If you can’t find gold, then make it. Instead of a pirate, that calls for an alchemist to magically turn ordinary ingredients into the most coveted taste treasure. That’s what NIYAMA has brought to its resort this past week with its pop-up Chin-Chin ice creamerie…
“Chin Chin Labs, the pioneers of made-to-order artisanal liquid nitrogen ice cream, is conjuring up culinary creations and haute cuisine ice cream at PER AQUUM Niyama from 16 – 21 March. Part of PER AQUUM’s PULSE line-up for 2016, adults and mini VIPs alike will be put under the spell of the ice cream magicians, straight out of London’s Camden Market, as they unveil exotic limited-time flavours at the pop-up parlour on the resort’s new island, ‘Play’. With all ice creams made fresh to order, the exclusive flavours will feature ingredients from the resort Chef’s own herb garden ranging from Roasted Sweet Coconut Curry, Mango & Saffron, Banana Blossom & Jasmine to dairy free options such as Passionfruit & Raw Cacao Nib. Guests can also get involved at the hands-on Nitro Workshops at BLU’s Cooking School on 17, 19 and 21 March. Hailed as the ‘Best ice cream parlour in England’ by The Times and the ‘Future of Ice Cream’ by The Observer in the UK, Chin Chin Labs has achieved a cult status amongst chefs and ice cream aficionados – not to mention children – the world over. Shunning traditional techniques and convention, Chin Chin Labs has been creating artisanal ice creams to order, frozen with liquid nitrogen and billowing with clouds of ‘ice’ since 2010. Having pioneered liquid nitrogen ice-cream as a retail concept, Chin Chin Labs uses liquid nitrogen at -1960C to freeze their handmade bases, which then boils away in a vapour cloud creating fresh ice cream.”
Liquid nitrogen chilled ice cream has been a staple of molecular gastronomy popularised by Heston Blumenthal (his Fat Duck restaurant is a few miles from our house and we have been frequenting it since he first started out). I’ve actually wondered when this culinary chemistry would make its way to this epicentre of epicurean luxury (#34 of ‘Haven’t Seen Yet – part 4’).
Nothing goes with sunshine like ice cream. And nobody does ice cream in the Maldives like Soneva Fushi. We have sampled many dairy delicacies over our many trips here, and some particularly scrummy scoops, but no selection as broad and creative as theirs. More flavours than a Baskin Robbins (49 – see below). Not only are the ice creams are made on the island, but some are even invented on the island with some of the resort’s own special recipes like “Eva’s Cheese Cake” and “Soneva Magnum.” Some far-out flavours I had never even heard of like “Pandan” (a cake) and “Gianduja” (a Belgian chocolate).
And if you have your own creative spark, you can also craft your own sundae with are cornucopia of toppings and mix-ins (see bottom) including both multi-coloured and chocolate sprinkles (!).
Never mind the remote Maldives, if Soneva’s ice cream parlour was in London, it would be on a “Best of London” list. The cavalcade of custards includes…
- Almond and amaretto
- Almond milk (dairy free)
- Baileys and chocolate chips
- Brown bread
- Dark chocolate and cocoa
- Eva’s cheese cake
- Fruit and nuts
- Green tea
- Honey walnut
- Mint and chocolate chips
- Orange and Campari
- Passion fruit
- Pistachio milk (dairy free)
- Rum and raisin
- Soneva Magnum
- Strawberry (sugar free)
- Sweet ginger
- Basil and yogurt
- Black currant
- Carrot and ginger
- Fresh coconut
- Green tea
- Lychee rose water and gewürztraminer
- Passion fruit
- Papaya & lime
- Pineapple and chilli
- Rose water
- Watermelon (sugar free)
- Almond biscotti
- Berry compote
- Brownie crumbles
- Chewy meringue
- Chocolate chips
- Chocolate sauce
- Chocolate chunks
- Mixed nuts
- Vanilla sauce
- Whipped Cream
Warning – Definitely contains nuts!
Happy Peanut day! A great taste served two delicious ways. First peanut ice cream. Growing up in New England I have experienced just about every flavour of ice cream including pumpkin, clam chowder and grape nut. But I have never seen nor had peanut. A natural really. And if that wasn’t distinctive enough, Gangehi serves it with homemade peanut brittle.
Nuttin’ but the best!
A recent flurry of Best of the Maldives posts seem to be characterised by a common theme – food. So much so that certain common subjects now merit category tags of their own. Lobster (the quintessential luxury seafood), Ice Cream (the hot weather classic), and Cooking (true foodies love to prepare as much as eat).
The current line-up includes…
You need a cone for that ice cream.
Consulting the expert on all things Maldive Resorts, Adrian Neville, he concurs “I have not come across home made ice cream cones anywhere in the country. There are a couple of places that sell ice creams in a cone but they are the pre-boxed ones.”
But you can even watch a video of them being freshly made at LUX Maldives here. Of course, only the best homemade ice cream crafted right on the resort will do for such an elegant (and tasty) holder.
‘Screw pine’ ice news PR (anagram there for you…)
July is ice cream month. And the ice cream with the truly Maldivian flavour is made on Kuramathi – “Screw Pine Ice Cream”. “Screw Pines” are those surreal trees so defined by their adventitious roots that they also have the nickname “Walking Pines”. They are most commonly found in the Maldives. The notes from the resort’s botanic walk describes…
“Maakashikeyo, Pandanus odoratissimus. Abundant plant, growing along beaches with numerous pro roots originating from the base of the trunk. It can grow to a height of 15 m, stems are hollow. Male and female flowers are in separate trees. The fruits on the female tree are pineapple like and become red when ripe. Use: the red portion of the fruit is eaten raw or cooked with rice, for soups or to make sweets and juice. On Kuramathi, we also make screw pine ice cream. You can try this at Palm!”
For kids, there is no song so sweet, no sound so pure, no music so adrenalin stimulating as that of the chimes of the ice cream man coming down the street. LUX* Maldives treats all the kids at heart visiting their island with the hot weather joys of the ice cream truck coming down the road with free ICI ice cream cones.
“There’s always room for gelato!”
That’s one of the Lynn family catch phrases from our many visits to Italy. We always end up eating sumptuous feasts (especially when our friends host us for meals). But no matter how much pasta and pizza we have consumed, we always find a way to squeeze in a little (or more than a little) gelato.
The Italians certainly do have a flair for ice cream. My favourite ice cream parlour of all time is Toscanini’s in Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts with creative flavours like ‘GrapeNut Raisin’ and ‘Ginger Snap Molasses’.
The award-winning Italian chef Rizzoli Riccardo at Vakarufalhi plies a similar passion for creative creamy concoctions like the ‘Green Tea’ gelato (photo above). Other innovative flavours include ‘Sri Lankan Cinnamon’, as well as ‘Porcini Wakame’ ice cream with honey and ginger.
Always room for that!
Talk about ‘hitting the spot’.
For those who don’t want to go far at all for their refreshment, then the W Retreat’s ‘Sweet Spots’ are the place for you. Dotted around the tiny resort are small unmanned stations where you can help yourself to a fresh towel, sun lotion, and drinks like iced coffee. But best of all…free ice creams – Magnums, Soleros, Cornettos, vanilla and strawberry ice cream tubs.
It’s not like there is far to go anywhere in the island. If you were on the complete opposite side of the island, the apex of the further point away from the restaurant, then it might take you 5 minutes to get there. But such is the extremes of indolence inspired by the soporific Maldives, that the W has astutely catered for. Completely in keeping with their ‘Whatever/Whenever’ service ethos.
Speaking of ‘Sweet Spots’ and ‘resort strengths’, I have to share a piece from my friend Mike Pegg, who is one of the UK’s top executive coaches who has written a number of books on exploiting one’s strengths, Mike Pegg – “3 Tips for Hitting the Sweet Spot.”
When I first considered doing a web site devoted to the Maldives, I had thought about focusing it on families (‘Maldives for Families’). While a renowned diving and honeymoon destination, it was less thought of as a place for kids. In fact, some a few resorts do specifically exclude children in an effort to maintain even greater calm and tranquillity for their guests and more resorts do not allow them in the water bungalows out of safety considerations. Nonetheless, the placid waters (little current in the lagoons, shallow water), the tiny size (hard for a child to roam out of earshot) and general charming and helpful nature of the staff do make it a wonderful destination for children.
And for those that want their kids to have more than the beach side fun and to enjoy the luxuriant pampering of their elders, Conrad Hilton Rangali has just the package which won the ‘Best Children’s Spa Menu in Asia’ award in 2009.
“Aren’t kids meant to be grubby?…It’s the big new spa thing – teeny treatments. Jolly Beach in Antigua has introduced a range for six-year-olds and up: there’s a massage, facial and manicure combo called Little Princess Day, and a boys-only package of scrubs and pedicures titled For the Little Man (careful, lads – if anyone at school finds out, you’re dead meat). All that’s trumped by the Conrad Rangali Island in the Maldives. It’s opened an Ice Cream Spa for kids, with a Super Sundae Supreme body scrub and a Princess Me facial. Big drawback: the stuff’s not edible. Chiz, as that unwashed urchin Molesworth used to say.”