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.
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.
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.
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.
Extra virgin olive oil is a staple of healthful Mediterranean cuisine. A glance at olive oils in the supermarket reveals a bewildering array of choices. How do we choose the best oil for each use? On a recent afternoon at Annabelle, guests were treated to a seminar by olive oil sommeliers Tassos C. Kyriakides and Jill Myers. 'The variety of olive oils and their complexity can enhance a cook’s culinary curiosity, while its addition to cuisine can have a positive impact on consumer health parameters,’ Kyriakides says. To begin, pour oil into a (preferably dark) glass and warm it with your palms to room temperature; a good olive oil has fruitiness and a balance between spiciness and bitterness. As the group sipped six oils, cleansing the palate with green apple between tastings, a sense of the variety and complexity of the flavours emerged. The cultivar, terroir, and even adjacent foliage can affect an oil’s taste. Mild oils pair well with grilled fish and seafood, while robust oils pair well with red meat, aged cheeses, and stews. To emphasise their health benefits, Myers introduced three additional oils abundant in polyphenols, which have been shown in some small studies and lab experiments to help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. Kyriakides, a research scientist at Yale University School of Public Health, recommends a daily dose. Direct sunlight, heat, and oxygen all degrade the quality of olive oil, so the sommeliers recommend storage in a cool, dark space with the cap tightly sealed. As your appreciation of the variety of olive oils increases, you may find yourself adding bottle after bottle to the pantry!
The Pafos Forest, a vast wooded area along the western slope of the Troodos Mountains, lies about 40 kilometres northeast of the town of Pafos. The area holds a variety of interesting attractions that can be visited on a day trip by car. Pass through Cedar Valley and marvel at the canopy of Cedrus brevifolia, a variety of cedar found only in this region of Cyprus; the branches of these trees spread in broad horizontal layers. Further into the forest, you will find the Stavros tis Psokas forestry station next to a river by the same name. The station sits at the head of hiking trails and hosts a shaded picnic area; the building, a former monastery, shelters a restaurant and other facilities. Nearby is a fenced-in sanctuary for Cyprus mouflons, a diminutive wild sheep unique to Cyprus. The male sheep sport distinctive curved horns. On the perimeter of the forest sit several villages. In Fyti, visit a museum devoted to the region’s weaving tradition: Observe colourful Fythkiotika fabrics being woven on a loom with methods dating to the Middle Ages. In the vicinity of Panagia, stop at the eighteenth-century Chrysorogiatissa Monastery for a tour of its icon collection. Just one kilometre down the road is the Kolios Winery, where you can sample premium wines made from local grape varieties. The roads wend their way through the woods, so be sure to pack a map or navigation aid. On request, guest services can organise a picnic basket for your woodland journey