HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Monsoon Valley wine tasting dinner at the Four Seasons

Sadness during 4th July celebrations

Royal mace on countrywide tour to honour HM the Queen

Do’s and don’ts to stay healthy

Monsoon Valley wine tasting dinner at the Four Seasons

Thai wine For Thai food

Marion Vogt

Horeca Managing Director Rudy van den Berg and Patinya Srisuk (Joon) invited hoteliers and restaurateurs from the northern region for a very special wine tasting dinner. This time it was in cooperation with The Four Season Resort Chiang Mai and Siam Winery Bangkok.

Laurent Metge-Toppin on the very left and Khun Rooj, owner of Rachamankha Hotel with a table of gourmets.

Kim Wachtveitl, the Director of Business Development from Siam Winery was present to give first hand information regarding the characteristics of Monsoon Valley Wines. The wines are made from local grapes, grown on the ‘floating vineyards’ in the Chao Phraya delta.

Smiling faces (from left) Syahreza Ishwara, F&B director of Four Seasons Resort, Chef Derek Watanabe and his sous chef, Kim Wachtveitl director of business development for Siam Winery, Patinya Srisuk (Horeca), Laurent Metge-Toppin Siam Winery French wine maker, Horeca managing director Rudy van den Berg and Piyapong Tongkam, sales manager Siam Winery.

In 2003 Siam Winery launched its Monsoon Valley Wines in New York, Bangkok and London. The wines are made from Thai grapes, local Malaga Blanc and Colombard, and are designed to perfectly complement Thai cuisine.

As it is not easy to make a wine which emphasizes a balance between the palate of Thai tastes, which ranges from sour, salty, hot and even sweet, the Monsoon Valley wines seem to have found that niche. Laurent Metge-Toppin, a French wine maker who had also flown to Chiang Mai explained how much fun it was to help creating this perfect touch to Asian food and that it was his pleasure to be on hand with his expertise.

Their red wine is a medium bodied wine with velvety finish and has a bright clean fruit aroma matching perfectly with red curries and other meat dishes. The white wine is made from the local Malaga grape with an aroma of watermelon, going especially well with green curries, white meat and fish because they are lighter and have lower acidity. And the dry rose wine, made from a blend of the local Malaga Blanc, Pokdum and Black Muscat grape has a strawberry aroma, being the perfect match for Asian starters and fish cakes.

The audience was pleasantly surprised by the fact that there is finally a wine which has not only won international wine awards but also seems to be on the way to becoming the house wine in many Asian restaurants around the country and abroad.

Siam Winery is eager to create a wine industry that Thais will be proud of both at home and abroad. The consensus was that they are all well worth a try.

Sadness during 4th July celebrations

Our consul-general says goodbye

Marion Vogt

The celebration of the 228th Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America and the official reception in the gardens of the American consulate Chiang Mai was supposed to be a cheerful affair. This time, the official evening reception was overshadowed by the fact that Consul General Eric Rubin and his wife Nicole Simmons will be returning to Washington next month and it was to be good-bye.

Pol. Captain Napatsawon Sripa, sub inspector, Kanokpun Roobkajorn, Chiang Mai immigration office; Eric Rubin, Alistair Connon, Julie and David Hopkinson the Hon. British Consul.

After three years in the Kingdom and in Chiang Mai, the speech delivered by Governor Suwat Tantipat reflected the close relationship between the Kingdom of Thailand and the United States of America. He thanked Eric Rubin for his help to make the Thai-American partnership a force for good in the North. He also reminisced on the longstanding alliance and partnership between the two countries and ended with a toast to America with a standing ovation, not only for Independence Day, but also to honor Consul-General Eric Rubin and his wife Nicole.

Consul General Eric S. Rubin saying his good byes

Eric was very touched, but welcomed the audience, on behalf of Ambassador Darryl Johnson, to the celebration of the 228th year of American independence. He said, “When His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, addressed the United States Congress 43 years ago, he noted that for all the distance that divides our people, still one thing unites us - the love of freedom. 43 years later, it still does. For 54 years now, we here at the United States Consulate General in Chiang Mai have been honored to play a role in developing that partnership, and we are grateful for the support and friendship of the people of the North throughout that time. I feel personally grateful to have been able to spend the past three years here among so many good friends. We know we will be back to visit, so we are not saying farewell to our friends here, just goodbye.”

He then asked the audience to join in a toast to the health and long life of Their Majesties, the King and Queen of Thailand.

Eric and Nicole you will be missed but we are all looking forward to welcome you back for your holidays!

Royal mace on countrywide tour to honour HM the Queen

Autsadaporn Kamthai

The Royal mace and flags are being taken to all corners of Thailand to honor Her Majesty the Queen who celebrates her birthday on August 12.

Soldiers carry the Royal mace on Rattanakosin Road.

Last week, the Royal mace procession left Mae Hong Son province and arrived in Chiang Mai province. Deputy Governor Kwanchai Wongnitikorn as the province’s representative, accompanied by the heads of many government offices, received the mace.

The Royal insignia were carried around the city’s moats and heart of the city, and then the procession moved along the Chiang Mai-Doi Saket-Chiang Rai Superhighway.

The mace and flags were handed over to the people of Chiang Rai at the Hot Spring in Chiang Rai’s Wiang Papao district. From Chiang Rai it will continue its tour over Thailand.

Do’s and don’ts to stay healthy

Noel Bruyns

Foreigners who like their steaks rare or medium should think twice about placing such orders with their waiters.

Dr Eberhard Stockmann, director of Medical Services of Siemens in Germany, offers a list of do’s and don’ts for those who wish to remain healthy in tropical countries and climates. He travels the world consulting on health issues.

* Eat only well-cooked or roasted food (no medium-done steak).

* Eat only fruit and vegetables that can be peeled. Take special care with regard to general hygiene in the household.

* Take care with ice cubes in the restaurant! They are frequently made from tap water and contain a large number of germs which are not killed off by freezing.

* Never drink tap water but use factory-sealed mineral water bottles.

* Drink as much water as possible (2-3 liters a day and more, according to the amount of physical effort you perform).

* Since diarrhoea diseases are frequently caused by germs which quickly multiply in food in a tropical climate, it is essential to keep food which has not been consumed in the refrigerator. This food should also be eaten as quickly as possible.

Dr Stockmann agrees that malaria is not a threat in places like Chiang Mai or Bangkok, “But if you go to the far north near the border with Myanmar, or the areas towards the Cambodian border, for example, you should take prophylactics and other sensible precautions.”

* The best protection: keep mosquitoes away from you.

* Small lakes, ponds and water places of all kinds should be as far away from your house or place of accommodation as possible.

* Between dusk and dawn you should stay in air-conditioned rooms; mosquitoes are nocturnal (except dengue mosquitoes, which bite during the day).

* If you are outdoors in the evening or at night, keep as much of your body covered by clothing.

* Use a mosquito repellent on your hands and face.