The holiday season is full of special treats like gingerbread houses and egg nog that you only get on this special occasion. The delicacies reminded me of one of my favourite resort treats in the Maldives, Soneva Jani “Souffle Station” (!). It featured one of its Soneva Stars visiting chefs Marianne Lumb from the UK who prepared custom souffles to guests at the main restaurant. A coup le souffle from a coup of a soufflé.
International Pillow Day today. Just the time to settle in for an extra special slumber. And to help you on your way, Amilla treats its guest to sleep pillow goodies. Each take pillow chockies to a new level made with ingredients meant to facilitate your dozing. Each one includes its own message with a sleep tip, eg. “Increase your exposure to natural light to help readjust your sleeping patterns.”. They include:
- Tart Cherry Chocolate – Tart cherry juice has been proven to increase the body’s levels of melatonin, a natural hormone which helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle.
- Roselle Macaroon – Roselle, a type of hibiscus, has many nutritional and medicinal values. This natural antioxidant may help reduce blood pressure and aid in the digestion of complex carbohydrates.
- Coconut Turmeric Shots – Coconut can help regulate sleep hormones and provides lauric acid, linked to more restful sleep, while turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.” – Willie Wonka
- “Six Senses Laamu has started to produce handcrafted chocolate bars. 100% organic Criollo beans and brown sugar from a Sri Lankan are turned into a new Laamu chocolate. Their chocolate alchemist Alvina produces different flavors including Maldivian chili, lemongrass, cinnamon and dried fruit.”
With this post, I’m adding a tag for “Chocolate”, appropriate with the Maldives being the quintessential Bounty Bar destination.
It turns out that an alternative to “iron” for a sixth anniversary gift is sugar. One of the sweetest treats I have found in the Maldives is Gangehi’s hand-made Coconut Chocolates. They are like prestige versions of Bounty bars. When I was young, we always had Whitman Sampler “box of chocs” at special celebrations. And you always want to avoid the coconut one. But coconut can be an acquired exotic taste and now it is one of my favourites.
“Only made with chocolates…Created by our Pastry Chef for one of our loyal divers at Euro-Divers”
I reminded me of one of Heston Blumenthal’s signature dishes at the world famous Fat Duck restaurant called ‘Sound of the Sea’ (“[eaten] while listening to to waves crash through an ipod located in a giant sea shell. The dish was presented on a two tier wooden and glass board and was topped with sashimi of brilliantly fresh tuna, halibut and mackerel on top of ‘sand’ made out of spiced tapioca and a shellfish foam”). The Full Moon has confined itself to one main ingredient – chocolate!
Happy Valentines Day!
A meal out in a romantic venue. A box of chocolates. How about a meal of chocolate?? In paradise.
“Our unique underground wine cellar, showcasing more than six hundred varieties of wine from more than thirty regions around the world, has recently had a truly unique experience added. In addition to our artisanal cheese and deli room, you may now also experience our handmade, gourmet chocolate cave. Our Executive pastry chef has created a chocolate menu using only the finest chocolate, with some very interesting and unusual flavours… Have you ever tried liquid milk chocolate with earl grey tea and mango, or dark chocolate with chilli? What about chocolate truffles flavoured with coconut and coriander, passion fruit and caramel, orange and cardamom, to name but a few…?
A fuller list is provided below, but to extend taste sensations, Soneva Gili also couples bottled treats with the boxed ones…
“To further the experience even more, our Sommelier would be delighted to create a fantastic chocolate and wine pairing which may be enjoyed before or after dinner. Wine and chocolate are natural companions; they both have very complex flavours and matching these flavours is half the fun! ‘Sip the wine, let it fill your mouth, note the wines complexity and which flavours come to mind. Now take a small bite of the chocolate, let it sit on your tongue, when it just begins to melt sip the wine again and swirl together with the chocolate.’”
- For dark and bitter chocolate – Full bodied reds (eg. 2006 Shiraz Coriole, McLaran Vale, Australia, 2006 The Chocolate Block, Franschoek, South Africa0
- For dark and bitter sweet chocolate – Sweet fortified (eg. Starboard Batch 88, Quady’s, Madera, California USA, Pedro Ximénez, San Emilio, Lustau, Andalusia, Spain)
- For milk chocolate – Lighter, fresher (eg. 2007 Viognier, Kumkani, Stellenbosch, South Africa)
A sample of the confections includes…
- Sambuca chocolate
- Lemongrass chocolate
- Passion fruit caramel
- Coconut coriander
- Fennel seed chocolate
- Mango ginger
- Malibu chocolate
- Cardamom chocolate
- Cinnamon apple
- Irish coffee
- Orange chocolate
- Green tea chocolate
- Whisky caramel
- Star anise
- Yoghurt lassi
- Chilli chocolate
- Mint chocolate
- Hazelnut chocolate
- Roasted almond
- Rum & raisin
- Calvados chocolate
- Olive oil chocolate
- Goats cheese
- Salted caramel
Travelscore Magazine’s blog has a great comprehensive review of the place (where the pictures are from).
Happy Birthday Lori!
Today my companion in all my adventures celebrates the major milestone of her 50th birthday. Lori was the one who was initially responsible for my immersion into all things Maldives. After living in the United Kingdom for nearly a year, we hit the dreary, grey winter months. After many weeks without seeing the sun, Lori confronted me with the ultimatum, “Bruce, either you pay for a tropical holiday or you pay for psychotherapy. Either way you are going to pay, but might I suggest that you might enjoy the tropical holiday more.” My friend Andy Lees insisted that the only place to take her was the Maldives. And the rest was history.
On this day, the thing to celebrate is cake. There are a plethora of spectacular chefs in the Maldives so I am typically very hesitant to ascribe any ‘Best of Maldives’ for specific foods. Most of the ‘Best of Dining’ accolades go to distinctive experiences or venues. If I am going to accord a kudos, it needs to be quite a narrow area (like Sheraton Full Moon’s Gazpacho).
While I couldn’t whisk her away to the Maldives, I do have special gourmet treats planned for her tonight, including a special chocolate cake which evoked one of the most memorable desserts we ever enjoyed in the Maldives – the W Retreat’s ‘7 Layer Chocolate Cake’. Like Lori’s birthday surprise, the cake was two months in development by Pastry Chef Sanjit Gupta. It mastered that paradox of rich flavours with exceedingly light feel to it.
The 7 layers were…
- Sacher sponge
- Chocolate marquis
- Chocolate Brule
- Hazelnut custard mousse
- Chocolate jelly
- Milk chocolate mousse
- Cocoa powder