Pafos played an important role in the spread of Christianity: Saint Paul and Saint Bartholomew visited in 45 CE and converted Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus, making Cyprus the first area in the Roman Empire to be overseen by a Christian. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Bishopric of Pafos possesses a rich trove of art and artefacts documenting the history of Christianity in the region. This collection is housed in the Ecclesiastical Museum of Pafos in the village of Geroskipou. Recently expanded to include the contents of the Byzantine Museum (formerly housed in the Bishop’s palace), the museum holds over one hundred icons collected from chapels throughout the diocese. Among these is the oldest known icon in Cyprus, a portrait of Saint Marina with scenes of her martyrdom dating to the seventh or eighth century; on its reverse is a thirteenth-century icon of Saint George. One gallery features a complete iconostasis—a screen bearing icons that separates the sanctuary from the nave—from the seventeenth century. Among the oldest items on display are a wine pitcher, a pot, and oil lamps crafted in metal in the fifth and sixth centuries. The collection includes wall paintings, wood carvings, and vestments for clerics. You can see a fifteenth-century manuscript of the gospels, a seventeenth-century printing of the Bible, and Ottoman documents. Items in the half-dozen galleries are marked by signage in Greek and English; the museum’s shop offers gallery guidebooks in several languages along with other books and icons.
Mediterraneo, Annabelle’s seaside taverna, is introducing a special menu of traditional Cypriot meze dishes for Friday dinner. Popular throughout the Mediterranean, meze dinners feature a series of small dishes shared around the table. Mediterraneo’s eleven-part menu follows a specifically Cypriot approach, with recipes and foods sourced from local villages. Among the appetisers on offer, for example, are tsakistes, young green olives smashed and seasoned with olive oil, lemon, garlic, and coriander; these are typically prepared after the first pass through the olive grove during harvest time. Our village salad includes pickled caper leaves and seasonal greens (glistrida, louvana, wild rocket). The section of the menu labelled ‘Allantika kai Poikle’ is devoted to dried meats and pickles. You’ll find salted and sundried goat from Mandria village and pork leg that has been salted and marinated in red wine before being pressed and smoked; enjoy the meats with homemade pickled vegetables. The popular technique ‘Gizi Mizi’ involves cooking under a bed of hot charcoal; try halloumi cheese from Galataria village warmed under the coals with lemon thyme. The Cypriot barbecue-rotisserie machine is called a ‘foukou’, and we use it to make several dishes featuring pork sourced from Mandria village and marinated in village wine from Arsos. For ‘Bobasto’—the last meal—we treat you to rice pudding with dried fruits, nuts, and cinnamon. Throughout the evening, listen to our ensemble of musicians perform old Greek songs (usually accompanied by piano, guitar, and bouzouki) as you savour the cuisine of a bygone era.
Annabelle’s meandering pool features a grotto—a sheltered space behind a cascading waterfall—where you can enjoy a respite from the sun. Just next to it is another source of refreshment: The Grotto Bar. Swim up for a spell (we provide underwater stools) or join us on the terrace. We offer full bar service along with speciality drinks perfectly suited for a hot summer’s day. Our menu of signature cocktails includes the Ouzo Cinnamon Spritzer (a mixture of Ouzo Plomari, cinnamon syrup, pink grapefruit soda, and lime juice) and the Watermelon Daiquiri (a blend of Bacardi rum, fresh watermelon, watermelon syrup, and lime juice). Frozen cocktails are an excellent way to beat the heat; try the Frozen Silk, which is made with rum, fresh bananas, coconut cream, and chocolate syrup. If you’re concerned about imbibing too much alcohol in the sun, sip one of our low-alcoholic iced teas; the peach iced tea with pineapple segments, maraschino cherries, and vodka is a great refresher. Non-alcoholic options include iced teas (try the lemon iced tea with kiwi and banana segments), iced coffees (the ever popular frappe and espresso freddo), and revitalizing fresh fruit combinations. Our little guests will find a mocktail menu just for them, including the Banana Colada (a whole banana with pineapple juice, coconut cream, and cream). Savour a light snack as you listen to the splash of the waterfall. The Grotto Bar is open between the hours of 10:00 and 17:00 from April through November.
When the sun beams warmly and a breeze is blowing off the sea, a sandy beach beckons you for a day of relaxation and recreation. Fortunately, there are several options near Annabelle—just jump in a car and head up the coast. If you fancy a busy scene with lots of recreational amenities, stop at the municipal strand at Coral Bay. You’ll find row after row of sunbeds with umbrellas and a variety of watercraft for rent. At the entrance, the municipality offers a snack bar, a kiosk, a pool table, and a foosball table. For something more subdued, try the beach at Agios Giorgios. The beach lies in a protected cove, its shallow waters particularly suitable for families with young children. The harbour serves local fishers as well as the Pafos International Sailing Club, which welcomes visitors to join them on Thursdays and Sundays at 11:00—contact information is posted at the beachside café. Take a walk on the network of paths through the dunes and gaze at St. George’s Island. For something remote and relatively unscathed, head into the Akamas and visit the shore at Lara Bay. This area is a breeding ground for sea turtles and is protected: umbrellas and sunbeds are not allowed. Enjoy a swim in the crystalline waters and gaze at the rocky shoreline. Accessed by unpaved roads, the area nevertheless has two restaurants inland. You can also combine a visit to Lara Bay with a hike on the Avakas Gorge Trail.
In mountain villages where the Spring climate is cool and moist yet not prone to frost, roses are cultivated for the production of rose water. The Damask rose, a variety imported years ago from the Damascus region, is particularly favoured for its fragrance and colour. In the late Spring, villagers wake before dawn to harvest the petals whilst they remain cool and dewy from the night air. The petals are then quickly mixed with water and placed in a sealed cauldron. As the cauldron is heated, steam carries the rose essence through a pipe to another vessel, where it cools and liquefies. The distillation is then poured into dark-coloured glass bottles and stored in a cool, dark place to prevent its deterioration from the sun’s light. Rose water is a common ingredient in Cypriot pastries. Bakers use it, for instance, in creating the syrups for baklava and daktyla (lady’s fingers). Mahalepi, the cool, translucent pudding, is often drenched with rose water to add scent and sweetness and a lovely pink glow. Children enjoy rose water in a glass of cold milk; they can also be cajoled to take a bitter medicine once it is similarly sweetened. Rose water has long been valued for cosmetic purposes, such as cleansing skin and shampooing hair. It is also used in the preparation of rose-flavoured aperitifs and liqueurs. At Annabelle’s Byz Bar, you can try our take on it, the rose petal mojito: the rose cordial and rose petals give this tangy cocktail a distinctively Cypriot sweetness.
A glass of chilled rosé is a popular companion with food on sultry summer days. Most consumers are familiar with the style of rosés produced in Provençe in the south of France; these pink-orange wines tend to be dry yet fruity, light yet zesty, and pair well with green salads, grilled seafood, and pasta flavoured with garlic. Rosé wines produced in Cyprus have a different profile due to the indigenous grape varieties available (such as maratheftiko, lefkara, and mavro) and the maceration methods chosen. Generally, they possess a pale ruby colouring and more tannins than the Provence style—making them more food friendly and especially companionable with Cypriot cuisine. Annabelle offers several options. The rosé from the Kyperounda winery in the Troodos mountains is made with cabernet, grenache, and shiraz grapes and has a spicy, fruity flavour reminiscent of dark cherries; it pairs well with vegetarian dishes, köfte, and barbecued meats. The Pampela rosé produced by the Vouni Panayia winery in western Pafos combines the indigenous maratheftiko and mavro grape varieties; with its medium colour and raspberry-cherry flavours, it is a good companion with meze dips, fish, and stuffed vine leaves. The Tsangarides winery in Lemona village prepares a rosé with maratheftiko and shiraz grapes that is medium dry and tastes of strawberries and cherries; it goes well with Asian cuisine and can also be enjoyed as an aperitif. Rosé should be served chilled between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius in the summer months. With the right food pairing, it is a refreshing summer treat.