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Luxury travel news this week

Here’s a round-up of luxury travel stories that have caught the eye this week. To make sure you receive these new weekly alerts in your web browser, please click on the red bell icon in the bottom right hand corner of the page and click ‘subscribe’ (works on desktop only – for other ways to subscribe, please click here). This will also alert you to any other posts on the blog. Should you wish, you can unsubscribe at any time, by clicking on the icon again and selecting ‘unsubscribe’. How Americans acquired a taste for haggis, with help from the Scottish poet Robert Burns When Anne Robinson and Andrew Hamilton founded their catalogue-order business, Scottish Gourmet, in 2005, they were focussed on importing luxury Scottish foodstuffs for American consumers: smoked salmon, grouse, pheasant. Hamilton, an Ayrshire-born chef, was active in promoting locavore food for the Scottish National Tourist Board; for a time, he’d been known as the man who brought the langoustine to New York.. [read more] Crazy, rich city: what to do if you’re a super-wealthy visitor to Singapore When I was growing up in Singapore in the late ’60s, foreigners never mentioned the city. I’ve seen it transition, in ways my parents’ generation could never have imagined. Now it has taken its place in the global community. This year marks 200 years since Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore and it’s just 54 years since the city-state achieved independence… [read more] How to train for the world’s most elite wine exam The master sommelier exam has a reputation for being impossible to pass. Becoming certified is so difficult that, to date, there are fewer than 300 master sommeliers in the world. Most aspiring masters fall at the last hurdle — the blind tasting portion of the exam — where they’re required to describe and identify the origin, grape, year, and quality of six wines — just by tasting them… [read more] Davos 2019: What you need to know about ‘the world’s most exclusive business bash’ The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) will see the planet’s political and business elites descend on the Swiss city of Davos this week. The Local takes a closer look… [read more] Indonesia is ‘world’s most chilled out country’ The South-East Asian nation of Indonesia is the world’s most chilled out country, according to a study by lastminute.com. The European travel retailer crunched numbers to come up with a list of the world’s 15 most laid-back lands… [read more] We really enjoy hearing from our readers and would love to hear your views on any of these stories! Please click on the comments below and share your thoughts. Thank you. Have a story you’d like to share? Please contact us for details.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. I am complete awe of people with the ability to tell one wine from the next. I’ve tried to take an interest but my tastebuds don’t seem sensitive enough. The fact that only 300 people have passed the master sommelier’s exam shows what a difficult task it is. It does make me think that I should take more notice of sommelier’s recommendations.

    1. Yes, I am also in awe of wine experts but surely their training must be a lot more fun and interesting than that required fog many other jobs. OK, they must spit out most of what they taste but it is still a privilege to try some of the world’s great wines.

  2. I think Haggis needs a relaunch it shouldn’t just be a food for Burns Night, it needs to get itself a more regular spot on the menu. Just think, from similar origins, how trendy Black Pudding has become.

    Remember that Lucozade redefined itself. Once upon a time you only bought it when you were ill which wasn’t a great market position. Then it relaunched itself as an energy drink to be drunk every time you had been to the gym or played sport. Haggis needs the same sort of rebranding.

    Also it needs to shed the peasents’ food image. It’s not keeping the right company with potatoes and turnips. Maybe less could be more: smaller better quality haggis with some spicy contemporary cuisine accompaniments might broaden the market.

    1. Well, cupcakes was not the first thought to pass through my mind! Though it’s a great start.

      I was thinking of a slice of haggis as a starter with a piquant sauce. Or maybe in a roulade encase with crushed vegetables. There’s plenty of scope for creativity.

    2. I know that some food snobs sometimes write off Haggis as “peasant food” but there’s more to it than that.

      It is important that we preserve our food heritage, look at the number of different breads and cheeses that we’ve lost over the last century.

      Anyway, if there’s a No-Deal Brexit, with delays on fresh veg and salad arriving from Europe we may be grateful for a lump of haggis with our potatoes and turnips.

  3. There’s no way that I’m going to choose the wine if I’ve got one of these super sommeliers on hand. But with only 300 around how do I know if the restaurant’s got one? Do they have letters after their name? Are their qualifications displayed on the wine list or the website?

    1. While there are only around 300 Master Sommeliers, there are many more Certified Sommeliers in the world. Although they are considered more entry level, Certified Somms must also pass tests such as identifying wines in a blind tasting, and knowledge of wine history. They receive a paper certificate and a lapel pin signifying their status. So ask your favorite restaurant if they have a Certified Sommelier on staff to help you choose the best wine with your meal. I just found two Certified Somms on my last cruise with NCL, for example.

  4. Once you’ve read the bit on super-wealthy people in Singapore go watch the movie “Crazy, rich Asians” it’ll really show you a lifestyle dripping with money.

  5. I always keep half an eye on Davos. It’s an unusual format where politicians mix with people who are significant from beyond the world of politics.

    It is such a pity that neither May or Trump are attending. Davos is about a broader global vision. May’s become too preoccupied with Brexit, Britain has plenty of other problems and opportunities to be fixed. Trump is too obsessed with his Mexican wall, there are much more important things to discuss than that.

    Back to travel. It would be brilliant to be in Davos for one of these events, especially if it were next year’s 50th celebration.

  6. Gotta say Singapore is one of my fav goto places. Great mix of peoples. Really cosmopolitan. Everything works. Always on time. Chilli crab to die for.

  7. I’ve got serious doubts about the chilled out league table. Does silent meditation really cancel out the chaos on the roads in some of these Asian destinations?

    After a taxi ride in India, I’m a long way from feeling chilled out.

  8. I find it very amusing that around 150 private jets have flown into Davos to hear David Attenborough talk about the need to reduce our carbon footprint to save the planet. The irony of it ….

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