Best of the Maldives: Wine Coral Pairing – Nika

Nika - coral pairing 1

Wine complements the finest treats especially when matched expertly to complement the spirit and essence of the sensory banquet. The Nika resort has extended this concept to new extents (or depths) with their innovative “Coral Pairing” (thanks Paola):

  • “Nika Island Resort and Spa has hosted an original experiment, pairing an array of native corals with wine. Titled “Metafore” and held with the technical support of leading winer supplier Grape Expectations, the event witnessed white, red and black corals being paired with a special selection of wines according to their colour, pattern and biological peculiarities. The experiment allowed Nika not only to offer its guests a curious selection of wines, but also to bridge the art of wine making with coral, a typical Maldivian thing of beauty. Edoardo Caccin, External Director at Nika explains: ‘a metaphor is a literary figure of speech used to describe a subject by comparing it to something else. The comparison gives the qualities of one thing to another that is usually unrelated. We asked ourselves: if coral could be wine, which wine would it be?’ Dora Dzurjak, Grape Expectations’ sommelier and wine educator, guided Nika’s guests through witty and ambitious associations. The beautiful and sophisticated pattern of Brain Coral was paired with the white wine Weinhaus Ress Rheingau Riesling Trocken. As far as red wine was involved, Dora made a match between Sileni estates The Plateau Pinot Noir and the Organ Pipe Coral. The sommelier’s inspiration came from its unique hard skeleton of calcium carbonate containing many organ pipe-like tubes.”

Zymology and Zooxanthellae!

Nika - coral pairing 2

Coral King Tapestries

Caterina Fattori - anenome

A of rich and royal hue,
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold
   – Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’

Dive into the Laccadive Sea and you will be confronted with a living spectacle of vibrant colours and images. It’s tempting just to chase one exciting sight after another. But some of the most biggest displays are to be found in the smallest things. After you see your first Nudibranch, you will be slowing your swimming right down hoping to spot more of these alien slugs. Yesterday’s up close and personal interview with Outrigger Konotta marine biologist Caterina Fattori first stemmed from my admiration of her photographic up close and personal exposés of the coral critters literally make up all of the Maldives islands. To celebrate World Ocean’s Day today, I am featuring my top ten intimate polyp portraits from her stunning Instagram feed

  1. Mushroom Coral
    Caterina Fattori - mushroom coral
  2. Diploastrea
    Caterina Fattori - Diploastrea
  3. Octocorallia
    Caterina Fattori - octocorallia
  4. Maze Coral
    Caterina Fattori - maze coral
  5. Sarcophyton
    Caterina Fattori - Sarcophyton

  6. Daisy Coral
    Caterina Fattori - daisy coral

  7. Crinoid
    Caterina Fattori - crinoid

  8. Platygyra
    Caterina Fattori - Platygyra

  9. Bubble Coral
    Caterina Fattori - bubble coral

  10. Pachyseris
    Caterina Fattori - Pachyseris

Best of the Maldives Online: TED Coral Reefs

For those of you who can’t make even a brief stop over to the Maldives, but still wish to explore the wonders of its world famous coral reefs, I highly recommend Kristen Marhaver’s TED talk “How We’re Growing Baby Corals to Rebuild Reefs”…

“Coral reefs are farmers. They provide food, income and food security for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Coral reefs are security guards. The structures that they build protect our shorelines from storm surge and waves, and the biological systems that they house filter the water and make it safer for us to work and play. Coral reefs are chemists. The molecules that we’re discovering on coral reefs are increasingly important in the search for new antibiotics and new cancer drugs. And coral reefs are artists. The structures that they build are some of the most beautiful things on planet Earth. And this beauty is the foundation of the tourism industry in many countries with few or little other natural resources.”

Quite a few resorts now (17 by my count) invest in reef regeneration programmes on their island. Someday maybe Marhaver’s work will allow us to go beyond strapping coral pieces to frames and actually cultivate and propagate corals.