SINGAPORE (Nov 4): Chocolate on the high seas, winery at the Eiffel Tower and where to go next year

Chocolate cruise

A chocolate-themed cruise is set to lift anchor next spring that will sail with master chocolatiers and, quite literally, a boatload of chocolate. 

You could call it a dream trip for chocoholics: For eight days, the Costa Pacifica cruise liner will be transformed into a floating Willy Wonka chocolate factory, with tastings, workshops, tours and chocolate sculpting demonstrations planned throughout the trip. 

The cruise departs from the coastal Italian town of Civitavecchia and sails to Genoa, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malta and Catania in Sicily. The programme is organised in partnership with Eurochocolate, an annual chocolate festival that takes place in Perugia, Italy. 

Also on the itinerary is a shore excursion to the Chocolate Museum of Barcelona, which traces the history of chocolate and features a model of the city’s famous Parc Guell in chocolate form. 

Princess Cruises also developed a “Chocolate Journeys” programme with chocolatier Norman Love, whose chocolate confections and desserts are served in select main dining rooms across the fleet. The programme also includes chocolate and wine pairing tastings and chocolate spa treatments.

Winery at Eiffel Tower

For wine lovers, this is like a dream come true: a wine produced at a height of 57m, on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. The Iron Lady’s operating company announced recently that a winery had been installed in the Tower, producing the first vintage with an Eiffel Tower label on the bottle.

Paris-area winemaking, given a second wind by La Winerie Parisienne, the first urban winery to open in the capital since 1970, should return to its rightful place in the industry after it was decimated by the Phylloxera plague of the late-19th century. And what better symbol than the Eiffel Tower to relaunch the city’s heritage in viticulture? The idea is becoming a reality with the monument producing its first vintage, to make its debut in the spring of 2020.

It will be a feast for both the eyes and the tastebuds, as visitors will get a glimpse of the process. As reported by Sete, the company that operates the tower, the winery will be right next to Thierry Marx’s restaurant La Bulle Parisienne, as part of the eatery’s renovations. To that end, barrels, tanks and a press will be displayed for visitors to admire the process until November. 

The project was made possible by a partnership with La Winerie Parisienne, which delivered the first vintage of its domain, located in Davron, in early September. The start-up’s three young founders planted Chardonnay, Chenin, Pinot Noir and Merlot vines over 10ha. In addition, it should be awarded organic certification following the mandatory conversion period, and will start selling its single-grape organic vintages next year.

The Eiffel wine will be pressed from grapes provided by La Winerie Parisienne. 

Lonely Planet’s top destinations to visit in 2020

A kingdom that has pledged to become completely organic by next year and the city that will toast the centenary of the world’s most important classical music festival are among the top destinations to visit in 2020, as chosen by the tastemakers of travel guide Lonely Planet

New for this year’s edition of Lonely Planet’s annual “Best in Travel” list, sustainability was top of mind when choosing the top destinations to visit, to ensure that “travellers will have a positive impact wherever they choose to go”. 

In the category of best country, for instance, the kingdom of Bhutan (pictured) took top honours for its pledge to grow only organic products by 2020. 

Rounding out the podium are England and North Macedonia. 

In 2020, Salzburg, Austria is poised to become the classical music capital of the world, as the city fetes the 100th anniversary of its famous Salzburg Festival. After Salzburg, Washington, DC and Cairo, Egypt round out the top three spots. 

To compile their top 10 lists, which also include top regions and top best value destinations, Lonely Planet starts with nominations from its contributors, which are then whittled down by its in-house experts. Destinations are chosen for topicality, unique experiences and “wow” factor. 

For the full results, visit www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel. — By AFP Relaxnews