The World Gourmet Summit at Capella Singapore

World Gourmet Summit

Last week was the end of the annual World Gourmet Summit held in Singapore.  The event ran for two weeks and took place at restaurants all over the country.  As a lover of food, this is definitely one of my favorite events of the year because it is an opportunity to taste dishes from amazing chefs from all over the world.  Capella Singapore’s The Knolls was very fortunate to be one of the venue hosts for this event and we had the immense pleasure of hosting two renowned pastry chefs from Spain, a father and son team, Paco and Jacob Torreblanca.

The menus were truly fascinating because it was the first time I saw a full savory menu featuring chocolate.  An interesting and unlikely combination of ingredients was my first thought when I saw the menu for the dining events.  It included a Venison Pears Terrine with Chocolate Chutney, a Warm Scallop with a Chocolate Crust and Daikon, Japanese radish, and a Roasted Pigeon Breast served with a bitter chocolate sauce and hazelnut cauliflower puree.  However my apprehensions were soon put to rest, as Chefs Paco and Jacob’s blending of flavors were sublime.

This distinctive dining concept was Chef Paco Torreblanca’s idea and the result of his fascination with the possibilities of blending cocoa with Mediterranean ingredients.  From this spark of inspiration Chef Paco and his son Jacob have gone on to create a whole new and unique dining experience.

World Gourmet Summit

The series of dining events at The Knolls also included a Chocolate High Tea.  One of the most notable desserts featured the Cassis Royal, a light raspberry and pistachio layered cake marked with a giant white chocolate “oyster.”  Chef Paco shared the story behind this dessert, “I had a friend who loved oysters, but unfortunately one day he had some that made him sick.  Hearing this, I told my friend that I would create for him an oyster that would not make him sick and that he would love.”  Talk about a great friendship!

Hopefully you will be able to join us for a future World Gourmet Summit- I know my stomach is already looking forward to the next event!

Capella Ixtapa’s Chocolaterapia

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I love learning about the different spa treatments here at Capella Ixtapa.  Lately, everyone has been talking about the Chocolaterapia, which showcases both cocoa and coffee.  Intrigued, I sat down with Spa Manager Valentina Velazco to find out more:

 What does the Chocolaterapia treatment consist of?
Chocolaterapia is a very pampering treatment, created to relax, rejuvenate and nurture.  The treatment includes three steps: an exfoliation, a wrapped mask, and a massage. First, the exfoliation is done using a scrub made out of coffee grains that removes dead skin cells.  This readies the skin to receive nutrients.
Next a rich mask of cocoa and coffee are applied over the clean skin and the body is then wrapped.  The wrapping warms the body, allowing pores to open and the body to receive the treatment’s benefits.
Once the nutrients have been absorbed, its time for a shower followed by a nurturing massage.  A cream out of cocoa and coffee is used to seal the treatment in.

 What are the benefits of coffee and cocoa? 
At the Capella Ixtapa Spa our treatments are mostly derived from elements found in the region.  The coast of Guerrero state, where Ixtapa is located, is well known for its coffee.  Coffee regenerates and detoxifies skin, improving the health and giving it a fresh and firm glow.  Meanwhile the cocoa, which has a rich Mexican history, is a great moisturizer full of vitamins and minerals.  Both cocoa and coffee are also natural antioxidants.  Together they have fantastic rejuvenating properties.

What inspired you to create the treatment?
Cocoa is considered one of the country’s greatest historical treasures.  Dating back to the time of ancient Mexican civilizations, the seeds were so precious that the Aztecs used them as currency.  Even as a beverage, cocoa was known as “the drink of the gods!”
I wanted to pay homage to this history by combining it with another element, the coffee, which is one of today’s proudest crops.  The combination was ideal, because of the nurturing benefits of both elements.

It sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try it myself!
Indeed it is!  Our clients often say that Chocolaterapia is the most delicious 50-minute experience they have ever had at a spa.  By the end you leave feeling pampered like a true Mexican God or Goddess!

La Chocolaterapia de Capella Ixtapa

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Me encanta aprender sobre los diferentes tratamientos en nuestro Spa de Capella Ixtapa. Últimamente, todos hablan de la Chocolaterapia, la que se realiza con cacao y café. Intrigada, me senté con nuestra gerente del Spa Valentina Velazco para aprender un poco de este tema:

¿En que consiste el tratamiento de la Chocolaterapia?
La Chocolaterapia es un tratamiento creado para relajar, rejuvenecer y nutrir al cuerpo. El tratamiento se divide en 3 pasos: una exfoliación, una mascarilla de envoltura y un masaje.
Primero, la exfoliación se realiza utilizando un exfoliante hecho con granos de café que limpian la piel de células muertas. Esto alista la piel para recibir nutrientes.
Después una mascarilla rica en cacao y café es aplicada sobre la piel limpia y se envuelve todo el cuerpo. La envoltura calienta el cuerpo, permitiendo que los poros se abran y el cuerpo reciba todos los beneficios del tratamiento.
Una vez que los nutrientes han sido absorbidos, se procede a una ducha seguido de un nutriente masaje. Una crema de cacao y café es utilizada durante el masaje para sellar el tratamiento.

¿Cuáles son los beneficios de el café y el cacao?
En El Capricho Spa de Capella Ixtapa nuestros tratamientos son en su mayoría derivados de elementos regionales. La costa del estado de Guerrero, donde se encuentra Ixtapa, es muy conocida por su café. El café regenera y desintoxica la piel, mejorando la salud y dándole un brillo fresco y firmeza a la piel. Mientras tanto el cacao, el cual tiene una rica historia en México, es un gran humectante lleno de vitaminas y minerales. Ambos, cacao y café son también antioxidantes naturales. Juntos tienen fantásticas propiedades rejuvenecedoras.

¿Qué te inspiró a crear este tratamiento?
El cacao esta considerado uno de los más grandes tesoros históricos del país. Desde los tiempos de las antiguas civilizaciones mexicanas, las semillas eran tan preciadas que los Aztecas las usaban como moneda de cambio. Incluso como bebida, el cacao era conocido como “¡la bebida de los Dioses!”
Quise hacer un homenaje a esta historia combinándolo con otro elemento, el café, el cual es uno de los cultivos que hoy día estamos más orgullosos. La combinación fue ideal por los beneficios nutrientes de ambos elementos.

¡Suena delicioso, No puedo esperara a probarlo yo misma!
¡Si que lo es! Nuestros clientes a menudo nos dicen que la Chocolaterapia es la experiencia de 50 minutos más deliciosa que han tenido en el spa. Al final te vas sintiéndote mimado como una verdadera deidad mexicana!

Food & Wine Festival Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

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At the end of March Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo played host to the 2nd annual Food & Wine Festival: 32 Tastes. 1 History. 1 Soul..  Three full days of activities, celebrity chefs, culinary presentations, food & wine tastings, brought together food lovers from all over, to enjoy the flavor and soul of Mexico.

Capella Ixtapa hosted two Food & Wine events, which I was excited to attend.

First there was a delicious Chocolate Tasting with Jose Ramón Castillo, a Chocolatier and TV host.  Jose Ramón created a magnificent chocolate sculpture that still stands in the hotels reception area (the whole room smells like chocolate!).  Meanwhile, guests had the opportunity to create and taste chocolate bonbons.

It was a great presentation- not only delicious, but informative.  Some of the interesting facts I learned include:
-  The word chocolate comes from the Aztecs, they called it ‘xocolatl’, and they used to drink it spicy.
-  In Mexico we have two kinds of chocolate, the tropical one from Tabasco, and chocolate from the heights from Chiapas.
-  95% of chocolate that you can buy in the store is not from pure cocoa: to buy the real (and best) chocolate always check the back of the package: make sure it includes cocoa butter!
-  Not only can chocolate be enjoyed with cava, champagne, but also along side an artisan beer, tequila or mezcal.

Next we moved into Capella Ixtapa’s Terrace Bar and joined Mark Oldman for a Tequila Tasting.  Did you know that you should enjoy tequila as wine – by sipping it?  Mark revealed that today 75% of people drink tequila in a margarita, 15% drink it as shots, and 10% sip it (however, this number is growing).  Tequila can even be paired with food.  For example, Mark recommends having tequila añejo with some light food, like ceviche, to complement the flavor.

Tell me, do you love chocolate and tequila as much as I do?  Please leave your comment or any questions below.  Our Chefs and Sommelier will be happy to provide an answer for you.

Food & Wine Festival Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo en Capella Ixtapa

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A finales de Marzo, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo fue anfitrión del 2º festival anual Food & Wine Festival: 32 Sabores. 1 Historia. 1 Alma. .  Tres días completes de actividades, chefs famosos, presentaciones culinarias, catas de comida y vinos, que convocaron a amantes de la buena comida del mundo, a disfrutar el sabor y el alma de México.

Capella Ixtapa fue anfitrión de 2 eventos durante este festival, a los cuales asistí con gran expectación.

Primero tuvimos la deliciosa Cata de Chocolate con José Ramón Castillo, chocolatero y anfitrión de Tv. José Ramón creo una magnifica escultura de chocolate que aún tenemos en la recepción del hotel (¡toda la recepción huele a chocolate!). Al final los asistentes tuvieron oportunidad de probar deliciosos bonbons de chocolate.

Fue una gran presentación –no sólo deliciosa, pero también educativa. Algunos de los interesantes datos que aprendí son:
-La palabra “chocolate” viene del término ‘xocolatl’ que los Aztecas utilizaban, y además solían beberlo picante.
-En México tenemos principalmente 2 clases de chocolates, el tropical de Tabasco, y el chocolate de la sierra de Chiapas.
-95% del chocolate que podemos adquirir en las tiendas no contiene cacao: para comprar en verdadero (y mejor) chocolate, siempre checa el reverse del empaque: ¡asegúrate que contenga Manteca de Cacao!
-No sólo el chocolate puede ser acompañado de champagne, o cava, sino también de cerveza artesanal, tequila o mezcal.

Después nos trasladamos a el Bar Terraza de Capella Ixtapa donde Mark Oldman condujo una Cata de Tequila. ¿Sabías que debes disfrutar el Tequila con pequeños sorbos como un Vino? Mark nos compartió que al día de hoy 75% de la gente que toma tequila lo hace en Margarita, 15% en caballitos o “shots”, y sólo un 10% lo bebe en sorbos (aunque al parecer este número va en aumento). El tequila puede maridarse incluso con la comida. Por ejemplo, Mark recomendó beber un añejo con comida ligera, como un ceviche, para complementar el sabor.

Díganme, ¿ustedes disfrutan el tequila y el chocolate tanto como yo? Por favor déjenos sus comentarios o cualquier duda que tengan abajo en la sección de comentarios. Nuestros Chefs y Sommelier con gusto responderán todas sus cuestiones.