Monday, May 30, 2016

Seattle Washington the Emerald City

Seattle is surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, and encompasses thousands of acres of parkland. Located between the saltwater Puget Sound to the west and Lake Washington to the east, the city's chief harbor is Elliott Bay. North of the city center, Lake Washington Ship Canal connects Puget Sound to Lake Washington, incorporating four natural bodies of water: Lake Union, Salmon Bay, Portage Bay and Union Bay.

A Major Gateway for Trade with Asia and the Third Largest Port in North America
From Logging to High Tech logging was Seattle's first major industry, and by the late 19th century the city also became a commercial and shipbuilding center as a gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. In the 1940s, Boeing established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing and, beginning in the 1980s, the area developed as a technology center with companies like Microsoft and Amazon.
Music from 1918 to 1951, nearly two dozen jazz nightclubs existed along Jackson Street, from the current Chinatown/International, to the Central District. The jazz scene developed the early careers of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones and Ernestine Anderson. Seattle is also the birthplace of rock musician Jimi Hendrix and alternative rock.

Outdoors the mild, temperate, marine climate allows year-round outdoor recreation, including walking, cycling, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, kayaking, rock climbing, motor boating, sailing, team sports, and swimming. Also popular are hikes and skiing in the nearby Cascade or Olympic Mountains and kayaking and sailing in the waters of Puget Sound.
Seattle is one of the Most Walkable Cities in the United States
Getting around Seattle is one of the few cities in North America whose fleet includes electric trolleybuses. A light rail line links the University of Washington and Sea-Tac Airport. Washington State Ferries manages the largest network of ferries in the United States and third largest in the world, connecting Seattle to Bainbridge and Bremerton. 

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The Arts the city’s award-winning public art program enlivens parks, bridges, streets libraries and transfer stations while many storefronts expose temporary art installations. The theater on both a large and small scale is an integral part of Seattle’s arts scene with local theater service group Theatre Puget Sound counts more than 140 producing theater companies in its membership.
Wines and Brews the sunny, dry weather in Washington Wine Country is fantastic for growing grapes and producing premium wines. With over 850 wineries, it is the 2nd largest premium wine producer in the United States. There are also 200 independent breweries that continue innovating, balancing the classics with small specialty batches of sours, imperial stouts or barrel-aged cult favorites.

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Houston Texas Architecture Space a Museum District Home Grown Breweries Wine Trails Boating and Cruising

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the US South as well as America's fourth-largest. A cosmopolitan destination and home to an energetic arts community, Houston was founded in 1836 near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The city was named after former General Sam Houston, who was president of the Republic of Texas and commander at the Battle of San Jacinto, 25 miles - 40 km - east of where the city was established.
The Port and Railroad, combined with oil discovery in 1901, has induced continual surges in the city's population. In the mid-20th century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center, the world's largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions, and NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
Space Center Houston’s Level 9 tram tour consists of a behind the scenes tour to Johnson Space Center including the Historical Mission Control Center and the International Space Station Shuttle mock-up facility where astronauts receive their training.
Revival Market is a grocery store with mostly local, organic products—from meats raised down the road by the proprietor himself and displayed in the charcuterie case to produce and dairy products from Houston-area farmers.
Architecture the Bayou City is full of interesting buildings that reveal its past; throughout Downtown and the city's central core, there is an abundance of significant architecture that tells the story of this port and railroad town turned metropolis.

METRORail Light Rail provides service along 23 miles of Central Houston

The Downtown Aquarium is an underwater-themed complex features dining among several giant aquariums, shark tunnel tours, a white tiger exhibit, generous banquet facilities, a 100-foot Ferris wheel, plus fun and games.

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Home Grown Breweries Texas' oldest craft brewer, Saint Arnold, makes 10 different craft brews and shows off its operation to thousands of visitors annually. Guests are able to explore the new biergarten-inspired space, sample brew in the tasting room and get a peek at the tank farm. Production began at Conroe’s Southern Star in 2008 and has been ramping up ever since. Karbach Brewing’s Sympathy for the Lager, Rodeo Clown Double IPA and Weisse Versa Wheat promise to become household names in Texas' growing craft beer movement and family-owned No Label craft brewery produces a line of ales and lagers with names like El Jefe, a German Hefeweizen, and Pale Horse,an American pale ale.   
The Bluebonnet Wine Trail offers spectacular views and award-winning wines not far from Houston. Cork This! Winery is a boutique spot specializing in custom made wines and offers half-dozen selections; experience bottling your own wine with a personally designed custom label. Bernhardt Winery produces approximately 6,000 gallons of wine each year with a Tuscan-style tasting room, which sits atop a beautiful hill overlooking endless hills and valleys. Peach Creek offers five acres of vineyards, along with a tasting room and large event pavilion. Messina Hof Winery is a 100-acre estate, of which 42 host the vineyard in Bryan, Texas. Windy Winery produces Texas Wine from Texas Grapes©, bottling 100 percent of their products on site. Saddlehorn Winery is set on a 390-acre ranch in Burton, Texas overlooking the rolling hills of Washington County, birthplace of Texas.
Experience Urban Cowboy and Western Heritage at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
The Houston Museum District is comprised of nineteen institutions and is one of the top cultural districts in the country, including the:
Asia Society Texas Center features a dynamic gallery space as well as classrooms, conference facilities, a performance theater and reception spaces.
Buffalo Soldiers Museum educates the public about the contributions of African-American soldiers by chronicling their accomplishments from the Revolutionary War to modern times.
Children's Museum of Houston is ranked as the No. 1 children's museum in the country.
Contemporary Art Museum is dedicated to presenting the best and most exciting international, national and regional art of the last 40 years.
Czech Cultural Center celebrates the culture of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia and Silesia.
DiverseWorks is a non-profit art center dedicated to presenting new visual, performing, and literary art.
Health Museum features three-dimensional anatomy models and interactive exhibits.
Boating and Cruising the Bayport Cruise Terminal is located on the Western shore of Galveston Bay, 30 minutes from downtown Houston. The state-of-the-art facility is near the Kemah Boardwalk with a 36-foot carousel, a 65-foot Ferris wheel and rides like Aviator, Boardwalk Tower and the Boardwalk Beast, a boat ride that takes you four miles into Galveston Bay at speeds up to 40 mph.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

A Chocolate Tour of Italy

Artisanal Bio and Industrial Factories in Tuscany Piedmont Emilia Romagna and Umbria
Chocolate History up until the late 18th century, chocolate only existed in liquid form and was drunk exclusively by the aristocracy and the clergy, only to spread to other sectors of society, beginning with the wealthy merchant classes.
The drink of the gods dates back to the Maya, using cocoa beans to prepare a beverage, the Xocoatl, with a very spicy and intense flavor. Cocoa becomes a very valuable commodity.
Christopher Columbus and Cortes discover the Americas, the cocoa plant and bear the seeds for the first time in Europe. The recipe of the Aztecs, with red pepper and hot spices, is modified with cinnamon, sugar, vanilla and cocoa for a sweeter taste.
In Italy, Venetian and Florentine masters give life to the art of preparing chocolate and start exporting it.
19th Century chocolate becomes accessible to a wider audience, product quality improves and new varieties are created. New manufacturing processes separate cocoa paste and cocoa butter.
Turin is the Birthplace of Gianduja and Home to Many Fine Chocolatiers
Did You Know That the ideal environment for chocolate, which must be kept cool and dry, is at a temperature between 15 °- 18 ° C. Tempering is an operation that serves to give chocolate a stable crystalline structure to make it shiny, bright and free of veining. The white coating that forms on the chocolate is Cocoa Butter after heat shock or exposure to light. Cocoa grows in the tropics. Wines, spirits and beers pair well with dark chocolate with medium to high cocoa content of - 70% to 90%.
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White Chocolate has this color because it is obtained from cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder, but is not added to the paste of cocoa, which corresponds to the dark part of the cocoa. The percentage of cocoa indicated on the wrapper indicates the sum of cocoa butter, cocoa mass and powder, present.
A traditional Saint Valentine’s Day Gift: heart of Gianduja and hazelnuts, garnished with a whole hazelnut and coated with dark chocolate
Tasting Chocolate
Sight color and brilliance communicate chocolate perfection; the best are shiny. Check its nuances and gloss before tasting it.
Tact scroll slowly the chocolate with your fingers to uncover its silky texture. Feel it on your lips: good chocolate is smooth, velvety and melts quickly.
Smell a lingering, intoxicating and intense fragrance: cocoa releases olfactory emotions that are never forgotten. Breathe deeply and feel all the richness and harmony of aromas.
Hear break the tablet with your fingers and listen to the sensual sound it produces.
Taste the endless aromas that make chocolate a most intoxicating experience for the palate.
Meet the Only Woman in the World to Claim the Title of Chocolatier
Our Chocolate Itineraries let you follow the various processes of chocolate making, including explanatory videos and chocolate tasting, as you walk through the whole production process from the beans to the grains of cocoa and from the refinement of the mixture right through to the processing of the chocolate. You also learn the art of chocolate tasting

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