WYKwino Report No. 26

Date/Time: 8th June 2012, 7:00 p.m.

Place: Fantaxia Restaurant 樂逍遙

1st Bottle Ironstone Obsession Sympohony                                                     355784_web                                    
Varietal: Symphony Winery/Producer: Ironstone Vineyards
Type: White Year: 2010
Cost: $14.95 Region: California, USA
Food to pair: 蓮花仙子 Scallops LCBO #: 355784
Remarks:A sure sign that spring has sprung is the return of this bright and breezy aromatic wonder. Ironstone’s ever-popular Obsession is made with the Symphony grape, which is a cross between Grenache Gris and Muscat of Alexandria. Like Muscat it’s got a perfumed nose with fresh peach and orange-blossom aromas. There’s a delicious touch of balanced sweetness here, which makes this wine a fabulous match for medium-spiced Indian dishes.Highlighted by a floral nose, it is very aromatic. On the palate, tastes include peach and fresh flowers with a bit of sweetness on the finish.

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From Russia with Love – St. Petersburg

We were on a 12 day river cruise from July 26 to August 6 to Russia, starting from St. Petersburg, going through the Russian internal waterway, visiting the towns and cities along the way and ending in Moscow.

This is the second time we visited St. Petersburg.  The last time was in 1995 when we took the cruise to the Baltics.  The city surely looked better. There were less pot holes but more cars on the roads, the public transportation vehicles were less dilapidated, and the number of young vendors selling pins and medals in the streets was much smaller.  It did appear that there was a change for the better.  Putin no doubt has done a credible job, even though Russia is still poor by comparison.  We understand that unemployment rate is 6% but it is not evenly distributed.  While there are jobs in the big cities as in St. Petersburg and Moscow, people elsewhere are still hard done by.   Wealth is in the hands of a very few.  Pension age is 55 for women and 60 for men.  The average life span of a Russian man is however only 59.  No wonder we did see a lot of elderly women selling small baskets of fruits and flowers from their own back yards to make ends meet.

On the other hand, the palaces tell another story.  Anybody who has visited them do not have to dig very deep to get to the causes for the 1917 revolution.  We saw three of their most famous palaces, The Hermitage, Catherine’s Palace and Peterhof and had a glimpse into the past glory and decadent life style enjoyed by the Czars and their families.  In our minds, the Russian palaces are unrivalled in the world.  “Glittering with gold” is to be taken literally as the palaces are plastered with gold leaves everywhere. The numerous paintings and artifacts displayed in the Hermitage which used to be the Romanovs’ winter palace and is now a museum are not only national but world treasures; the amber room in Catherine’s Palace dazzles and boggles the mind and the many glorious and magnificent fountains in Peterhof provide us with an insight into Peter the Great’s vision as an architect of the Russian Empire.  We come up short with words to describe with justice the richness of these palaces and hopefully the pictures and videos will do a better job.

From Russia with Love – Hermitage video

From Russia with Love – Catherine’s Place video

From Russia with Love – Peterhof video

Circle of Friends – Seniors

As part of our Mon Sheong’s community services, a membership club for the seniors called the Mon Sheong Circle of Friends –Seniors (孟嘗之友-長者會所), or Senior Circle (長者會所) in short, was introduced on August 10, 2011. The intention of the new membership club is to help our seniors in our local community as much as possible and to provide a Centre where they can find friendship and care. It is a Centre where they can occupy themselves by participating in activities organised specially for them such as morning Tai Chi exercise, health dance, Karaoke, ping-pong and even mah-jong.

Anyone, who is 50 or above, is welcome to join as a ‘registered friend’ of our Senior Circle. To become a “registered friend”, simply submit a completed registration form with an annual fee of $20. The annual fee is refundable if cancellation is made within the first 30 days from the day of registration. Friends of the Circle can enjoy our Centre’s facilities and participate in our many activities, programs and seminars. Many of these are free while some may require a minimal cost. Friends of the Circle will also receive a 10% fee discount for any paid recreational course (course descriptions) held at the Centre. For details, please visit our website www.monsheong.org/volunteers  or contact our Centre at 416-297-5883.

For August and September this year, the Centre will be open to seniors free of charge. Please come and try out our new facilities with your parents, grandparents, and friends and learn more about our Senior Circle.

~ Mon Sheong Community & Volunteer Services Centre Committee

Fresh from Russia

We visited Peterhof (Summer Palace for Peter the great) today and here are some photos taken. The place is well known for its garden.

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