Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have had their year(s) in Provence. After leasing Château Miraval from then-owner Tom Bove for three years, the star couple made their stay permanent by purchasing the 1,000 acre Provençal estate outright in 2011. In 2012, Brangelina teamed up with the Perrin family, owners of Château de Beaucastel in the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation and makers of dozens of Rhône wines. In March 2013, Jolie and Pitt plan to launch the first Château Miraval Rosé to bear the names Jolie-Pitt and Perrin on the label. It’s produced from grapes grown on the estate’s certified organic vineyards.
While Napa Valley farmers can earn $5,000 a ton or more for wine grapes, there’s another crop that puts that figure to shame. Truffles can fetch a whopping $1,200 dollars per pound which is the equivalent of $2.4 million per ton. It’s the most expensive crop in the world, even though truffles are actually 83 per cent water.
The 3rd annual Napa Truffle Festival took place recently to celebrate the revered fungus – specifically the prized Périgord black winter truffle – through a series of ethereal meals and fascinating educational seminars. Ground zero was Napa’s Westin Verasa and its La Toque restaurant – though actual ground played a role as well during truffle orchard and wild mushroom forays.
In another step towards the iPhone’s ever-increasing ubiquity, Honda has teamed with Apple to integrate support for the software giant’s Siri personal assistant in its vehicles. The first cars slated to receive the high-tech treatment are the 2013 Honda Accord, Acura RDX and Acura ILX.
Dubbed Apple Siri Eyes Free, the service connects to drivers’ iPhones via Bluetooth, bringing the smooth-talking assistant into your car. Through the program, drivers can dictate texts, make phone calls, play music and get directions without ever touching a key or taking their eyes off the road. Developed with the idea of minimizing distraction in mind, Eyes Free works with steering wheel controls, and also keeps phones from lighting up in order to keep the temptation to respond immediately at bay.
Eco-kayaking, Horseback Riding and Other Adventures in Puerto Rico
Skip the cleaning this spring and escape to the Caribbean with the My Puerto Rico Experience Package from La Concha, A Renaissance Resort. Recently renovated to the tune of $220 million, this beachfront resort in San Juan comprises 483 rooms (including 226 suites), a casino, lobby bar and five on-site restaurants, including Perla, a floating seashell restaurant.
Grammy weekend (Feb. 9-10), the state of Louisiana brought the bayou to Los Angeles (or as they like to call it, “the other LA”) to celebrate their always-impressive list of nominees. The sixth-annual “Only in Louisiana” brunch took place on Saturday atop Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill, in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, for two cajun-spiced hours of acclaimed regional cuisine and live music. From smoked rabbit and alligator gumbo to washboard-strummed revelry, this brunch was certainly not short on Southern charm.
Kix Brooks, one half of the award-winning duo Brooks & Dunn, imparted his easy-going Shreveport sensibility as an emcee alongside Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne as they honored Louisiana-bred Grammy nominees like Lil’ Wayne, Frank Ocean, Dr. John and Ellen Degeneres. Among the highlights of the event was a performance by Corey Ledet, who brought Southwestern Louisiana to the stage with his Grammy-nominated accordion playing. The room was studded with eminent music industry members and recording artists, all of whom chowed down as the toe-tapping sounds of soulful roots music filled the hall.