But no one said that Earth Hour requires everyone to sit in the dark and feel glum about the plight of the Earth.
At the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket last Saturday, all non-essential lights and electrical equipment were turned off and affable GM Peter Komposch joined some of his guests and a smattering of local residents at a long table next to the beach for a four-course alfresco dinner by candlelight.
The dinner, guests were promised, would consist of “carefully chosen, locally grown, seasonal and/or organic ingredients”.
Come Earth Hour the lights were doused and the diners had to manage with candles gleaming off the glassware, and making eating something of a stab in the dark or, to look at it more positively, making every mouthful a delightful surprise.
Sadly, not too many people along Bangtao Bay seemed to be following suit. The homes looming above Surin Beach, in particular, blazed with light throughout the hour.
The candles were just bright enough to glean information from the menu, which started with pan-seared Bangtao squid and excellent Andaman scallops, with greens, shitake mushrooms, a touch of Tartare and parsley oil. To set it off were glasses of Spumante Brut, a crisp Pinot-Chardonnay sparkler from Italy.
Executive Chef Silvano Amolini and Executive Sous-chef Pachon Pakham followed this up with duck ragout ravioli with rosemary jus and foie gras. Perhaps not locally grown, that last one, but no one walked out in protest. In fact, there were not even any comments beyond wordless mumbles of pleasure.
The ragout came with a large Cab Sauvignon from the Rothschild vineyards in Chile.
The main course was local sea bass with a crust of Thai herds, coconut lime sauce, curried mashed potato and stir-fried bok choy. Juicy and well matched with a Riesling/Gewurztraminer from Hardy’s.
Finally, the kitchen went strictly local with the Dusit version of the great Thai favourite, khao niew mamuang – mango sticky rice – washed down
with Sunshine White, a Chardonnay-Chenin Blanc combination from South Australia.
Fine food, highly palatable, well-matched wines, and for entertainment the delightful singing voice of Dusit resident singer Donna, who has an enormous repertoire.
As the dinner came to an end, storm clouds built over the green lights of the squid boats off the coast, with spectacular displays of lightning.
Yet – a testament to Mr Komposch’s excellent contacts, perhaps – the storm simply sat out there over the sea and came no closer to the Dusit, a reminder to the more thoughtful of the raw power of nature and a hint that it’s time for all us meddling monkeys to stop messing about.
And that includes you lot above Surin Beach.