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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Win Argentine Leather Estados products


We’ve teamed up with luxury Argentine leather artisans Estados to offer two lucky winners a choice of either a handmade leather ipad cover, wallet, purse or belt. The choice is yours. Just visit our facebook page and write a caption of the photo for your chance to win.

Estados draws on a centuries-old Argentine leather making tradition to offer a range of beautiful, contemporary, handmade leather goods in the UK.

Their leather goods are hand-crafted in a small workshop in the Andean north-west of Argentina from the finest, soft Argentine leather, often considered among the best in the world. The workshop was established with the support of the Fundacion Impulsar, the Argentine affiliate of the Princes’ Trust. Their range includes our handmade leather wallets, handmade leather purses, handmade leather iPad cases, handmade leather handbags, and handmade leather belts. Their designs showcase original combinations of classic and modern colours, and exude timeless style, elegance and distinction.

All their handmade leather goods arrive wrapped in acid-free tissue paper in a stunning presentation box, and come with a 1 year manufacturing guarantee and a 30 day no-questions-asked returns policy. They make the perfect present, for Christmas, Valentines Day, birthdays, anniversaries, or any occasion. They are happy to include a handwritten personal message on cream card, and we can personalise by embossing your or a loved one’s initials. Postage is free by Royal Mail second class, with faster and international options available at checkout.

If that’s not all – we are offering a 15% discount off all Estados products until the end of the month. Just visit Estados and use the promo code SELECT15.

Uruguay – Not For Vegetarians

David Horwell

David Horwell

I recently spent an enjoyable week on an exploratory trip to Uruguay. Whilst much time was spent checking out hotels from basic eco-yurts to the palatial Sofitel Montevideo Casino Carrasco; a large part of the week was devoted to sampling the culinary delights and wines of this peaceful small republic. As one can expect in a country where there are nearly four cows to every person we ate a lot of meat, in fact, seven steaks in as many days; accompanying salads are draped with dried ham and cheese, but that was just a warm up for huge steaks. At an asado or Parillada grill, these are served only after a generous helping of blood sausage with the odd baked potato. Fortunately there are plenty of good local wines to wash all this protein down. The Tannat grape is the vine that Uruguay claims as its own was probably brought by the Basques in the 19th century. It produces a full-bodied strong red that has fruity notes, but I also had a lovely crisp rosé at the Altos de Ballena vineyard. Most of the vineyards are on hills cooled by sea breezes and upon ancient metmorphic rock. The Tannat is often blended with Merlot or Cabernet to lessen the high tannin content. At the Bodega Narbona we even had some local grappa, a fire-water that is mellowed with local honey. The greatest charm of the country was that it felt like you were stepping back in time to a place where there were hardly any cars and lunch could take up to two hours without you feeling guilty. To plan your escape to Uruguay see our suggested holiday ideas or call our travel experts.

RELATED: A guide to Uruguayan Food

Discover Brazilian Cuisine

Alex Atala, the owner and chef of the São Paulo restaurant D.O.M has for the last few years been at the forefront of a resurgence in Brazilian cuisine. His fusion of traditional Brazilian fare with European culinary techniques to create a fine dining experience has earned his restaurant the coveted title of ‘Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In South America’ as well as 4th best in the world by the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

His new book D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients is no ordinary cookbook. An exclusive insight into the world of this extraordinary chef, his relationship with the unique ingredients of his native Brazil and his commitment to sourcing sustainable produce that directly benefits local farmers. Taking over 5 years to complete and showcasing over 60 recipes, the book is not only well written, but also visually stunning accompanied by photography from the world famous food photographer Sérgio Coimbra.

An exhibition of his work is currently being displayed at the Coningsby Art Gallery until the 13th December and entry is free. Copies of his book are available for purchase at the gallery or on the Phaidon website.

To start your own gastronomic adventure in Brazil please contact us.

RELATED: 12 Fascinating Facts About Brazil You Probably Didn’t Know

Flavia Coelho – A New Brazilian Sound

The young Brazilian Flavia Coelho is making waves with her unique sound that comes from the blend of samba, bossa-nova and Brazilian melodies with a hint of hip-hop and reggae for good measure. The singer was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro but moved to Paris in 2006. Her most recent album Bossa Muffin released in 2013 a rhythmic clash of Brazilian and Caribbean styles that match her relaxed vocal style. African influences come from Bika Bika Pierre, a musician from Cameroon that she collaborated with on many of the tracks. Easily one of the best albums of the year.

“there’s something quirky and mischievous about Flavia Coelho’s voice… fresh, brassy and irreverent”
Simon Broughton, Evening Standard  (on album Bossa Muffin)

To start your musical tour of Brazil, get in touch here.

RELATED: 12 Fascinating Facts About Brazil You Probably Didn’t Know

Arena Amazonia and the Heart of the Amazon


Arena Amazonia

So, the draw has taken place and England will be playing their first game against Italy  in the city of Manaus, located in the heart of the Amazon jungle. The formally Estadio Vivaldao is in the process of being completely refurbished, enclosed by a metal structure designed to resemble a straw basket – a famous product of the region.

Once completed the new Arena Amazonia will seat 42,377 spectators and include restaurants, underground parking and will be serviced by bus and monorail. It’s important that the stadium is used to preserve the rainforest that surrounds the city, not destroy it. Rainwater will be used in the toilets and to water the pitch and sunshine, of which the region gets plenty will be used to generate clean, renewable energy. This stadium is not just for the world cup. There are plans to use the stadium after the end of the world cup for concerts and cultural events bring vital tourism and economic growth to the region.

Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas and is the eleventh largest city in Brazil with over 2,280,000 inhabitants. Recent speculation on the safety of fans visiting the city is simply untrue. Although the city, like many in the world, have many social and economic problems the beefed up policing and other measures being brought in by the mayor is likely to see a dramatic drop in the crime rating. Although we have no doubt that crime exists in the city we have never experienced any problems when visiting and nor have our clients. It’s a fantastic place, full of charm, culture and history and with a few simple precautions used when visiting any large city, you are unlikely to come into any trouble.

Are you planning on travelling to Manaus for the 2014 World Cup? Get in touch to start planning your itinerary.

RELATED: 12 Fascinating Facts About Brazil You Probably Didn’t Know