Best of the Maldives: Gourmet Shots – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - gourmet shots 1

Beer with curry, Tequilla with lime and salt, a ‘boilermaker’ of bourbon and beer, Jagerbombs, Oyster with sweet wasabi with Prosecco, Bel Star, Brut, DOC, Veneto, Italy NV chaser.

Classic shot combos that have inspired Huvafenfushi gastronomic line-up of degustation and decantation.

We adore the variety of a tasting menu, but usually aren’t hungry enough to make through such an extensive line up. Huva’s “tasting” menu is literally “a taste”.

“A taste of the gastro mixed with the mixology. Plated shots to include food and beverage paired together in small bites and shots. Please choose from the selection to mix and match your palate.”

When we visited, we did the following rounds of shots…

  • Oyster with sweet wasabi – Prosecco, Bel Star, Brut, DOC, Veneto, Italy NV
  • Roast shitake mushroom with truffle dressing – Proprieta Sperino Rosa Del Rosa, Rosé Italy NV
  • Camembert and onion jam – Parellada “Honeymoon” Pares Balta 2012
  • Roquefort with truffle honey – Petalo Moscato Spumante “Vino dell’Amore” NV
  • Fresh fig with pistachio – Fontana Fredda Asti Millesimato Dolce, Italy 2011
  • Baby prawns with cocktail sauce – Sauvignon, Sileni Cellar New Zealand 2013
  • Gorgonzola with olive bread – Pulenta Malbec, Chile 2009

 

Huvafenfushi - gourmet shots 2

Huvafenfushi - gourmet shots 3

Best of the Maldives: Boat Bar – Barefoot

Barefoot - boat bar 2

 

 

To toast World Oceans Day today, how about venturing onto the ocean itself to raise a glass? Barefoot resort’s “Black Pearl” is the Maldives only boat bar serving refreshments floating freely on the water.

Barefoot is situated on an inhabited island which means it is not allowed to serve alcohol on its premises in accordance with the respect for its Islamic co-residents. But most non-Islamic guests welcome a drink as a part of their holiday and so Barefoot has secured an alcohol license for its sailing schooner anchored offshore. The resort provides guests with shuttle services to and from.

The boat is charmingly classic with an eerily resemblance to the TV show Lost’s “Black Rock”. And if you know the series, then you will know that it is a great place for a blow out and having a blast.

 

Barefoot - boat bar

Best of the Maldives: Arrival Bar Drinks – Anantara Kihavah Villas

Anantara Kihavah - arrival bar drinks

 

 

Welcome drinks range from refreshing tropical fruit drinks to some more creative concoctions, but Anantara Kihavah Villas greeting features a liberal range of libations. They set up a cocktail bar at the welcome area where they will serve you a tropical cocktail of your choosing.

Greetings with a twist!

Best of the Maldives: Champagne Treats – Conrad Rangali

Conrad Rangali underwater champagne

 

Champagne seems to be the consummate tipple for both celebrating and for romance. So with the Maldives being the honeymoon capital of the world, champagne does flow as copiously as the azure lagoons. Some might say that in the Maldives, every day is “Champagne Day”, but today that decadence is shared around the world.

If you want to pop a little extra diversity into your brut bubbly banquet, then head over to Conrad Rangali who offers a variety of champers pampers…

“With an extensive wine cellar of over 20,000 bottles, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island further enhances its guests’ wine experience this year with the introduction of three new ways of enjoying champagne at this luxury resort: ‘Bubbles on the Beach’, ‘Sparkling Hour’ and ‘The Perfect Sundowner’…Food and beverage director Wolfgang Brandl explains: “Of course there’s never a wrong way to enjoy champagne, but relaxing in the privacy of your own private villa while taking in the beauty of a breathtaking Maldivian sunset with a glass of your favourite champagne in your hand has to be one of the most spectacular ways to do it.’”

Best of the Maldives: Coldest Drinks – Constance Halaveli

Constance Halaveli pina colada

Warning: Brrrrain freeze may result from over enthusiastic appreciation.

One of the most important characteristics in a drink for me is the temperature. I ask for my Starbucks latte’s to be made extra hot. And I like my tropical pina coladas to be extra cold. It is always a disappointment sitting in the toasty sun and being served a lukewarm pina colada. The pina colada is my favourite drink when I am in the Maldives and I have had one at every resort I have visited. The quality and presentation varies as much as the resorts themselves.

It might be a bit of a stretch to say that it was the “best” pina colada I had ever had there, but the Constance Halaveli rendition certainly excelled in a one area – coldness. The drink sent shivers down my throat as I sipped it. It also nicely balanced the sweet pineapple juice and coconut milk with a satisfying kick (I worried that maybe the coldness might come from so much ice that the drink would taste watered down).

As it happens, my wife Lori is a fan of ice coffees. Most are lacklustre efforts of simply dowsing some brew over a pile of ice. But Lori too couldn’t help being struck that the Halaveli was not just the best she had had in the Maldives, but better than any in London that she frequently samples.

Chillingly good.

 

Constance Halaveli iced coffee

Best of the Maldives: Mixology Legacy – Constance Halaveli

Constance Halaveli cocktails

Ruby anniversary of the Maldives tourism industry continue through the year with the latest tribute being a fine piece by my friend and fellow Maldive chronicler Adrian in the Telegraph – “The History of Tourism in the Maldives”.

Adrian is always a good source of new ‘Best of the Maldives’ candidates and I often run suggestions by him as a double check. His article featured another resort distinction of Constance Halaveli’s cocktail trailblazing…

“Rooms became villas, food became cuisine. Soneva Fushi put in the first wine cellar (quite a feat in shallow coral sand) and soon all the top resorts had sommeliers. Now they have mixologists, too (the Constance Halaveli resort was the first).”

Best of the Maldives: Lemonade – Mirihi

Mirihi lemonade

 

 

“If life gives you lemons, then make lemonade.”

This is the week for blogging milestones as my other major (and longer standing) blogging pursuit – ‘Bruce Lynn Blog’ – celebrated its 7th anniversary yesterday. The site explores the themes of ‘Leadership and Management’ as well as ‘Embracing Failure’. The two subjects are united in the common thread of how people deal with risk.

To celebrate the occasion, I thought I would post something apropos. Perhaps one of the all-time classic ‘embrace failure’ sayings is about making lemonade out of lemons, so I thought I would turn to the best and most varied lemonade I have found in the Maldives.

Mirihi offers 10 different signature cocktails at Muraka bar including the following tart treats…

  • Mihiri Lemonade – “Fresh muddled strawberries, aged rum, strawberry and vanilla liguer with soda.”
  • Wild Honey & Orange Lemonade – “Vodka, Drambuie, Cointreau, honey, oranges and orange lemonade
  • Green Tea & Chili Lemonade – “Green tea, fresh limes, Southern Comfort, Brandy and a bit of chili” (see above enjoyed with fellow TripAdvisor Forum contributor).

Admittedly, ‘embracing failure’ by drinking lemonade in a tropical resort isn’t too hard of a sell.

Best of the Maldives: Posh Coffee – Anantara Kihavah

Anantara Kihavah Black Ivory coffee

 

 

You think a Starbucks is overpriced? Try “Black Ivory”. It sells for $1,100 per kilogram.

Why so much? Well, it is from coffee beans that have been ingested, digested and egested by elephants. Each bean hand picked from the elephant’s ‘output’ (for all of those teenage barristas moaning about their crappy jobs…you have no idea. Talk about having to wake up and smell the coffee).

It has just been introduced to Anantara Kihavah (as well as Anantara’s other top resorts around the world). The offering suits Anantara’s Thai roots as this prized bean comes from elephants reserves in Thailand. ABC News reports

“According to the resort, Black Ivory coffee beans are "naturally refined" by Thai elephants. Research indicates that during digestion, the enzymes of the elephant break down coffee protein, according to the resort. Protein is one of the factors responsible for bitterness in coffee: less protein, less bitterness. The coffee is ground by hand and brewed table side in a four-minute process. The fragrance is said to be floral and chocolate and the taste ‘milk chocolate, nutty, earthy with hints of spice and red berries.’ Thai Arabica beans are picked from an altitude of 1500 meters (about 5000 feet) and fed to the elephants. ‘Once deposited by the elephants, the individual beans are handpicked by mahouts (elephant trainer and care giver) and their wives and sun dried.’”

Best of the Maldives: Coffee Roasting – LUX* Maldives

LUX Maldives coffee roasting

 

 

Happy International Coffee Day!

The one thing I typically miss when I visit the Maldives is my morning cup of Starbucks latte. I actually buy the whole beans myself from Starbucks, grind them and brew the drink in an Italian stove top espresso maker. Mind you, I am a very fussy latte drinker and struggle to find great lattes in top London restaurant (the most common sin is that they serve them not hot enough).

When we first started coming to the Maldives 15 years ago, resorts didn’t even know what a latte was. Eventually, they brought in espresso machines, but their barista talents were still quite green. Now, I find if I am at a 5-star resort I have a solid 50:50 shot at getting a great cup of coffee (about par with London). One resort which has gone the ultimate extreme to ensure that its coffees are the best is LUX* Maldives. The LUX* actually has links to a South African coffee company so they take this beverage very seriously. So much so that they have installed their very own coffee roaster on the island with its own Chief Roaster Hassan (see above)

“If you love coffee, you’ll be delighted by our Island Blend, an organic mix created for us by Carl and Judd, founders of Cape Town’s acclaimed artisan roaster Deluxe Coffeeworks…We actually roast organise green beans here on the island and we’re schooling our staff in the ways of the barista.”

I did enjoy all the coffee I could when I stayed at LUX, but it’s also a treat just to walk past the roaster in operation to get a whiff of those fragrant aromas.

 

LUX Maldives coffee roasting 2

Best of the Maldives: Iced Tea – Sun Island

 

 

 

In ‘The South’ of the USA, there is one spontaneous refreshment you will find on every corner – tea. Not the ‘tea’ that everyone else in the world thinks of…a steaming cuppa. But ‘iced tea’. The ‘iced’ is considered superfluous because ‘tea’ is ‘tea’ in The South and it is primarily served one way.

My wife Lori growing up in North Carolina was raised drinking iced tea out of her baby bottle. Southerners are very particular about the brewing of their iced tea (only Lipton). Moving the UK, despite being a land of tea drinkers, you nonetheless can’t get a decent glass of iced tea (according to Lori). But, lo and behold, the refreshment drink she received after her Aaruma spa treatment was like a sip of home. Yes, Sun Island brews their iced tea and used Lipton tea bags. We have been coming to the Maldives for 15 years and home-like sunshine and heat always inspired a bit of a tea craving by Lori, but this is the first time she enjoyed a glass a good as home.

Unfortunately, the iced tea in the restaurant wasn’t as spectacular. The F&B manager needs to see how they are making it at the spa and copy that across the island.