Heavenly and Peaceful

Heavenly and Peaceful

What a fantastic place to stay; the staff was absolutely incredible, from the guard at the main gate to the staff at the spa to the restaurant personal and off course Mr Pradeep Jha; they all make you feel you are their only customer and treat you like a star. The amazing service and off course food from the chef in house was out of this world; I was not very familiar with the Indian cuisine, so Chef Shir gave me a sampler of a few known dishes for me to familiarize my self with the available options, also great thanks to Manjeet and Sachin.nThe tranquility of the place inspires you to stay healthy and conscious but mostly thankful for what life has to offer. nI can wait to go back!

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The Extraction Burns Fat, or Maybe That’s a Fibbee

Howard Bryman | June 28, 2019
Setting the internet abuzz this week was a new bit of coffee-and-health research published by Nature’s Scientific Reports showing that brown adipose tissue — a.k.a. “brown fat” — function is stimulated by caffeine. Apparently that means coffee is potentially helpful in managing body weight and battling obesity and diabetes. CNN caught up with University of Nottingham School of Medicine Professor Michael Symonds , a co-director of the study, to learn more:
The study only involved nine people and the research is still at a very early stage. Scientists say they still need to determine what it is exactly about coffee that busts fat.
“The results were positive and we now need to ascertain that caffeine as one of the ingredients in the coffee is acting as the stimulus or if there’s another component helping with the activation of brown fat,” Symonds said.
“Once we have confirmed which component is responsible for this, it could potentially be used as part of a weight-management regime or as part of glucose regulation program to help prevent diabetes.” The letter posted by Slate baristas during the walkout.
Matters have gotten decidedly heavy for Slate Coffee Roasters in Seattle, where multiple employees of the company’s Ballard location have staged a public walkout, citing missed paychecks, poor communication and a “hostile” workplace. The workers posted a letter to customers in the window of the cafe and formed a new barista solidarity group on Instagram called Coffee At Large . After the news initially broke on neighborhood blog My Ballard , the story was picked up by Eater Seattle, including an Instagram response from Slate’s owners :
As in the past and moving forward, we are committed to building a thriving culture for all workers and member of our community. Just as we value sourcing coffees in alignment with sustainable and equitable practices, we are committed to building a culture, internal practices, and safe work environment in line with those values.
We intend to work through and understand the details and concerns made by our former employees and do not take the matter lightly. It is our intention to hold space for a thoughtful dialogue.
Though it should be a given that The National Coffee Association (NCA) is in favor of promoting sustainable livelihoods for coffee farmers, the organization has at last partnered with Conservation International to assist with the Sustainable Coffee Challenge initiative, launched in 2015. NCA President and CEO William (Bill) Murray is joining the Sustainable Coffee Challenge Advisory Council, according to a joint press release this week:
As the voice of the coffee industry in the United States, NCA will act as a conduit between more than 300 NCA members and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, helping to drive deeper engagement between industry and the Challenge. NCA will use its voice to amplify the Challenge’s progress in helping coffee farmers thrive while protecting natural resources, combating climate change, and making coffee communities more resilient. NCA will also help share with its members some of the many sustainability resources created by the Sustainable Coffee Challenge.
Signing a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, NCA President Bill Murray commented: “There is no coffee industry without coffee farmers. The entire value chain depends on coffee farmers thriving. NCA’s members are committed to helping coffee farmers earn a fair living while growing more coffee, more sustainably than ever,” said NCA President Bill Murray.
Indian daily newspaper The Hindu sat down with Spanish author and chef Ferran Adria to discuss his new book Coffee Sapiens and his take on incorporating fine coffee into the fine dining experience after having worked with Lavazza for about 20 years:
This is a really interesting question as it summarises not only my focus when it comes to cooking with coffee, but actually my whole way of understanding cuisine: certainly to respect the best qualities of each product and — at the same time — be able to modify some of its characteristics, so that the dining guests can try something that is completely new, yet evoking well-known flavours.
Another book, The Latte Factor by David Bach, stems from the author’s accusation-gone-viral that millennials spend more on coffee and other trivialities than on saving for a house or retirement. It’s a simplistic condescension upon both coffee and millennials, as widely debunked as it is repeated. Economist Elise Gould told Vice that the pop financial theory is not only incomplete, but ignorant of deeper-seated economic injustices that keep people poor:
“I think there’s a much better understanding of inequality in this country than there used to be,” said Gould, the economist. “The gaps in wealth and income, and wages between haves and have-nots. People realize it’s not just about a latte—it’s about a pie, and how it’s being divvied up.”
But enough about books. Let’s talk about people. Kenyan independent newspaper Daily Nation profiled 34-year-old “coffee technologist” Chuaga Kinuthia , who doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol in order to preserve his palate for his work at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology Institute of Food Bio-Resources :
“One must avoid foods with very strong flavours, drinks with very high alcohol content or anything that can alter the taste buds,” he cautions
The importance of slurping coffee is to measure its oiliness, sweetness, acidity, flavour and the after-taste.
“This is one of the well-paying jobs because we have very few coffee tasters,” says the professional cupper, who has been certified by the Coffee Directorate of Kenya and the Coffee Quality Institute of America as a “Q grader”.
Greek World Reporter aimed its spotlight at Dimitrios Christopoulos , “the only known Greek coffee producer in the world,” who immigrated to Colombia and now owns a coffee farm in the Huila region called Finca El Diamante. For Christopoulos, like any other producer, the price crash is taking a toll:
“Multinational companies are striving to buy the product at very low prices and sell high… They want Colombians to remain slaves because some want to make lots of money,” he says.
Christopoulos is helping to organize coffee producers into a co-op, which will then export their product directly into foreign markets, instead of using multinational companies and middlemen. “Our motto here, is: strength in union,” the Greek immigrant says.
Inventor Glen Poss sat down with The Spoon to discuss his automated Aria Coffee Roaster, which has been in development for 20 years and has a few more to go. The ventless electric shop roaster will come in “1-cell” for consumers or “4-cell” for commercial settings, pull up four recommended profiles upon scanning each coffee pack’s RFID chip, plus 100 other profiles, or the option to void the warranty by crafting profiles manually. The Spoon’s Garrett Oden had the story:
“Roasting facilities cost a lot of money, labor, and time. Then you have to ship out the beans everywhere,” Glen said. “With our tech, whether it’s in cafes, restaurants, or at home, you don’t need to raise any money or get permits. That’s how we disrupt coffee: we decentralize it.”
The Spoon also examined the spread of robotic baristas in Russia. There’s the MontyCafe system that launched last year, and now there’s Fibbee , a “female entity” barista-bot whose makers hope to establish a dozen retail coffee locations in Moscow by the end of this year:
Moscow-based Foodtronics has created FIBBEE, a robot barista that serves up all manner of lattes and other coffee drinks. Like Briggo and Cafe X here in the U.S., FIBBEE is an automated kiosk that can be set up in high-traffic areas, and like those American counterparts, the number of FIBBEE locations is expanding. Related Reading

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Sonoran Arcana: Shepherding the Crops of Arizona’s Past Into the Present

Cafe Review: Northern Soul (Food) at The Root and Soul
Standing tall above a withered garbanzo plant, Velvet says the legumes are field-dried, just like her family’s tepary beans. Founded on 10 acres of Gila River Indian Community land in 1974 by Terry Button and Ramona Button (Velvet’s mom), Ramona Farms is best known for its prodigious efforts to restore the tepary bean to cultivation.
In the mid-1970s, Ramona and Terry found a jar of the drought-resistant, virtually extinct Sonoran beans in her late father’s truck — and started planting. Within a few long years, they were selling teparies by the 100-pound gunnysack. (Velvet’s maternal grandfather was Tohono O’odham and his wife was Akimel O’odham. She identifies as both, but is officially registered as the latter.) The cracked soil of a field of garbanzo plants, drying before harvest. Chris Malloy
Dry climate. Modest water. Robust flavor. The story of the tepary is known in these parts. But on the family farm in the Gila River Indian Community, the Buttons also raise other crops once grown by local tribes, especially by their own Akimel O’odham, formerly called Pima. They grow two heritage wheats, plus a third, durum, and four corn varietals cultivated in the dry Southwest since ancient times. Not to mention common wheat, barley, sorghum, cotton, Bermuda grass, alfalfa, and more.
The Buttons supply crops to their reservation, to regional chefs, and, through their website, to the world. The organic section of their farm — where their heritage crops grow — is the kind of food source with the capacity to change eating in greater Phoenix.
Instead of making tamales and polenta with yellow stuff from afar, cooks could channel the flavors and integrity of the local land using Ramona Farms’ Hopi blue, Hotevilla pink, Havasupai red, or 60-day Pima corn. Teparies could substitute for other beans with less flavor, less history, and a larger carbon footprint. In a region with limited water and a meager 3 to 20 inches of precipitation a year, teparies can thrive in the desert summer on a single rainfall.
And these properties will make teparies more important as the Colorado River water supply continues to thin, the planet warms, and the Southwest gets hotter and drier.
Just a short drive from metro Phoenix, in a part of the Gila River Valley where the river has dried up because of upstream human diversion, the Buttons keep Ramona Farms with spartan rigor and boundless love. Here are ancient, modern crops that are made for their environment — and taste great. And yet, only a handful of eateries in the Phoenix area use them. Cotton & Copper serves a Ramona Farms tepary bean spread. Jackie Mercandetti
Some of their chefs visit — to see the indigenous crops, to see the deeply cracked garbanzo field.
“We didn’t do anything to amend the soil other than rotate our crops, and just manage through careful watering and whatnot,” Velvet says, wind whispering in the dry plants, part of the 200 acres of USDA-certified organic land where the Buttons grow their premier crops. “We don’t use organic fertilizers. We don’t use organic herbicides. We don’t use those because of those traditional reasons.”
“What are those traditional reasons?” I ask.
“We don’t put anything on our food,” she smiles. “We let the creator do that.”
Velvet trades the garbanzo fields for her car. She rumbles along a dirt lane along the field. Wild mint on the dash bakes in the sun, turns fragrant. As she makes for the next field, Velvet unpapers a breakfast of a biscuit and c’emet — the latter a flatbread cooked since the Spanish missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino brought grain to the region in the 1600s. Both c’emet and tortilla are stuffed with tepary beans and salsa. Both are made from Ramona Farms Pima wheat, a heritage grain.
Velvet herself doesn’t raise wheat. Her role on the farm and beyond is more culinary and educational. She is an exponent of Akimel O’odham crops and their applications, a proselytizer of tepary bean brownies and blue corn pancakes, not to mention the likes of wild wolfberries and early summer’s saguaro fruit. She is a teacher, cook, and free spirit. She is also, today and other days, a farm tour guide.
Driving, she points out an alfalfa field.
She talks about hospitals and canal projects, about local artist Amil Pedro and Akimel O’odham legend Chief Azul, the tribe’s last chief.
Soon, the low green shoots of a corn field show. Velvet parks. She walks into the rows of young plants. The machine-gun trilling of a killdeer is muffled by the vast chorus of crop leaves rustling. The field holds a Hopi blue corn varietal, still a few weeks from harvest.
Beyond this patch and flush with a crook in the road rises a comb-lined parcel of Pima 60-day corn, an Akimel O’odham mainstay known as kiikam huuñ . Sown to align with monsoon season, 60-day corn can pass from planting to harvest in that lightning time frame.
“When it’s grown in optimal temperatures, it’s gangbusters,” Velvet says. “That corn grows like crazy .” Kai Restaurant uses many Ramona Farms products many ways. This foie gras and I’itoi onion dish from features a “cracker” made from Ramona tepary beans. Chris Malloy
Area chefs do many things with Ramona Farms corn. Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper uses it to bread chicken. Brett Vibber of Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine has sourced it as ga’ivsa , mesquite-roasted and cracked, and slurried it molten under wild Pacific salmon. Pueblo Vida, a brewery down in Tucson, uses Hotevilla pink corn in the crafting of Vida Beer, a “Southwestern premium” lager.
“The chefs that are choosing to put these foods on the menu are taking the time to understand the food, understand the people that domesticated this food and have kept it in production,” Velvet says. “It’s getting the respect it deserves, because they’re taking the time to really know it.”
McCartney Velvet herself has many uses for corn. She nixtamalizes corn using bean and wood ash. She makes tamales, porridges, mush, tortillas, corn c’emet , and other old and new preparations. She and her sister, Brandy Button, proudly work to adapt “traditional foods for the modern O’odham table.” On hot days, Velvet fortifies apple juice with huuñ haak chu’i , a roasted corn flour that messengers once packed under their lips before they ran from village to village. Four kinds of heritage corn bring four different colors. Chris Malloy
Come each plot’s separate harvest, Ramona’s workers hand-pick corn. Ears are roasted out in the field, over mesquite fires. At intervals, broad empty lanes run between ruler-straight lines of tall green. These idle strips leave space for trucks, so local laborers can stow their just-picked bounty.
Before corn, this plot held barley. Ramona Farms is constantly cycling and rotating crops — to nurse the soil, to dovetail with the seasons. “There’s something planted or harvested every day of the year,” Velvet says.
She gets back into the car. A dirt road slithers ahead. The green acreage and blue sky in the low bowl of mountains slide by in a bucolic dream.
We pass concrete canals skirting fields. Ramona Farms uses flood irrigation, letting pumped groundwater course across fields, watering crops. This is possible because Velvet’s uncle painstakingly leveled fields using lasers. Land he has reshaped, Velvet says, “is flatter than a pool table.”
Velvet now parks at a golden wheat field. Ramona Farms cultivates Pima, durum, and White Sonora wheat. The young wheat riffles and rustles in the wind with a colossal stirring sound, giving the field the peaceful magic of a golden ocean. “All of our wheat products are whole-grain,” Velvet says, listening to the now-far, now-surrounding rustling. “There are parts of the wheat, the oil and the germ, that help us digest other parts and enzymes. We’re supposed to eat the whole thing.”
The heat is mounting, so Velvet makes for a plot of tepary beans. Ramona Farms is divided into dozens of plots that patch across the Gila River Valley like a scattered quilt.
When the Gila River Indian Community was created, land was doled out to families in 10-acre plots. In order to amass 4,000 acres, Ramona Farms had to buy and lease from hundreds of fellow Akimel O’odham and Maricopa, the two main tribes on the reservation, especially when you consider that many of these 10-acre plots were further divided through life, death, and smaller vicissitudes. Rows of tepary beans pointing to eastern mountains. Chris Malloy
The tepary beans were planted just a few weeks ago.
They are leafy, shifting shoots in clods of brown soil. They point at distant, sacred mountains. When the plants are ready for harvest, beans will be white, brown, and black.
White tepary beans, Velvet says, are “sweet and buttery” with “a smooth texture.”
Brown teparies are “nutty and earthy” with “a texture of boiled pecan.” They keep their shape when boiled. “In a nice brothy soup, they showcase like little river petals — they’re so pretty,” Velvet says. “And when you cook the brown tepary bean, oh my gosh, the kitchen smells like rain.”
Velvet’s parents bred the black tepary into existence. “They were created over a very careful hand selection over the last 30 years or so,” Velvet says. What they did was save black tepary beans that arose from the white and brown crops. When they had enough, they planted them.
You can order black (and other) teparies from the Ramona Farms website. It reads: “Firm textured and meaty flavored — the s-chuuk bavi is a special and very limited tepary variety.” The original tepary varieties Ramona Farms started growing in the 1970s: white and brown. Chris Malloy
Driving back to the farm store and offices (she proudly doesn’t have one), Velvet produces two brownies. These are tepary bean brownies, squares that use cooked beans and heritage flour to form the bulk of their substance. Often, she bakes them for students, part of her mission to educate about the foods of the past and give the next generation a taste for them. The brownies vibrate with a primal, earthy intensity. They have a complex sweetness, arisen not from sugar but desert-evolved beans.
Back in the farm center, Velvet’s mom, Ramona, sits at her desk. If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters. SHOW ME HOW

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Epcot Food & Wine Festival Full Menus Released

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Full Menus Released on: Print
Walt Disney World released their full line up with food pictures of the new menus for this year’s International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot . Take a look at these great kitchen menus and all of the new items as well.
Active Eats Please your palate with these healthy, action-packed bites for pure taste bud bliss!
Food:
Loaded Macaroni & Cheese with Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon, Cheddar and Leeks (KA) Spice-crusted Verlasso® Salmon with UNCLE BEN’S® Quinoa & Ancient Grains Medley, Crushed Avocado and Sherry Vinegar (GF) Fruit and Nut Energy Snack: House-made mixture of Apricots, Almonds, Pecans, Coconut, Puffed Rice and Chocolate Chips (V) (GF) (KA) Beverages:
M.I.A. Beer Company HRD WTR Key Lime Hard Sparkling Water, Doral, FL L’Ecole No. 41 Chenin Blanc Old Vines, Columbia Valley, WA Evolution by Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR Select dishes feature Melissa’s Produce.
Africa Delve into a delectable menu inspired by countries abundant with history, mystery and cultural diversity.
Food:
Kenyan Coffee Barbecue Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato and Corn Mealie Pap and Kachumbari Slaw Spicy Kenyan Vegan Githeri with White Beans, Pigeon Peas, Curry Rice Pilaf and Kachumbari Slaw (V) Piri Piri Skewered Shrimp with Citrus-scented Couscous Beverages:
Cederberg Chenin Blanc, South Africa Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz, Western Cape Groot Constantia Pinotage, Constantia
Explore the delicious tastes of these Swiss-inspired dishes!
Food:
Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese with Baby Potatoes, Cornichons and Baguette (V) (KA) Venison Stew with Crushed Potatoes Blueberry and Almond Frangipane Tart with Crème Fraîche Cream and Blue Diamond® Almonds (V) (KA) Beverages:
Domaine CARREL et Fils Eugène Jongieux Blanc Cave De La Côte Rosé Gamay, Romand René Favre Dôle, Chamoson Select dishes featuring Melissa’s Produce.
Appleseed Orchard – NEW! Celebrate autumn with sweet and savory apple dishes paired with ciders, beers and wines.
Food:
Charcuterie and Cheese Plate featuring Burton’s Maplewood Farm Applejack Brandy Barrel Aged Maple Syrup Caramel-Apple Popcorn (KA)
Frozen Apple Pie (non-alcoholic) (KA) M.I.A. Beer Company Apple Trappe Belgian-Style Tripel Ale, Doral, FL Playalinda Brewing Co. Apple Pie Beer, Titusville, FL Sea Dog Brewing Co. Green Apple Ale, Clearwater, FL Ciderboys Lemon Cello Hard Cider, Stevens Point, WI Collective Arts Brewing Cherry Apple Hard Cider, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Woodchuck Hard Cider Spiced Apple, Middlebury, VT Forge Cellars Dry Riesling Classique, Seneca Lake Conundrum Red Blend, California Amavi Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley tenshən Rhône Style White Blend, Central Coast Lang & Reed Wine Company Cabernet Franc, North Coast Frog’s Leap Zinfandel, Napa Valley Kurt Russell’s Gogi Wines Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills Apple Blossom Sky: Fanta® Apple, Ginger Beer, Floodwall Apple Brandy, Burton’s Maplewood Farm Applejack Brandy Barrel Aged Syrup and Mini Marshmallows Beer Flight also available
Explore an exotic array of food and drink options from the Land Down Under.
Food:
Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Pepper, Onion and Snap Peas (GF) Roasted Lamb Chop with Sweet Potato Purée, Bush Berry Pea Salad and Pistachio-Pomegranate Gremolata (GF) Deconstructed Pavlova with Pastry Cream, Citrus-macerated Berries and Lemon Myrtle Meringue (KA) (GF) (V) Beverage:
Coopers Brewery Original Pale Ale Hope Estate “Wollombi Brook” Semillon, Hunter Valley Franklin Tate Estates Chardonnay, Margaret River 3 Rings Shiraz, Barossa Valley Wine Flight also available Select dishes featuring Melissa’s Produce.
Belgium Indulge in dessert-like waffles, savory treats and thirst-quenchers with a kick—courtesy of the Kingdom of Belgium!
Food:
Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes Golden Malted® Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream (V) (KA) Golden Malted® Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream (V) (KA) Beverages:
Chilled Coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Beer Flight also available
Dig into South American cuisine and culture with the Land of the Palms’ finest fare.
Food:
Moqueca: Brazilian Seafood Stew featuring Scallops, Shrimp and White Fish with Coconut-lime Sauce and Steamed Rice Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions (GF) Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread (GF) (V) (KA) Beverages:
M.I.A. Beer Company Barbossa Black Beer, Doral, FL Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde, Portugal Quinta do Crasto Douro Tinto, Portugal Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça
Brewer’s Collection Wet your whistle with a glass or flight of Europe’s best brews—from Pilsners to wheat beers.
Beverages:
Beer Flight also available
Canada Take your taste buds to the Yukon, with delightful dishes, lagers and wines from the Great White North.
Food:
Canadian Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup served with a Pretzel Roll Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce (GF) Beverages:
Collective Arts Saint of Circumstance Citrus Blonde, Hamilton, Ontario Château Des Charmes Merlot, St. David’s Bench Château Des Charmes Equuleus Red Blend, St. David’s Bench Select dishes featuring Melissa’s Produce.
The Cheese Studio hosted by Boursin® Cheese Nibble delish cheesy dishes paired with the perfect vintage for an unforgettable nosh stop!
Food:
Braised Beef “Stroganoff” with Tiny Egg Noodles, Wild Mushrooms and Boursin® Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce (KA) Black Pepper Boursin® Soufflé with Fig Marmalade (V) Maple Bourbon Cheesecake with Maple Bourbon Cream, Caramel and Pecan Crunch (V) Beverages:
Florida Orange Groves Winery Sparkling Blueberry Wine, St. Petersburg, FL La Crema Pinot Gris, Monterey Domaine Saint André de Figuière Rosé, Côtes de Provence Alta Vista Estate Malbec, Mendoza
China Introduce your palate to a diverse variety of popular plates and potables from one of the world’s greatest cuisines!
Food:
Chicken Dumplings with Chinese Slaw (KA) Mala Chicken and Shrimp Bao Bun Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles Beverages:
Mango Bubble Tea with Assam Black Tea and Milk (Non-alcoholic) Jasmine Draft Beer Happy Peach: Peach Liqueur and Dark Rum Kung Fu Punch: Vodka, Triple Sec, Mango Syrup and Orange Juice Byejoe Punch: Chinese Bai Jiu Spirit, Lychee, Coconut and Pineapple Juice Year of the Piggy: Light Rum, Triple Sec, Lychee Syrup, Lime Juice and Sprite
The Chocolate Studio Sate confectionery cravings with a trip to our one-stop chocolate shop for delectably dark and milky sweet treats!
Food:
Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey-Caramel (GF) Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Whipped Cream Beverages:
Twinings® Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea and Chocolate Shake (Non-alcoholic) (KA) Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red, Piedmont Daou Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles Croft Fine Ruby Port, Portugal Twinings® Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Frozen Cocktail with Caramel Vodka
Coastal Eats Savor the ocean’s finest flavors along with wines grown near the Pacific coastline—you can almost feel the sea breeze!
Food:
Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado-Lemongrass Cream Baked Shrimp and Scallop Scampi Dip with Sourdough Baguette Pacifico True Striped Bass Tostada with Slaw and Fire-roasted Tomatillo Sauce Beverages:
Short’s Brewing Co. Mule Beer, Elk Rapids, Michigan A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris, Oregon ROCO Gravel Road Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon Select dishes feature Melissa’s Produce.
Earth Eats, Hosted by IMPOSSIBLE™ Foods Turn your taste buds upside down with a medley of flavors that add a delish twist to healthy, hearty fare!
Food:
The IMPOSSIBLE™ Burger Slider with Wasabi Cream and spicy Asian Slaw on a Sesame Seed Bun (V) IMPOSSIBLE™ Cottage Pie: IMPOSSIBLE™ Ground Meat with Carrots, Mushrooms, and Peas topped with Mashed Cauliflower, White Beans, and Mozzarella (V) Beverage:
Suja® organic kombucha green apple Suja® organic kombucha pineapple passionfruit Suja® organic kombucha mixed berry Suja® organic kombucha Flight also available
Flavors from Fire, Hosted by ESPN’s College GameDay Add some heat to your epicurean adventure with these spicy bites and specialty beverages that pair perfectly!
Food:
The Steakhouse Blended Burger: Blended Beef and Mushroom Slider with Brie Cheese Fondue, Arugula, and a Truffle and Blue Cheese Potato Chip on a Brioche Bun Smoked Corned Beef with Crispy Potatoes, Cheese Curds, Pickled Onions and Beer-Cheese Fondue Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro Aïoli Chocolate Picante: Dark Chocolate Mousse with Cayenne Pepper, Paprika and Mango-Lime Compote Beverages:
Bell’s Brewery Porter, Comstock, MI Edmeades Zinfandel, Mendocino County Swine Brine featuring Jim Beam Bourbon Mushrooms provided by The Mushroom Council. Select dishes feature Melissa’s Produce.
France Fall in ooo-la-la-love with the classic cuisine and finest wines of France—bon appétit!
Food:
Fondue Savoyarde: Fondue of Imported Cheeses and Chardonnay served with Croutons Croissant aux Escargots: Escargot Croissant with Garlic and Parsley Boeuf Braisé à la Bordelaise, Pomme Dauphine: Beef Braised in Cabernet Sauvignon with Red Onions and Puffed Potatoes Crème Brûlèe: Crème Brûlèe with House-made Chocolate Hazelnut Cream (KA) Beverages:
Kronenbourg 1664 Pale Lager Draft Chardonnay, Maison de France Cabernet Sauvignon, Village la Tourelle, Bordeaux Kir à la Grenade: Sparkling Wine with Monin Pomegranate Syrup La Passion Martini Slushy: Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, Cranberry and Passion Fruit Juice
Germany Embark on an epicurean adventure to Deutschland, home of the heartiest food, drinks and appetites in the world!
Food:
Schinkennudeln: Pasta Gratin with Ham, Onions and Cheese (KA) Roast Bratwurst in a Prop and Peller® Pretzel Roll (KA) Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce (V) (KA) Beverages:
August Kesseler R Riesling Kabinett, Rheingau J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett, Mosel Selbach-Oster 2016 Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese, Mosel Villa Wolf Pinot Noir, Pfalz Riesling Flight also available
Hawai’i Traverse the Pacific for tropical flavors and island faves—sweet or savory, these mouthwatering morsels scream aloha!
Food:
Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet-and-Sour DOLE® Pineapple Chutney and spicy Mayonnaise (KA) Grilled Tuna Tataki with Seaweed Salad, Pickled Cucumbers and Wasabi Cream inspired by AULANI Disney Vacation Club® Villas, Ko Olina Hawai’i Teriyaki-glazed SPAM® Hash with Potatoes, Peppers, Onions and spicy Mayonnaise Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Toasted Macadamia Nuts (KA) (GF) (V) Beverages:
Maui Brewing Company Bikini Blonde Lager Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple Wine, St. Petersburg, FL AULANI Sunrise: Vodka, DOLE® Pineapple Juice, and Grenadine
Stay stateside for all-American craft beer, wines and the hottest tastes from coast-to-coast!
Food:
New England Lobster Roll: Warm Lobster with Fresh Herb Mayonnaise and Griddled Roll New Brunswick Slider: Slow-braised Beef Brisket “Pot Roast Style” with Horseradish Cream and Crispy Fried Onions on a Potato Roll with Pickled Vegetables on the side Freshly Baked Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Icing (V) (KA) Beverages:
North Coast Bewing Co. Blue Star Wheat, Fort Bragg, CA 3 Daughters Brewing A Wake Coffee Blonde Ale, St. Petersburg, FL Heavy Seas AmeriCannon APA, Baltimore, MD Angry Orchard Rosé Hard Cider, Walden, NY Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles Beer Flight also available
India Introduce yourself to new flavors with ancient origins—the smorgasbord of Indian spices will whisk you off to faraway worlds!
Food:
Warm Indian Bread with Pickled Garlic, Mango Salsa and Coriander Pesto Dips (V) (KA) Madras Red Curry with Roasted Cauliflower, Baby Carrots, Chickpeas and Uncle Ben’s® Basmati Rice (V) (GF) Korma Chicken with Cucumber Tomato Salad, Almonds, Cashews and Warm Naan Bread Beverages:

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Podcast transcript #44: The challenges of promoting Italian products in China

Find here the China paradigm episode 44 . Learn more about Carlo Dragonetti’s story in China and find all the details and additional links below.
Full transcript below:
Matthieu David: Hi everyone, I’m Matthieu David, the founder of Daxue consulting and the China marketing podcast China paradigm and today I’m with Carlo Dragonetti . You are in charge of e-commerce and communications, especially online communications at the Italian Trade Agency, and you have been famous before being viewed 20 million times after a speech you gave for graduation. And I believe that’s how you were initiated with social media, with how to leverage social media and videos and so on, and I’d like to talk more about this. And also, about Italian companies in China, how to communicate online? How to be an ambassador of Italy on TMall, that’s what you do currently. But, thank you very much for being with us, Carlo. BECOME AN EXPERT IN IMPORTED PRODUCTS IN CHINA BY LISTENING TO THIS PODCAST
Carlo Dragonetti: Good morning, good morning to everybody. Thank you for inviting me.
Matthieu David: Could you tell us more about your story in China first, so the audience understands where you come from and what you currently do?
Carlo Dragonetti: Definitely, yes. My approach to China started a couple of – well more than a couple of years ago. I came to China because I started studying Chinese back in my university in Italy, and then I realized that my Chinese approach was not enough. So, I decided to go to Beijing to study. The first approach there – was very, very nice and after that, I went back to Italy to finish all my studies, and I felt like I really had to go back to China.
That’s what I did. Before I went back to China, I went to Vancouver, which is the second biggest community of Chinese, from China Mainland and not out of China. So, the feeling I had, to go back to China was higher and higher because my experience with them was growing. I got two scholarships from the Chinese government, for studying in Shanghai and I have been studying here for three years. Around three years. I did my masters and then – you were right Matthieu, at the end of my student career, I had sort of exploré – that’s what you’d say in French. It was interesting. It was my first approach to the communication world from the inside, not from outside. This is how I started to enter the world of e-commerce too. E-commerce and communication are very related, and that’s how today, I’m the ambassador of Italy on TMall Global.
The reason why in this world of e-commerce there are so many KOL’s, so many influencers, it’s because you have to communicate for selling. And that’s why sometimes, it’s very complicated to explain that there is a different process of communication in this part of the world, compared to the other part, where we come from, and that’s the job that we are trying to do, to support the Italian trade agency to support Italian companies in China that are not only willing to enter the Chinese market in the traditional way – offline, but also online. So that’s one of the challenges we are facing lately.
Matthieu David: I see. I’d like to go back to the origin of your presence online, especially with this video. So, this video was – how was it made? Was it someone making the video and then posting it on Weibo ? And then after that, once you had been seen millions of times, have you been able to leverage these followers? Have you been able to continue to get views or it was a one-shot? Can you explain to us more about how it happened and how you could leverage it?
Carlo Dragonetti: Right, so I wasn’t looking for that, I have to admit that. I even invited my parents coming all the way from Italy because it was an experience being a Victorian, going on stage and speaking in front of 8000 students. It was interesting, but I wasn’t looking for saying something that would have made me famous – At least for a while, and what happened was that a girl, at the end of the speech – well the speech itself was at 7 in the morning in Meehang, which is a place a little bit far from the city center, so it was the end of June and it was very hot. I was very nervous because I had to speak in front of 8000 people, all in Chinese. I was a bit stressed.
So, as soon as I finished, I was so relieved that when a girl came to me and told me, hello – Wang Xiaolong, which is my Chinese name. May I post your video on Weibo? And I was like; you don’t even have to ask me, of course, you can. Well, that might have been one of the biggest mistakes of my life, because if I only knew that the girl that came to me was the owner of the account of Peer Video, which basically is an account with 50 – 60 million followers, well that might have changed my – I wouldn’t say my life, but at least the following base. My account on Weibo might have been so hot that I would still be commenting and chatting with all my fans.
That’s something that didn’t happen. Why? Because I didn’t at the time have an account on Weibo. Which is fine, because I managed somehow to leverage the story to come up with good results out of it.
First of all, all the Italian media started coming to me. It’s not common to have a young Italian speaking Chinese, who managed to become famous in China, and apart from – well I tried to divide what is – one shop communication to what might have been useful for my future. So, I started understanding whether this could have brought me something useful for my life, or it was just a one-time only famousness online? And I managed to enter in a contract with different Italian companies in China, both for the two reasons.
The reason why I decided to keep using my image to – what I decided was to keep using my image to meet new people or to leverage all the connection and contact I had in China, rather than building a career on that. Now it’s funny because in the end, I’m actually doing things for my KOL career, as a foreign KOL in China, but my interests, my main interests are not in the communication to be considered a foreign KOL in China, but are mostly in the communication to be considered as one that organizes the campaign for the KOL’s.
So, let’s say this is something that is living the experience as a foreign KOL in China from inside, does help me a lot in what we’re doing, for example for the Italian Trade Agency. So, it has been very interesting. I have been in contact with the Chinese televisions , Chinese radios, Italian televisions, Italian radios, newspapers. It was a very interesting moment, and then I realized that the story of my speech went all around the world. I read articles in Polish, I read articles in Indian, and it was a fun story.
Matthieu David: I see, so the lesson we can learn from that is that, when you are in China, get your social media ready, so that if there is a video, if there is some content about you, you can leverage it and get followers and keep them, because that’s not what you had at that time. You didn’t have a Weibo account.
Carlo Dragonetti: Come on, that’s somehow a very general – it’s not common that you make a video that goes viral like that. From a general point of view, I would say yes, you’re right. But in the end, you need to feed your fans, so no matter you make something viral and it goes viral and wow! It was beautiful, it was fun, it was interesting, it was whatever – but then you have to feed your fans. So, you have to keep posting; you have to interact, you have to make stories, you have to share what you think and then try to have a strategy for that. It’s not just that ‘oh I saw a funny thing and then I post it.’
The most interesting part of having had the chance to be famous for a long while has been that I had the chance to get in contact with important people in the sector in China and Italy. One of the most important KOL in Italy at the moment wanted to meet me because his interest in China was growing more and more and he wanted to have a chat with me; I was very happy to meet him. And what he told me was that it’s very common in this time, to become famous just for something and then how do you have to leverage it? He told me, if you like glasses, you can become a foreign KOL in China for glasses, because there might be a group of people that are very interested in glasses, but you cannot be a KOL of glasses and pens together, because of the people that like pens, do not like glasses.
And this is a very bad example; these were the first things I had in front of me, to say that, there is a group of people that can be a lifestyle KOL. Let’s say Cristiano Ronaldo or Kim Kardashian , all these big, big names – but not people that start their career as influencers or foreign KOL in China. You have to start feeding your fans with pen information, or glasses information or what you see on – you know, just trying to have one single focus. Otherwise it’s going to be very complicated to keep feeding your fan and having a pool of things. So, lifestyle KOL’s or influencers, it’s a bit complicated.
At the time, I didn’t really know what I have to do. I had some agency that told me, listen, you’re Italian, you can be a KOL of Italy. That might work. I wasn’t very convinced. I decided to start working for the Italian Trade Agency, and then – the focus came to me. I didn’t go to the focus. Because I started having contacts with TMall , we were working a lot with – well, we are starting working with XiaoHongShu , with Red and then the guys from TMall Global told me – well we are starting a new content platform, content platform which is the national treasure and we would like to invite you as a representative of Italy and foreign KOL in China. That was very interesting. So, let’s say, the process of becoming a KOL now for me is a bit different.
But as I told you, this question was, how to leverage your video, right? I tried to build a path to leverage it, so to gain on it, in terms of connections, in terms of contacts, in terms of possibilities for the future. That’s what I did.
Matthieu David: What do you do at the agency to support Italian companies in China? What did you do specifically for yourself and the agency generally speaking?
Carlo Dragonetti: Okay, the main stakeholders of the agencies, the ministry of economic development. So, the goal of the agency is to support made in Italy in China. There are four offices, they’ve had a trade agency in China, plus one in Taiwan, in Hong Kong and what I am specifically doing, well the agency does support Made in Italy, organizing roadshow for a Chinese company to Italy, in Italy – or organizing groups of Italian companies in China coming to fairs. There are many different things. Many different promotional activities that the state organized for Italian companies in China.
What I am in charge of is all the communication and e-commerce relations with the main Chinese e-commerce platform. What I like to do is to communicate what the promotional activities do and specifically in China. For example – now we’re working a lot with the food and beverage sector, and that’s a big challenge because we have to face some bad strategy of Italian companies in China in the past year, for example for the wine sector. As you know, the French own the highest part of the market in terms of wine. They came to China 40 – 50 years ago saying this red liquid is called Bordeaux, and so from now on, that’s what you have to call it. And, so we created a campaign, a whole campaign investing an important amount of money – of public money, to support all the business of Italian wines in China .
Matthieu David: I understand the agency, the government agency. So, you have to promote all the Italian products in China? You cannot promote specific products, bring specific Italian companies in China, and you are doing e-commerce, so how did you do eCommerce and promote all the Italian products in China? Can you explain more about what you do in your promotion? Is it to sell products directly, with your own shop? With an Italian shop? I know Alibaba, TMall had a shop with the country at some point, but I’m not sure it got the leverage and the momentum that was expected. So, I don’t know how it is now. Could you explain more?
Carlo Dragonetti: Right. We do represent Italy; it means that we have – the goal of the agency is to promote all the possible business, all the possible Italian companies in China. No matter if they are big or if they are small. Of course, the bigger they are, the more it is complicated to represent them.
Let me make a very bad example. Ferrari would never come to us and say, support my campaign in communicating how fast can a Ferrari drive. So, what we do is, support the small and medium enterprises to enter the Chinese market . The interesting part of this is understanding how can we support the made in Italy, and what happens when we go to talk with e-commerce platforms? They are very happy to get to know us because we represent for them the possibility to enter in contact with all Italian – small and medium enterprises. Which by the way, represent the 96% of Italian companies in China?
Matthieu David: How much?
Carlo Dragonetti: 96% of Italian companies in China. So that’s pretty interesting for them. You spoke about the online promotion – that’s the brand hub. There’s a content marketing tool on Alibaba, which is called Brand Hub and there is another page that we can call it that way, where all the companies that have a store on TMall, could open their own Brand Hub. This platform is not sale driven, but its content is driven. It means that I am Nike , for example, and not only I want to sell my Italian products in China, but I also want to explain to all my beloved clients how and why my Nike shoes are so good, or my sweater is cooler than Adidas . Right. So that’s the tool. The tool is communication. It’s very useful to communicate what you are doing.
We decided to go on Brand Hub, towards also a long and strategic partnership and talks with Alibaba Italy, which is the base for Alibaba in Southern Europe, and we decided to come up with the Brand Hub because the Italian Trade Agency cannot sell products. So, we couldn’t have created a platform – let’s say, a page on Alibaba under our name to sell Italian products in China. That could have never happened.
So, what we decided to do was to invest in a communicational campaign to rope it all together in Alibaba, the Italian company that we’re already in TMall Global .
So, now we have under the helloITA name, we have more than 100 brands. If I’m not wrong, 103 at the moment. In three different categories. We go from lifestyle to food and beverage to fashion (like import Italian food in China). We have big names and smaller names, but still smaller names that are making money, because as we all might know, it is a little bit expensive to invest in Alibaba. Especially to go on TMall global. So, we have both brands that are in TMall global, and we have brands also in cross border, directly from Italy.
So, this is what we have, what we are doing now, and we organize campaigns, based on content. So not only we have a contract with Alibaba, we have a contract with Alimama , which is a company from Alibaba that sells all the advertisements. So, we are doing a media buy to try to get more and more clients to get to know our platform. And now, this is quite interesting – all the efforts of the past six months – we managed to get all this effort paid back, because in this period we had more than 70,000 followers and more than 20 million impressions between comments, between interactions, between viewers of our screenings on Alibaba, etc.
So, it is quite a challenging activity because it’s not sales driven. So, you cannot really compare if it’s going well or if it’s not going well. We have to compare these as if we were KOL’s ourselves. So, we’re trying to communicate with China about what Italy does. Why go to Italy? What to do in Italy? If they like Italian food, where to buy Italian food in China? How to buy Italian food in China? How to dress like an Italian? And not trying to do it in a way in which we’re trying to say that we are better than our Chinese friends, which is not even true, but we’re trying to do it. We’re trying to make that understanding that if they want to buy Italian, they can have a whole pavilion of where to find a lot of Italian products in China, certified and with a lot of promotion. Which is the key to having a good strategy and possibly a successful strategy on this type of e-commerce platform?
Matthieu David: Which tools work best for you? You talked about live streaming, you talked about creating content, so the cost, where does this seem like the biggest leverage, and could you be more specific on it?
Carlo Dragonetti: As I told you, we are content driven so our interest is always to increase the number of followers, which means people that can often go to see you, they receive a notification when we post something, etc., etc.
So, we have thought that in order to have a better result, we had to increase a lot the number of followers. The Italian Trade Agency organizes a lot of other promotional offline campaigns, and we realized that the interaction between offline and online is the key of enhancing and increasing the number of followers and the engagement that the followers had with our platform. So apart from all these offline activities which are working very well, usually our call to action, so you scan my QR code, I give you the gelato cup, or you want the bag, you have to scan the QR code etc., etc. – apart from this all offline to online activities, we have tools online inside the Alibaba ecosystem.
The pop-up notification that comes up when you open Alibaba – well to be more specific, when you open Taobao . The specific pop up notification that comes out can be linked to our Brand Hub. Then we have all the tools that Alibaba provides for the media by campaigns. So we get to know some data that we try to analyze and we understand what has been going well, and what has not been going well, in terms of banners, in terms of content, in terms of articles, in terms of the color of the banner, the pictures in the banner and even the topic we decided to analyze in certain campaigns, etc.
So, as I told you, we have three different factors, so every month or every important month in the Chinese online calendar, we try to shape our communication in that direction. The tools are actually very, very good to make a good campaign. At the beginning for us, it was very complicated to get to know the tools, because working with Alibaba is very challenging and it’s very interesting. It’s a Yang generation of – the average in the CC Campus, the average age is 28 years old, so they’re all very young, very willing to work and to create more. But sometimes it’s very complicated because they use their own language, they use their own communicational app, its challenging.
Now we are – We as organizers are satisfied, but the best part of this is that also the companies that have been joining so far – HelloITA, are satisfied.
Matthieu David: So, where you see the biggest leverage is offline to online. Offline events where you can use, scan the QR code and you get followers from offline to online, that’s what you are saying right?
Carlo Dragonetti: Not only in leveraging followers, but the interaction of online to offline is very important. So, let me go back again to the food and beverage promotion that we are holding at the moment, about Italian food in China. We have been working with Hema , Alibaba’s family again. We are promoting more than – if I’m not wrong, more than 100 Italian brands with even two or three untraded SKU’s, in different areas of China.
This promotion is called “we are together,” and we were together with Hema in promoting Italian products in China right. What we were doing there is not only being present in GDO and in supermarkets with our tables where there were Italian chefs doing cooking shows, or we had MC’s going to talk about the stories of Italian products in China, etc., etc. – we invited KOL’s, but we were also online on the Hema App. And that was very powerful and very interesting. So, no matter you scan QR codes to become a follower, but you have to think of a promotion that can be brought together online and offline to get the best out of it. So, interactions – that’s a very good tool. Interactions – the easiest way to interact is a call to action, so I ask you to do something, and I get back something else. That’s the base that’s – there are so many different marketing tools that can enter this discussion to make the best interaction between online to offline, or vice versa, but it’s all about – how much do you want to invest? That’s very important.
Matthieu David: Yeah. Yeah. The investment online actually is always bigger than what you think, most people think that it can be a random – as you did actually with 20 million views. It can be by chance or it can be random, to get all the views, but if you want to do it in a specific time, with a specific message, then you want something very, very specific decided to work on. My final question, as we are going to have soon to end the interview, but my final question is about the identity of a nation online, the identity of a country online, I give you one concern that the French identity – it’s very difficult to promote French food, because there is no specific dish from the French food. Compared to Italy, where there are two specific Italian dishes which are pizza and pasta, for instance, which can be clearly identified with Italy.
So, the identity of a country online, when you promote it in China . How do you evaluate when you have so much identity and when it’s not sometimes very easy to promote the identity? Moreover, when you need to be fair with all the sectors. What’s your thinking about that?
Carlo Dragonetti: That’s actually a fun fact, funny stories. You are right in saying that sometimes it’s complicated when you don’t have an identity or a mascot that you can use to enter a stadium.
We have pasta; we have pizza, we have gelato, right. We have Italian products in China that can be sold but what we are trying to do is – not only we have these Trojan horses to enter China, which is the most famous things. The most commercial Italian products in China, but as I told you before, Italy has 96% of small or medium enterprises that sometimes cannot make numbers to feed on China. So, we also have to balance all of this, so the campaign we’re trying to organize is more about the quality of Italian food in China, no matter it’s a Trojan, no matter its pasta, pizza or gelato or its very good balsamic vinegar, or its very good milk, or its very good whatever – it’s very good water, which any other country might have, but what we have to do is increase the awareness of Italian products in China.
That’s the biggest challenge and to do that it’s even more complicated because you have to fight Ananas pizza, pineapple pizza , you have to fight things that are not real Italian or really high quality. The high quality that you want to communicate.
So, pineapple pizza is always a big deal between Italians and international friends. That was just an example to say that you have to fight what sounds Italian and what is Italian. The parmesan from Kraft is not Italian, because we have the Parmigianino, and how to explain it to a person that never used cheese in his food culture.
So, it’s a big challenge. It’s part of a bigger process.
In closing, I wanted to analyze another aspect. We are now working a lot with Slow Food, which is a very important company – well it’s an association actually that promotes a certain type of values in terms of food. So, the fair food, the clean food that protects not only the person that has the food, but also the producer of the food, and that are a new idea of facing the fast food growing culture of food.
Why we have decided to cooperate with them is because we would like to have more training and more activities that can help Chinese consumers or international community in China, to get to know more and more about what is Italian food and how Italian ingredients can match the Chinese cuisine, what can be Italian food in China.
Matthieu David: I understand, so you’re trying to do what a lot of countries have a hard time doing, that is how to match their products which are very cultural to Chinese food.
Carlo Dragonetti: Sorry I can’t hear you again very clearly. Can you start again?
Matthieu David: You can’t at all or can’t clear?
Carlo Dragonetti: Okay, now I can hear. Can you say it again?
Matthieu David: Yeah, so when you said that you try to match Italian food in China and ingredients with typical Chinese dishes, which is what some countries have tried to do as well. If I take the case of France, for instance, the wine which is coming from France, don’t always fit with the Chinese food where you have a lot of different dishes – which dish? Which cuisines and so on. At the same point, a wine like Bordeaux with very spicy food may not work very well, but still, it’s very famous. So, it’s not easy actually to match, so you were saying that you work with Slow Food association? BECOME AN EXPERT IN IMPORTED PRODUCTS IN CHINA BY LISTENING TO THIS PODCAST
Carlo Dragonetti: Right. That’s correct. It’s also quite a matter of perception of the consumer that the customer might have of an ingredient or, let’s say about wine. There’s a funny story about wine. I was in one of these promotions with a big number of producers of wine; we were talking with a lot of wine importers in a very big restaurant in Beijing. We were having one of the best Beijing duck, and they served the food, and there were a couple of Chinese friends and wine importers there, and they told me – look what they’re going to do. This guy was an Italian man. And I was very curious because I thought I knew more about China than he did. So, they finished eating their Beijing duck, and instead of drinking a glass of wine, they drank a sip of coconut water.
So, it’s more about the culture; it’s more about what you have been doing so far rather than what you expect the market to do. So, that’s true – so far maybe we as a bigger Italian community might not have been doing the right thing, so far for example in communicating wine – but the reason why we decided to start cooperating with Slow Food , is because we want to train Chinese chefs , we want to train Chinese foodies, we want to train more and more about what we have been realizing is that the Chinese interests in Italian cuisine are growing more and more. Italian restaurants are popping out a lot in the first year in Shanghai; the interest in Italian food in China is growing a lot; the interest for Italian ingredients is increasing incredibly on e-commerce platforms.
So, based on this wave, we are trying to give our support. Although we have always been facing, and we had always been facing the challenges of what this Chinese market is, which is a very, very complicated world.
Matthieu David: Thanks Carlo for your time, thanks for talking to us this early at 8 a.m. China time. Hope you enjoyed this episode of our China podcast, China Paradigm, sorry for the technical issues. That happens sometimes; I don’t know why. It’s always perfect with Zoom , and sometimes there are some technical issues, I don’t know why. It could be the occasion actually to continue in another episode , about specific cases could be interesting or specific cases you’ve worked on, specific segments of the Italian industry and economy. Thank you very much again and I hope you enjoyed this.
Carlo Dragonetti: Thank you very much for having me in this episode of your China business podcast. I wish you a beautiful day and keep in touch. Bye.
China paradigm is a China business podcast sponsored by Daxue Consulting where we interview successful entrepreneurs about their businesses in China . You can access all available episodes from the China paradigm Youtube page.
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Travel – Port Elizabeth

Hey Guys I know I have been MIA (missing in action) on the blog, have been rather busy with some creative projects, some exciting things are coming soon… so busy that the blog took a bit of a back seat, well I’m back and here to share some info about Port Elizabeth.
Flight time: Just an hour and 45 minutes from Johannesburg.
Growing up in Port Elizabeth wasn’t a walk in the park, it was challenging with so many closed minded individuals around, every creative idea seemed out of reach, fortunately my family are very open minded and supported the dream of growing out of that kind of thinking, I left the city over 12 years ago and moved to Johannesburg.
So you wondering why am I telling you about this little city, well this city has groomed me into the person I am, has many beautiful places, open spaces, family and the breathtaking Indian ocean.
The Ocean calls me every few years, and I go back to visit, reminisce, and create new memories.
Port Elizabeth also termed the Friendly City, does ring true and almost everyone is friendly and helpful, you can start up a conversation and it’s perfectly normal, unlike some other cities where people are more to themselves.
One of my favorite coffee spaces has to be Mastertons, situated in Walmer, that nostalgic scent of roasted coffee beans, a scent that was welcoming every time we drove through Central growing up.
A absolute must visit for lunch is Mellas, the mouthwatering Meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes, if you a fan of Asian cuisine, this is for you, generous portion sizes, flavorful meals keeps you returning for more!
Bocadillos is a great option for pasta, pizza, or that slice of indulgence that comes in the form of chocolate or carrot cake.
If you in the mood to take a drive, In food Bakery is a must for a scrumptious breakfast, situated 45 minutes from Port Elizabeth, forms part of the Eastern Cape, the scenery is magical and a drive that’s picturesque.
Drinks at the Bridge Street Brewery is a must, you bound to meet someone you know, great for pre drinks before dinner.
Chartroom is another winner, known for there famous view at the Harbor, now Situated in Baakens Valley next door to Bridge Street Breweries, perfect for Seafood, and Grills.
Visit the Beach as many times as you can, the Long Beach walks are tranquil and grounding.
Hope you enjoyed this post, let me know if you would love to see more of my travel adventures. Share this:

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Get Off The Beaten Track With Bucket List Travel

Travel is one of the biggest things on most people’s bucket list . Seeing as much of the world as you can together creates amazing family memories. Travelling with children helps them to appreciate other cultures, and allows them to experience new countries, foods and activities. Don’t just plan a family holiday to the tourist traps of Tenerife and Mallorca though. Instead, why not add some more unusual destinations to your family travel bucket list, and have the trip of a lifetime that you and your children will always remember.
Image from Pixabay
Canada
Have the ultimate white Christmas with a family vacation in Canada. Canada is a beautiful country with glaciers, mountains, lakes and forests to see. There are some lively cities to visit too, if you somehow tire of the incredible scenery of the countryside.
See some of the most famous natural wonders while you visit. Niagara Falls can be visited from Canada, as can the incredible Rocky Mountains. Visit stunning National Parks, drive the beautiful coastline, or hike through breath-taking forests. The children will be able to see some of the amazing places they’ve learned about at school, a memory that they’ll treasure forever.
Canada is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world, and is an amazing place to learn to ski or snowboard. You could also try out whitewater rafting, mountain biking or climbing. If you like something a little gentle, there are many fantastic places to go walking or camping.
Canada’s laid back attitude and reasonable prices make the country a great place to visit with children. With so many outdoor activities and a year round calendar of events like Vancouver’s Celebration of Light, the Calgary Stampede or Quebec Winter Carnival, you’re have a family holiday unlike any other.
Image from Pixabay
British Virgin Islands
If you’re looking for a trip with a little luxury, you can’t go wrong with the British Virgin Islands . The BVIs, as they’re known, have consistently warm weather year round, and are very popular with the sailing community, thanks to reliable headwinds. The islands have the most beautiful sandy beaches in the world, with blue seas to swim in, or try out some water sports. It’s easy to escape the busier areas too for some relaxed exploring in privacy. You can pretend the whole island’s your own.
You can share the islands with the who’s who of the yacht owning world too. The bays are lined with super yachts, and the islands are popular with many celebrities. You never know who you might see as you’re admiring the boats.
The Virgin Islands are also well known for the incredible local cuisine. Of course, all those bays mean the seafood is excellent. You can enjoy fresh, local fish all over the islands. Lobster is popular, as is seafood chowder, shark and snapper. Other popular dishes include Roti, which is an East Indian flatbread filled with meat or vegetables, and Fungi, a dish made up of cornmeal and okra, usually served with seafood. Many fruits grow on the islands too, and you can enjoy some of the freshest papaya, mango or pineapple around. What better way to introduce the kids to eating more fruit?
Image from Pixabay
New Zealand
If you’re more about mountains than super yachts, put New Zealand on your bucket list. New Zealand has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, with incredible mountain ranges and stunning beaches. It’s a rare place where you can enjoy sunbathing and snow in the same day.
If you’re a family who loves to get active, New Zealand offers lots of opportunities to try some amazing sports. You can surf, ski, snowboard, go horseback riding, sail, swim and even try bungee jumping. The Kiwis are an active bunch, and you can try out something totally new while you’re visiting.
Enjoy a day out without the kids and sample some of New Zealand’s world famous wine. The country is known for its high quality wines. Tour a vineyard or go to a wine tasting to find out why their wine is so well loved.
Of course, New Zealand is also famous for its starring role in Lord Of The Rings. If the family are fans of the films, there are lots of the filming locations that you can still visit. You can explore the hobbit holes that are still built into the hillside at Matamata, or marvel at Mount Sunday which stood in for Edoras. Walk the paths of the dead at the Putangirua Pinnacles, or visit Mordor at Tongariro National Park.
Image from Pixabay
Kenya
A safari in Kenya could be a dream vacation. Seeing incredible animals close up will be an unforgettable experience for kids, and could be a fantastic opportunity to teach them about conservation and animal welfare. What child wouldn’t be amazed by seeing elephants, lions and giraffes at touching distance?
Visiting Kenya is also a great opportunity to teach your kids about some of the world’s most interesting cultures. There are some great tours you can book where you can explore some of the native villages and participate in traditional ceremonies. Try the food and make jewellery and give the whole family an appreciation for a different culture.
Kenya also has miles and miles of white sand beaches and incredibly blue sea to enjoy. Sunbathe, swim and help the kids build sandcastles on the most beautiful beach you’ve ever seen. On the Kenyan Barrier Reef, there’s also amazing opportunities to dive or snorkel and see even more incredible wildlife.
Image from Pixabay
Greece
Greece is an incredible beautiful country and the Greeks love children, making it a fantastic place to visit as a family.
It’s a great trip for foodies. You can encourage the kids to experience the sensational seafood, and the locally grown olives. Try local specialties like moussaka, Souvlaki and tzatziki. For the grown-ups, Greece also has an excellent array of local beers and wines to be sampled too.
For beach bums, Greece has a wide variety of beaches to suit all tastes. Relax under an umbrella on a sun lounger, or sunbathe on a secluded island beach. For later in the day, there are plenty of party beaches for anyone travelling with teenagers too. Of course, you can also try classic beach activities like kite surfing or sailing.
Teach the children some interesting history while visiting Greece’s incredible historical sites. Soak up some culture with a trip to see the Parthenon or the Acropolis.
Of course, the beautiful weather and gorgeous scenery could be enough of a temptation to lure to Greece, and the famous hospitality of the Greek people will convince you to stay.
Image from Pixabay
Maldives
What could be more bucket list worthy than the turquoise waters of the Maldives? The relaxed vibe ensures a vacation that will leave feeling refreshed. Enjoy breath-taking beaches and glittering waters.
At night, you can see the famous glowing bioluminescence, a natural sight that children will find truly magical. Of course, during the day, you can keep busy with water sports like parasailing.
In the Maldives, there are over 1000 islands to explore. Island hopping is a great way to explore and see as much as of the natural beauty of the area as you can. Experience the culture and try out local foods as you explore.
The resorts in the Maldives are famous for their sensational service. Live the high life and recharge with resort life. Take a break from the children at the world’s first underwater spa at Lime Spa. Lie back with a cocktail, try out a yoga class or eat at a high-class restaurant. Resort stay is a memory you’ll never forget.
Image from Pixabay
Norway
Kids obsessed with Frozen? Take them to see the real country that inspired the beautiful scenery from the movie and visit Norway.
Norway is of course a great place to ski, with the alpine mountain regions and dozens of ski slopes. Norway is also great for hiking, with miles of marked trails and great spots for camping. Get out and explore the stunning scenery.
For the real Frozen experience, visit some of Norway’s coastal towns. With intricate architecture, and houses in bright, pretty colours, the towns, including Alesund and Henningsvaer, look like they’ve come straight from a fairy tale. The kids will be enchanted.
Take a guided tour to see polar bears in the wild. These beautiful bears are amazing to see, and a knowledgeable tour guide will help the children and you learn all about these majestic animals.
Of course, soaking in the view of Norway’s stunning fjords is a must do. Visit Sognefjorden, the longest fjord in Europe. These natural wonders are a sight that will stay with you for years to come.
Travel is a wonderful way to spend time as a family. A vacation with amazing experiences rather than just lying by the pool while the kids hit the kids’ club will create incredible family memories. Visiting amazing destinations is a great accompaniment to your children’s education. A travel bucket list could help you all learn more about history, culture and languages. «

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Lemon Tree Hotels Ltd. to Enter Mumbai with its Upper Midscale Brand

Indian Hospitality Sector News – , Business, New Venture and Launch-Strategically located in Mumbai’s business hub of Andheri East, this new age hotel will aim to target both, business and leisure travellers as well as the local corporate segment in India’s business capital. ” data-meta-keyword=”” data-og-title=”Lemon Tree Hotels Ltd. to Enter Mumbai with its Upper Midscale Brand” data-og-url=”/article/Lemon-Tree-Hotels-Ltd-to-Enter-Mumbai-with-its-Upper-Midscale-Brand/27-06-2019-172478″ data-og-image=”http://static.businessworld.in/article/article_extra_large_image/1561636082_BRl3Zk_cropped_91_.png”> Lemon Tree Hotels Ltd. to Enter Mumbai with its Upper Midscale Brand Strategically located in Mumbai’s business hub of Andheri East, this new age hotel will aim to target both, business and leisure travellers as well as the local corporate segment in India’s business capital.
LEMON TREE Hotels Ltd., held an exclusive preview of Lemon Tree Premier-Mumbai International Airport, to showcase their new hotel which will launch in the city shortly. This will be the second city in Maharashtra, after Pune, with a Lemon Tree Premier and the third city in Maharashtra, after Aurangabad and Pune where the group will operate. Once this hotel will open, Lemon Tree will run ~5800 rooms in 57 hotels across 34 cities, making it India’s largest hotel chain in the mid-priced hotel sector[1].
Strategically located in Mumbai’s business hub of Andheri East, this new age hotel will aim to target both, business and leisure travellers as well as the local corporate segment in India’s business capital. Located on Andheri Kurla Road, the hotel is in close proximity to key hubs like SEEPZ, Bombay Exhibition Center, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and is not far from Juhu Beach.
Commenting on the exclusive preview launch of this elegant property, Patanjali Keswani, Chairman & Managing Director said, “We are happy to hold an exclusive preview of our upcoming hotel, Lemon Tree Premier-Mumbai International Airport. Mumbai is a key market for us and a prominent destination both for business and leisure travellers. The hotel is strategically located near Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and in the midst of one of Mumbai’s commercial/industrial hubs. With this hotel, we will also showcase a new design style of our upper midscale brand – Lemon Tree Premier, which blends nostalgia with chic interiors and modern amenities. Our customers can look forward to a refreshing stay at this stylish hotel.”
The hotel is dressed in neutral hues and vintage styled art, which is accentuated by classic leather sofas, chic interiors and understated yet beautiful lighting. The 303 rooms and suites at Lemon Tree Premier-Mumbai International Airport are attractive and vibrant and offer world-class amenities, making it the perfect place for business and leisure travellers to interact and unwind. The accommodation options will include Deluxe Rooms, Executive Rooms, Premier Rooms, Studio Suites and an Executive Suite.
The hotel will offer a 24×7 multi-cuisine coffee shop – Citrus Café; a hip recreation bar – Slounge, where guests can enjoy their favourite music over a drink. The celebrated pan-Asian restaurant – Republic of Noodles will serve street food delicacies from Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar.
The rejuvenating spa – Fresco, a well-equipped fitness centre and a refreshing swimming pool will all aim to offer wellness to our resident guests. Additionally, the hotel will provide over 3,100 sq. ft. of contemporary meeting space, including large conference rooms and a business centre, to cater to business needs and requirements for special occasions.
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Tips To Create A Restaurant Loyalty Program To Retain A Customer Base

Trying new cuisines and gourmet food are what we aspire. The Indians specifically like to spend earned money on good food and entertainment. The presence of multiple options in the market makes it more competitive for a brand to survive. This is where loyalty program strategies can be of great help. Imagine a customer brings his friends and family to your restaurant most of the time to celebrate a special occasion! How exceptional that would be if most of the customers do? A brand should take care of repeating customers by developing a digital platform with a proper loyalty reward plan. Tips to target customers with loyalty programs Learn more about your options The Loyalty Program for Restaurants designed by the experts have different aspects to consider. The ideal way to choose the right loyalty program is via considering the existing POS system. The reason why you should go with familiar loyalty programs is that it will help you to incorporate them in the same system and also aid you to manage the food joint. The rewards can be formulated using reward points, discounts, visit points, referral rewards, etc. Millennials like to stick to the reward points that can be en-cashed later on. Take the aid of an online marketing agency to formulate the best loyalty program using the latest trends. Go beyond monetary values It is obvious that introducing a loyalty program will have an impact on your financial strength. On the contrary, it will also impart a boost in the brand value in the kind of loyal customers. Loyalty programs can also be designed in such a way that they can encourage causes supported by the millennials. Taking a stand on the social issues or spreading awareness regarding problems we face will also increase the brand’s value in the market. The idea is to generate a unique relationship with customers. They will also like to find out that the restaurant is partially using its profits in some good causes. The rewards, whether monetary or psychological, should be perfectly fabricated. Listening actively, following trends, and seeking feedback The easiest interpersonal skill is to be a good listener and seek feedback regarding your previous ventures. The same can be applied in this aspect. A successful loyalty program will need your prime attention, participation in the trends, meeting the queries, asking for feedback from the critics and customers. If you listen to what the contemporary client base needs and desires to find in your restaurant, you can work on that. This step will need a perfect channel online for communication. This communication channel can either be a part of your social media profile or a section on the online portal. This channel can be perfectly used as a customer retention tool too. Listening to what the customers have to say will also give them more importance. This feeling will create more trust and loyalty among contemporary admirers. Sustaining engagement Identification of valuable customers will give you a way to find out what you can do to sustain the engagement program. You can design a loyalty program and find out how it goes. Just keep a few things in mind. Concentrate on how quickly a reward is accrued. Design different rewards for different kinds of customers based on their demographic features. Also, add an easy way to redeem award points so that the customers can feel more satisfied. Better plan for better future A Retention Marketing India agency is the ideal resource to plan such excellent loyalty programs. Retaining the existing customers will need the utmost professionalism and such loyalty programs for a better future.

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Indonesian and creole are in tune at Bumbu Roux

chicago.politanrow.com/bumburoux Indonesian and creole food have practically nothing in common—except for Chris Reed.
He’s the chef behind Bumbu Roux in the West Loop’s Politan Row, a vendor who represents another unlikely cross-cultural marriage of cuisines born of an actual human marriage. Like Margaret Pak of Thattu , across the hall, who hints at the great potential of a Keralite-Korean (Koralite?) mash-up with her kimchi upma, Reed demonstrates Indo-creole compatibility with a pork sambal po’boy: vivid, cool, crunchy pickles, neon-lit with turmeric, brightening the meaty richness of shoulder debris braised in sambal, garlic, and ginger. All mayo-slathered and baguette-swaddled, it’s a sandwich that spans oceans and commands all the senses.
For the past ten years Reed, along with his mother, Priscilla, has operated the catering and pop-up operation the Rice Table, and during much of that time it was the city’s only commercial representation of the food of the Indonesian archipelago.
Indonesian food itself is an archipelago of regional cuisines, flavored by centuries of Indian, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, and Dutch influence. The Reeds became known for the eponymous multidish feast known as rijsttafel (rice table), but also worked the summer festival circuit, introducing sweaty Pitchfork crowds to peanut-sauced satays, coconut- curried tempeh, and stewy beef rendang.
But Priscilla Reed—who was born in Bandung, West Java, and grew up in the Netherlands—knows how to cook more than just Indonesian fare. Her late husband, Donald, came from Napoleonville, Louisiana, and early in their marriage when they lived in Germany, he taught her to make the food he was homesick for: gumbo, red beans and rice, blackened catfish, and “the turnips,” as they were known—which Chris Reed later realized was essentially an etouffee, the classic roux-thickened, creole-Cajun rice “smother,” subbing root vegetables for chicken or shrimp.
About four years ago, shortly after his father passed away, Reed started offering dishes such as these to his catering clients, not just to drum up business but “as a way to feel like I still had my dad around.” Creole-Cajun pop-up gumbo parties with beer and live jazz followed, a pivot that caught the attention of the Politan Group, whose first multivendor food hall was the Saint Roch Market in New Orleans’s Bywater District. click to enlarge Chef Chris Reed with his mother, Priscilla. Chris holds a photo of his late father, Donald, carrying him as a child. Alexus McLane
Reed always kept the cuisines more or less separate, and still does. Apart from the sambal po’boy—which evolved from a banh mi he once served called the Krakatoa—he keeps the food mostly faithful to its origins. “I definitely want to represent both cuisines on their own,” he says. “When it makes sense to have them come together I will, but I never want the feeling that I’m just trying to mash them together. To me the most important thing is showing what they are at their purest.”
That doesn’t mean they can’t startle you out of the fog of expectations. Reed’s seafood gumbo is a fairly classic stew of blue crabmeat, shrimp, and oysters, but its silky richness enslaves the parietal lobe the minute it coats the mouth and administers its slow, gentle burn.
Short-lived Indonesian restaurants like August Moon, Angin Mamiri , and De Quay have come and gone—part of the reason the Reeds hesitated for years to open their own brick-and-mortar spot. Lincoln Park’s delightful six-year-old Rickshaw Republic notwithstanding, they weren’t sure Chicago was ready for one. And Indonesian food still isn’t as easy a sell as creole. Reed thinks he serves more blackened catfish with sides of red beans and rice and turnip etouffee than anything else, some customers waiting up to seven minutes for the fillets to get seared back in the vendors’ shared kitchen. While the beef in the more traditional debris po’boy gets braised in Cafe du Monde coffee, the chicory lending a layer of nuttiness to the roasted-garlic aioli and house-made pickles, the aforementioned sambal po’boy may serve as a gateway to the Indonesian stuff for a West Loop crowd that sometimes needs encouragement. Priscilla is usually at the counter to explain that gado-gado is a composed salad—here subbing green-leaf lettuce and tofu for cabbage and tempeh—and that the taste of the soy-marinated chicken bakar is on the sweeter rather than the spicier side of the spectrum.
Reed says the house-made tempeh-and-shrimp chips known as kerupuk provide another unthreatening introduction. They come with the chicken bakar as well as with the rendang, here a saucy version of the slow-cooked, coconut-infused beef dish, its spicy gravy absorbed by a pile of white rice alongside garlic-soy-braised bok choy.
Reed says the setup at Politan Row is conducive to change, and like Margaret Pak, he’s planning on introducing new creole and Indonesian dishes, and even some mash-ups, such as his take on sambal goreng udang , spicy stir-fried shrimp, served not with rice but over grits. You know, when it makes sense.
The name Reed came up with is shorthand for the way he and his mother make sense of what they’re doing for puzzled first-timers. Turns out Indonesian and creole food do have something in common. Bumbu is the Indonesian word for a spice blend, which, much like a creole roux, is the foundation of Indonesian cuisine.
“They’ll say ‘Indonesian-creole? How’d you come up with that?'” says Reed. “I didn’t come up with it. This is my mom. That was my dad.”  v

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