As the year comes to a close, I have a challenge on my hands. How do I sum up what 2011 has been for Gourmantic in one word? It is also the time of the year to reflect on the highlights and look towards the future.
With travel articles spanning the globe such as the Qana grotto in Lebanon, Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, Skiing in Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates and the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, our international readership has continued to grow.
Our experienced-based hotel reviews covered the luxurious Hotel Danieli in Venice, le Meridien Mina Seyahi in Dubai and Hotel de Buci in Paris. While personal circumstances prevented us from travelling this year, popular articles such as where to eat in Paris, what to wear in Dubai, afternoon tea at Burj al Arab in Dubai and the Passe Navigo Découverte continued to attract consistent visitors.
We’re often told that “Gourmantic” is synonymous with food, and we certainly had our fair share of dining experiences. While not all have made it into reviews, we were passionate about sharing local and international flavours.
Some of the highlights included the finale party at Greenhouse by Joost in Sydney, the unforgettable lunch at Locanda dell’Isola Comacina in the middle of Lake Como, the decadent dinner at Le Grand Véfour in Paris and the Cuizen dégustation evening in Sydney.
Pop-ups that we featured include the Calle to Cavern pop up dinner, the Secret Foodies Spanish Warehouse, the Sony Lounge Pop-Up Bar, the Pommery Cube and the Christmas Cracker at Westfield Sydney. We ran a comprehensive review of Taste of Sydney, breadmaking class at Brasserie Bread and a decadent Monbana Chocolate masterclass. We took high tea at the Victoria Room and attended the High Tea Party at the Shangri-la Sydney Hotel.
There is no doubt that we have imbibed a lot in 2011 at various tastings and events. Our palates and minds have been educated at whisky tastings such as the Singleton of Glen Ord, the Sydney Whisky Fair, the Laphroaig Live event, the Chivas Regal night, the Royal Salute with a day at the polo, the Jameson Irish Whiskey Tasting, the Lark Whisky masterclass and the whisky workshop with Jared Plummer.
Wine and champagne tastings were memorable occasions at the CIVC Champagne Bureau Tasting , Global Champagne Day event, the Boutique Wine Fair at Oak Barrel, Moët Ice Imperial, and the Rosé Revolution.
Remarkable experiences with spirits included the ABSOLUT TUNE Launch, the José Cuervo Tequila Tasting with Don Francisco Hajnal, Hendricks Gin with Jon Muir, and Maker’s Mark Bourbon at Rochefort. We revelled at drink events such as Barshow Week, Cocktail Island and the Time Out Bar Awards. We even dabbled in Cuban cigars at the Baranows Emporium Cigar and Spirit Matching and Cigar Appreciation with Inlumino’s Sam Spurr.
With over 100 events and launches that we covered, there were two that stood out above the rest.
The Schweppes Elixir launch at Elizabeth House embraced the dark side with a fantasy trip back in time complete with period costumes and apothecary.
With a theme of “going back to basics”, the Emmilou New Menu Launch party in March featured nudity on the menu with their all-male staff dressed in aprons and red underwear – a feast for the eyes and other senses.
2011 saw the launch of a new category for Gourmantic where talented and inspirational people from the food and drink industries kindly gave us their generous time. The interview series kicked off with Chef Chris Cranswick-Smith of Emmilou Tapas Bar and Wild Bunch Food & Wine, followed by Chef Shin Takagi of Japan and Chef Pâtissier Stéphane Jegat.
We also interviewed whisky master distillers Brian Nation of Jameson and John Campbell of Laphroaig when they visited Sydney. We went Behind the Bubbles with Jayne Powell/Champagne Jayne whose tome marked our first book review. The interview series closed with a bang in a playful interview that held no bars when it came to nudity with the five men of Wild Bunch Food & Wine.
In other news, our Montmartre vineyard article was linked to by New York Times travel. We’ve been quoted in a promotional video for Cuizen. Our Monbana chocolate article was sent around the world to their major clients including René Redzepi of Noma restaurant. Our photographs were featured in the Champagne Bureau CIVC video that was shown around the world; others in the November edition of Australian Bartender Magazine.
Our guest writer for 2011 contributed a South Australian flavour with the legendary AB of North Adelaide, a companion to the iconic FUIC, the Stunned Mullet of Henley Beach and a tour of the Clare Valley and its wineries.
With 2012 on the horizon, we will be kicking off the travel section with a 5 part series about an unusual destination and we are making plans that will bring some exciting developments.
Looking back, if I could wrap up 2011 in one word, it would be… amazing.
To everyone who has read, commented, tweeted, liked, stumbled, shared and emailed, thank you for being part of Gourmantic. We wish you and your loved ones a happy Christmas and New Year. Gourmantic will be taking a short break and will return in January.