Best of the Maldives: Eco Straws – Anantara

Anantara - eco straws

Happy New Year 2018! Time to set resolutions for the year ahead. Usually New Year’s Resolutions are about making ourselves better, but Anantara is leading the way with its resolution to make its properties better at making the world better…

  • “From January 1, every [Anantara] hotel, restaurant and bar at the resorts throughout Asia will use alternatives to plastic for people to sip their drinks through. Biodegradable and recyclable alternatives will replace the 2.5 million plastic straws that had been used every year.”

What’s your eco-resolution to live a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle?

Still Sparkling

Ticha Louktarn (UAE) – Adaaran Hudahuranfushi

New Year’s Eve and time to pop open the bubbly to ring in another lap around the sun. Here’s 18 sparkling fashionistas to toast 2018…

  1. Ticha Louktarn (UAE) – Adaaran Hudahuranfushi [ABOVE]

  2. Adriana Jennings (Australia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Adriana Jennings (Australia) – Ranveli
  3. Alyona Shnypko (Ukraine) – NIYAMA
    Alyona Shnypko (Ukraine) – NIYAMA
  4. Ana Cecília Sabbá (Brazil) –Hurawalhi
    Ana Cecília Sabbá (Brazil) -Taj Exotica
  5. Andra Damian (United Kingdom) – Gili Lankanfushi
    Andra Damian (United Kingdom) – Gili Lankanfushi
  6. Barbara Fumagalli (Italy) – Ayada
    Barbara Fumagalli (Italy) - Ayada
  7. Belinda Morgan and Margaret MacPherson (Australia) – Club Med Kani
    Belinda Morgan and Margaret MacPherson (Australia) – Club Med Kani
       
  8. Dilya Diaz (Australia) – Six Senses Laamu
    Dilya Diaz (Australia) - Six Senses Laamu
  9. Emma Rose (Australia) – Hideaway Beach
    Emma Rose (Australia) - Ayada
  10. Josefine Forsberg (Sweden) – Hideaway Beach
    Josefine Forsberg (Sweden) - Hideaway Beach
  11. Kristine Purvinska (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Kristine Purvinska (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
  12. Lily Berry (Australia) – Centara Ras Fushi
    Lily Berry (Australia) - Centara Ras Fushi 2
  13. Lista Khu (Indonesia) – Conrad Rangali
    Lista Khu (Indonesia) - Conrad Rangali
  14. Nina Lamyerda (Philippines) – Barefoot
    Nina Lamyerda (Philippines) – Barefoot
  15. Paola Lamperti (Switzerland) – Six Senses Laamu
    Paola (Switzerland)
  16. Puma (Russia) – Ayada
    Puma (Russia) – Ayada
  17. Rosanna Davison (Ireland) – Halaveli
    Rosanna Davison (Ireland) - Halaveli
  18. Tatiana Vasilieva (Russia) – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
    Tatiana Vasilieva (Russia) – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi
      

Best of the Maldives: Milk Shakes – Finolhu

Finolhu - milk shakes

I am a bit of a milk shake (or “frappe” as they call them in New England where I grew up) connoisseur. The “Milk Shake Bar Kid” if you will. At university, my daily routine included a late night run to Brighams for *two* chocolate malted shakes (with an egg for extra protein and extra creaminess…I was doing lots of sport and this was a time before protein bars and smoothies). To this day, I make myself a milkshake at least once a week. The proper kind made with ice cream (the British have some weird things called “milk shakes” that are mostly literally milk shaken up).

I grew up enjoying soda fountain shakes at the local drugstore or “five and dime”. Shakes have made a bit of retro-resurgence with the rise of gastro-burger joints including the eponymous “Shake Shack”. So it was a charming trip down memory lane to stroll into Finolhu’s own “Milk Bar”. Of course, I had to go for the classic chocolate.

They do a range of smoothies and freezing cold drinks to slake the tropical thirst. They even offer a range of protein powders.

Damn right it’s better than yours.

Best of the Maldives: Customer-Centric Cocktails – Kuramathi

Kuramathi - customer cocktails

A good bartender can make just about anything the customer asks for, but the Kuramathi bartenders make drinks the customers invent. And keep on making them for other guests too. The resort held a cocktail concocting competition last year and the winning entries were (a) “Tropicana” by Elena from France, (b) “Speedbabe” by Andrew from England. As a part of their prize, their creations will be featured on the Kuramathi cocktail list for a year.

Best of the Maldives: Kombucha– LUX South Air Atoll

LUX South Ari Atoll - Kombucha

If you want more than just vitamins and minerals on the rocks in your health smoothie, then try a “Kombucha”, a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks. LUX South Ari Atoll makes its very own version:

  • Known as the ‘Immortal Health Elixir,’ we ferment our own variety of Kombucha ranging from black tea, green tea and coffee just to name a few and offering it to guest in our all-day dining restaurants as well as Spa.”

Kombucha is produced by fermenting the tea using a “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast” (SCOBY). In other words, SCOBY Snack!

 

Best of the Maldives: Toddy – Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu

Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu - palm toddy

Christmas is just a few sleeps away and most of us are nestled by the fire accompanied by shot of hot toddy as the winter chill (first day of winter yesterday) hits the air. And just because you are spending your holidays in the sun-drenched tropics doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy the sweet and spicy distilled delights of a toddy. Especially at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu which serves palm toddies (thanks Paola). In fact, they can be delivered to your door daily. The Christmas ‘spirit’ all year round!

Best of the Maldives: Kids Mocktail Making Class – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi - mocktail class 1

Soneva Fushi’s world-class Den kids club features not just kiddie “cocktails”, but a class to let them ply their mixological mocktail mastery…

“The children attend a session at Ess, where they creativity is tested. The bar staff attempt to inspire the children showing them different ways to produce delicious mocktails, before the children are let loose to create they very own, including naming their cocktail. Each cocktail is scored and each child receives a certificate for all their creativity.”

A toast to children everywhere today on International Children’s Day!

Soneva Fushi - mocktail class 2

Best of the Maldives: Chinese Drinks – Shangri-La Villingili

Shangri-La Villingili - chinese wine

The Maldives are renowned for their legendary sunsets, but the night time celestial displays of stars and moon are equally as dazzling on the light-pollution free skies reflecting on the glass-like seas below. The full moon is always an occasion for a special celebration and tonight’s full moon marks the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival in particular.

The event is a time of coming together with friends and family for prayers of thanksgiving for the harvest bounty. Like the American Thanksgiving holiday, there is plenty of feasting and to compliment the cornucopia of foods, Shangri-La Villingili offers the most exceptional range of Chinese libations…

  • Baijiu (Chinese White Spirit) – Distilled.
    • MOU TAI (mao – tai) Produced in Guizhou, Southwest China. Often referred to as Chinese vodka. Distilled from sorghum. Unique because of ‘sauce-fragrance’. Alcohol degree from 53 to 35 (the higher, the more expensive). Official alcohol beverage in Chinese governments. Claims to be one of the three most famous liquors in the world, besides cognac and whiskey.
    • WU LIANG YE – Produced in Chengdu. Often known as the magic liquor of China. Purest, most authentic baijiu distiller. Complex with a fragrant peppery nose, soft and mellow on the palate
  • Huangjiu (Yellow Liquor) – Fermented
    • SHAOXING WINE (shao – sing). Produced in Shaoxing, Zhe Jiang. Shaoxing is the most internationally known high grade yellow wine, made for drinking and cooking. Traditionally drank both chilled and warm.
    • NU ER HONG (nü-eR-hong). Produced in Shaoxing, Zhe Jiang Fermented from glutinous rice and wheat. Alcohol degree is less than 20 degrees. Traditionally drank warm. Nu Er Hong has a beautiful story. In the ancient times, when the baby daughter was born, the parent would carve or paint jars of wine and bury them underground until the daughter got married. Thereafter, the parents would dig the wines out for a feast with the guests, hence its name Nu Er Hong (Daughter Rice Wine)
  • Chinese Grape Wine – Fermented
    • White – Produced in Shaan Xi, Northwest China. Close proximity to Xi An, home of the Terracotta Warriors. Grace Vineyard is one of the most established winery in China, and has been in operations since 1997. The first vintage was produced in 2001. Grace Vineyards Tasya’s Reserve Chardonnay 2008. Color: Pale, straw Green. Aromas: Light oak, tropical fruits, cashews. Palate: Light oak, nuts, melon fruits. Mouth-filling with fresh acidity.
    • Red – Grace Vineyards Tasya’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Color: Deep Ruby Red. Aromas: Blackberry, blackcurrant, subtle oak. Palate: Soft, medium-bodied red wine with blackberry notes. Fine tannins and light oak, good clean finish.
  • Beer – TSING TAO BEER (ching-dao). Brewery was founded by German settlers in China in 1903. Tsing Tao is the number one branded consumer producted exported in China

The catalogue above is compliments of Winnie Toh (photo above) from Singapore who is herself a Certified sommelier by Court of Master Sommeliers and also received the WSET Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits as well as the Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence.

This occasion has made me realise how much material I have on the Maldives’ biggest guest country, China, so I am adding the tag “Chinese” today to bring together all these pieces.