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Richard's Diary : Gallery

Culture

Geneva Car Show 2012 is now on!

By David on March, 09th 2012 - 2:28 pm

It's Geneva's big annual exhibition, where we pay tribute to the Car. World famous, the Geneva Car show attracts thousands of car enthusiast from around the world. It is the chance for car constructors to present new vehicles and technology. Running from the 08th to the 18th March, this year's car shows will see the launch on many new cars, including the new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.

If you are in Geneva during this period, I strongly urge you to try and drop in on the Car Show at PalExpo (Geneva Airport), before heading down to the town centre to enjoy a special Cuban cigar by the Lake Leman.

You can see:
Official site of the 2012 Geneva Car Show

Geneva Car Show 2011

By David on March, 02nd 2011 - 10:17 am

It's Geneva's big annual exhibition, where we pay tribute to the Car. World famous, the Geneva Car show attracts thousands of car enthusiast from around the world. It is the chance for car constructors to present new vehicles and technology. Running from the 03rd to the 13th March, this year's car shows gives special place to the new Green Vision for the automobile industry.

The green vision
'The "green vision" is becoming more and more real at the Geneva Motor Show. In the PAVILLON VERT, 36 exhibitors are presenting no less than 17 world premieres. In the ESSAIS VERTS, 12 different brands are presenting a total of 13 different electrical vehicles, all of which can be tried out. Visitors taking the CHEMIN VERT can discover the "new mobility" throughout the entire trade show.'

If you are in Geneva during this period, I strongly urge you to try and drop in on the Car Show at PalExpo (Geneva Airport), before heading down to the town centre to enjoy a special Cuban cigar by the Lake Leman.

You can see:
Official web site of the 81st Geneva Motorshow
TopGear on Geneva Motor Show 2011

Possible delay on shipping caused by a volcano!

By Richard on April, 16th 2010 - 12:01 pm

I know it sounds strange, but as you will all have heard, Europe is on shut down due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland. The ash cloud is causing problems with the air transport, leading to several days of total grounding. Please bear in mind that your orders are shipped via air freight and thus, you should expect some delays. Officials still do not have a clear idea of when the situation will return to normal, but in the mean time we thank you for your patience and understanding.

Richard and David

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

By Richard on March, 17th 2010 - 11:31 am

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling. But what a story and the resulting party 1548 years later, is a highlight on any 'bon vivants' calendar. The parade and surrounding events, the pub culture and the copious amounts of Guinness will merrily turn your 17th March into a memorable occasion. Why not treat yourself to one of the Cuban cigars currently on deal in the TopCubans.com Four Leaf Clover Deals!

'Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!'
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

You can see:
History of St. Patrick's Day

Geneva Car Show 2010

By Richard on March, 08th 2010 - 9:47 am

The 80th Geneva International Motor Show: A successful start to a promising week!
Some 287,000 visitors have passed through the halls of Palexpo since the 80th Geneva International Motor Show was officially opened last Thursday (04th March) by Mrs. Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation. These visitors braved some dreadful weather conditions to discover more than 100 World and European Premiers. The Show will remain open until March 14, 2010.
Following the attendance of 10,000 media representatives from all over the world, it is the general public’s turn to enjoy the celebration of premiers during the 11 public days of the 80th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show. In spite of the cold and snowy conditions outside, visitors took advantage of the weekend to enjoy an exciting presentation of the cars of today and of tomorrow.
A large number of new models, prototypes, and concept cars presented at the Motor Show showed the trend toward a future of more ecological and economical automobiles. Many specialists and luxury marques, whose presence has always been a special attraction of the Show, presented a number of streamlined concept car designs with powerful engines that also incorporate alternative energy technologies.
The GPC Motorsport team, French Champions in 2009, will bring together a number of motor sport personalities during the second week of the Motor Show. This will include the World Touring Car Champion, Yvan Muller, the Swiss racers Alain Menu, Jean-Denis Deletraz, and Olivier Gillet, plus the rally driver Patrick Henry, French Champion in 2007 and vice-champion in 2009. They will be visiting at the GPC Motorsport stand in Hall 7, which is also dedicated to exhibitions of accessories, preparation specialists, and equipment suppliers.
There is one more week to enjoy the 80th edition of the Motor Show, which runs until Sunday, March 14, 2010.
(www.salon-auto.ch)

You can see:
Official Site of the 2010 Geneva Car Show

Happy New Year!

By Richard on December, 30th 2009 - 12:02 pm

On behalf of the entire TopCubans.com team, I would like to wish you and your family a wonderful New Year and hope that 2010 will bring all your wishes to fruition.

Make the most of our current New Year offers, as well as -15% across all regular production full boxes and designated Sample packs.

Enjoy,
Richard

Oktoberfest

By Richard on September, 30th 2009 - 3:12 pm

Do you picture Oktoberfest as a quaint but lively get-together of rosy-faced Germans, wearing lederhosen, clinking beer steins and yodeling in pleasant harmony? Forget it!

The largest beer festival in the world has become a hugely commercial orgy of brewery tents, food vendors, brass bands, costumes and carnival rides. Some 7 million liters of beer are consumed, worn and sloshed about during a 16 day period. Besides quenching their thirst and inebriating their spirits, the over 7 million visitors also use the beer to wash down hundreds of thousands of sausages and rolls. Named "Oktoberfest" because it ends on the first Sunday in October. Known by the locals as the "Wies'n" a reference to its historic origins. Great place to expand your cigar pairings!

Geneva Cantons band smoking, again

By Richard on September, 28th 2009 - 2:03 pm

A ban on smoking in public places will return to Switzerland's Geneva canton after being approved in a referendum Sunday (27 Sep 2009), a year after a court ended a first bid to prohibit lighting up. Geneva's residents voted 81.77 percent in favour of bringing back the ban, with only 18.3 percent voting against. A canton-wide smoking ban in public places was originally introduced on July 1, 2008, after the state government used a first referendum as grounds for pushing through the move. But the smokers were allowed to light up again at the end of September last year in bars and restaurants following the ruling. A year on, the smoking ban will once again come into force after the canton's lawmakers passed legislation and had it overwhelmingly approved in Sunday's referendum. Federal Tribunal ruled three months later that the ban should not have been passed by the canton's lawmakers before the state's government enacted legislation. The law therefore had no legal basis, the tribunal found. Geneva's The new rules allow bar, hotel and restaurant owners to fit out special smoking rooms in their establishments, which the original ban did not. Supporters of the ban are opposed to this compromise, however, and said Sunday they would appeal to the Federal Tribunal. (Physorg.com)

Montecristo Golf Cup

By Richard on May, 04th 2009 - 10:21 am

The 1st Montecristo Cup Golf Tournament was played at the luxurious beachfront Varadero Golf Club, Cuba on the 2nd May 2009. The 18-hole international tournament was sponsored by Montecristo, one of the most famous Cuban brands in the world. Both amateur and professional golfers alike tested their skills during this unique event with Golf legend Ernie Els as guest of honour and prize-giver. An event that is sure to be repeated next year again.

BaselWorld 2009

By Richard on March, 27th 2009 - 2:47 pm

Its the biggest and most important Luxury Watch and Luxury Jewelry Exhibition of the year and its running at the moment in Basel, Switzerland. BaselWorld 2009, which runs from the 26 Mars through 02 April, faces a tough challenge this year as the market experiences a sharp decline in demand since the beginning of the economic troubles.

Geneva Car Show

By Richard on March, 12th 2009 - 11:09 am

The 79th Annual Geneva International Car show is running from the 05-15th March in PalexPo, Geneva. The focus is on 'Green' car concepts at this year's show and with economic uncertainty is full swing, I expect the smaller car market will make a strong showing too. That said, all the glitz and glam of new releases from the luxury car makers, as well as the famous car model girls are as present as ever making it a worth while day out for any lover of cars. If you are in Geneva during this period, I strongly recommend a visit.

You can see:
Official Web site of the Geneva Car Show

WEF Annual Meeting - Davos, Switzerland

By Richard on February, 05th 2009 - 10:32 am

'The message from the Annual Meeting is that leaders must continue to develop a swift and coordinated policy response to the most serious global recession since the 1930s: global challenges demand global solutions.' Another fantastic effort from our chosen world leaders. I am sure this statement will go a long way to stemming the tide of recession. This was the end product of the 2009 World Economic Forum's (WEF) Annual Meeting held in Davos, Switzerland (28 Jan - 01 Feb 2009). One has to wonder whether the motto of this year's meeting, 'Shaping the Post-Crisis World', is a statement of intent or of future possibilities for more profit for the few??? The whole thing sounds like a good excuse for the rich to enjoy good food, wine and cigars in the Swiss Alps, whilst hiding behind a curtain of 'doing good'.

You can see:
Official WEF site
Anti-WEF forums

Burns Supper

By Richard on January, 23rd 2009 - 10:02 am

The Haggis plays a central role in the Burns Supper. Here is the best recipe I have found so far. Gives a great tasting, moist Haggis.

Ingredients
1 sheep's stomach bag and pluck (heart, liver, lungs and windpipe)
250g-1kg/½lb-2lb pinhead oatmeal, or a mixture of medium and pinhead
125g-500g/4oz-1lb suet, finely chopped
4 onions, finely chopped
2-4 tbsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried mixed herbs, or 2 tsp chopped fresh herbs


Method
1. Begin the day before you want to cook the haggis. Wash the stomach bag in cold water, scrape and clean well. Place into a large bowl of clean, cold water.
2. Wash the pluck and place it into a pan of boiling water. Let the windpipe lie over the side of the pan and place a small jar underneath to catch the drips. Simmer gently until all parts are tender - this depends on the age of the animal but is usually between one and two hours.
3. Place the cooked pluck into a large basin, cover with the cooking liquid and leave overnight.
4. The next day, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
5. For the stuffing, spread the oatmeal out on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and toast for around ten minutes, or until thoroughly dried out but not browned.
6. Drain the pluck, reserving the cooking liquid. Cut the windpipe off and discard, along with any skin and black parts. Chop or mince the heart and lungs and grate the liver. Place into a large bowl and mix well.
7. Add the toasted oatmeal, suet, onions, salt, pepper, herbs and about 570ml/1 pint of the liquid the pluck was boiled in and mix well.
8. Drain the stomach bag. Fill the bag to just over half full with the stuffing mixture. Press out the air, sew up the top of the bag and prick with a long needle.
9. Place the haggis into boiling water and simmer for three hours, pricking with a needle again when it swells. Alternatively, the bag may be cut into several pieces to make smaller haggis, in which case cook for only 1½-2 hours.
10. Serve hot with 'neeps', 'tatties' and a glass of good blended whisky.

Finish off your evening with a nice powerful cigar like the Punch Double Corona!

You can see:
Robert Burns - the complete history
Get a Haggis

Election in the US

By Richard on November, 05th 2008 - 2:00 pm

With the election of the Democrat Obama Barack to the Presidency of the US, will this effect the current situation between Cuba and the US. Give us your predictions.

Autumn Smoking

By Richard on September, 29th 2008 - 10:26 am

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells

(John Keats - To Autumn)

Send in your favorite Autumn saying, quote or poem and live the Season to it's fullest!

The end of the world?

By Richard on September, 10th 2008 - 12:13 pm

Geneva, 10th September 2008, 10h28 a.m. The first beam in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN was successfully steered around the full 27 kilometers of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. This historic event marked a key moment in the transition from over two decades of preparation to a new era of scientific discovery. Recent fears of the LHC creating a black hole that in turn would swallow us up have so far proved unfounded, allowing us the time to enjoy a few more cigars before judgment day!

You can see:
CERN
Explanarion of the LHC

Richard Smokes Europe - Step 2 : France

By Richard on July, 29th 2008 - 5:51 pm

Looking at a map of France, you quickly realize the geographical diversity of this country makes it impossible to experience all in one visit. Landscapes change from wild coast lines to limestone hills, to canyons, to mountains, to islands, and so on. From the wooded valleys of the Dordogne and the gentle meadows of the Loire valley to the glaciated peaks of the Alps, each region looks and feels different. Though the French word 'Pays' is the term for a whole country, people frequently refer to their own region as 'mon pays' – my country – and this strong sense of regional identity has persisted despite centuries of centralized government, from Louis XIV to date with Sarkozy. Centralized by government, but decentralized by tradition. These regional traditions are lived and vehicled through such areas as music, language, 'haute couture' (fashion), art, architecture and, of course, food and wine, just to name a few. My trip to France this time was devised with a single goal in mind; to visit areas not infected by the hustle and bustle of bland modern day life. Although I take pride in thinking and acting globally, my palate is definitely more locally inclined. I do not want to have the same tasting McDonalds burger wherever I go in the world, I want to try an Angus beef burger if I am in Scotland, I want to try a Kobe beef burger if I am in Japan. Why dilute everything in life, when what makes life worth continuing (apart from spreading our genes) is diversity, variety, novelty, creativity, ity, ity, ity, isn't it a pity to make everything so watery! Paris may be one city, but the different 'quartiers' have a heart and identity of their own and spending time in Montmartre is a very different experience than spending time in Saint-Germain-des-Près, both of which are in Paris. Eating a Camembert off a super-market shelf is a cheese-life away from savoring an AOC (Appellation D'Origine) Camembert de Normandie, where the cheese-maker knows the name of the cow that produced the milk to make the cheese. So go out and learn to love where you are from. Remember the grass is rarely greener on the other side.

Richard Smokes Europe: Step 1: Italy

By Richard on July, 16th 2008 - 11:04 am

'You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself' (Alan Alda). Taking the words of Mr. Alda literally, I have embarked on a tour of the different parts of the world to live and experience Cuban cigars through diverse climates and cultures to discover how these variations influence my smoking moments. I am hoping that this tour will open my palate to new combinations, a finer perception of difference and a true understanding of what I like. Our journey starts locally, just over the border in fact. Italy is one of Europe's most complex, colorful and enticing destinations. A country of contrasts and contradictions. Whilst being a modern, industrialized nation, with an artistic and architectural legacy that few other countries can rival, it's also a Mediterranean country with a southern European sensibility, where traditional attitudes still prevail and often act as law. Thriving small businesses contribute to strong regional identities, re-enforced by an unfaltering appreciation and promotion of local produce. This has helped Italy avoid some of the bland effects of globalization. In towns and villages all over the country, life grinds to a halt in the middle of the day for a long lunch. Coffee breaks are almost a religious experience, whilst love and business can be gained or lost over a 'gelato' (ice cream). Above all, Italy provokes reaction. If there is a single national characteristic, it's to embrace life to the full: in the importance placed on good food; in the hundreds of local festivals taking place across the country on any given day; in the obsession with clothes and image; in the ultra support given to local football teams and above all in the daily domestic ritual of the collective evening stroll or passeggiata – a sociable affair celebrated by young and old alike in every town and village across the country. The more time I spent in Italy, the more I appreciated my smoking moments. Was it for the incredible combinations of flavor; an unforgettable Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill paired with a fresh Sicilian lime juice that spurred my palate into overdrive making it one of the single most exciting moments ever experienced in my mouth. Was it for the awe inspiring setting in which I smoked; when one smokes a Bolivar Royal Corona beside the Trevi Fountain in Rome, you really really feel you are sharing a Cuban with the Gods. Was it simply the company with whom I shared these smoking moments; I will, and can never forget an evening in Padova (Northern Italy) spent with the local gentleman's domino team, during which I did not manage to get a single word into the conversation, even though we were discussing Cuban cigars (this was the starting point. We did finish the evening discussing the pros and cons of centralized and de-centralized governments....). As the local gentlemen, in heated debate, smoked their way through a full box of Montecristo No.4, I simply watched, completely immersed in the smoky atmosphere. I did not need to understand all of what they were saying to see, feel and share the pleasure they were experiencing. Italy remains one of my favorite places to visit and this trip certainly re-enforces my firm belief that the voyage of discovery through the world of the Cuban cigar is one that will never end. It simply goes on evolving and mutating, bundled forward and backward by our environment, our palate environment and ourselves. Enjoy!

Summer Festivals

By Richard on July, 09th 2008 - 5:15 pm

Open Air Music Festivals during the Summer Season are a tradition here in Switzerland. Everyone will find a Festival that suits their taste in Music. For the lovers of Classical music, the beautiful Alpine ski resort town of Verbier hosts the world renowned Verbier Festival (18 July - 03 August). For the more Jazz and Blues fans amongst you, the infamous Montreux Jazz Festival (04-19 July), which takes place in the Geneva Lake side town of Montreux, made famous in the Deep Purple song, 'Smoke on the water', you will find such legends as Herbie Hancock or Quincy Jones. For you Rockers out there and for those who can still envisage spending a week camping, the Paleo Festival (22-27 July) in Nyon, is the place to be. R.E.M., Ben Harper or Massive Attack are amongst the headliners who will rock this year's festival. With Geneva having now banned smoking in public places, these Festivals are a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a selection of cigars, whilst still being sociable. In fact, I bet there are not many places in the world where you will find more cigars being smoked at a cultural event (perhaps Havana being the exception), than here in Switzerland. I thank the smoking Gods above for having the wisdom to provide a little smoking paradise on earth. Enjoy!

You can see:
Verbier Festival
Montreux Jazz Festival
Paleo Festival

78th Geneva Car Show 6-16th March

By Richard on March, 04th 2008 - 5:31 pm

Regarded as one of the most important Motor shows of the year and definitely one of the biggest, the Geneva Car Show will run this year from the 6-16th of March at the Geneva PalExpo Halls. Plenty of new releases from the major manufacturers, as well as a number of novelty models coming from the newer car manufacturers. See the new Indian Tata Nano, the most cost effective car produced to date. A new model of the 0.6 litre (33bhp) Tata Nano will cost you $2500 only. At the other end of the scale, you can sit in and dream about the new Jaguar XKR-S Coupé, with it's 4.2 liter, V8 engine which develops over 400 bph. This show also exhibits all the car accessories and memorabilia that will drive any car aficionado wild. So if you are around the Geneva area, I strongly suggest you drop into this fabulous show. Beware, hotels are very hard to find at this time of the year in Geneva. I will be there, a Big Cohiba Siglo VI in hand, testing every car going!

You can see:
78th Geneva Car Show

New leader for Cuba - new direction for Habanos?

By Richard on February, 27th 2008 - 3:26 pm

The end of last week saw the transition of power in Cuba from one Castro to another. With the ailing Revolutionary Leader, Fidel Castro, stepping down, no longer in a position to run the country, Cuba's Parliament elected brother Raul on Sunday as Cuba's new President. The news was received with mixed emotions by Cubans all over the globe. Some, those who praise the Leader of the Revolution, saw him as the Father of a Nation, establishing the first Marxist-Leninist state in the Western hemisphere following the revolution of 1959 and standing up to it's larger neighbor, the US and bringing universal free healthcare and a much-admired education system, morned his passage. An equal number rejoiced at the news, seeing this as the moment when Cuban was finally rid of it's dictator, hoping for an immediate democratization of the country with an opening of markets to help revive an archaic economy, riddled by corruption. How this will effect Habanos S.A. and their world wide distribution of tobacco, it is to early to say, but changes no doubt there will be. Give us your thoughts on what effect this political change will have on Cuban cigars.

You can see:
Official Cuban Government web site
Cuban set for small-scale changes

View comments (1)

Smoking Ban

By Richard on February, 06th 2008 - 10:45 am

Ireland, Britain, Italy, France and now they are talking about it here in Switzerland, banning the possibility of smoking in restaurants and bars. The right and pleasure of the individual, squashed at the expense of the greater good. At what point do we, as individuals, need to stand up say, 'enough is enough, I can decide for myself'. Sure, if people want to eat and be merry without doing it in a cloud of smoke, then let them do it in restaurants and bars that are defined as non smoking establishments (no one disagrees with this), but to flat out take away the right to have bars and restaurants that clearly advertise that they are smoker friendly and thus leave it up to the choice of the of the individual to decide whether he/she wants to go in, I say no! The Structure is slowing and eating away at the rights of choice of the individual and in turn, we are falling into the comfort of displacing any personal responsibility onto the Other. This is a dangerous slide to be going down. Time for us to stand up for what we want and take the responsibility for the results. I am Richard, hear me roar!

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