My Time Capsule: October 2013

22.10.13

Slovenia: Postojna Cave

Postojnska, August 2013

Jama means cave

"It is so hot today. Why do I need to bring my jacket?" I was a bit cranky because of the heat wave and about to put my jacket back to the car.

"Dear, I'm pretty sure you will need it. The temperature inside is 8°C and the walking tour takes nearly two hours. Believe me, you will thank me later." The guide smiled at me.

I looked at her skeptically as I shrugged my shoulders and followed her to the entrance of Postojna Cave which is more than 20 kilometres underground tunnels. It is the largest cave in the “classic karst” and the most visited show cave in Europe.


let's hop on the train

Postojna cave is the only one in the world which offers a unique and adventurous ride with special train. I hop on the train with a big grin on my face as I've always loved trains. The train started to accelerate taking us through the spectacular underground arches, deep down into the cave. The train speeding up and I started shivering as the cold air blew my face. Well, I was glad I did bring my jacket otherwise I'll be freezing cold. I let out a squeal as the train was cornering at high speed. It was so much fun, it felt like descending into the centre of the earth on a roller coaster.

and the journey begins

please ignore the blur picture, the train is getting faster

and faaaasterrrrr.....yippieeeee!

the walking path

By the end of the ride I got off the train and gathered with the English speaking group before we started the 5 km walking tour. The cave is like a massive well lit hall. The lighting adds the beauty of those natural wonders. It's hard to believe that the fascinating structure was formed by tiny drops of water for millions of years.



hi there :)



As I walked deeper into the cave, I was dazzled by those glistening stalactites and stalagmites abounding in a variety of shapes, colours and age. The cave is divided into some halls named after the characteristics of flowstone. Such as the hall of tubes, where white, needle-thin, transparent tubes hang from the ceiling. The ceiling of the hall reminds of rock rain, and is also called Spaghetti hall. The white hall got its name after extremely white flowstone and white stalactites made of pure calcite with almost no admixtures. While other is called  the red hall due to its reddish colour of the flowstone.

the Spaghetti Hall or Rock Rain

stunning textures

looks like a giant ice cream cone to me :p

the Olm or human fish (on poster)

At the end of the foot path, there's a giant aquarium with some olms or human fish in it. It's some kind of salamander and called the 'human fish' by the locals because of human-like skin tone. There were too many people swarming around the aquarium and I was too short to peek out from behind their body. So I couldn't say 'Hello' and take pictures of Mr. Olm. Luckily there's a big poster of the olm next to the aquarium, so I snap the poster instead *grin*

some restaurants outside

Where's the most beautiful cave you've ever explored ?

13.10.13

Alila Villas Soori - Walking On Lemons Dinner


Alila Villas Soori located along the southwest coast of Bali, in the Tabanan Regency, the resort is just 20 minutes from Tanah Lot temple. Set in one of Bali’s most fertile and picturesque regions, the luxury resort lies between beautiful black-sand beaches and verdant rice terraces, with the mystical Mount Batukaru in the distant horizon.


one gorgeous sunset in Alila Villas Soori

Alila Villas Soori continues its series of dining journeys presenting international guest star chefs and acclaimed figures from the world’s culinary stage. I was invited to experience one of the events with a guest chef, Laurent Loudeac from Museum Hotel, Wellington, New Zealand. Chef Laurent Loudeac was born in Ch√Ęteaubriant in western France and he has remarkable experiences of working in some award-winning restaurant around the world. One interesting fact is Chef Dwayne Cheer, Alila Villas Soori’ Executive chef was once Chef Laurent's apprentice. So I was excited to find out what they would present to the guest.


cocktail

cocktail and welcome drink

Before the dinner started, all the guest were served a welcome drink and cocktail. Honestly speaking, nothing forbids me to drink alcohol. I just choose not to. But on several occasions I would not mind to taste some, for the sake of curiosity.  And obviously I'm not an expert of alcohol drinks, but if I'm not mistaken the welcome drink was a mixture of vodka, campari, red peppercorn and star anise. While the cocktail was some vermouth, vodka, campari and chilli. I actually liked the taste of the cocktail though. It's smooth with a slight spicy flavor. It looks sexy too, don't you think?


romantic venue


Scallop Ceviche

Scallop Ceviche served with Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Cevice is basically made from fresh raw fish or seafood marinated in citrus juice such as lemon or lime. The presentation is quite unique and those black dome-like base is made from the black sand beach. As an Amuse-bouche,  the single bite-sized scallop is covered with chopped tomatoes and onion. I could taste the freshness of the scallop because the smell is sweet and briny, not fishy at all. While the texture is delicate and firm. The taste lingered for a while because it was so delicious.


Salmon Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi My Way served with Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Blanc La Jadis 2009
For me this one was the star of the night. The salmon has silky smooth texture and as I bite, a slight sweetness emerged. What I called a genius invention was the soy sauce jelly. Yes, you read it right. So instead of serving normal soy sauce, the chef made it into jelly and stacked on top of fish. Voila! No more dripping sauce. The fish, seaweed, soy sauce jelly and a dash of syrup made from ginger and lemon complement each other perfectly. My taste buds were dancing happily while tasting the delicious blend of flavours. It was beyond umami. I don't usually eat raw fish but now I'm convert. Can I have more, please ?


Seared Barramundi

Seared Barramundi served with Henri Bourgeois Pouily Fume en Travertin 2009
For those who are not familiar with cooking term, 'searing' is one of the cooking method, in which the food (in this case is the fish) is cooked in high temperature to seal in the juice. Errrr....or that's what I remember though, since I've graduated from cooking school like centuries ago :p

The fish has crusty surface after being cooked on a high temperature pan but when I put a slice on my mouth, I could taste the sweet juice. The tomato concasse and crayfish foam adds taste of delicacy. It's served with braised baby fennel and roasted crayfish.


Seared Venison Loin

Searred Venison Loin served with Bel Echo Pinot Noir 2009 and Clos Henri Pinot Noir 2008
Venison meat tastes almost like beef but it's richer and have a gamy note. Served with pickled roasted  baby beetroot and prunes which have been marinated with port wine, the taste remains me of those candied fruit but in softer texture. The chocolate crumble and salted caramelised ganache definitely made the presentation unusually attractive.


the surprise dessert

I didn't see this listed on the menu but they call it the surprise dessert. It's basically some blackberries soaked in cranberry juice, pomegranate juice and vermouth with a hint of blackcurrant. A mixture of tangy and sweet, very refreshing to wash down the aftertaste of the meat.


Walking On Lemons dessert

What an interesting presentation of dessert! This is why the theme of the dinner was 'Walking On Lemons', my curiosity has been answered. The dessert contains of lemon sponge cake, lemon mousse, lemon crumble and pomelo which all were served in small chunks. A good idea to taste various dessert and no worries about gaining weight.


happy crowds

with chef Laurent, chef Dwayne, Riany and Lukas

It was a night to remember indeed, I did have a great time meeting new people and accompanied by super friendly hosts (thanks Nat & Irra).  They even provide a car along with the chauffeur to pick up and take me home.
I was invited as a guest. But opinions, happy tummy and the dancing taste buds are all mine.
Thanks so much Alila Villas Soori for inviting me.

Alila Villas Soori
Banjar Dukuh, Desa Kelating, Kerambitan
Tabanan - Bali
Phone +62 361 8946388

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