Relief Chefs North West


We may be on the path to eating right, but a colorful trend on the opposite side of the spectrum is gaining ground. For many, it’s a hard one to fathom.

Unnaturally colored comfort foods are being transformed into “technicolor” works of art, and yes, they are edible! After the viral success of rainbow-colored-foods in 2015, these food items are selling out once again.

Psychedelic donuts, bagels and cupcakes are raking in absurd numbers of social media likes, but it isn’t stopping at baked goods. Eye-catching classic foods are getting the techni-makeover. Grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, pasta, mashed potatoes and even lima beans have fallen victim to this unconventional trend. It’s also the reason a popular barista added food coloring to steamed milk, taking his latte art to a whole new level.

[Photography: foodiggity.com]

Why the evolution of the rainbow popularity has transcended into an even brighter technicolor trend, it is still a bit of a mystery. Colors can be associated with different tastes, such as red and pink for sweetness, or green for sour, so could it be consumers are viewing technicolor foods as “more flavorful” than the previous non-colored counterparts?

[Photography: today.com]

One blogger went as far as attributing it to “millennial plague” also known as FOMO, (fear of missing out) stating when friends on social media see others in giddy, eye-poppingly bright novelty food pictures, they cant help but want to taste the rainbow too!

Regardless of the reasoning, it appears as though any concerns about artificial coloring by those partaking in what once felt like a childlike food trend, has now graduated into a full-fledged adult trend without much concern of the additives required to intensify the colors.

[Photography: mumjunction.com]

Have you experienced or is your property offering any technicolor food items? If so, chime in the comments below about your thoughts on the trend.


This article was published by Sherri Scheck-Merrill on in HotelsMag, under the title “Technicolor taste trend”

(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)    

Posted 135 weeks ago

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Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Conrad Hotel Rangali Island, Maldives

Set on a private island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this resort offers a choice of 12 restaurants and bars to guests, including water villas on stilts and a fromage bar with 101 of the world’s best cheeses. But the resort is most famous for the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, the world’s first and only undersea, all-glass restaurant. Ithaa sits five metres below the surface, offering 180-degree panoramic views of the vibrant coral gardens surrounding it. The restaurant, meaning ‘mother of pearl’ in the Maldivian language of Dihevi, serves contemporary European cuisine. For lunch, enjoy light dishes such as fresh green pea soup, green mango and papaya salad and dark chocolate mousse. A six-course set dinner menu featuring caviar, lobster and champagne risotto is on offer in the evening. With over 20,000 bottles of wine to choose from in their cellar, you’ll won’t go thirsty either.

[Credits: conradhotels3.hilton.com - Picture: Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Conrad Hotel]

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The Al Mahara, Jumeirah Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai

The floor-to-ceiling aquarium at this restaurant gives the impression of being   underwater, even though you’re moments from the outside world. The Al Mahara - meaning ‘The Oyster Shell’ in Arabic - is considered the best seafood restaurant in Dubai, with specialities including poached Tsarkaya oysters,   Wagyu Beef seared on the “plancha” and short rib in orange syrup and   angostura. Finish with shortbread and lemon curd, and take in the amazing   view.

[Credits: jumeirah.com - Picture: The Al Mahara, Jumeirah Burj Al Arab Hotel]

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Subsix, Niyama, Per Aquum, Maldives

Another gem in the Maldives, Subsix at the Per Aquum Resort is an underwater playground for party goers. The club and restaurant is 500 metres out in the ocean and six metres below the waterline. It offers everything from private champagne breakfasts to intimate subaquatic lunches, wedding blessings, wine tastings, themed evenings and club nights. The subaquatic lunch focuses on light, fresh dishes likes like crab, cous сous and pomelo garden, lobster medallion and Wagyu beef tenderloin, and all the free-flowing fresh juices your heart desires (£105 per person for three courses).

[Credits: niyama.peraquum.com - Picture: Copyright: www.aboutfoto.com]

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Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Key Largo Undersea Park, Florida

You’ll have to work for your lunch at Jules’ in Florida: the only way to access the hotel is by scuba diving. Located in the Key Largo Lagoon, this is world’s only underwater hotel. It’s somewhere between a hotel and a research lab - they’ve got a special overnight package (£512 for two people) which includes all scuba gear, snacks, breakfast and their (supposedly) world-famous pizza delivery service. If you want something finer, you can enjoy a meal cooked by a chef who dives down just to you. For those who don’t find the idea of sleeping in a research lab and watching the fishes enticing, you can choose to visit the underwater hotel for pizza lunch only (£96).

[Credits: jul.com - Picture: Jules’ Undersea Lodge, Key Largo Undersea Park, Florida]

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Cargo Hold, uShaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa

Okay, so the restaurant isn’t actually underwater, but you will be nestled in the stern of the South Africa’s legendary ghost ship ‘The Phantom’, with superb views of the ocean and a shark tank. Make sure you request a table close to the glass to get up close and personal with the sharks, as you dine on freshly shucked oysters (£1 each), white wine mussels (£3) and seared salmon served with a sticky teriyaki sauce and pesto mashed potato (£7). If you fancy, go all out and get a sharing platter of crayfish, prawns, mussels, calamari, line fish and langoustines (£33).

[Credits: ushakamarineworld.co.za - Picture: Cargo Hold, uShaka Marine World]

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Utter Inn, Lake Mälaren, Västeras, Sweden

For something more low key (and less sharks), try this quaint, quirky underwater hotel in Sweden. Located on Lake Mälaren in Västeras, the Utter Inn was conceived as an art project by artist Mikael Genberg. The adventure starts with a boat ride from the port of Västera, then you enter through small, typical-looking Swedish house on the surface of the water and travel to a completely glass-walled bedroom below. This hotel is about simple pleasures - you can spend the days lazing in the sunshine, swimming and going for canoe rides. In the evening, for the ultimate privacy and seclusion, dinner is delivered by boat. Sounds pretty heavenly to us.

[Credits: mikaelgenberg.com - Picture: Utter Inn, Lake Mälaren]

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Poseidon Undersea Resort, Fiji Restaurant, Fiji

Still very much in construction, Poseidon plans to be the only fully underwater resort in the world. If (when) it opens, the island will comprise of 225 acres and is surrounded by a 5,000-acre lagoon for snorkelling, diving and exploring. The resort will include two fine dining options; one on land and one below the sea, offering gourmet fare. There are also plans to be an undersea chapel, so you can say your vows amongst the fishes. Register to be notified when the resort opens, and fingers crossed it’s in this lifetime.

[Credits: poseidonresorts.com - Picture: Poseidon Undersea Resort]

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SEA Restaurant, Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives

Experience the world’s first underwater wine cellar at this incredible resort in the Maldives. The adults-only restaurant has a choice of wines spanning nine decades, designed to match the gourmet cuisine. Three metres below the surface, with only glass walls for maximum spectacle, there will be an array of sea life swimming, darting and dancing before your eyes. Go for the Lobster Treasures lunch (£144), featuring four courses of lobster, wagyu beef and champagne.

[Credits: kihavah-maldives.anantara.com - Picture: Subsix, Niyama, Per Aquum, Maldives]


This selection was published by The Telegraph, under the title “The world’s most incredible underwater restaurants”

Posted 136 weeks ago

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Just as your horoscope says a lot about you (if you’re into that, of course), so does your go-to vino. Here, the type of wine to drink based on your star sign. Just be sure to use a coaster should Mercury go into retrograde.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18): Orange Wine

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Read your wine horoscope.

Pisces (February 19-March 20): Rosé

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Read your wine horoscope.

Aries (March 21-April 19): Malbec

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Read your wine horoscope.

Taurus (April 20 - May 20): Pinot Noir

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Read your wine horoscope.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20): Pinot Grigio

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Read your wine horoscope.

Cancer (June 21 - July 22): Riesling

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Read your wine horoscope.

Leo (July 23 - August 22): Syrah

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Read your wine horoscope.

Virgo (August 23 - September 22): Moscato

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Read your wine horoscope.

Libra (September 23 - October 22): Lambrusco

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Read your wine horoscope.

Scorpio (October 23 - November 21): Lambrusco

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Read your wine horoscope.

Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21): Chardonnay

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Read your wine horoscope.

Capricorn (December 22 - January 19): Cabernet Sauvignon

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Read your wine horoscope.


This article was first published by Pure Wow on 25th April 2016 in Huffington Post, under the title “Which Wine You Should Drink, Based On Your Zodiac Sign”

Posted 136 weeks ago

[Photography: Stephanie Kirchgaessner / The Guardian]

An unlikely Roman duo, a construction engineer and a commercial lawyer, have spent the past three years cultivating a special giant variety of garlic that used to be prevalent in Tuscany but has not been produced in large quantities for 40 years. The garlic, known in Italian as aglione, has a milder flavour, is odourless and easy to digest, say the two entrepreneurs, Alessandro Guagni and Lorenzo Bianchi.

With just a few months to go before their harvest, the pair are trying to get their “kissing garlic” in some of Italy’s Michelin-star restaurants after chefs who sampled last year’s crop gave it an enthusiastic response . They hope to sell the aglione in high quality food markets, where they hope it will come to be seen as a newfound Italian gem.

“We thought this was a typical example of Italian excellence that has been forgotten. Why? Because no one knows it and no one asks for it,” said Bianchi.

[Photography: Stephanie Kirchgaessner / The Guardian]

Garlic is often associated with Italian cuisine, and is considered an important ingredient when cooking roasted potatoes, lamb, roast pork and bruscetta, but it is not a flavour that dominates typical dishes. Guagni and Bianchi say this reflects concern, especially among young people, that it is indigestible and causes bad breath.

They also say that most garlic consumed in Italy is produced abroad, particularly China and Spain.

Their story started about three years ago. Guagni was on holiday in the Chiana valley in Tuscany, in the heart of winemaking country, when he came across a farmer’s stand that was selling a product he had never seen before.

“It was very big. One bulb weighed from 300 to 800 grams, about 10 times as big as normal garlic. The taste was very good and very light so we thought about the possibility of reintroducing it in the market,” Guagni said.

Their first task was to find aglione seeds.

The product is not totally unknown. Some Tuscan restaurants serve a dish known as pici all’algione on their menu, a fresh, eggless pasta with a tomato and garlic sauce. When Guagni and Bianchi started asking restauranteurs about where they found their supplies, however, they hit a wall.

“We asked: ‘Where can we find it’? And they said: ‘No, there isn’t any. You will never find it because it is over. It’s extinct’,” Guagni said.

They learned that though the dish technically calls for aglione, which translates as “big garlic”, most chefs use a conventional variety.

Eventually they tracked down a few local producers , got their hands on some seeds and went to work on land Bianchi owns in the Marche region, near the city of Ancona. They say they have a tractor they “play” on over the weekend, and a friend with experience who is also helping out.

Asked whether their garlic could be considered organic, the two chuckle.

[Photograhy: courtesy of Kissingarlic]

“It couldn’t get more organic,” Bianchi said. Garlic is not too labour intensive, they add, and in this case much of the labour is done by ducks, which eat the weeds on the land but don’t touch the bulbs themselves. They also produce fertiliser.

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The pair have grown their garlic on two hectares of land, which they say is enough to cultivate about 30,000 plants.

According to the Fondazione Slow Food, an organisation that promotes food biodiversity, fewer than 10 producers cultivate what it calls aglione della Chiana, and most do so for personal use. The foundation said the variety does not contain allicin, a chemical compound found in traditional garlic, and that there are usually six large cloves in a bulb.

The garlic is said to date back to ancient times, when Etruscans inhabited the Chiana valley, and it was also present on the island of Giglio. It allegedly arrived on the island in 1544 after the pirate Khayr al-Din killed nearly everyone on it, forcing the ruling Medici family of Florence to repopulate it with aglione-loving inhabitants of the Chiana valley, who brought it with them.

Guagni and Bianchi, who have been friends since they were teenagers growing up in Rome, are thinking big, possibly about creating a supplement or soap, given that garlic is known for its anti-bacterial qualities. They also have a few more ancient products they would like to revive, but don’t want to divulge their trade secrets.

They are also having fun. “We wanted to do something to escape from our offices,” Guagni said.


This article was published by Stephanie Kirchgaessner on Monday 25 April 2016 in The Guardian, under the title “Italian entrepreneurs hope diners will get their teeth into ‘kissing garlic'”

Posted 137 weeks ago

Yorkshire puddings have been crowned the UK’s most popular regional dish, beating Devon cream tea and Cornish pasties to the number one spot.

The honour was bestowed upon the Sunday roast staple in the UK Diners’ club Gourmet Society poll.

[Photography: Yorkshire puddings are an essential part of the British roast dinner]

The country’s top ten regional delicacies were:

  1. Yorkshire pudding
  2. Cornish pasties
  3. Devon cream tea
  4. Bakewell tart
  5. Cheddar cheese
  6. Welsh cakes
  7. Scouse
  8. Pease pudding
  9. Soda bread
  10. Lancashire hotpot

Matt Turner, CEO of Gourmet Society, said: “Brits are spoilt for choice when it comes to trying regional dishes from around the UK, so it’s nice to see that plenty of regions are still sticking to their roots and backing their local dish.

[Photography: Devon cream tea was voted the UK’s third favourite local dish]

“I often eat all over the country when working, but there is certainly nothing better than coming back to Yorkshire to enjoy a proper Yorkshire pudding with a Sunday Roast.

“We can understand why it has been voted Britain’s favourite, but it is nice to see a range of dishes from every part of the UK appearing in the top five.”

Being well-known doesn’t guarantee a place in the nation’s heart; 15 per cent of the country named haggis as their least favourite dish, despite it being the one people were most likely to have heard of.

[Photography: jellied eels are the second most-hated dish]

East London’s jellied eels came a close second, with 13 per cent saying they hated it, followed by Stilton cheese and Kendal mint cakes. Controversially, pease pudding was the fifth most-hated regional delicacy, as well as being the eighth most-loved.

The survey also found that many people are loyal to their local dish, with almost half of people from Yorkshire voting their local puddings as their favourite, and over a quarter of people from Belfast voting Irish soda bread as theirs.

People from Kendal are most likely to brag about their regional dish (with 85 per cent boasting about Kendal mint cake), followed by people from Derbyshire (75 per cent, Bakewell tarts), and people from Cornwall (64 per cent, Cornish pasties).

However some people are not so vocal about their local delicacies - because they don’t even know what they are. It seems people in Southampton, Nottingham, Sussex, and London need to brush up on their local gastronomy - jellied eels, anyone?


This article was published in The Telegraph by Eleanor Muffitt, on Monday 18th April 2016, under the title “What is the nation’s favourite local dish?”

[All pictures: credit Alamy]

Posted 138 weeks ago
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