Fine Wine Boutique - Italian style and sophistication in Limassol
since opening in 2009, has proved itself as one of the most pleasant and satisfying places to buy or consume good wine. Nicolas Protopapas, who enjoyed a long and successful career in the hotel industry, possesses a well-educated palate in wines and is particularly adept at pairing them with the foods that will best enhance their finest qualities. The shop’s speciality is Italian wine, and Nicolas stocks 180 different labels, but he also carries a few select bottles from France, Greece, Chile, South Africa and the US, plus top-shelf grappas, brandies, Proseccos and sparkling wines. He recently moved his theater of operations from the seaside tourist area to a larger, warmer venue at 86 Spyrou Kyprianou (close to the Germasoigea entrance to the A1 highway). This will provide more space for his high-end Italian deli and French charcuterie items, plus a longer wine bar, and an innovative boasting a delectable menu of five different, very fresh Mozzarellas, served with homemade bread, greens, cherry tomatoes and the choice of at least a dozen fine wines or Proseccos by the glass.
After six, when the shop truly shines in its double role as wine bar, the ambience is relaxed and joyful, with Nicolas’ natural generosity of spirit setting and maintaining an overall bon vivant tone to the evening. Cheese plates, panini, servings of tagliata (sliced steak), elegant carpaccio (raw, poundedflat beef), artisanal pizza and homemade tiramisu can be enjoyed on the outside terrace where the young (and old) sophisticates of Limassol indulge in a glass or two of the most civilised of thirst quenchers. This is a place for quiet conversation and the sharing of quality wine with friends and/or romantic partners. There is no giant plasma TV blaring football matches or the rantings of hysterical politicians or unruly commentators. 170g/6oz dried lentils, washed 1 litre / 32fl oz water 1 bay leaf 1 small chilli pepper (or less, to taste) finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
250g / 8oz peeled and chopped plum tomatoes 4 tbsp olive oil 1 medium-large peeled and sliced
155g /5oz long grain rice
1. In a medium-size saucepan, bring lentils and water to a rolling boil over high heat. 2. Add bay leaf, hot pepper, garlic, and tomatoes. 3. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until lentils are softened but not cooked through.
4. While lentils simmer, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy skillet and saute onion until translucent.
5. When lentils are softened, add rice and onions to pot and simmer for about 20 minutes longer, until rice is cooked.
6. Add more water, if necessary, and stir occasionally to keep mixture from sticking to bottom of pot. 7. Remove pot from heat. 8. Discard bay leaf and mix in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. 9. Cover with a cloth for 10 to 15 minutes to retain moisture, minerality and supple fruit flavours, but it doesn’t overpower the flavours of the chicken.
For my second dish I have adapted an Indian cook book recipe, which uses red lentils (these look orange uncooked and go a golden yellowy-brown when cooked).