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Resorts, Hotels, Restaurants, Destinations.

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Design, Appliances, Knives, Entertaining.

Welcome to Connoisseur Corner - Luxe Consulting and Executive Services

Marty Feldmann, The Connoisseur, is the highly sought after consultant who assists businesses and individual clients with the acquisition of the finer things life has to offer. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway to wine country, selecting audio equipment to outfit your home, planning your dream vacation or purchasing your ultimate transportation, Marty is your personal connection to the good life…

Marty can be contacted at: 916.952.9529


Aston Martin Rapide 4-door

At the bustling Frankfurt Motor Show this week, Aston Martin finally unveiled the production version of the Rapide sedan that had been previewed three years prior in concept form.

An entry into what is now a hotly contested luxury sports sedan market, the Rapide will be up against Porsche’s new Panamara and the redesigned Jaguar XJ among others. With looks from Aston Martin’s gene pool, the Rapide is sure to garner fans for visuals alone. They do know how to make their cars sexy.

As far as mechanicals, the big Aston comes to battle armed with a 6.0-liter V12 producing 470 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. This engine is sure to move the Rapide along rather…rapidly! A six speed Touchtronic 2 transmission will handle the gear changing duties.

All the other expected bells and whistles will be present, including a first class, luxurious and tastefully designed interior. Aston Martin has really done their homework – this looks to be one fine automobile. The Rapide will be available in early 2010. Pricing has not been announced, but expect it to push the $200,000 mark.

The question now is…which luxury sports sedan will find a place in your garage..?


Swiss Army’s 125th Anniversary

Hard to believe, but true..! The origins of the famous Victorinox Swiss Army knife go back 125 years. That’s quite a milestone…

In 1884 a gentleman by the name of Karl Elsener opened a cutlery shop in Ibach-Schwyz, Switzerland. In 1891, Karl and his staff made the first deliveries of what would become known as the Swiss Army Knife to soldiers in the Swiss Army. At the end of World War II in 1945, the knives began world-wide distribution and their fame and reputation grew from there.

So, what does one do to commemorate 125 years in the cutlery business? How does a road tour across North America sound? A Swiss Army branded Airstream trailer is making stops at various festivals, events and retail outlets as they go.

Should you so desire, there just so happens to be a nice anniversary collection of products available for purchase, including but not limited to those multi-talented blades. Watches, travel clocks, clothing, cologne and a leather travel bag are yours for the taking.

The Swiss Army Knife… “Your Companion for Life.”


Bugatti Galibier 4-Door Coupe

Makers of the Veyron, the most extreme automobile on the planet, Bugatti has decided to try something a little different. They moved the engine in front of the driver and added two doors. The result..?


Following a private event for customers in Germany, details and pictures of this concept vehicle have appeared on the Internet. A striking two-tone outer skin comprised of polished aluminum and carbon fiber is suitably eye-catching for a car of this…shall I say…stature? All something that one expects from the folks at Bugatti these days, as they are not a company prone to understated design. I really like the center spine running down the length of the car – a nod to Bugattis of yore.

Underneath that gleaming surface resides a monster – a version of the same 8-liter W16 engine from the Veyron. Word has it that a top speed of 217 mph is available for the well-healed and brave of heart.

There is no “official” word of imminent production of the Galibier, but I believe it is going to happen soon. Expect pricing to be in the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” category.


Checkmate! Geoffrey Parker’s Silver Jubilee Chess

If you like chess… no, if you love chess, I’ve got the set for you..!

In honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 25th anniversary in 1977 – the Silver JubileeGeoffrey Parker developed a special chess set. No ordinary chess set was this, mind you. The set was fully approved by the United States Chess Federation and won the prestigious Design Council Award in London.

The Silver Jubilee chess set is now being re-introduced in all its glory, available in Sterling silver, Sterling silver-gilt and even solid gold, all with twin leather inlays in your choice of several colors. The board itself comes in the matching metal selection and is also trimmed with the hand inlaid leather. Two suede-lined leather book boxes house the individual pieces when not in use or on display. Additional customization is also available upon request.

Available through luxury gaming purveyor Zontik Games, a set can be yours starting at $53,795.00.


Tumi – Carry Your Laptop in Style

For those of you content with presenting that eraser-head image as you carry around a generic bulky laptop case, read no further. Go back to your We-Be-Geeks-Weekly and program some Java. The rest of you that prefer to present a more pulled together and stylized persona, please continue…

Let’s address those times when you have to haul the laptop – an occasional necessity. Not like it fits in a pocket or something.

New Jersey based Tumi offers a top shelf solution with a laptop case that is at once functional and aesthetically pleasing. From their Villa collection, the case is constructed from Italian texture coated canvas with vachetta leather trim and polished nickel hardware. Features include a padded laptop compartment, interior organizer pockets, leather carry handles and a removable shoulder strap.

Truly the laptop case for the sophisticated professional…


Costa Careyes – The Hidden Mexican Gem

Shhh…. It’s a secret..!

This is one of those un-advertised word-of-mouth getaways. A laid-back alternative to the high-powered party spots that many vacationers flock to.


Costa Careyes was founded in the late 1960’s by Italian financier and artist Gian Franco Brignone. Mr. Brignone’s vision was to meld the Mexican style, landscape and hospitality with a pinch of Mediterranean vibe. We’d say the goal has been accomplished… A-listers and International jet-setters frequent the community to enjoy what has been called a “leisure class utopia”.

Located on the Pacific coast of Mexico in Jalisco, Costa Careyes is approximately midway between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. The community consists of 42 available villas, 40 casitas and the El Careyes Beach Resort. All accommodations are first rate, but the villas which start at $2,000 per night are the star of the show. Of course they come fully staffed with a butler, chef and maid to pamper you while recharging from the stress of everyday life.

Book your vacation now, just don’t tell anyone where you’re going..! Highly recommended!


Roasted Tomato Sauce

I’ve talked in the past about the bounty of the garden and making use of said bounty…!

That almost sounds…dirty! (an intended pun)

Well, suffice it to say there is a plethora of end-of-summer Solanum lycopersicum at the Connoisseur’s home and by-golly they need to be used up. I decided there was no time like the present for a little roasted tomato sauce. The recipe that follows has been tinkered with a bit over time and I am certain your buds of taste will appreciate the final result…

Roasted Tomato Sauce

· 1 whole garlic bulb
· 1 Tbsp olive oil
· 3 lbs tomatoes
· 1 lg white onion - sliced
· 1 Tbsp herbs de Provence
· 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
· 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
· 1 cup dry white wine
· ¼ tsp red pepper flakes - optional
· Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Trim top of garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, wrap in foil and place in oven. Cut the tomatoes in half – add to the roasting pan or cookie sheet cut side up along with the sliced onion. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs de Provence. Roast in oven for 45-55 minutes. Remove garlic and roasting pan from oven – transfer tomatoes and onion to a blender along with the roasted garlic, oregano and basil and blend to desired consistency. Add water if sauce is too thick. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the white wine and reduce by half. Transfer contents of the blender to the sauce pan and simmer for 20 minutes – salt and pepper to taste.

Notes: If you want to use the red pepper flakes, I recommend adding them along with a Tbsp of olive oil to the sauce pan just before the wine – simmer for a few seconds on their own to make them happy and then add the wine. Also, if the tomato skin bits are not your thing, simply add only the tomatoes to the blender, blend and then pour through your favorite strainer to remove. Add strained tomato sauce back to blender, add remaining ingredients and blend again.

Chién Vivant Couture Dog Beds

This one is for all the dog lovers out there… those of you that think of your dog as a part of the family… those of you that like to really pamper your dog… those of you that may be prone to going a tad overboard with the whole idea…

If you want your dog to sleep in true luxury, look no further than Chién Vivant Couture.

Las Vegas based designer Neely Neu came up with the idea courtesy of her own personal pet and has expanded to offer a full line of couture dog beds. Currently eleven collections are available including the Paris, La Rochelle and Marsille lines.

All of the beds are available in custom sizes and offer a number of options. You can kick the bed legs up a notch with Swarovski or Austrian Crystal. How about a little monogramming to suit you and your pet?

If you believe nothing is too good for your dog, these beds are highly recommended. Sweet dreams, Fido…


Jose Cuervo 250 - Ultra Premium

Does the name Jose Cuervo go with the term “ultra-premium”..?

It would be safe to say that this association is not normally made in the world of the tequila connoisseur. The Cuervo family has made a name, and a bit of a fortune, with lower priced mixing tequilas usually of the Gold variety – something used at parties to add to margarita mix for quantity consumption as opposed to quality.

Truth be told, the folks at Jose Cuervo do make some fine tequilas including the Tradicional, which is a nice reposado and their Platino, a highly rated silver tequila.

And did you also happen to know that the Cuervo family has been in the business for 10 generations? They go all the way back to November 2nd, 1758 when King Carlos of Spain granted a plot of land to Don Jose Antonio de Cuervo on which to cultivate agave.

And the reason for all this background..?

Let’s call it a 250th Anniversary..! When you have an epic date to celebrate, you mark it with a very special, limited-edition ultra-premium tequila.

Jose Cuervo 250 Anniversario.

The Cuervo family has been making Extra Anéjo premium tequila from blue agave planted on the very same land from that original 1758 land grant. These tequilas are blended from Cuervo’s best of the best in their reserve and aged for a minimum of three years in new American Oak barrels. For this occasion the master distiller selected the best of these Extra Anéjo tequilas, blended them together and further aged the final product in Sherry casks from Spain for 10 months. The end result is one fine tequila..!

The packaging befits the product, as each decanter comes in an elegant oak gift box and the bottle itself is etched sequentially to certify authenticity.

Price… $2,250


Bentley’s New Big... The Mulsanne

Bentley Motors, the venerable automobile company from Crewe, England, has unveiled their latest flagship grand-tourer…the Mulsanne.

Named after a portion of the Circuit de la Sarthe racetrack in France (better known as “Le Mans”), the new Bentley manages to be an elegant design, despite its sheer size. A tasteful mix of modern Bentley design and family heritage retro, the Mulsanne is guaranteed to have a ne plus ultra road presence.

Mechanical details are few and far between at the moment, with the Bentley folks promising full disclosure at the official public reveal during the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. What can be gathered at the moment points to a revised version of the company’s 6.75 liter V-8 providing the power.

Pricing is likely to be in the $300,000 range for a Mulsanne to call your own. We look forward to the arrival of this stately four door due in showrooms mid-2010.

By the way, the teaser reveal was at the fabled Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Monterey, California. It was here that the first production Mulsanne was sold at auction to an unknown bidder for $550,000. Proceeds went to charity…