Qatar's galley quartet
Qatar Airways has upped the ante by asking four chefs with seven Michelin stars between them to oversee menus. Ramzi Choueiri, Vineet Bhatia, Tom Aikens and Nobu Matsuhisa will each devise a menu, for all classes, derived from their respective Lebanese, Indian, British and Japanese heritages. For the second year running, Qatar Airways was voted No.1 in the recent Skytrax World Airline Awards. See qatarairways.com.
Signature Chinese dishes are in demand on Cathay Pacific menus. In business and premium economy seats, slow-cooked pork belly with preserved Hakka mustard greens, and wok-fried chicken with black bean are popular selections. In economy, the braised fish with ginger and a minced pork dish are hitting the spot. The airline flies daily from Australia. See cathaypacific.com.
Devotees of pinot noir might like to set the compass for Victoria's Mornington Peninsula as winemakers there prepare to celebrate the perfumed drop in February. The pinot noir event, held every two years, includes two days of tutored tasting sessions as well as a burgundy masterclass.
British Master of Wine Jasper Morris will speak and Californian producers Josh Jensen of Calera and Ted Lemon of Littorai will be there, along with Etienne Grivot from Domaine Grivot in Burgundy.
It's almost four decades since vines were first planted on the peninsula. Tickets for the Mornington Peninsula International Pinot Noir Celebration on February 8-9 at RACV Cape Schanck cost $990 each and cover tastings, lunches and dinners, including a banquet dinner. The Mornington Peninsula Pinot Showcase is on February 10, costs $120 and includes lunch and a masterclass. See mpva.com.au.
Man and his mountains
Photographer Richard I'Anson has spent much of his professional life in the Himalayas photographing people and landscapes that feature in his books and in Lonely Planet guides. In March, I'Anson will lead a group to Bhutan to witness the Paro Tsechu festival and see rhododendrons in bloom in the Haa Valley. The journey costs from $4290 a person and departs Paro on March 24. See worldexpeditions.com.
Manhattan restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, of Le Cirque, Circo and Sirio, is adding to his collection, opening at the Pierre, a Taj hotel on the edge of Central Park. Signature dishes at the new Sirio Ristorante will include risotto with five tomato varieties; and burrata, capers, orange and saffron ravioli with white chocolate mousse. The hotel is familiar territory for Maccioni, who had La Foret lounge, restaurant and nightclub on the site in 1972. See tajhotels.com.
Visitors to Queensland's Bundaberg Distilling Co can mix with masters of rum at the opening of the company's new Barrel House. The house has 1000 barrels sourced from around the world, including the US, France and Spain, that can be used to make blends. The distillery has its 125th anniversary next year; tours run daily and cost $25. See bundabergrum.com.au.
Help on Hamilton
A free app for travellers to Hamilton Island includes an events guide, restaurant and bar opening times and maps. It also has live flight departure times. See hamiltonisland.com.au.
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