14/08/2018
It is a staple of the Cypriot bar menu—the brandy sour. The drink some call the national cocktail has its origins in Platres, the mountain resort made popular by the British in the nineteenth-century under colonial rule. Enter King Farouk of Egypt. Known for his opulent taste and lavish lifestyle, he made Platres a frequent stop in his travels away from the scorching Egyptian heat. King Farouk enjoyed Western cocktails, but as a Muslim monarch he did not want to be seen drinking alcohol in public. His bartender in Platres devised a clever ploy—a cocktail that looks like an iced tea! The base of the drink is Cyprus brandy, a double distillation of wine from the Cypriot grape variety xynisteri aged in oak barrels. To that is added squash from Cyprus lemons, which have a yellow-green rind and a bitter taste (British author Lawrence Durrell named his memoir Bitter Lemons of Cyprus in their honour). Next come two drops of aromatic bitters; the bitters add complexity and intensity to the taste and temper the acidity of the citrus and the harshness of the alcohol. The long drink is finished with soda water and served with ice (like an iced tea, naturally). Now the brandy sour is a beloved refreshment on a summer evening—and one cocktail enthusiasts are proud to order. Ready to try it? The Byz Bar offers this and other classic cocktails on a nightly basis.
08/08/2018
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Pafos Aphrodite Festival, which brings an internationally renowned opera production to the harbour during the first weekend of every September. The medieval castle provides the romantic background for the outdoor performance; grandstands are assembled for comfortable seating in an amphitheatre format. ‘The Barber of Seville,’ Gioachino Rossini’s celebrated comic opera of 1816, is this year’s production. Set in seventeenth-century Spain, the opera shows how Figaro (barber and jack of all trades) helps Count Almaviva to win the hand of the lovely Rosina. Rosina is the ward of Dr Bartolo, who also wants her as his bride and devises various schemes to keep her away from the count. False identities and ridiculous ruses set the comic tone. The production comes from Italian opera company C.I.A.L.M./Teatro Lirico Italiano under the direction of Lev Pugliese; the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra provides musical support. The two-act performance is in Italian with English, Greek, and Russian subtitles. As the festival is only a ten-minute stroll from Annabelle, why not plan an evening of drinks, dining, and theatre? Enjoy panoramic views of the castle and harbour from Ouranos over a cocktail and light meal. Then head out for a night at the opera. The programme starts at 20:00 and runs three nights, 31 August and 1-2 September.
Tickets are available from the festival website contact Guest Services to make food and beverage reservations.
03/08/2018
It is a classic found on every cocktail menu—the gin and tonic. For travellers, it’s a safety drink, delivering refreshment just like the one from home. Yet, following the gin renaissance of recent years, in which hundreds of new gins have come to market, it’s time to think beyond your comfort zone and explore new possibilities. At Ouranos, Annabelle’s new rooftop lounge, bar manager Alexandro Mavrikis offers a selection of 50 distinctive gins. ‘We’re not trying to impress with a big number—we just want to cover the range of the palate,’ he says. Indeed, with its variety of gins, garnishes, and tonics, Ouranos offers an incredible 650 gin and tonic combinations. How to decide which one is for you? Start by talking with your server about your gin preferences. A London Dry gin like Beefeater will have a light forest scent and the taste of juniper berries, while Thomas Dakin gin takes you deeper into the forest through its blend of 11 botanicals. Or, you may like the fruity taste of G Vine, which features distilled grapes and only a trace of juniper. The Japanese gin Wa Bi is a truly global creation—its base is half sake. Next choose the garnish (which can boost, counterbalance, or change the flavour of the gin) and a premium tonic. One popular version combines Tanqueray 10, pink grapefruit zest, Szechuan red pepper, ice, and Fever Tree tonic for a refreshing blend of citrus and spice notes. Choose your combination and gin up this well-loved cocktail!
23/07/2018
The Greek philosopher Zeno wrote, “Wellbeing is attained by little and little, and nevertheless is no little thing itself.” Ouranos Wellbeing Spa takes this philosophy to heart—building treatments that, little by little, help you obtain a sense of balance and good health. So, too, do the chefs at the adjoining Ouranos restaurant. The dishes there all provide “a good balance of nutrients and use ingredients that give you more energy,” says Executive Chef Laurent Brun. The poke bowls, for example, carefully balance 35% vegetables, 20% grains, 20% cereals, 15% low-fat protein, and 10% sauce. Now the spa and restaurant have teamed up to provide special packages that match treatments with drinks and dishes for focused wellbeing outcomes. For example, those seeking to detoxify will start with the Sea to Sky Cleanse, an organic body scrub followed by a wrap with algae; afterwards, enjoy a Detox smoothie (featuring mango, spinach, coconut milk, ginger, honey, and quinoa seeds) with the Prawn and Avocado Poke Bowl. For an experience that soothes hormonal stress, reduces water retention, and furthers weight-loss goals, try the Pontos Body Wrap followed by the Skinny smoothie (a blend of banana, berries, almond milk, yoghurt, honey, and chia seeds) and Spicy Grilled Tofu. The Aegle Detoxifying Scrub is an invigorating mineral-rich salt crystal scrub that purifies the body and boosts energy fields; it is complemented by a Green smoothie (apple, lettuce, water, honey, and Himalayan pink salt) and Argentinian Style Corn Fed Chicken. Why not spend an afternoon focused on the pursuit of wellbeing? Call the spa on 26885000 for reservations.
16/07/2018
The culinary traditions of Cyprus developed around what is available on the island. While fresh ingredients are essential, “the herbs create the taste,” says Marios Efstathiou, Annabelle’s sous chef. He uses fresh herbs, grown on the hotel’s grounds, and adjusts menus seasonally. At seaside taverna Mediterraneo, cooks follow traditional recipes but experiment with herbs to create outstanding flavourings. Vouttimata—a selection of Cypriot dips—is a case in point. The tzatziki is started by infusing fresh mint in cold milk; then garlic, cucumber juice, and yoghurt are blended in to create a smooth sauce. Moungra is made from cauliflower. After blanching the cauliflower, the cook creates a dough of flour, water, yeast, and mustard seeds; the mixture ferments and preserves the cauliflower. And Mediterraneo’s fava is made with black beluga lentils and seasoned with ground toasted cumin seeds and lemon. Seasonal dishes in July include a mint and basil pesto made with rocket and parsley. Courgette flowers are in season too; they are stuffed with feta, thyme, red pepper, olives, and parsley before being coated with bread crumbs and deep fried. Taverna meze is all about sharing—trying a wide variety of dishes and comparing notes. The chicken gyros allow diners to experiment with taste, too. Chicken is marinated in fresh herbs—thyme and oregano—along with white wine and olive oil and then grilled over charcoal. It is presented on the skewer, so diners can create their own flavourings by stuffing the pita with the vegetables and condiments of their choice.
04/07/2018
Pafos Harbour is lined with a promenade, making for an easy stroll through the lively seaside community. Step out of the Annabelle gardens and turn right, toward the centre of the harbour. As you walk, you’ll see sunbathers on lounges and swimmers in the shallow tidepools of the sea. Cafes, restaurants, ice cream stands, and shops also ring the coast. As you approach the marina, look to the right—you’ll see the entrance to Pafos Archaeological Park. You can easily spend half a day viewing the Roman ruins here, including an ancient theatre and the remains of stately villas featuring colourful mosaic floors. Continuing to the marina, you will find boat excursions on offer along with other marine activities. You can also observe commercial fishers returning with the day’s catch. Soon you’ll arrive at the centrepiece of the harbour—the medieval castle. Built by the Franks in the 13th century, it was later modified and then destroyed by the Venetians, who were afraid the invading Ottomans would use it to consolidate power. The Ottomans eventually prevailed, restoring it in 1592. This structure and some nearby ruins are all that remain of the medieval defensive structure surrounding the harbour. Visitors to the castle (€2.50 per adult) can observe the small prison cells off the central hall, which serves as a visitors’ centre and gallery space—the current show is “Akamas: Nature, Myth, Man.” Climb to the roof to enjoy the panoramic view and retrace the steps of your journey.