Hong Kong's beau monde are talking about a wonder drink the French first discovered in the 1700s. Contrex, a natural mineral water from Contrexeville, north of Paris, apparently has amazing weight-loss powers. 'It really works,' says one Hong Kong-based convert who recently returned from a few days at the Contrex mineral spa in Contrexeville. A calorie-controlled diet is mandatory, of course, but the super-high levels of calcium and magnesium mean dieters do not sacrifice crucial minerals in the thin-and-trim quest. Calcium, which is responsible for healthy hair, bones and teeth, and magnesium, which improves immune systems and reduces stress, are usually the first to go in most low-calorie diets. The full story is being told at a Contrex Beauty Slim and Trim Rendezvous seminar at the Miramar Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui on October 12. Two sessions will be held - at noon and at 4 pm. In addition to extolling the virtues of the water, the seminar, exclusively for women, will include a fashion show and exercise advice. Attendance is free. Bookings can be made on 2520-5821. Contrex is available from Seibu and Eurogestion (HK) Ltd (tel: 2805-2262). Cases of 12 bottles cost $170. Barbecue with class The Peninsula barbecues begin again this week. Celebrating cooler evenings and the best use of the hotel's harbour-view sun deck, the barbecue dinners will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 pm to 9.30 pm until the end of winter. The dinner, to include seafood, salads and dessert, costs $420 for adults and $310 for children. Reservations on 2366-6251. Fusion food on paper Fusion food concepts do not generate much excitement in Asia's hippest food circles. But the idea of marrying Asian flavours or cooking styles with Western ingredients and culinary habits is still hot property among high-profile, more commercial ventures. Closely following the opening of the much-hyped fusion restaurant, Vong, at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, former Hilton Hotel executive chef Wini Brugger has launched his new book, Asian Fusion. Described as 'a process of culinary discovery', the high-gloss cookbook entices budding chefs to extend their repertoires 'into culinary creations that are uninhibited, flexible, innovative and wild'. Asia Fusion (Pacific Century Publishers) is available from major book stores for $299. Green tea just the tonic Green tea may be better than red wine in helping to prevent cancer, heart disease and other illnesses, according to research presented at the recent meeting of the American Chemical Society in Las Vegas. Adding to the growing body of research which maintains red wine has many health benefits, the green tea theory says the hot drink contains more powerful antioxidants than red wine, and vitamins A or E, which are the other antioxidants swallowed by the health-conscious. Pep up for soda flavour Popular soda 7-Up is to have a taste overhaul emphasising its lemon-lime flavour. The idea is to boost sales, although the company has denied the taste adjustment is an attempt to imitate the best-selling Sprite.