We've all heard of those grand Chinese banquets with innumerable courses including delicacies like sea slugs and bird's nests, but at Madrid Fusion this year I caught a glimpse of the future. Goods from China dominate our shops but my suspicion is that Chinese food is going to take over our restaurant menus - and I don't mean chop suey and egg fried rice.
Fortuitously, it was mostly thanks to my geographical location that my whimsical flirtation became transformed into a more solid 'marriage' and I was finally restored to terra firma, even if it meant descending from Botticelli and Caravaggio to that less glamorous level of my fellow mortals where gunfire has raged and soldiers once fell for the highest stakes.
We've all got resolutions for 2014, some of them we might even keep beyond January. But if you are looking for something new this coming year, how about attending salons? Building on an illustrious heritage, the modern salons are cultural showcases that cover a range of subjects from the worlds of science, the arts and psychology.
Summer is almost over, and the nights are looming ever nearer: when September rolls round, many of us are already seeking to escape the onslaught of a British autumn. But whether you're in the mood for a short city break, or fancy a longer, luxurious getaway, why not make the most of the September harvest while on holiday?
I'm at a party and have ended up talking to gastro-bores. Foodies. I can be a bit foody when the mood takes me, but this conversation, lubricated by alcohol and MasterChef, is getting out of control. Predictably, the group are trying to impress each other with wildly implausible meals - stuff they just "whip up" at home. Yeah right.
Travelling through the Istrian region of Croatia, you'd be forgiven for wondering if you'd stumbled into rural Italy at first glance. Lush expanses of carefully preened produce are everyday scenery in this part of the world. Olive groves and vineyards stretch out in every direction, disturbed only by the occasional mountain and sea view.