Best of the Maldives: Edible Straws – Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem - edible straws

We all can embrace the ocean with more sustainable choices in what we consume and discard. One of the areas getting lots of scrutiny these days is plastic use. Bottles and bags have already been targeted, but a more recent opportunity is to cut down the use of plastic drinking straws. Carpe Diem (note: the resort is not yet open, but the Carpe Diem cruising yacht is in operation) is not just taking a bite out of plastic use, but is introducing straws you can take a bite out of yourself:

  • ”It’s widely claimed there are enough plastic straws to wrap around the Earth’s circumference 2.5 times each day. Because they are so small, most straws are not recycled and usually end up in landfills and waterways, where they linger indefinitely, harming wildlife, and marring the natural beauty. Made to disappear and designed to have the same functionality expected of a plastic straw, Lolistraw will last for up to 8 hrs in a beverage and will have a shelf life of up to 24 months. When you’re done sipping your drink, you can eat the straw or compost it. The founders of LOLIWARE and the straw’s designers, Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker, have coined the term ‘Hyper-compostable’ to convey that all of their products, including Lolistraw, will break down at the same rate as food waste in compost or in the natural environment, such as a waterway.”

Best of the Maldives: Whale Bar – St. Regis Vommuli

Vommuli - whale bar

Someone who needs no straw in the Maldives is the legendary whale shark. It cruises the ocean with it’s up to 5 foot wide mouth completely open actively sucking in seawater which it runs across filter pads on its gills which sift out plankton, fish eggs, baby shrimp, etc.

At St. Regis Vommuli, you can get sucked into the mouth of the aquatic beast to quaff your own liquid nourishment at their award winning “Whale Bar”

  • “A tropical bar in the Maldives designed to make guests feel like they’re in the mouth of a giant whale emerged the big winner at international design awards held in London. The Whale Bar, St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, dreamed up by the Singapore and London-based design group WOW Architects l Warner Wong Design, beat out luxury hotels, residences, and restaurants around the world to be declared the most beautifully designed space at the SBID International Design Awards 2017. From the outside, the bar’s distinctive shape recalls the carcass of a giant whale shark. Inside, guests sip on cocktails against light-oak interiors, a soft neutral palette and Maldivian art.”

The whole concept reminded me of a tradition I read about when I first visited the Maldives for coming-of-age young men. Boys, often no more than 13 years old, would jump off a boat with a rope in hand, free dive into the water where a whale shark was swimming, SWIM INTO THE WHALE SHARKS MOUTH, and then OUT ITS GILLS, hence lassoing the fish. Young boys were the just small enough to pull off this crazy feat. I would certainly consider someone to have proven their “manhood” if they did such a thing. Not surprisingly, the government prohibited this practice years ago because too many young lads were drowning in the effort.

I would much rather toast my arrival at manhood at the Whale Bar, methinks.

(With this post, I’ve added the new topic tag of “Design”.)

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.’”