Tuesday, December 21, 2010

APHRODITE HILLS RESORT, CYPRUS STRIKES GOLD AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST HOTELS

Luxury Cyprus resort, Aphrodite Hills has been voted as one of the ‘World’s Best Hotels’ in Condé Nast Traveller magazine’s seventh annual Gold List, and is the only hotel in Cyprus to be recognised for its outstanding leisure facilities.

The panel of judges cited the hotel’s ‘sprawling estate with an 18-hole championship golf course, the Retreat Spa with 27 treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, and tennis courts’ as the outstanding features that propelled the five-star resort onto the Gold List.

Chosen by the magazine’s editors and travel experts, the Gold List – revealed this month – is a definitive guide to the top hotels worldwide, with properties judged on six criteria – ambience and design, location, food, rooms, leisure facilities and service.

Commenting on the accolade Demetris Demetriou, Resort General Manager, Aphrodite Hills said: “This is an exceptional achievement and I’m incredibly proud of my entire team who all deserve congratulations for the part they have played. It is testimony to our ongoing commitment to offer the very best in luxury hospitality and a great way to start 2011.”

Aphrodite Hills Resort is beautifully situated within 578-acres near Paphos and set over two elevated plateaux on either side of the breathtaking Randidi Gorge. It’s the first-ever leisure, golf and real estate development in Cyprus. The resort offers a luxurious hotel – the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort Hotel, a fabulously indulgent spa – The Retreat, a challenging 18-hole championship golf course, a tennis academy, two ultra-chic Beach Clubs and an award-winning, fully integrated resort community offering villas and apartments.

- Ends -

For further press information or photography please contact:
miranda.z@aphroditehills.com / www.aphroditehills.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas at Aphrodite Hills


Christmas Markets are loved by everyone all over the world, with traders selling all sorts of goodies, from stocking fillers to that something extra special. Coupled with the magical atmosphere, created by unique fragrances of hot mulled wine and pine needle the traditional Aphrodite Hills Christmas market provides a great place to meet up with friends and family to enjoy a day together, whilst becoming absorbed into the excitement of Christmas.

Every year, the Village Square plays host to the wonderfully exciting traditional Christmas Market, providing a warm and festive atmosphere to be enjoyed by the whole family. There are numerous stalls selling an abundance of handcrafted goods, Christmas decorations and traditional foods, a Christmas Choir, fun activities for children, a Nativity Manger and even a visit from Santa, allowing you and your family to become wholly absorbed into the seasonal festivities.

Yes, it’s the season to be jolly and Aphrodite Hills Christmas Market is the venue to impress your relatives with unusual gifts and perhaps also to do your bit for charity, during this festive season.

We also have the reputation of being the most child friendly Christmas market on the island; children can design a t-shirt or even paint a canvas to create a master piece present for a loved one, at a very special arts and crafts workshop supervised by our creative Kids Club Attendants. They might also like to pay Santa a visit at his Grotto and receive a lovely gift. There is also a Kids Corner which is hosted by our Very own ‘Angel’ who is always delighted to read Christmas stories to the children whilst you have the opportunity to stroll amongst the stalls in leisure to admire the Christmas decorations and the vast variety of gifts offered by our Mini stalls.

Everyone is welcome, so begin your Christmas celebrations in style at the Aphrodite Hills Christmas Market, on Sunday 5th December 11.00am to 5.00pm.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wine in my life ...

I have had a passion in food and beverage since a teenager, a passion that had led to further studies in Hotel & Restaurant Management with focus on gastronomy which gave me the opportunity to work with very good chefs, sommeliers and managers over the years in various hotels of excellence as Food and Beverage Manager. Huge experience was gained in the field of food and wine matching, especially with Mediterranean and fusion cuisines with wine from all over the globe. I am a founder Member of the “Cyprus Sommelier Association” and Former “Officer of Training and Education”.

Now I manage the operations of the Villa Rentals of “Aphrodite Hills Holiday Rentals” but I can never let go of the “hotelier” in me. This is one of the motives for this blog but the true reason is to come closer to people with an interest in wine and be able to share comments, suggestions and ideas about food, beverages…or villas!

Constantly friends ask my opinion and recommendations with menus, wine lists and food and wine combinations. This is a passion that I wish to share. So please place your queries or any gastronomic experiences you wish to discuss.

The questions I get about wine.


Many people talk about wine with passion, mystique and desire. Others don’t see why the commotion. What is your opinion on this?

Even though I stand with the former, I will look into this question with as little bias as possible. The “Passionate” have their own “language” that is used to the others dismay. They use common terminology and metaphors that sound so meaningful to them but totally vague to others. This obviously creates a strong and immediate bond between these people, it is logical; they share the same passion and may communicate with little knowledge of each other’s actual language. To me this can similarly relate to art, music and dancing. They are also socialising and are consuming alcohol at a generally moderate pace that facilitates to loosen formalities and etiquette thus creating good ground for bonding. This is actually the problem. Barriers are put up! Yes barriers are put up from the people like myself that use their knowledge and “wine language” to communicate with “fellow wine lovers “ but leave out of the conversation other wine lovers with less academic knowledge and great passion to learn. What an injustice! Sommeliers owe it to society to become more “down to earth”, modest and simple. We should be passing the knowledge to ALL, allowing and encouraging people of varying wine experiences to freely express their individual opinion on the wine they are sampling.

Why do some people say “I don’t like wine”?
I don’t blame them! Some people have had very bad first, second and third experiences when provoking their initial experience with wine. Many have been lucky to have started tasting wine young and with wines that had been produced in good practice. This provides a sound base for future appreciation and allows the individual to benchmark against past experiences. However if an individual tries wine later in life after experiencing generally available beverages (alcoholic or not; juices, beers, spirits, coffee, artificial drinks) these will be the only form of comparison that will allow him or her to accept or reject a wine. Now if this wine is not even of a good wine making practice or served poorly then how can that person accept wine in general? In addition to this every person does prefer different tastes, simply because we are brought up on different experiences. For me the most important time is to introduce someone to his preferred wine, by discreetly probing into his or her gastronomic background.

How do you actually evaluate/appreciate wine? Is it difficult?
The how needs time and can be very easy to start with and then become very complex and challenging as one becomes more proficient, again very similar to any art. I am sure Vincent Van Gough’s paintings when he was three years old were almost as good as yours or mine.

Risotto ai Funghi Porcini - Mushrooms risotto

To serve: 4
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients:
A one-ounce packet dried porcini (25 g, about a packed half cup)
1/2 of a small onion, finely sliced or shallot
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, or: 3 tablespoons olive oil + 1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups (300 g) short-grained rice, for example Arborio or Carnaroli
1/3 cup dry white wine, warmed in a pan on the stove (use red wine if you like more strong flavor)
1 cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
The water the mushrooms were soaked in, strained, and a quart of simmering water, beef broth, or vegetable bouillon
A bunch of parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Steep the porcini in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the onion finely and sauté it in either three tablespoons of oil or 1/4 cup of butter. When it's lightly browned remove it to a plate with a slotted spoon and stir the rice into the drippings in the pot. Sauté the rice for several minutes, until it becomes translucent, stirring constantly lest it stick and burn.

Return the onions to the pot, stir in the wine, and continue stirring until it has evaporated completely. Then stir in a first ladle of liquid (if you're using plain water, add about 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt at this time), and while it's absorbing, chop the mushrooms and strain the liquid they soaked in, which can contain sand. Add the mushrooms and their liquid to the rice, and then continue adding water or broth a ladle at a time, stirring occasionally. About five minutes before the rice is done, check seasoning. As soon as the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, stir in the remaining butter, and half the cheese, the cream if you're using it (DON’T USE), a little bit of ground pepper, the parsley, and mix (mantecare) the risotto for two minutes. Serve with the remaining grated cheese.

The wine:
A light red, along the lines of a Sangiovese di Romagna or a Valcalepio Rosso would be nice.

Note:
For a libidinous treat, use fresh wild mushrooms. If you have abundance, and the mushrooms have large caps, I would use just the stems, chopping them, while grilling the caps (they're wonderful over a steak). If you don't have abundance, or the caps are small, use them too, and figure about a pound of wild mushrooms for four people



Buon Appetito
Chef Andrea

Friday, September 10, 2010

We love Pizzas !!!


Pizza with fresh yeast

Ingredients

• Flour - 500g
• Fresh Beer Yeast - 25g
• Extra virgin olive oil - 4 spoons
• Tepid water - approx. 300ml

Preparation
Pour the flour onto a rolling board or on a marble work surface. Crumble in the centre the beer yeast, melt into it spoons of tepid water, helping with the fingertips and then add salt and the oil. Begin to incorporate the flour into the ingredients at the centre, slowly adding the tepid water. It is necessary to obtain a soft mixture, easy to work and smooth. Work it energetically until any trace of the mixture does not come off onto fingers. The dough, at this point, must be soft and also elastic.Reduce it to a ball, cover with flour, then cover with a napkin and let the dough rise in a warm place sheltered from draughts, for about 2 hours or at least until the mixture doubles in volume.


Pizza with dry yeast

Ingredients

• Flour - 500g
• Dry Yeast in granules - 7g
• Tepid water - approx. 300ml
• Sugar - 2 teaspoons .
• Extra virgin olive oil - 4 spoons

Preparation
A similar process as with fresh yeast. The only difference is that the yeast must be melted before working it with the flour, using half a glass of tepid water (30°C) with salt and sugar added. Pour the flour onto the rolling board. Add in the centre the yeast of beer melted in water and then oil. Incorporate the flour into the ingredients into the centre, adding the tepid water. It is necessary to obtain a soft mixture, easy to work and smooth. The quantity of water necessary can vary from time to time. Work it energetically until any mixture trace does not come off on the fingers. Cook in a conventional oven at 180 degrees for 10 mins.
Buon Appetito!
Chef Andrea

Keeping occupied

A child who spends all day colouring inside will miss out on the physical benefits that can be gained from out-door play. Similarly, a child who never does quiet activities may struggle with concentration.

My children feel that they have stepped into an exciting Adventure of World discovery when ever they come up to the Resort.

At the Kids Clubs of Aphrodite Hills there are diversified selections of activities that cater for all children, whether it is outdoor games on the multipurpose courts, garden games at the Village Square or water polo in the out door pools. In the Clubs they can join in a variety of indoor games as well a vast assortment of Arts & Crafts. My favourite being the scrap booking which is usually done using photos from the Photography session. If you want something specific to keep your child occupied whilst on Holiday, these Clubs are the places to be.

My girls first learnt to use a camera right here during the photography sessions, my son played his first ever game of tennis the other evening with William and since then I’ve had to buy a tennis game for his Wii. I think he imagines himself to be the next Marcos Baghdadi, however I think I would liken him more to the 1980’s tennis star John McEnroe.

Wait till he tries out the football, I’ll be looking for a David Beckham t-shirt next. Well perhaps he can design his own in the Kids Club during his next visit.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Open Championship and chipping







The Old Course at St.Andrews has certainly stood the test of time; lengthened a little for this year Open Championship but with the combination of weather and the difficulty player’s face around the greens it remains one of the best tests of golf.

I have been fortunate enough to play the Old Course and have experienced first hand the need for carefully managing your way around. During this year’s Open Championship Louis Oosthuizen stayed ahead of the field and instantly stepped into the limelight as a Major winner. His coolness on the course and his ability to get the ball up and down was simply incredible, well done Louis!

I watched the last round like millions of others and was most impressed by the players creativity when playing bump and run or chipping strokes around the greens. I know from experience that the pros work hard at their short game, the accuracy of their chipping is key when playing a links style golf course such as the Old Course; my video shows a simple drill that I have found beneficial through the years and has really improved my chances of holing the ball from just off the green. Take a look; as they say “the proof is in the pudding”

Andrew Darker


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chicken Gyros with Tsatsiki

Ingredients
  • 2 Kirby cucumbers, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (3/4 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon secret spiced ….
  • 1 greek pita bread (four 8-inch pieces) or cyprus pita bread (pocket on)
  • 1/2 roast chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded (about 2 1/4 cups), and carcass reserved for stock
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
  • 4 pcs fry potatoes

Preparation
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Peel and grate 1 cucumber, then squeeze it with your hands to remove excess water. Stir together with yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, one third of garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to make tsatsiki.
  3. Cut remaining cucumber into 1/4-inch pieces and tomatoes, spring onion
  4. Marinated the chicken with secret spiced one night before , put on gyros stick and cook for 1 hour
  5. Sliced with electric knife
  6. Spread some of tsatsiki on warm bread and top with chicken and some of lettuce tomato cucumber spring onion and chips.






















Buon Appetito

Chef Andrea Crippa


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Welcome to Aphrodite Hills Resort blogspot






Dear friends,

I am very glad to introduce our new Aphrodite Hills blog, which I hope will give our friends the opportunity to follow novelties and ideas that we are practicing.

Through this new for us, communication channel, we also hope to have the opportunity to listen to your comments, suggestions and criticism in order to make our Resort your place of preference.

I am very exited about this new project, which will give us the opportunity for a closer bonding and hope that you will all assist us with this project by commenting and contributing towards it.

Happy blogging!!


Demetris Demetriou, MA
Resort General Manager

Friday, June 25, 2010

In our Healthy Vacation we don’t need only to relax, but we need to change

Being Healthy used to mean not getting sick. But today, being healthy means much more. It means a higher state of Fitness, which we as professionals do call “Wellness”. Wellness is an optimum state of health and well being which focuses on prevention rather than treatment. Living well means taking steps to prevent illness and to prolong and improve the quality of our life. Wellness also means balance among the physical, mental, social, intellectual and spiritual aspects of life.

While a balanced diet and lifestyle are essential to our wellness, exercise and physical fitness play a key role. Numerous studies have shown that exercise is one of the most powerful things we can do to improve our health and wellness.

‘Physical inactivity is one of the biggest public health problems in Europe.
It is clear that there are many health and functional benefits of participation in physical activity. Regular activity prevents the development of diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes and colon cancer. In addition, people who exercise generally report enhanced moods, and older people can extend their function and preserve independence by staying active’.

We have to discover the benefits of exercise for ourselves. We will feel more relaxed and happier right away – even after our first workout. Within weeks, we will notice that we are less tired, feel stronger, have more endurance and can accomplish more each day.

There are four major components of physical fitness – cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition – and each plays an important role in improving the quality of our life.

A sensible exercise program can change our life. But the key word is “sensible”.
We should know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it in order to stay healthy.

At The Retreat Spa at Aphrodite Hills we have a long – standing commitment to keeping the world healthy! As experts in exercise and nutrition, we know the importance of regular exercise and how it can help you feel better, look better and live longer.

You have to be able to manage life to manage your life.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Paphos Prestige Lifestyle magazine at Aphrodite Hills!


Paphos’ local lifestyle magazine, Prestige, in cooperation with the Village Square Restaurants at Aphrodite Hills, held a cocktail reception on Friday 11th of June, 2010.
Paphos Mayor, Mr. Savvas Vergas, along with many other guests celebrated Prestige’s success dancing, mingling, drinking and of course tasting the various canapés and snacks from a variety of cuisines that the Village Square Restaurants at Aphrodite Hills have to offer!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Orata al Cartoccio (Whole sea bream baked in foil)

Ciao tutto,

A few days ago, I was invited as a guest on one of Cyprus most popular morning shows "Epta - Deka" (07:00 - 10:00) and together with Chef Stefanos, we had the opportunity to demonstrate one of the signature dishes of the seafood restaurant, Psarohori.

The recipe is the following (to view the videos on how to prepare, please check at the end of the blog)

Orata al Cartoccio (Whole sea bream baked in foil)

Whole fresh sea bream baked in foil paper with mussels and cherry tomatoes

Serves/Makes: 2

  • 2 whole sea bream, about 400 gr., scaled and gutted
  • 150 gr. Fresh mussels
  • 150 gr. cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 shallot , sliced into rings
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 12 black olives
  • Extra virgin Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh basil and thyme
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

    How to cook Foil Baked Whole Sea Bream:

    Lay out two large pieces of foil (each big enough to form a 'tent’ round the fish) and lightly oil the centre. Put the sea bream on top, make three slashes on each side, season inside and out and tuck in a couple of sprigs of thyme, the garlic . Drizzle some olive oil inside and over the top of the fish.add the cherry tomatoes and the fresh mussels. Fold up the foil. Scrunch together the edges of the foil to make a tent, leaving enough space for the fish to steam (it must not be 'wrapped’ in the foil).

    Place the parcels on a baking-sheet and cook in an oven preheated to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 for 15 to 20 minutes. Check to see whether the fish is cooked by looking at the flesh near the bone in the thickest part. It should be opaque and not at all 'glassy’. Scrunch the foil back together, place the parcels on warmed plates and take to the table – it’s lovely to open them there and have all the wonderful smells escape.

    Serve the Cartoccio with fresh green salad or roasted baby potatoes

    BUON APPETITO
    Executive Chef
    Andrea Crippa

    Part 1 Part 2



    Part 3

    Part 4


  • Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Aphrodite Hills Golf Pro Andrew Darker tips

    Hello All, my name is Andrew Darker and I am the Operations Manager at the Aphrodite Hills Golf. I just wanted to share this short video I have created for everyone, but let me explain as to why I have created this clip. 


    My office window looks out to the chipping green here at Aphrodite Hills, I have spent the last 10 minutes watching a couple practice their chipping, with 5 out of 10 shots thinned across the green and ending up in the lake near the 18th the idea was born. I though to myself in 15 seconds. I could almost cure their bad shots, I hope you enjoy the short clip on how to strike your chips correctly and I sincerely hope the couple i just saw practicing find my blog!
    Good luck and let me know if you need any personal tips that could improve your game!

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    Aphrodite Hills Kids Club Manager speaks up about parenting

    Discipline is probably the most important and controversial skill of good parenting. I personally am no expert on the subject and even after seven children I still struggle with the thought ‘am I making the right decision concerning the disciplining of this child.’

    Parenting in present times has revolved, from the extended family to single parent families we have become a transient society and our extended family usually lives many kilometres away. In recent years we have learned to make the most of all resources, whether it be surfing the internet, reading books, attending classes and making friends with people whom we believe to be ‘experts’ on the subject. We then use all this information in ways to make it work for our families.

    Unfortunately not even a course in Child Psychology has prepared me on this subject. Whilst child psychology is a complex subject to read, it is even more difficult to practise.

    We are usually conflicted over what type of discipline to apply at what time. Appropriate discipline for one child may not be suitable or effective for another. Foremost it is most important to determine who is in authority: the parents or the child. This may sound simple, but in this day and age, the answer isn't always quite clear.

    Good child discipline requires good family communication. The fear of hurting a child's feelings compels many parents into allowing their children to reign supreme. Giving instructions and applying discipline, listening to your child, holding family meetings, and resolving conflicts are just a few of the opportunities parents have to encourage self-discipline and maintain good family relationships. One thing to always keep in mind is that adults should keep a united front especially when it comes to consistent parental discipline.

    When discipline doesn't seem to be working for your family, you want to step back and look again at the problem. The first step is to learn what normal behavior is for your child's age and stage of development. Some misbehavior is an expression of transitions in the child's development. Parental expectations may be beyond what the child is able to achieve on a consistent basis. Discipline techniques that belittle or shame a child are truly harmful. Avoid physical punishment. Spanking has never been shown to be more effective than other forms of punishment and will make your child more aggressive and angry.

    Analyze why a disciplining method stopped working. Don't discipline hard, just discipline smart. If you are having difficulty disciplining your child, it is important to remember that you may not be doing anything wrong. All children are different and have different characters and developmental levels and a style of discipline that may work with other children may not work with yours.

    Both spoiled and harshly-disciplined children are at risk for emotional and behavioural problems. One new approach or discipline style can change the course of our child's development. When we see that something doesn't work, we do it more, hoping that more of the same might produce better results.

    When a childhood behavioral problem becomes habitual, we tend to escalate the strategy we've been using. But the solution often lies in simply trying something new!

    Children need firm boundaries that come from clear and consistent parental discipline. Whether the method is redirection, time-outs, loss of privileges, grounding, extra chores, or spanking, it is crucial that we embrace our role to train our children to become moral and respectable adults. When confronting a problem, your method of communication will help or hinder a successful resolution. Learn how to communicate effectively with your child. Children must be taught right from wrong. In order to do that, parents must practice a consistent, pattern of discipline

    Stay calm and do not get carried away when your child misbehaves. Avoid yelling and screaming, since this can teach your child that it is all right to lose control if you don't get your way. If you feel like things are escalating too much, then take a break until you can regain your composure. An angry parent should never discipline a child before regaining control of their emotions. An angry parent needs to take time to cool down.

    Remember to give rewards and praise for good behavior.

    Give lots of encouragement. If your child isn't following through with a chore, there's a good chance you aren't following through with encouragement. Your children need lots of encouragement, and recognition for any good work or accomplishments. As do we all….