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Farm to table

Accomodation

Hotel Castello del Sole Ascona

My personal highlight: Getting to know the Val del Maggia in Ticino where among other delicacies risotto rice LOTO is cultivated. Be woken up by birds twittering facing rice paddies and feeling in a natural paradise not fare from home.

Hotel Castello del Sole is a place where you get rendezvous with happiness! It is located in the beautiful Ticino close to the village of Ascona at the Lago Maggiore. It’s part of the recently launched brand “The Living Circle“. Find more on the values and philosophy of the Living Circle in my recently published article here. Want to get inspired about other accommodation spots in Switzerland? Find more on my blog here.

Castello del Sole is a piece of history built back to the year 1532 from Francesco Orelli. It served as a hiding place for the followers of the new Protestant teachings. Around 1900 it was run as a simple Osteria offering rooms for guests. Today it has been transformed into an exclusive 5 star hotel property within an immense beautiful park reaching 100 hectares, the biggest hotel park in Switzerland.

The ideal home for couples or families looking for peace, genuine local mediterranean food or special wellness treatments as for example the VinoAqua-Therapie® containing grapes from their own land Terreni alla Maggia.

The high class service and a dedicated staff lead by Simon V. Jenny and his wife Gabriela Jenny make Hotel Castello be part of „Relais & Châteaux“ and the „Swiss Deluxe Hotels” awards.

Accommodation

Hotel del Castello offers 40 Junior Suites and 38 double/single rooms. The rooms offer elegance, class and high standard comfort, a complete stay away from home. The rooms are spacious and embedded in the tranquil park and rice fields. Families and couples find a home for weekend trips or longer residence due to the perfect equipped surrounding and facilities.

Gourmet food and Merlot grapes

Chef Mattias Roock is the Chef of the kitchen at Castello del Sole. He focusses on the use of fresh and local products and maintains a strong and close relationship to local farmers. The actual menu of the gourmet restaurant „Locanda Barbarossa“ is called “i sapori del nostro orto”. Which means, flavors of our gardens.

The ingredients and products used are cultivated exclusively from Ticino and the Terreni alla Maggia. This includes the Loto risotto rice for example or the exclusive rare black polenta and herbs from their hotel permaculture garden.

Additional hotel restaurants as the “Cortile Leone“, the „Tre Stagioni“ or the „Parco Saleggi“ follow this mediterranean farm to table  philosophy of Chef Roock. During summer a barbecue outside or a Streetfood van at the beach restaurant are absolutely recommended, too.

The Terreni alla Maggia offer an ideal soil for wine and other distillates. Ticino is the home of Merlot wine. The Merlot is paired perfectly with a nice beef ragu and polenta! Get a tour through the Terreni alla Maggia and explore all of their delicacies in the wine shop!

Yoga, retreats, kids entertaining program

Get a Yoga and nutrition coach, enjoy their outdoor/indoor pool or subscribe your kids to an entertainment program. The Piccolo Circo Castello del Sole featuring Aline Del Torre who trained at the famous Scuola Dimitri is the highlight for your kids learning juggling or acrobatics. Water lover must do a boat ride with the hotel owned Frauscher boat.
Experience an unforgettable helicopter ride to the close by Ristorante Rustico del Sole up on 1000 m. A breathtaking moment overlooking Lago Maggiore and the alps. The ideal surrounding to enjoy best homemade dishes from the Hotel Castello staff.

My personal highlights

The hotel is surrounded by an incredible green park and garden. All flowers found in my room are some of the most beautiful ever seen. An in-house garden center makes this possible. It’s the love they put in the decoration of the whole house making it a shiny jewel.

Waking up in the morning by singing birds, spending a moment on the terrace admiring rice fields cultivated in Switzerland, is something I never thought to experience in my life. The ample untouched fields are pure peace and joy for heart and soul.

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AccomodationAsiaGUIDESTravel

Floating Leaf Eco-Luxury Retreat Bali Sukawati

My personal highlight: Entering the gate to the home of Floating Leaf. Breathing in tranquil energy while observing Putu the owner working passionately in the garden. Understanding in that moment, that here values as care and love towards everybody and everything are fully lived.

Floating leaf Eco-Luxury Retreat is located in the village of Sukawati surrounded by verdant rice paddies not far from the ocean. Here mind and soul are invited to relax. Ancient Balinese wisdom is combined with modern luxury to make guests feel happy and well balanced.


Only a 20 minutes drive from Ubud and 15 minutes from the city of Sanur it offers a great location. (Sanur is often used for transfers by boat to other beautiful islands as Gili Trawangan or Lembongan).

Embracing positive energy and tranquillity and making it eco friendly for all.

It’s the organic garden-to-table farming, the design construction following sustainable concept with very harmonic round shapes, recyclable materials, the use of the sun power or the involvement and support of local people in various chains of sustainable agriculture and education on understanding the aim of a eco friendly environment.

Behind Floating Leaf stands a passionate and experienced team of professionals. Mikaku and Putu are the owners and inspiring sources of the house.

Learn how to discover the beauty of living the moment and challenging the own mind at the same time. At its heart, Floating Leaf is a retreat including an educational facility.

5 things to do at Floating Leaf Eco-Luxury Retreat

  1. Forget home and feel the calmness by only observing the surrounding from one of their relaxing spots. Use the hammock, the vintage veranda with a comfortable wooden gazebo. The healing pool filled partially with saltwater which feels softer and is less abrasive to the skin and hair.
  2. It’s the ideal place to practice guided meditation or yoga. Book either a retreat or bring your own yogis to Floating Leaf. Get in contact with the management here.
  3. Try their super delicious organic food that is all home made. The raw food selection is variegated.
    Elixir Drinks  provide the right boost to your organism. The recipes follow ancient Balinese traditions. My absolute favorite one is the liver cleanser made of carrots, beetroot, apple and ginger.
  4. Absolutely worth having a hot stone massage. Book your stay at Floating Leaf now and get a Balinese massage for free by using the promotion code Lovefoodish.
  5. Explore every angle at Floating Leaf and go to the organic garden. Get to see colorful plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables. Absolutely recommend the roof. You get the whole picture of the place with view to mount Agung or the ocean. Best sunset point.

Accommodation

Find 10 spacious luxury non-smoking rooms constructed offering a sustainable modern living.

The rooms are spacious and invite to spend time. Choose the room with pool view to get the full experience of the magnificent view over the rice paddies. Enjoy the open bathroom to have a shower before sunset time. Book your room here.

Food & Drinks

Floating Leaf subsidizes local farmers to support retaining traditional methods of agriculture and grow organic nutrient rich foods. Half of the property is dedicated to the permaculture garden, this to cover a selection of healthy food and drink. Experience the farm to table philosophy. The dining area is lovely. Sit at the long table and interact with other guests to share stories of life.

Floating Leaf has been heralded to be one of the world’s healthiest destinations using freshest, organic ingredients.

The must try from the menu

  • Cold home made Kombucha tea, it is essentially a fermented tea super refreshing and healthy for your organism and digestion system.
  • Pumpkin pancakes with a homemade coconut yoghurt for breakfast to boost your day with the right portion of energy.
  • A super fresh cucumber salad with almond or cashew sprinkle and fresh grated coconut.
  • Quinoa or brown rice Sushi. The brown rice is from a local supplier and tastes just wonderful.
  • Thai fish curry mild and tasty with fish catch from the local fisher.
  • Dessert: Indonesian black rice with coconut milk and banana. All local products.

Yoga, retreats, surf and culture or just relax

No matter what your heart is in the mood for. Some days of detox including yoga lessons, a mix of beach and Balinese culture tour or easy relaxing time at the pool. Choose what fits best to you. Putu and Mikaku are happy to give you suggestions. They have the perfect understanding in catching your need.

Planning your own retreat or considering  joining one? The Yoga Sanctuary with 2000 square foot (186 sq meters) space is perfect. It has been heralded as “Asia’s best place to practice Yoga*.

My personal highlights

Being part of this house for a few days made me understand what a eco friendly surrounding Putu and Mikaku built here in Bali. As a traveler you get to see a lot of beaches and forests in Indonesia, clean ones but sadly lot of dirty ones. Through my stay here I feel the desire to support their actual project called The Green Village project. It supports locals in giving more awareness to protect their environment and keep it clean. Villages throughout Bali are competing to become the cleanest and greenest community on the island. I think it’s really important to share and support each other. Read all details on the program here. Donate easily here.

I am happy to have taken part of this experience at Floating Leaf and thankful to all of the new nice souls met here. Terimakasi /Thank you Floating Leaf Family.

Are you in the mood of more lovefoodish travel stories? Maybe you plan to visit Malaysia? Get a glimpse of it here!

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Zurich Blogging

The Living Circle – Luxury hotels fed by nature

My personal highlights: 1. Feeling princess for a day. Flying over Lago Maggiore by Helicopter, landing under the garden terrace of the restaurant Rustico del Sole where we got spoiled with fresh cooked polenta al ragù. 2. Sleeping in a castle ambience facing a rice field where bird rarities play and sing you into the day.

Pure nature is a luxury nobody can resist

Having this value in mind the creators of “The Living Circle – Luxury Hotels fed by nature” introduced us to their new brand philosophy. It’s the union of goods and services that already exist. They are now made available to people that appreciate values combined with quality and luxury. These resources are created and maintained with plenty of efforts by all involved living circle partners. Because they care about the multifaceted demand of their guests.

What means luxury to us today?

Luxury is a word defined by different meanings today. It gives a variety of feelings to people. For some it may be related to money, for some to a rare drop of good wine or a selected piece of meat.
We may also agree, that traditions can throw us back in time. They make us sensitive towards simple things that got lost with the years.
natural surrounding has great potential to make us feel happy and in balance again.

My heart goes bum

Experiencing these two days around the partners of  “The living Circle” I could understand best, what this philosophy means.
Seeing with my own eyes how giant spaces of hectares of land are cultivated with care and passion is inspiring and of course a lot of work. Unpredictable happenings steered by mother nature included.
The Terreni alla Maggia is located in the so called Delta of the Maggia between Locarno and Ascona. This is one of the property belonging to The Living Circle.

The agricultural fields stretch over ca. 130 hectares. The agronomist Fabio Del Pietro introduced us to production of goods as wine, grappa, rice, pasta, polenta and even some rice whisky. I have a complete new involvement with their risotto rice called Loto today. This rice cultivation is a rarity made in Switzerland only. The rice is harvested on dry fields. Several years of testing were necessary to get to this high quality gourmet food today.

The Living Circle partners in a brief

  • 2 5 star hotels
  • 2 farms and agricultural plants with production of own resources as wine, rice, milk products including own shops/selling channels
  • several restaurants where the farm to table concept is lived day by day close to natural surrounding
  • Located in Zurich/Zurich Oberland area & Ascona/Ticino area

Hotel Storchen, Zurich

Located in the heart of Zurich and established back in 1357 it is a hotel with a heritage of traditions. Today it is a charming house for guests that love to spend their night overlooking the Limmat river and the beautiful scenery of the Swiss Alps and get spoiled by a culinary menu prepared from Chef Cyrille Anzian.
The hotel offers 66 rooms and suites with a modern and stylish design. Hotel Director Jörg Arnold and his team welcome you to get involved into the Storchen lifestyle.
Farm to table is an important topic lived day by day by offering best fresh products at the breakfast buffet from the farm Schlattgut in Herrliberg for example. Get a risotto or polenta for lunch from the Terreni alla Maggia plants in Ascona. More details about the Hotel Storchen here.

Farm Schlattgut, Herrliberg

When looking at the family Ledergerber that manages the farm you feel the passion and love they put in the cultivation of these over 30 hectares of land. It’s their home, all animals are part of their family.
This is the home of 160 chickens, 40 cows, donkeysflower fields, several vegetable and fruit fields.
The farm has a shop where local products as eggs, pasta and hand made jams are available. Its scenery and location over Zurich is great to celebrate family parties, weddings or have a brunch.
The Schlattgut delivers a variety of products to the Hotel Storchen. A great sustainable project is their photovoltaic installation that creates over 95.735 KWh per year.
More about the Schlattgut Herrliberg here.

Restaurant Buech, Herrliberg

Admire the Lake Zurich from up here and high peaks of the Glarner and Central Swiss Alps all the way to the Jungfrau Joch. This view is unique.
It’s more than 70 years that this restaurant is serving guests with a magnificent view and high level food. Get to feel a gentle countryside style in one of their private dining rooms. The spot is recommendable for family events or weddings, too. Restaurant Director Marc Wyss and his team take their guests into a world where time seems to have stood still. Get spoiled with local food delights. The arrangement and decoration of flower is a passion of Marc Wyss. His artistic vein is perfectly integrated in the ambience.

Hotel Castello del Sole, Ascona

“Your rendezvous with happiness”

This is a sentence found on their website before arriving here. Yes, it is a feeling of joy walking through that immense green park or the wide medieval corridors of the hotel. Feel calmness and inner peace and forget everything around you. The beach area is very inviting to relax on a chair and enjoy the sunset.
The hotel was built back in 1532, today it kept that antique touch added with classy and modern elements. Simon V. Jenni and his wife Gabriela manage the house with their staff since 2003.

Hotel del Castello offers 40 Junior Suites and 38 double/single rooms. Find a beauty oasis with a special Vino-Aqua therapy treatment using their own grapes. More than that, a Yoga and nutrition coach, an outdoor/indoor pool or a nice entertainment program for kids complete the services.
There are several restaurants within the hotel. The culinary section offers a variety of local recipes paired with a good mediterranean touch. In summer it is lovely to enjoy a barbecue outside. Chef Mattias Roock invites you to try the actual menu called “i sapori del nostro orto“. Products cultivated in the Terreni alla Maggia are used as well following the farm to table philosophy.

Ristorante Rustico del Sole, Ascona

Fly up here at 800 m. by helicopter, or take a hike. The scenery and the silence are enchanting. Antonio Ferrioli is the host. Together with the staff from the Castello del Sole they prepare delicious lunch up to 7 courses.
By the way, a rustico is a typical house from Ticino, where as the word says you feel a rustic warm ambience. Can you imagine how winter days are up here? Reading a book at the chimney breathing in pure calmness.

In 2018 sleeping facilities for 6 person will be constructed to offer a hideaway for a romantic weekend, a tranquil friends trip or even for company meetings. Find more details here.

Terreni alla Maggia

This land stretches over 15o hectares. 130 of it are agricultural land, the rest is where the Hotel Castello del Sole has its facilities and garden. As mentioned before, this natural heritage allows The Living Circle lifestyle with the own production of rice, pasta, polenta, wine and other delicacies delivered to different partners of the circle. Some of the goods are also distributed via Coop and Migros today. Additional details are available here.

Some facts to review

  • The famous Tessin grape Merlot is cultivated on 9 hectares of land. Every year around 120’000 bottles are produced.
  • The rise cultivated here is called Loto. The plants stretch on 80 hectares of land. Ca. 430 tons of rice resulted last year.
    This rice has the property to absorb water slowly. This makes it easier to cook al dente and difficult to overcook. The Maggiadelta and Magadino are the only locations of Switzerland cultivating rice.
  • The polenta covers other 10 hectares of land, rarities as red or black polenta can be found.

Find additional details here.

Alls of these precious goods put together create the living circle of nature offered to guests that love to spoil themselves with best quality services, genuine products and enchanting surroundings.

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EuropeTravel

Lovefoodish in Wonderland at St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2017

Why I had one of the best food blogger experiences enriching my view and knowledge about farm to table cuisine

St. Moritz Gourmet Festival has it all

Where to begin to summarize this unique experience in the Swiss Alps. My journey started in a cute village close to St. Moritz called Celerina. Here the Hotel Chesa Rosatsch is located with 3 different restaurants. A detailed review is available here. The rest of my time was dedicated to the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival.

What happens at the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival?

10 American Master Chefs are invited to St. Moritz for sharing culinary experiences with local Chefs of their partner hotels. Together they enthrall the festival guests with culinary delicacies one week long. Tickets are available online through the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival for everybody. Additional special events as the Kitchenparty or the Chocolate Cult at Badrutt’s Palace take place during the week. Due to my interest in the farm to table concept my choice fell for Chef Melissa Kelly located at the wonderful Nira Alpina Hotel in Silvaplana.

Sweet sensations at the Chocolate Cult, Badrutt’s Palace

My festival visit starts with a glamorous chocolate afternoon. The legendary Chocolate Cult at the Badrutt’s Palace. Can you imagine what chocolate lovers feel when entering the elegant corridor of this beautiful classy hotel? And that smell of real pure chocolate? You find chocolate art paired with lots of experience and passion. Delicious fresh made pralines, tarts, creams and pastries. Only tasting can explain!

Why Chef Melissa Kelly gathered all of my attention at NIRA Alpina in Silvaplana

The farm to table philosophy is something that surrounds me since my childhood. The idea of having an experienced Women Chef in Switzerland to share her life and cooking philosophy was reason enough for me to attend the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival. The fact that she has Italian roots was very exciting to me, too.

Melissa Kelly started cooking with the age of 5 in her grandmother’s kitchen. Her Italian roots are from the beautiful city of Bologna. It’s the one and only place where real good and traditional pasta comes from. This explains the exquisite homemade linguine she prepared for us. Her Signature dish is the Nonno Primo’s Pork Saltimbocca named by her grandfather Primo was the absolute highlight.

Chef Florian Mainzger, the home Chef at Hotel NIRA Alpina had a challenging task to gather all of the ordered ingredients to follow Chef Melissa’s farm to table “religion”.  He did a great job she compliments. There is a lot of planning and communication between the two Chefs beforehand, plus cooking on altitude is an additional challenge, confirms Chef Melissa. She brought some special herbs and even pork products all the way from the US to prepare the dishes as authentic as possible. The staff at NIRA Alpina made this unique event possible. The cozy and warm ambience in the Trattoria matched perfectly to the dinner setup. Hotel NIRA Alpina offers an outstanding service. I appreciated their help and kind availability for example by always offering me help for transfer when needed to St. Moritz.
Gioannis from Nira Alpina told me, that he drives every morning to get some fresh goat milk for one of his guests. Absolute lovely!

Diving into the 5 course dinner prepared by Chef Melissa and the team

The courses taste puristic and very fresh. Her creativity is very healthy! She integrates a variety of vegetables that make the courses light and colorful for the eyes. I love the Mediterranean flavors and Italian touch she combines in all courses.

The starter is a fig stuffed with Marcona almond and candled orange. It comes wrapped in pancetta with local chicories. The Gorgonzola filling of the fig is a real surprise.

The next plate is a perfectly spiced Brittany Scallop with a cauliflower panna cotta, caviar and a very light herb spuma.

Hand made Squid ink linguine with a spicy tomato sugo are served next with a Broccoli crema and calamari a la Plancha.

The last course is a pork saltimbocca with roasted garlic potato purée, spinach, prosciutto and a wild mushroom Madeira sauce.

My absolute preferred desert as of now is the Butterscotch budino with salted caramel and rosemary shortbread. This combination gave me such a happy belly feeling, really mouth-watering.

The micro gap still available in my belly got filled by a south Italian traditional sweet! What a surprise! Super soft and fluffy fried Zeppole. I love this fried dough turned in sugar and cinnamon. It reminds me home! In Italy you get them especially at Saint Joseph’s day that is celebrated in March.

Living farm to table as a life philosophy

“Eating and cooking healthy is not a lifestyle, it’s a life philosophy”, says Chef Melissa. This explains why she is running Restaurant Primo in Rockland, Maine since more than 18 years. Living on a farm is the way she grew up. Primo’s staff is involved in the whole gardening and farming activities. There is a lot to do on a 4 acre property. This involvement is necessary to make her life philosophy completely understandable. This is how 400 pounds of garlic come together for example. By not using chemicals and pesticides, their flowers and produce are helping to maintain rich soil without depletion and degrade for generations to come.
They frequently teach kids about farming and healthy food. I liked the story from Melissa about the kids asking if the plant is the place where the chicken come from.

Chef Melissa is as a very authentic and approachable personality. This explains the happy and relaxed faces enjoying their time in the kitchen. Chef Jenna reveals that they feel like a little family. Well done, I really like the group spirit!

Nose to tail for everybody in Rockland , Maine – Annual Pig Day extravaganza

I am happy to see how Melissa offers this tradition to her guests at Primo Restaurant. During the month of November the Pig Day extravaganza takes place at Primo restaurant. Last year more than 180 people spent their day with processing the just-slaughtered pigs raised on the Primo farm. After working everybody eats the food. 4,200 pounds of pork were processed into prosciutto or pates. It’s a unique way to feel Chef Melissa Kelly’s philosophy. Primo’s Pig Day is a focal point of the restaurant since 2009.  Special seven courses nose-to-tail tasting menu are available with exotic delicacies as pig’s ears, pig’s tails, trotters and headcheese.

Where to find Nose to tail in Switzerland

Luckily I discovered the Hotel Rosatsch and their food philosophy. They offer these delicacies, too. You do not need to travel that far! Visit the beautiful Engadine and make a stop at Restaurant Stüva Rosatsch. Try their Slowfood or Nose to tail menu!

Around Zurich you can get in touch with Slowfoodyouth. Their activities published online include interesting projects with special excursion to farms. Join their eat in every first Wednesday of the month to get in contact with local nutrition aware foodies. Or just check online and let me know by email if you find interesting places!

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