Archive for July, 2009

Inflight dating

Air New Zealand is all set to run the world’s first matchmaking flight for lonely hearts. The airline has revealed that a plane with American passengers aboard will be invited to come to New Zealand in October to “get amongst it” with single kiwis.

“If your dating profile says you enjoy fine wine and long walks on the beach, then New Zealand is your perfect place for romance. Plus our down-to-earth, warm and wonderful people are an added bonus,” the NZPA quoted Steve Bayliss, Air NZ’s general manager for marketing, as saying.

“And let’s not forget the splendid Kiwi accent-what more could an American guy or girl looking for love ask for?” he added.

The specially-themed flight will leave Los Angeles for Auckland on October 13, ahead of the dual Hemisphere singles’ party of the year-the Great Matchmaking Ball at Auckland’s SkyCity Convention Centre-on October 15.

The Matchmaking Flight passengers will get to enjoy a pre-flight gate party at LA’s LAX airport.

They will also provided with themed food, drink, entertainment, and games throughout the flight.

Do you think we can try this in South Africa? Will it work?


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restaurant wines

When eating out the price of the wines are usually in the same range as the price of the food. Some restaurants have a 100% even 200% markup on their wines. Is this fair?

The input and serving costs of wine for restaurateurs must be much less than the preparing cost of food.

With the current economic woes restaurants are struggling to fill their seats. This implies that the continuing restaurant slump has been a boom (or helped keep afloat) wine retailers, as a wallet-strapped public opts to eat at home more often and pay retail prices for wines rather than often-massive markups.

Restaurants make a lot of their profits on beverages, but they can’t sell wine, beer or soda if there are no customers. So cutting prices and increasing promotions on their liquid assets make sense, especially because their profit margins on food are often minimal.

More restaurants are prepared to introduce bring-your-own- wine policies (BYOW) and relatively cheaper corkage fees are charged.

Would you eat out more if the restaurant wine markups are less?

Source: startribune.com

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good wine bad wine

Rarely do two people agree completely over a glass of wine. What is the difference between a “good” wine and a “bad” wine? This is tougher than one might think.

Wine is a very subjective art in which we see people waxing eloquent over wines or those who spit the same wines out with a look of utter despair. This might be the strangest part of the wine business: Rarely do two people agree completely over a glass of wine! I know why this happens but it does not answer completely the difference between the good and the bad in vino.

Here are a few items to consider:

Frame of mind — This is a biggie when it comes to evaluating a glass of wine. We know that emotions play a big part in the physiological make up of people. A stressed-out wine drinker creates bitterness on the palate, as well as bitterness in the mind and soul.

A simple cold — Nasal congestion, clotted palate or coated tongue can be real killers as to deciding the good, bad or ugly of a bottle of wine. Hay fever, allergies and colds can greatly affect the sensations on the palate. What is needed is a strong sense of smell and taste and a clear mind and heart when judging a wine or simply deciding the good or bad of the bottle.

Food — One of the more overlooked aspects of deciding the worth of a bottle of wine is what preceded the wine on the palate. Greasy foods, foods with hot spice, foods with a lot of milk-based items can really put the nix on a pretty nice bottle of wine. This is why wine is rarely served in Mexican restaurants, Indian restaurants or Thai restaurants, where the cuisine might be really spicy or hot. Heat and spice can tear the heart or delicacy from the middle of a wine and make the experience less-than-great. This is why we have beer!

Ego — This is a big one. Some folks, if the wine is less costly than they think merits a nice wine, will dismiss the wine completely and never try it again. I have seen this happen more times than I wish to say. I have seen really nice wines under R40  get shunned from the table simply because of their low price point. I know it sounds nuts, but it’s true. Conversely, I have seen really expensive wine get all kinds of acclaim because of the reverse reaction.

Temperature — Nothing is worse than a warm bottle of Chardonnay! Equally bad is a cold bottle of Syrah. Wine must be in line with what accents its goodness as far as temperature is considered. I have also seen really over-chilled Champagne and white wines where the wines are so cold nothing hits the palate but ice cubes. This is not a good thing and tends to really knock an otherwise really nice bottle of wine on its butt.

Moderation is the ticket — Chill slightly, eat judiciously and try not to be anxious or upset when evaluating that glass of wine. Don’t let the price fool you either. Let it go and let the wine speak for itself and (try) don’t get in the way of what really might be out there.

Source: dailytidings

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broken heart

Well, if recent studies are to be heeded, those pining over a relationship break-up should try to take it easy, as research has proven that a broken heart can actually be bad for your health. It’s been the subject of romantic literature and soppy love songs for decades, but it seems that, far from being melodramatic, people really can die from a broken heart.

A study carried out by researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore,  found that a traumatic break-up or the death of a loved one can unleash a flood of stress hormones into the body, which can stun the heart and produce symptoms similar to a heart attack.

The condition, known to experts as stress cardiomyopathy, can cause chest pain, shortness of breath and weakening of the heart muscle in otherwise healthy people. One of the researchers, cardiologist Ilan Wittstein, warns, ‘A broken heart can kill you, and this may be one way.’

So it seems booking a fabulous post-break-up girly holiday and joy-inducing shopping trip is in fact a life-saving exercise after all!

Source: docstoc.com

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manolo-blahnik- sex and city

Even though all women are affected with MCD – Manolo Compulsive Disorder – most don’t take things to Imelda Marcos extremes. But who’s to say that, with the resources, time and shelf space, they wouldn’t?

According to a 2005 study, British women possess £637 million (R8 billion) worth of high heels that they have never worn. ‘A woman’s predilection towards buying shoes is only occasionally a practical one,’ explains Sue Constable, a shoe heritage officer at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, which holds a collection of more than 12,000 pairs. And if you’ve ever dispatched half your pay cheque on a pair of yellow neon mules with vertiginous heels, you will know exactly what she means.

But don’t worry: ‘Buying shoes fulfils another need,’ continues Constable. ‘The need to escape, to fantasise; the Cinderella factor.’ In other words, it’s enough to feel that those heels could whisk you safely down a red carpet, even if they’re more likely to end up sitting in their box.

‘For every practical purchase there is an aspirational purchase, and that is enormously beneficial for mental health and well-being,’ says Cary Cooper, a professor of psychology and health at the University of Lancaster. So, before your partner throws up his smelly trainers in protest, let him in on the cure for your addiction – increased cupboard space.

Source: docstoc.com

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wine food chopsticks

Some food and wine connoisseurs have made food and wine pairing so rigid that they are missing the point completely. Traditionally, certain wines are recommended to be served with certain dishes. The “rules” state that red wine will complement red meat, while white wine is recommended with fish or fowl.

Some people who are not huge fans of white wine, instead, prefer a Pinot Noir – which is a light-bodied red wine – with salmon or fish. If someone does not particularly enjoy red wine, you simply can’t force them to pair a Cabernet with steak.

New food and wine pairings are all about bending the rules to suit your palate. For example, uniquely South African Pinotage with medium body is also delicious served with seafood such as salmon.

The only “rule” to remember is to match the wine intensity or body with the flavour of the food so that the wine does not overpower the food, or vice versa. Even a so-called untrained palate seeks what it likes – trust your tastebuds and mix and match until you find something that you enjoy. Rules? You know what to do them! Wine is simply something that must be enjoyed – regardless of perfect pairings.

Source: pioneerlocal

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wine and chocolate

Red wine and chocolate is a darling pair these days. With all those deep, dark chocolate notes right in a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine seems like a natural match for an intensely-flavored, dark chocolate dessert.

But are the two perfect together? Maybe not, according to Sara Schneider, Sunset wine editor.

“Along with those sweet-seeming chocolate flavors and dark berries and plums, good (young) Cabernet Sauvignon has a backbone of tannin that can suddenly taste harsh and astringent when you put it with chocolate, especially if the chocolate is quite sweet,” she says.

“Merlot, on the other hand, tends to have softer, rounder tannins under its cocoa and mocha layers; it’s often a more seamless partner for chocolate,” says Schneider

Tips for pairing:

• The chocolate shouldn’t be sweeter than the wine.

• The darker the chocolate, the more likely it will be to taste good with red wine (partly because chocolate with a higher percentage of cacao has less sugar).

• The darker chocolates, with deep-roasted flavors, pair well with wines with dark, toasty notes themselves.

• Port-style and sweet late-harvest reds tend to be the best matches for chocolate desserts.

An ideal couple

Here are some of Schneider’s favorite chocolate desserts with her suggestions for the perfect wine partner.

• The flavors of warm chocolate souffle cakes with raspberry sauce explode when paired with a late-harvest Sauvignon Blanc or a late-harvest Chenin Blanc.

• A sweet sparkling rosé adds extra sparkle to chocolate fudge cheesecake.

• A tawny Port or an orange Muscat are the perfect match for bourbon pecan tart with chocolate drizzle.

• Give chocolate-chip shortcakes with berries and dark chocolate sauce a try with a late-harvest / Dessert wine.

I love wine and chocolate and if the two is not pairing well, it is just bad luck.

This perceived mismatch will not put wines or chocs in disregard.  If  for instance a Cadbury’s Wholenut chocolate is  not suppose to pair well with a Merlot… So what.

What do you think?

Source: CNN

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