Chocolate… mmmmm. But did you consider it as part of a broader savory menu? I enjoyed an evening of chocolate-infused cuisine and, well, it really works!
Mövenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket is treating guests to a new menu of savoury dishes with a sweet twist as Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts launches its ‘Chocolate on the Salty Side’ promotion.
In celebration of Swiss cuisine and the wonderful versatility of chocolate, the brand’s talented ‘food artisans’ have made Mövenpick chocolate the hero of seven dishes in its latest global campaign, which runs to 20 November, 2018.
From salmon fillets enlivened with dark chocolate to a savoury tarte tartin with a white chocolate flourish, each new creation offers up something distinctively flavourful and showcases chocolate in new exciting ways to guests dining at Movenpick Karon Beach El Gaucho Restaurant.
The seven chocolate-inspired creations include: marinated ‘beetroot salmon’ with root vegetables and 72% dark chocolate to enhance the meal’s rich earthiness; ‘tomato tarte tartin’ where ‘white lemon’ chocolate complements the goat’s cheese, pine nuts and coffee beans; ‘sea bass and green tea’ – a light foam of green tea, almonds, nuts and Mövenpick ‘Maple Walnut’ is the star; ‘minute beef goulash’, with a traditionally-made Hungarian goulash sauce, enriched with dark chocolate; ‘lamb shank and pesto’, slow-roasted and then refined with pistachio and hazelnut chocolate pesto; and ‘duck breast and potato pie’, with white chocolate, lime and pepper giving the pink-roasted meat a delicate yet spicy freshness.
Whilst the dishes have been infused with chocolate, it’s barely noticeable in most cases but makes for some subtle new tastes on European classics.
Less subtle are the exquisite desserts which are a blatant celebration of all things chocolate. Guests can finish their meal with a tempting ‘chocolate pavés au chocolat’, combining milk chocolate, crispy cocoa bean fragments, sizzling pecan nuts and slightly bitter matcha powder, all with a hint of green tea and paired with an espresso.
The quality of Swiss craftsmanship is world-famous and even the country’s chocolate is produced with legendary precision. Mövenpick chocolate is made in keeping with the tradition, as well as its own culinary values that date back 70 years, and is produced in Switzerland using 100% cocoa butter.
Tim Newton was a guest of the management of Mövenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket
New additions to the Thailand Michelin foodie guide
The little red guide has been extended to cover the best dining venues in the Southern provinces of Phuket and Phang Nga for its 2019 edition.
However, Pru restaurant in Phuket is the only restaurant in the two Southern provinces to have been awarded one star.
The other 14 restaurants in both cities, such as the famous venues of Raya and Chomchan received Bib Gourmand awards for being ‘good value for money’.
In addition to Methavalai Sorndaeng and Pru, other new one-starred additions include Le Du, Gaa, Canvas, R.Haan, Saawan, Sorn, Ruen Panya, and Suan Thip.
Dining venues in Bangkok’s neighbouring provinces of Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon and Samut Prakan are also covered in this new edition.
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New rooftop dining experience overlooking the Andaman at The Nai Harn
Red alert Phuket foodies.
The Nai Harn is once again raising the bar on island gastronomy with the launch of Prime @ Rock Salt, a new rooftop venue that promises exclusive dining experiences with spectacular views of the beach and sea. The new restaurant will begin welcoming diners from the end of November 2018.
Perched on top of Rock Salt, The Nai Harn’s popular beachfront restaurant, ‘Prime’ is an exclusive eatery with just 20 seats. This intimate size allows the chefs to create highly personalised dining experiences, including serene sunset dinners and private events for small groups.
“Diners will be dazzled by dramatic live cooking experiences, with an open kitchen that features a custom-built wood-fired oven and Santa Maria-style barbecue grill. This allows Executive Chef Mark Jones and his team to roast, smoke or chargrill at temperatures of up to 700 degrees Celsius.”
“Prime @ Rock Salt is a new dining destination for Phuket and you could not ask for a better setting. The rooftop at Rock Salt affords spectacular sea views, especially at sunset and later when the stars fill the night sky,” said Frank Grassmann, General Manager of The Nai Harn.
“Combining this stunning setting with an exceptional menu, Prime is set to become the ultimate setting for unforgettable evenings, including romantic dinners and exclusive events.”
From custom-built kitchens to premium produce, everything about [email protected] is focused on creating fantastic flavours. The appetizers feature some of the finest imported ingredients from around the world, including Spanish octopus, French goat’s cheese, Scottish salmon and Cornish mackerel, all expertly prepared in innovative ways that showcase the sublime flavours. Diners can also indulge in an assortment of house-cured signature cold cuts presented with a choice of pickles, condiments and freshly-baked breads.
‘Prime’ also serves a selection of world-class steaks from Australia’s Rangers Valley, which is famous for producing the most incredible marbled Black Angus and wagyu beef from grain-fed cattle in New South Wales. Diners can choose from 400-day grain-fed Diamantina wagyu flank steak or 360-day wagyu rib-eye steak, perfectly chargrilled and served with a bone marrow and confit onion bread pudding, asparagus and red wine jus.
For an intimate yet extravagant feast, couples can share an exquisite 270-day Black Onyx Angus côte de boeuf, cooked over flames and oak chips, or indulge in barbecued glazed short ribs, slow-cooked for 48 hours then finished in the wood-fired oven. An extensive selection of fine wines – all of them hand-picked by global wine critic James Suckling – provides the ideal accompaniment to every meal.
With its modest size, stunning sea views and mouth-watering menu, [email protected] is set to elevate Phuket’s culinary scene to impressive new heights.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival program 2018
The annual Vegetarian Festival is back and promises to be a big year for the annual nine day celebrations starting next Monday.
Some of the rituals are based around self-mutilation and daring acts of fire walking. A lot of the processions and ceremonies can be quite scary, especially for the young or squeamish. There will be lots of noise, lots of people and people going into trances before undergoing different levels of voluntary mutilation. These days there are medical staff behind the scenes should anyone drop out of trance and need medical help, a luxury not afforded the devotees in the past.
The Vegetarian Festival is becoming a popular tourist attraction but it’s also observed by younger locals and some tourists as well. Observers and participants avoid eating meat, seafood, poultry or dairy products during the period of the festival. The belief is that observers will have better health, purer mind, and gain merits from taking vegetarian foods.
You will see many restaurants with yellow flag, indicating that they provide pure, vegetarian food. This is your chance to try delicious new food as the streets will be filled with food stalls serving up vegetarian dishes.
The annual festival kicks off with religious rituals which are held at the main Chinese shrines on the island – Seng Ko Teng Thiao. The Lantern Pole is supposed to attract the 36,000 gods of the Chinese pantheon.
All shrines will raise their poles between 3-5.45pm, except for Sheng Leng Tong (which holds their ceremony earlier).
The opening night ritual of the Koteng lantern pole raising will be held at the Juitui Tao Bo Keng Shrine, the ancient Chinese shrine in Old Phuket Town. Apart from Juitui Tao Bo Keng Shrine, approximately 30 shrines around the island will conduct the annual ceremony including Bang Niew Shrine, Samkong Shrine, and Kathu Shrine. After the ritual, the Masong (people who invite the spirits of Chinese gods to possess their bodies) will be parading around.
Processions in Phuket Town
The daily processions are something you will unlikely see anywhere else in the world, at least not as intense as the Phuket parades – noise, music, fireworks, smoke, masongs in trances, body piercings and mutilations. The parades are a complete assault on your senses. Whilst there are many local children involved in the event, the western tourist, and especially kids, may find some of the activities quite overwhelming.
(Times listed in the 24 hour clock)
Tuesday, 9 October | Sapam Shrine street procession from 07:00
Wednesday, 10 October | Samkong Shrine street procession from 07:19
Thursday, 11 October | Ban Tha Rue Shrine street procession from 07:30
Friday 12, October | Bang Neow Shrine street procession from 07:00
Saturday, 13 October | Jui Tui Shrine street procession from 08:00
Sunday, 14 October | Kathu and Yokkekeng Shrines street procession from 07:00
Monday, 15 October | Sui Boon Tong Shrine street procession from 07:00
Fire Walking Ceremonies
Thursday, 11 October | Jui Tui Shrine Fire Walking at Saphan Hin from 20:09
Thursday, 11 October | Fire Walking at Sui Boon Tong Shrine from 21:00
Thursday, 11 October | Fire Walking at Ban Tha Rua Shrine from 20:00
Thursday, 11 October | Fire Walking at Yokkekeng Shrine from 20:00
Thursday, 11 October | Fire Walking at Sapam Shrine from 21:00
Saturday, 13 October | Fire Walking at Bang Neow Shrine from 20:00
Saturday, 13 October: Fire Walking at Samkong Shrine from 20:00
Saturday, 13 October | Fire Walking at Cherng Talay Shrine from 20:09
Sunday, 14 October | Fire Walking at Kathu Shrine from 15:00
Friday, 12 October | Bladed-ladder climbing at Bang Neow Shrine from 20:00
Friday, 12 October | Bladed-ladder climbing at Samkong Shrine from 20:00
Friday, 12 October | Oil bathing and tying children’s wrist at Ban Tha Rua Shrine from 20:45
Friday, 12 October | Bladed-ladder climbing at Cherng Talay Shrine from 19:59
Friday, 12 October | Nail bridge crossing and oil bathing at Sapam Shrine from 20:00
Final Day of the Festival
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
If you’ve been ‘purifying your body’ during the festival then it will be time for you to cross the bridge of purification set up at each shrine. The devotees will be ‘rewarded’ with a stamp on their shirt as proof of their commitment to the nine days. The crossing of the bridge of purification is held between 6-8pm.
Then, grab your ear plugs and don’t wear anything flammable – the last part is just NUTS! After 9pm all shrines join together in a mega street parade in Phuket Town. This is the Nine Emperor Gods Farewell.
Each shrine involved in the festival has their own Emperor God. The procession accompanies each group to Saphan Hin, from where the gods will depart Phuket (no Immigration queues!).
This three hour cacophony of noise, smoke and fireworks borders on dangerous so should be attended with an escape route in mind, safety goggles (really) and patience. The crowds are massive and YOU are part of the parade – there are spectator stands.
Then, on Thursday, October 18, each shrine will hold their own Lantern Pole lowering ceremony which usually run from 3-5pm.
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