Fine Wining and Dining at Soneva Gili's Gourmet Cellar

Travel News Asia Thursday, 17 August 2006

A new dimension in fine wining and dining has been unveiled at the Soneva Gili in the Maldives. Opened in 2002 in the North Male Atoll, Soneva Gili was one of the very first all-over-water resort in the Maldives.

At the heart of Soneva Gili is the tiny private tropical island of Lankanfushi, on which is located the main restaurant - one of three restaurants, and an organic vegetable garden. Situated between the restaurant and the garden is the gourmet cellar, initially visible only by the softly undulating wood-shingled roofline.

Entering through a doorway sculptured from cooper sheeting and deco-like carved wood embellishment, a softly lit glass staircase descends beneath ground level to the cavernous cellar. Lined with a softly dappled satiny-smooth stucco plaster finish, recessed free-form wine racks display more than 300 labels. Running almost the entire length of the cellar is a six-meter, or twenty-foot driftwood tree trunk, slotted with eight individual glass table tops and personal wine glass shelves.

Two smaller vaults run from the main cellar. In one, hang an array of smoked meats and gourmet sausage. In the centre of this pebble-floored room is a pedestalled vintage meat slicer, lovingly restored and hand operated by one of the chefs brigade. The second room is the cheese vault. The entire cellar, which is carefully climate controlled, has been constructed underground so that a minimum of energy is required to maintain the correct temperature, in addition to creating an overwhelmingly unique experience.

Designed to seat just eight guests, the gourmet cellar hosts regular dgustation dinners consisting of seven tasting courses paired with a wine for each course. Menus and wines vary at each dinner and are introduced by Soneva Gilis resident sommelier. Dinners commence at 8pm and run for around two hours.

Wine tastings are scheduled from 6pm., and typically include several wines ranging from Champagne, through whites and reds, and finishing with desert wine. They are designed to introduce guests to vintages from the old and new worlds. Tastings are accompanied by cheese and cold cuts from the cellar vaults.

Reservations for the dgustation dinners and wine tastings at the gourmet cellar can be arranged by guests personal Mr. and Ms. Friday, who are assigned to every villa, or in advance of arrival.

See other recent news regarding: Six Senses, Maldives, Soneva Gili

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