product. Duvel (“Devil’s”), at 8,5%, is a famous example. Several lay claim to being the strongest beer in Belgium; at 12%, Bush beer is up there, and to be treated with respect.

Christmas Beers

   Many of the breweries produce Christmas ales for the festive season. These may just be prettily labelled versions of their usual brew, but may also be enriched ales of high strength.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Helsinki delicacies

Soup in a shoe shop, cupcakes  and bagels in the park, or Finnish local food in the courtyard of an apartment building? Restaurant Day is a new kind of urban event in which locals are invited to set up their own pop-up restaurant. The concept has been a huge success among residents and tourists, who get to sample everything from children’s juice bars to multi-course gourmet meals.

Restaurant Day is a fine example of Helsinki’s active food culture, which has taken off in recent years. Many talented young chefs have set up their own unique restaurants, such as Muru, Gaijin and Kuurna. Visitors are also highly encouraged to try traditional Finnish food, for example at Sea Horse, Elite and Salve. Order a plate of fried herring or vorschmack, the favourite dish of legendary Finnish leader Mannerheim.

  Of course, you don’t have to wait until the evening to enjoy great food. Start early in the morning with coffee in the Market Square, where you can also purchase seasonal produce. In the Old Market Hall and Hakaniemi Market Hall you can also sit down and enjoy a traditional Karelian pie or salmon sandwich. For the very best local and organic food, head for the Abattoir in the Kalasatama district, where you will find a cluster of new restaurants and food outlets.

You can also plan your route according to your food preferences. For example, where can you find the best cinnamon bun in Helsinki? Make your own discoveries, but we would suggest trying the Hopia café, Café Esplanade and the caffeé on Tamminiementie.
                                                                                                     Accommodation in Helsinki

You can continue your gastronomic tour in the evening at any one of the fun bars in town. Why not start from the top? The Ateljee Bar on the uppermost floor of the TorniHotel affords a splendid view over the city. Back down on street level you should try Helsinki’s popular wine and cocktail bars, such as Vin-Vin, Latva or Grotesk. And if you work up at an appetite after a night on the town, head for the legendary local restaurant Manala for a hearty meal.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Shopping in Helsinki

Marimekko campaign
Yellow ones, violet ones, turquoise ones, red ones, blue ones... Purses, handbags and weekend bags...It's impossible to choose from the amazing selection at Lumi Accessories! This Finish brand's newest outlet can be found in the Tori Qurter next to Senate Square where many other design brands have recently opened boutiques. The Tori Quarter also hosts a wide variety of events, so keep your eyes and ears open when you go shopping!

Kluuvi Shopping Center
When hunting for classic and contemporary Finish design, there is no shortage of shops in Helsinki. Marimekko is always popular, and the brands has recently updated its outlets and opened new ones. The smallest of them all, Marikiska, is a also the most fun. Among all the bright and colorful design products you will also find a  huge selection of cool clothing. Check out the creations of Vuokko Nurmesniemi, the grand old lady of Finnish design, at the Vuokko shop, or try on some of new designs by Samu-jussi Koski in the Samuji shop. The leading Finnish design brands, such as littala, Arabia, Artek and Finlayson, all have their flagship stores along the Esplanade, making it easy to shop for all you gifts and souvenirs.
                                                                               Hotels in Helsinki
Design Forum Finland also sells a wide selection of Finish design products, while Taito Shop Helsky is specialized in Finnish handicrafts. Check out the gorgeous rugs!

If you work up an appetite while shopping, head for Kluuvi Shopping Center or Lasipalatsi, where the Eat & Joy Farmers Market sells delicious local and organic food from more than 500 small producers across Finland. You could even buy some sparkling spruce shoot juice, artisan chocolates or berry jams to take home with you.

The luxurious Stockman department store and the major shopping malls of Kampi, Forum and Galleria Esplanad can all be found right in the heart of the city center.  Popular shopping  streets include Aleksanterinkatu, Korkeavuorenkatu, Fredrikinkatu and the two Esplanadi streets. The Market Square and the Hietaniemi Market Hall are real treasure troves for those looking for culinary delights and little presents to take back home.

Pure Shop
Helsinki is the definitive design city, and has even had the honor of serving as the World Design Capital during 2012. World famous Finnish design from past masters to tomorrow's heroes can be found for example at the Design District area which consists of nearly 200 members including design shops, galleries, museums and restaurants. In the heart of the area is the Design Forum Finland, Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture.
Remember to roam around the Tori Quarters - the neoclassical city blocks of the old city center - that have recently been revitalized by a number of new design and craft shops and inviting restaurants.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

How to pick the perfect perfume

Picking the right fragrance is becoming more difficult as more choices than ever hit the market. But there are ways to tell which fragrance are right for you and which are wrong. And you can do it without trailing for selection of unflattering trial fragrances home from store.

Women have basic scent preferences that define which type of fragrance they like. Many women prefer a lighter fragrance during the day and a heavier one in the evening.
To test a new scent, spray the fragrance on your arm, not too close, and lave it for a while. Some people prefer to use blotters, but then you don’t find out how the perfume reacts with you.

Experts suggest smelling coffee between each test, to clear away the last lingering scent. Coffee beans are rarely used as an ingredient in perfumes and they quickly blunt previous fragrances. Use them as you would use bread to cleanse the palate when tasting wine. Upscale perfume shops sometimes make available coffee beans at the fragrance counter for this purpose.
Your personality, favorite colors, favorite foods and your past tilt you towards certain perfume preferences.
A strong correlation exists between fragrances and memories because sense and emotion are processed in the same part of the brain. For this reason, certain aroma, such as baking bread and cookies add to certain perfumes bring back childhood memories.

When choosing your next fragrance, tell the sales person your favorite foods and drinks, music, fabric, colors, region of the world and skin type. These can all help to decide which fragrances you should test.
A penchant for greens and blues as well as cotton, suede and cashmere suggest a preference for light, clean, outdoorsy fragrances. A preference for apples, peaches, pears and nectarines show that you like the ‘’orchard’’ category. Raspberries and blackberries, are in the ‘’berry’’ group; mango and papaya-lovers fall in the ‘’tropical’’ group; and melons, the ‘’marine’’ group of fragrances.

You can find plenty of designer brands on-line offering best selection of man fragrances and woman perfumes. Above mentioned group of fragrances selected into so called niches, like oriental, fruity,exotic e.c.t. Depending on your intuition, pick up the one that suits your senses. Don't get preoccupied with the fragrances used by your close friends because every fragrance smells differently on different people. Another useful tip when buying the best perfume, test it on your own skin it is better than on a perfume card, basically it will serve your body after decision you make

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Friday, March 28, 2014


Located on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea, the Principality of Monaco, famous for its casino and its riches, is a tourist center of the first order. This tiny country owes much of its popularity to its current sovereign HRH Prince Rainer and his late wife HRH Princess Grace, desgraciadamente ya fallecida. The name of the state appears to derive from the Roman Portus Monoeci, te ancient port of Hercules, spoken of in many a Mediterranean legend. Monaco, with its tranquil port and almost constant sunshine is a benevolent oasis. It is like a white sea bird flying between the sea and the sky. Monaco is a sizable city, the capital of a dream realm.

The Principality comprises: Monaco, the old town, the Condamine, the port area, the new town and Monte Carlo, the rock upon which can be found the Casino and many luxury hotels. The remains still preserved in the surrounding area bear testament to Monaco's history. There is the cave of the skeletons, where the bones of the first inhabitants of the Mediterranean were found. Around the hills can be discovered the vestiges of the massive wall which once enclosed the old city, turning it into an impregnable fortress and adding further to the port's tranquility. It was a place where, according to Virgil and Lucian: ,,neither the Eurus , nor the Zephyrus could enter''.
In 43 BC, Julius Caesar concentrated his army in the port of Monaco, while we awaited the arrival of Pompey, who had taken refuge in Illyria. In the 12th century, Frederic Redbeard, the Emperor of Germany, gave Genoa sovereignty over Monaco and the entire Ligurian coast. It was at this time that a great Ligurian family, the Grimaldis, began to play a leading role in the history of Genoa. The Grimaldi were Guelphs who went into exile when the Ghibbellins seized power in 1295. Francois Grimaldi became the master of the Rock of Monaco after entering the fortress disguised as a monk. From that moment on, the power of the Grimaldis over Monaco would be consolidated France than annexed Monaco in 1509, but the Grimaldis regained autonomy for their tiny state thanks to the treaties of Burgos and Tordesillas.
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The lord of Monaco then was Augustin Grimaldi, the bishop of Grasse, protected by Charles the Fifth. In 1529 the Emperor stayed at the castle for three days. Later the Princess of Monaco enjoyed the protection of France, but during the French Revolution, Prince Honore the third was dethroned and would later die in Paris in exile. After the treaty of Vienna, Monaco was placed under the protection of Sardinia and remained an Italian protectorate until 1860, when it once again came under the guardianship of France. The Principality enjoyed an epoch of splendor under Charles Grimaldi III who dedicated his life to the reconstruction and established amicable relations with France. It was during this era that Monaco began to acquire fame as a cultural center and a tourist resort, a fame which hasn't stopped growing during the reign monarch HRH Prince Rainer the Third. Among the Historical monuments of Monaco, pride of place must go to the Grimaldi Palace, symbol of the historical continuity of the Principality.
Its halls make up an interesting museum with tableaux by Giorgione, Holbein, Van Loo, Champaigne, Rigaud and other artists. There is also Japanese furniture, Venetian antiques, a fresco portraying ,, Renown leading the Army of the Grimaldi, and the bed wherein the Duke of York died at the end of the 18th century. It is also remarkable for the Palace Archives and the Napoleonic Museum with a collection of coins stamped in Monaco and other souvenirs of the Napoleonic era.

The Cathedral is the most important Monegasque architectural feature. Erected at one end of the town, it was built between 1875 and 1884 under the direction of the architect Lenormand. Also worthy of mention are the Musee d'Antropologie, the Musee National, the Musee de Cirec (Wax Museum, the Center de Acclimatation Zoologique, the Musee Oceanographique, and the Casino de Monte Carlo). The Casino is an exquisite example of the ,,Liberty'' style, while its halls are decorated in a baroque style.

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***** Riviera Marriott Hotel - La Porte De Monaco
Casting a serene reflection upon the Cap d'Ail harbor on France's Cote d'Azur, the Riviera Marriott La Porte de Monaco Hotel captures the spirit of Monaco. It's a magical place, where you can loose yourself in its fragrant breezes, profound beauty and international allure. As one of the premier hotels in Monaco, you'll be introduced to a superior level of service and amenities. 
View from the Hotel La Perouse

***** Hotel La Perouse - 11, Quai Rauba Capeu 063000 Nice
A hidden gem of the French Riviera built on a promontory next to the sea, the establishment offers  the most beautiful view of Nice and the Bay of Angels. You arrive through a discrete entrance, as if you were visiting a private home. Next, an elevator takes you to the heart of this high perched building filled with charming labyrinths and clinging to a steep hillside covered with luxurious Mediterranean vegetation. The impression of a patrician mansion is reinforced by warms tones on the outside facade, contrasting with surprisingly contemporary furnishings made in fine materials on the inside.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Stockholm Food Experiences

At the most recent Culinary Olympics, the Swedish team of chefs secured gold medals in five different categories. Seven of the team members work in Stockholm. Gastronomical trends are born here, and as a visitor you can count on food experiences out of the ordinary. You will find everything from modern concept restaurants and innovative kitchens to Guide Michelin stars and traditional corner restaurants.

Stockholm restaurants are popular. This means that you definitely should book a table - preferably well in advance. At the most popular restaurants, you should book about a week previous to your visit on weekdays and even before that on weekends.

ESPERANTO - One of the Sweden's best restaurants, according to the latest edition of the prestigious White Guide. Its food carries inspiration from the whole world, based on ingredients that have been produced with respect for both animalsand the environment.

LUX STOCHOLM - A restaurant focused on locally produced and fresh foods, always themed around season. The setting is magnificent, as one of the Sweden best restaurants is located on Lilla Essingen facing the water and with a view over the city.

PONTUS - A nice restaurant, set on several floors on Stureplan in the city center. You will find something for every occasion here. It is an international brasserie suitable for both everyday pleasure and special occasion. It also features both a seafood bar and a wine bar.

Many top class restaurants have a ,,bakficka'', i.e. a smaller restaurant where they serve more basic bistro food. the food is still very high quality, but with much lower prices. Famous bistros include OPERAKALLARENS BKFICKA, located round the corner from the main restaurant in the Opera House, and ERIKS BAKFICKA located in Ostermalm and run by the same master chef as the Gondolen restaurant. SPECERIET, Gastrologiks bakficka is a newcomer found wall to wall with the original restaurant at Artillergaton. You can also look out for special offers of the lunch of the day at the top class restaurants.

Hjerta Stockholm
DJURET - Set on a rustic decor, this restaurant serves only one animal at a time and the whole menu is made up from its different parts. By using all parts of the animal, it operates in a sustainable way, both from an ecological perspective and out of respect for the animal. 

HJERTA - A beautifully located restaurant in a former torpedo workshop, just by the marina on the idyllic ''art island'' Skeppsholmen. Rustic food with Swedish and French influences is served here. The restaurant also has its own bakery and smokery.

AG - Meat for all palates of best quality is served here. They tenderize the meat themselves, and in the visible fridges pieces of meat hang in a row. AG is the chemical symbol for silver and the restaurant has been named after the silvermith that once was housed in the building.

Stromma Cruise experience
Stromma Canal Cruises
,,Fika'' is a Swedish phenomenon that you won't find anywhere else in the world. For more than a hundred years, we've had our own world for drinking coffee, tea or soft drinks, preferably with a cinnamon bun and in the company of fiends. Buns, cookies, and other pastires are called ,,fikabrod''. The ,,fika culture'' is an important part of Swedish society and as a visitor in Stockholm you can easily be part of it. You will find classic cafes with an unique character, cozy coffee shops and modern coffee bars. They have one thing in common ''you can ,,fika''there.

Once you visit Stockholm, book a dining cruise in the Archipelago and experience the top-quality surroundings, food and service on a classic archipelago cruise. Naturally, all food is prepared on board, and you can choose between brunch, lunch and dinner cruises. It's a fantastica way to enjoy Stockholm's beautiful archipelago and food with a blend of Swedish and international influences.

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 KVARNEN - Legendary restaurant, beer hall and meeting place with a hundred year of history, located in the old worker's part of the city, Sodemalm. Known from the Millenium book and films and a place many people want to see in real life. It serves well-cooked classic Swedish traditional dishes.

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