14/12/2018
The word ‘brunch’ comes from the combination of parts of two other words—‘br’ from ‘breakfast’ and ‘unch’ from ‘lunch’. The term is known as a portmanteau word because it carries (as in a suitcase) the meanings of both ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’ in one word (the concept of the ‘portmanteau word’ is the brainchild of Lewis Carroll, author of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, but that is another story). ‘Brunch’ was first used in 1895 by British writer Guy Beringer, who made a plea for an alternative to the heavy, meat-laden after-church meals then popular on Sundays. The concept developed as a meal served in the late morning to early afternoon, combining elements of traditional breakfast and lunch fare, and usually including an alcoholic beverage (Beringer was sympathetic to those who had slept late after a Saturday night carousing). Brunch gained popularity in Edwardian England before spreading to the U.S. in the 1930s; now it is enjoyed worldwide. At Ouranos, Annabelle’s new-build rooftop lounge, we offer classic Sunday brunch items (egg preparations, salads, sides, and sweets) with a culinary twist: try our beetroot fried eggs with sesame crust, green vegetables, and pickles, for instance. Order individually or in the Mediterranean sharing style. And now, for the festive season, Ouranos offers a Christmas Day Brunch and a New Year’s Day Brunch. Each is a four-course, fixed price meal with fresh orange juice, infused water, and your choice of coffee or tea (and full bar service is available, of course). Join us!
13/12/2018
It is a common sight during the festive season: a miniature structure, usually a house, made of gingerbread. How is it made? At Annabelle, baker Doros Nearchou literally took the technique to new heights this season, leading his team in constructing a gingerbread clock tower for the hotel’s central stair hall (in previous years, he has built a boat and a train). Carpenters formed the structure of the tower by constructing five tiered platforms from recycled wood. Engineers then formed opaque window panels, wired the interior for lighting, and installed a motor for the rotating top. Meanwhile in the kitchen, bakers prepared gingerbread biscuits, using moulds to make the interlocking brick shapes for the tower’s base. Decorating with gingerbread is like creating an edible mosaic. First, coat the entire surface with icing sugar; this will maintain a separation between the edible and inedible parts. Next, use icing sugar as a kind of mortar, applying it to the back of each piece before fixing it on the base. Icing sugar can also be used to form decorative elements, such as icicles. Seeds and spices, such as saffron, sesame, black cumin, and oats, can be applied to give colour and texture. Annabelle’s clock tower is unique and features a clock for each of the world’s continents, prompting us to think about people all around the world during the holidays. The build involved team members from throughout the hotel along with seven student bakers and encompassed 600 hours of work. After Christmas, children are invited to remove a piece of gingerbread and enjoy a tasty treat!
11/12/2018
Zivania is a distillation unique to Cyprus and a staple of the taverna menu. For hundreds of years, it was made in the village and served as a welcome drink along with almonds, walnuts, Cyprus delight, or small appetisers like pork sausage flavoured with oranges (indeed, this tradition continues today). It is strong (about 45% alcohol by volume), colourless, and carries an aroma of raisins. It is always served ice-cold. Zivania can be understood as a by-product of the annual winemaking process. After the local grape varieties xynisteri and mavro are pressed for their juices, the residue—or pomace—is fermented and mixed with high-quality dry wines. Modern producers place this mixture in a stainless-steel tank and distil it with steam, following strict guidelines set forth by the government. Since 2004, zivania has been protected by European Union regulations as a product only to be made in Cyprus. Indeed, though other regional distillations like arak and eau-de-vie are made through a similar process, zivania is made exclusively from grapes and thus benefits from the island’s unique terroir and climate. If zivania is produced using another wine variety, that must be indicated on the label (e.g., zivania cabernet). Because zivania is a popular accompaniment to meze dinners, Annabelle’s seaside taverna Mediterraneo offers the Zivania Meze Menu during the summer months. The nine-course meal includes cold meats and cheeses, several preparations of olives, a variety of local sausages, grilled meats, and sweets—all expertly matched with zivania. It’s an experience you can only enjoy in Cyprus.
05/12/2018
A classic cocktail can be a familiar friend on the bar menu, yet it is usually the legacy of an innovative bartender. In the spirit of innovation, Ouranos presents a collection of eight Wavering Classics - cocktails that pay homage to their classic recipes while diverging from those recipes in creative ways. The Americano, for example, was first served in Milan’s Caffe Campari in the 1860s. Traditionally a combination of Campari, sweet red vermouth, and soda water, the Americano finds a new zip at Ouranos with the substitution of pink grapefruit soda for soda water. The Negroni emerged in 1919 when an Italian count requested a strong Americano; his bartender substituted gin for soda water, creating an instant classic. Our Negroni goes a step further, as the mixologist adds bitters and lemon zest to create a more complex flavour. A Daiquiri is typically a combination of white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup; we use honey syrup rather than simple syrup and add bitter lemon, yielding a heavier, more balanced taste. The Last Word comes from Prohibition-Era Detroit and combines equal parts gin, lime juice, green chartreuse, and maraschino liqueur; our version substitutes lemon for lime juice and uses kirschwasser instead of the maraschino, giving the drink a peppy astringency. Whether it’s making a simple addition (like the bit of cardamom we put in our Mai Tai) or an intriguing substitution (St. Germain for maraschino liqueur in the Aviation), our bartenders are seeking to put a new twist on old favourites.
22/11/2018
Galvanic therapy using state-of-the-art devices from Opatra is featured in the Gift from the Gods Facial at Ouranos Wellbeing Spa. The devices deliver painless electrical charges to the face: positively-charged ions remove dead skin and toxins, while negatively-charged ions stimulate collagen production and enable serums to penetrate deeply. The benefits of galvanic therapy are best appreciated in the context of the complete, ninety-minute treatment. It begins with analysis using the Skin Analyzer Pro System, a machine that uses photographic imaging (visible light, polarized light, and the UV spectrum) to examine wrinkles, spots, pores, sun damage, and a variety of blemishes. Using the multispectral images, your therapist develops a bespoke skincare treatment to rejuvenate your face. The therapist applies an appropriate cleanser from QMS to remove any makeup or pollution. This will be followed by a deeper cleanse with an alpha hydroxy essence that breaks down dead skin cells. Next comes an enzymatic cream peeling and a rinse. The application of an algae mask completes the removal of dead cells. Now the face is ready for the application of collagen—and galvanic therapy works its magic. Using devices specially designed for the face, neck, and eye areas, the therapist delivers the electrical current that draws the serum into the skin. The treatment ends with the application of an appropriate moisturiser. The Gift from the Gods Facial revitalises ageing skin, yielding a face that is tightened, uplifted, and smoothed. The devices and cosmetics are available for purchase—so you can take your bespoke regimen home with you.
02/11/2018
Maratheftiko is an indigenous grape variety that has only recently been cultivated to produce premium wines. Traditionally, this variety was grown within vineyards of mostly mavro grapes to improve the tint and body of the mavro. In the days when grapes were sold by weight, maratheftiko was out of favour because it produces small, light fruit. Yet many winemakers now consider it the top red variety of Cyprus and are seeking to harness its potential. A maratheftiko wine usually has a shimmering dark red colouring with a hint of blue. Often likened to merlot, the wine exhibits delicate flowery aromas and rich flavourings of cherry and dark chocolate. It is a challenge to produce it. The vine is prone to intense flowering and uneven ripening, yielding bunches of differently sized berries. Unlike most grape varieties, maratheftiko cannot self-pollinate. Consequently, most growers plant maratheftiko with spurtiko, a white variety that flowers at the same time and helps with the pollination of the maratheftiko. Once harvested, the grapes can be used to form an array of wines, from delightful rosés to mature reds. Maratheftiko responds well to aging in oak barrels and in the bottle, too. According to George Kassianos, sommelier for Annabelle, ‘Maratheftiko pairs well with a variety of foods, including lamb kleftiko, roast turkey, mild to medium-hard cheeses, baked pasta dishes like lasagne, and spaghetti and meatballs.’ The wine list of Mediterraneo, recently re-launched to emphasise Cypriot and Greek wines, offers several worthy selections of maratheftiko.