Food & Wine Lifestyle Luxury Hotels

Samba lessons and mushrooms

Samba lesson, anyone?

Life is so exciting. Every time I look at my Rio Carnival hat, stored above my dressing table at home, I think back to the samba lesson I had pre-Carnival 2011 at the fabulous Copacabana Palace, my home on Copacabana Beach (left).

And when I glance through photos I have taken over the last few months, I see such exciting compositions – and only wish my memory, and/or notetaking, was better so that I could remember where I took them.


Mozzarela, avocado, mushrooms

Whatever, I like this dish (second photo) because the lemon is stylishly held in muslin, and because of the Mozzarella and the avocado, both favourites of this travelin’gal. There are also mushrooms on that dish.

Mushrooms, are they are another story. I have admired Hans Willimann for many years, since I first knew him when he was GM of Four Seasons Chicago. He had bright yellow cloths with matching flowers on the breakfast tables, which certainly cheered up sometimes-dark mornings in the Windy City.

Hans Willimann is now GM of Four Seasons Resort Vail, which he opened last Summer – sadly, I have not yet been to visit him but I have it on my list for 2012 – as he says, he is not selling bedrooms but ‘lifestyle’. The 120-room resort offers space (smallest bedroom is 58 sq m) and there always surprises.

Chanterelle mushrooms

Vail's Porcini mushrooms









For five weekends every summer, Hans Willimann personally leads mushroom foraging. He sent me two photographs taken last weekend, one showing chanterelles (left photo), which were later made into risotto for the guests, and the last photo shows porcini, served with olive oil and a hint of garlic. When he sent me the photographs, he said ‘love from the American Alps’.