Essential Magazine, December 2022

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essential essentialWWW.ESSENTIALMAGAZINE.COM I TRAVEL I TRENDS I CULTURE I LIFE STYLE I PROPERTY I GOURMET WATCH on-page VIDEOS N º 277DECEMBER 2022 MARBELLA ANDALUCÍA - SPAIN CLICK TO VISIT PERFUME FRENZY & FESTIVE FASHION ANDALUCÍA HOLIDAY SPIRIT NORWAY'S FJORDS GREENER CHRISTMAS AVATAR 2 & ZOE SALDANA PAGANI UTOPIA BOHO CLUB - A MARBELLA ICON MARIBEL HOTEL SIERRA NEVADA
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HOLIDAYS

may your season be filled with warmth, happiness and the joy of being together.

Bijan Laufer

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HAPPY
Dcontents 108 26 58 ESSENTIALS 22 Publisher’s Letter GO TO SPOTLIGHT 26 Norway’s Fjords 38 Hotel Maribel in Sierra Nevada 46 Christmas Traditions 58 Green Christmas 68 Breaking Down 76 Pagani Utopia 84 Zoe Saldana GO TO TRENDS 92 Avatar 2 94 Hot New Films 98 New Book Releases 102 What’s Cool
GO TO LIFESTYLE 108 Villa Valeria by Antima 122 Design Trends 130 My Fashion Inbox 136 Gracious Alma Occasion Wear 144 Gifts for Pets 146 Perfume Presents 148 Uterine Fibroid Embolisation GO TO ENTERPRISE 152 Ayana Estepona 160 Sustainability at Vista Lago 166 Business News 174 Nación Solar 178 Pretty Thingie 180 Digital Nomad Visa 182 The Vibe GO TO GOURMET 190 Boho Club 196 Gourmet Bytes 200 Martín Berasategui 204 El Xato 208 Wine as a Gift 76 190 122 136
Frontline Beach Los Monteros 6 BEDS, 6 BATHS | BUILT 1.229 M², PLOT 1.500 M². 11.750.000 € | E&V ID: W-02JNBD La Zagaleta Frontline Golf Los Flamingos Hacienda Las Chapas Beachside Golden Mile 6 BEDS, 6 BATHS | BUILT 668 M2, PLOT 813 M2 5.900.000 €| E&V ID: W-02AXY3 8 BEDS, 9 BATHS | BUILT 1.900 M2, PLOT 3.412 M2 13.500.000 € | E&V ID: W-02Q0F7 5 BEDS, 7 BATHS. BUILT 650 M2, PLOT 1.600 M2 4.900.000 € | E&V ID: W-02Q3KE www.marbella-ev.com | marbella@engelvoelkers.com 6 BEDS, 7 BATHS | BUILT 759M2, PLOT 2.637M2 3.995.000 € | E&V ID: W-02QIQ4
Frontline Golf La Alquería 6 BEDS, 5 BATHS | BUILT 910 M2, PLOT 1.135 M2 4.999.000 € | E&V ID: W-02OZ4V La Quinta Los Naranjos Golf Nagüeles, Golden Mile 3 BEDS, 4 BATHS | LIVING AREA 422 M2, TERRACE 131 M2 4.500.000 € | E&V ID: W-02NQMO Sierra Blanca 4 BEDS, 5 BATHS | BUILT 532 M², PLOT 1.072 M² 3.490.000 €| E&V ID: W-02PTC1 6 BEDS, 7 BATHS | BUILT 958 M2, PLOT 2.000 M² 7.995.000 € | E&V ID: W-02NUHH 5 BEDS, 5 BATHS. BUILT 1.080 M2, PLOT 4.365 M2 6.750.000 € | E&V ID: W-02PF9F www.marbella-ev.com | marbella@engelvoelkers.com

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The view from your sofa at Vista Lago Residences ANDREW LINN, MANUELA REISBECK, TONY WHITNEY
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HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

A NT I M AHO ME S .C O M / @ A NT I M AHO ME S

Seasons greetings and happy new year.

Best wishes from all of us at Antima

A NT I M AHO ME S .C O M / @ A NT I M AHO ME S

PARTY ON!

As this month sees festive frolics reaching a crescendo, embrace and savour it, enjoying time together with family and friends.

We bring you lots of holiday cheer to help mellow you into the mood, including some suggested seasonal traditions to indulge in, tips on how to have greener decorations, some of the latest perfumes for presents, a guide to giving wine as a gift, and even some stocking fillers for pets.

Christmas is synonymous with snow, to be found aplenty in Norway at this time of year and also nearer to home in Sierra Nevada, where Puente Romano has just launched the Hotel Maribel.

Check out the stylish refurbishment of Villa Valeria by Antima, some golden

bathroom designs, and a stunning occasion wear feature shot in a luxury Marbella property.

Elsewhere, we marvel at the svelte lines of the new Pagani Utopia and preview the much-awaited Avatar 2: The Way of Water, in combination with an exclusive interview with the female lead, Zoe Saldana.

Finally, indulge your tastebuds to the max, taking your cue from revered establishments like Boho Club, Martín Berasategui, and El Xato.

Happy Holidays!

D
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“FAMILY, WHERE LIFE BEGINS AND LOVE NEVER ENDS”

AMY REES

122 160 46 190 108

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e spotlight

CHRISTMAS IS COMING – SEE OUR FEATURES ON FESTIVE TRADITIONS AND HOW TO HAVE A GREENER ONE. IF YOU WANT TO PLAY IN THE SNOW – VISIT NORWAY OR SIERRA NEVADA. CHECK OUT THE SVELTE LINES OF THE NEW PAGANI UTOPIA, AND DON’T MISS OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH AVATAR’S ZOE SALDANA.

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26 Norway’s Fjords 38 Hotel Maribel in Sierra Nevada 46 Christmas Traditions 58 Green Christmas 68 Breaking Down 76 Pagani Utopia 84 Zoe Saldana CULTURE TRAVEL HISTORY MOTORING 76 38 58

THE MAJESTY OF NORWAY’S FJORDS

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Which Norwegians can you name?

Grieg, Munch and Ibsen to cover the arts perhaps and now the new football phenomenon, Erling Haaland and chess champion Magnus Carlsen?

While Denmark may be incarnated by Legoland, so the fjord villages of Norway resemble a rather impressive train set. Nestled in nature are plain white or else burnt umber or russet houses with whitened borders, stone bases and wooden frames beneath large-slated tiles on top of which grass grows and beside which poles hoist the national flag.

Icame to Bergen, nicknamed ‘the Gateway to the Fjords’. Bergen comes from the German word for mountains (seven of which surround the city) since the Hanseatic League monopolised the commerce and held sway in the city using Bryggen, the quaint German quay formerly known as Tyskebryggen, as their trading quarters.

It’s where the artist Munch has some fine examples of his work (in Kode 3) and where the resident composer Grieg is now honoured with his eponymous music hall. It encouraged me to attend a classical concert in the main square (Torgallmenningen) where the entire audience stood, noticeably and respectively still throughout the entire performance, as though in church.

As for walking, Bergen is fantastically pedestrian-friendly, unbelievably easy to get about, and the back streets are refreshingly smart not dingy. ›

Eidfjord with her magnificent mountainous backdrop
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WORDS

With such a natural harbour it’s no surprise what’s on the restaurant menus. Indeed, the whole area was built on cod and the classic Bergen dish is persetorsk where cod is first marinated in salt and sugar before being pressed. I was able to pick from the season’s best ingredients: from mussels and scallops, crawfish and crabs, prawns and the freshest of fish. I came off the famous Bryggen quayside, down a wooden corridor of former fish warehouses dating from 1702,

before climbing a staircase to To Kokker (www.tokokker.no).

Meaning ‘two chefs’ and under co-ownership with Enhjørningen, the neighbouring and oldest fish restaurant in town, To Kokker was formerly the living quarters for German merchants. It was like going into someone’s home, so warm-hearted and lived-in was this cabin, so private and personal was the vibe. I felt like it could have been any season and in any century among the net curtains and paintings hung

in wonky fashion, the wellspaced tables, low ceilings and low lighting, the white wooden walls and sloping wooden floor. Intrigued by the carpaccio of elk, I nonetheless opted for the mussel soup with tomato and chorizo followed by ‘Fiske Duo’, a steamed salmon and halibut with pairing sauces, and then strawberries with rhubarb tart. The portions were a generous size and presented beautifully. So flavoursome and delicious. A happy time in a happy place. ›

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Bergen’s old German quay from the days of the Hanseatic League
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Across the pedestrian area from the Opus XVI hotel, (www.opusxvi.no) that’s named after the piano concerto by composer Grieg and run by his descendants, is the other top hotel in Bergen, namely Bergen Bors Hotel (www.bergenbors.no/en, where rooms start from €167) and where I stayed. So central with its prime harbourside location, its class is trumpeted by two grand red-carpet entrances. Opened in 2017, it occupies the upper floors of the old neo-Renaissance stock

exchange building. The 127 chic rooms with their modern Scandinavian design and trendy spotted carpets had everything I needed for a comfortable stay. The restaurant, with sheepskins on the seats and an exquisite menu, is the first in the city to have a Michelin star and the hotel’s other striking feature is Frescohallen where I had breakfast: a vast vaulted hall with Corinthian columns and painted murals of industrial scenes reminiscent of Diego Riviera.

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Lunch at Mo
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To experience the magical and mysteriously dramatic scenery of the fjords in supreme style and comfort, I unreservedly recommend Captain Svein and See the Fjords (www.seethefjords.com), his enterprise expressed as a private custom fjord-cruise. Svein is a charming and highly competent captain who insists on staying in the background, occasionally to step forward to share his knowledge of the fjords and top up the

Champagne glasses. Upstairs on this stunning 50 feet (15 metres) boat is a panoramic flybridge, on the aft deck a salon, and within an even larger salon. It’s pure luxury as Svein conducts his trips (stretching from 3 hours to 4 days, including tours of both Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord, sleeping six in immense comfort).

Norway is the land of waterfalls, with nine out of the world’s ten tallest, and nowhere else having as many. They leap from the top of huge cliffs, sending their immense spray a considerable distance. They act as nature’s veins or arteries; tearful lifelines of energy now tapped into and captured as electricity by the resourceful and eco-conscious Norwegians. Sitting on the aft of his boat, Svein took me to within touching distance of one cascading crescendo to playfully feel the spray from above. A baptismal moment. ›

Inside Captain Svein’s 50-foot boat
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Frescohallen, the stunning former stock exchange

For this day trip, I left Bergen inhaling the cool sea air of the morning as I traversed the North Sea up past long, narrow inlets with their steep cliffs offering vast chunks of granite: colourful with their many mazy striated shapes. The water then narrowed to a smallish river with its mesmerising ripple at Mostraumen. The wind sighed among the pines and the waterfalls murmured. The boat threaded an intricate maze of islands, resembling Koh Samui with trees growing on their rocks, as signs of human habitation emerged as well as elk, deer, swans and salmon farms. I disembarked for lunch at Mo, the halfway point: a quiet plateau with waterfalls on either side, like bookends or theatrical curtains unfolding. The whole experience was sublime and one for the romantics: so sacred and unspoilt, so profound. Svein declares convincingly that he “only has happy customers”.

The serenity that is Mostraumen Elegant dining at Bjerck Restaurant
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Cruising with Go Fjords along Hardangerfjord

Looking straight out over the harbour and the fish market towards Bryggen is Bjerck Restaurant (www.bjerck.no ) which attracts a young crowd and it’s worth getting there early to command the best view. Named after the owner, it opened in 2018 and with such success that a sister restaurant called Engen will open later this year. With floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s extremely light and the vibe and furnishing is hip and cool. For within the warehouse interior, this bistrocum-bar comes with velvet covered cushions and a sober colour scheme. Here I was to enjoy their famous dish Prinsefisk, comprising cod, asparagus, shrimps, creamy sauce, dill and potatoes, followed indulgently by the Noisette a hazelnut mousse, with praline and vanilla caramel.

Early the next morning I went with Go Fjords ( www. gofjords.com ) hopping on a bus from Bergen to get the

most out of my day trip along Hardangerfjord on an open-deck catamaran. This took me past farms, orchards and mountains, and charming villages with their small harbours and their posh hotels. It stops at Norheimsund, Herand, Utne, Lofthus, Kinsarvik, Ulvik and Eidfjord. The serene, sturdy and majestic boat was comfy, with snacks from the kiosk, and I sat within or stood without accordingly to enjoy the fjord. At Eidfjord some went on to see the stunning Vøringsfossen waterfall. I chose to stretch my legs and look around the village and witnessed by chance, coming out of the church from a baptism, local men in their traditional dress of dark-blue knee-breeches with stockings of undyed wool, red shirt-sleeves and hats of grey felt, while the women wore bright red or green bodices, with beads in front, clean white linen sleeves, large white head-coverings and blue skirts trimmed with coloured braid. ›

See the Fjords’ offers many gorgeous panoramas Within touching distance of one cascading crescendo Norway is the land of waterfalls with 9 out of the world's 10 tallest

The broad 187 km stretch that is Hardangerfjord is up to 1,200 metres deep. Most visit in the spring or summer when the trees are blossoming, waterfalls are roaring, and the trails are full of hikers. By autumn and winter the apple blossom has turned to juice and cider, the rushing waterfalls are frozen to ice, and the hiking

trails are covered by snow. I smelt the aromatic woods of silver birch and pine and I paused for a moment just to appreciate the profound silence. In a pool nearby a fish rose to leave circling lines of light blue rippling on the surface of the sleeping water, thus accentuating the perfect stillness.

Thon Hotel Sandven The vast expanse that is Hardangerfjord
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A Room at Bergen Bors Hotel

I got off at Norheimsund to stay at Thon Hotel Sandven, (www.thonhotels.com/ourhotels/norway/norheimsund) where rooms start from €146). This family concern needed the King’s blessing in 1857 to override local objection to open. Fantastically positioned beside the bus stop to Bergen and the terminus for the boat trips, it has a front row waterside view. The heart of the hotel, where the feasting and communing happens, is traditional. There’s a ‘female room’ referencing years gone by, a library and a grand piano. The main dining hall, full one evening with a Norwegian choir, reminded me, with its resounding echo, of my schooldays and is bedecked with several paintings of the

fjords of which one depicted Norheimsund in winter with the snow resting over the entirety of the mountains.

In my time at Norheimsund, amid the tinkling boats and kids at play, the hiking and biking, the boating and bathing, I went on a heavenly walk across meadows and farmland, forests and pasture before reaching the beautiful, wonderful waterfall that is Steinsdalsfossen. Here I was able to get behind it and look through the falling water and yet not get wet. And as the sun came out so too did a rainbow for a truly blessed moment.

Everything on the fjords is vast and humbling for us mere mortals. For these peculiar trough-like basins are a vital part

of the superlative vistas of steep mountains, cascading waterfalls, lively villages, glaciers, leaping porpoises, and innumerable fruit trees.

For books and guidebooks I recommend the Insight Pocket Guide to Oslo and Bergen and A. Heaton Cooper’s, The Norwegian Fjords. Also, Norway can prove to be very expensive so get a Bergen Card (www.visitbergen. com) for free entry or discounts to many museums, attractions, tours, restaurants and travel, and use it to take a tram from the airport to the centre (passing through suburbs with exotic names such as Florida, Paradis and Hop), rather than suffer a pricey taxi stuck in traffic jams.

I must go back, whenever but soon! e

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Herand Village on Hardangerfjord

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MARIBEL HOTEL THE NEW ALPINE CHALET OPENING IN SIERRA NEVADA

Sierra Nevada starts the winter season with the much-anticipated arrival of a new destination hotel, Maribel. This reimagined alpine ski chalet opens under the new ownership and management of Puente Romano Beach Resort and Marbella Club, responsible for the renowned El Lodge Ski & Spa. WORDS CRISTINA

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BORGES DE CARVALHO AND DANI BARBARÁN  PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF THE MARIBEL HOTEL

Ideally located at the foot of the slopes, Maribel is a sophisticated ski and après ski chalet with a mix of high-altitude fun both on and off the piste for families, friends, and winter sports enthusiasts.

With a season that lasts until the start of spring and coincides with the winter sports period of the Sierra Nevada resort, Maribel will have 29 rooms and suites, including the signature Maribel Penthouse Suite.

Situated at 2,250 metres, with direct access to the Maribel and Águila slopes, Maribel offers its guests the perfect plan on and off the pistes. Once at this alpine lifestyle hotel, guests will find a compelling blend of wellness and dining. The hotel’s lounge and bar, with a ski-in/skiout outdoor terrace, promises a unique après ski atmosphere. Maribel’s restaurant provides a

‘dining club’ experience with an alpine flavour.

There’s even a Nordic-inspired spa where guests can rest their weary muscles after a day on the slopes and unwind under the stars.

ENVIRONMENTS THAT ALLOW YOU TO FLOW

Guests will be greeted by a sweeping elliptical staircase that defines the hotel lobby. The open-plan, interconnected library, bar, and lounge areas merge into a single, welcoming space. The outdoor terrace, a sun-kissed deck with access to the Maribel and Águila slopes, will be a favourite for indulgent hot chocolate and sundowners, making the perfect accompaniment to experiencing the golden hour.

Maribel’s restaurant will serve hearty dishes and mountain

favourites in a relaxed and entertaining atmosphere until late at night. Stevani & Silva are the creative forces behind the stand-out decoration of Maribel’s bar and restaurant. Expect a bold mix of dark and warm tones, sensual textures like velvet, and show-stealing design details like the gold leaf bar, the restaurant’s snake-shaped sofa, and hanging fireplaces. Maribel’s is the perfect place to enjoy a dinner with a mountain view.

The ski chalet’s 29 perfectly groomed guest rooms and suites are set over three floors. Accommodation includes duplex suites, creatively designed for those who prefer to travel with their family or a small group of friends. Each has warm, welcoming, alpine-inspired interiors, with Finnish wood, leather furniture, faux-fur throws, and Natura Bissé amenities. ›

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SHORT-SLEEVED SKIING IN THE SUN

Hotel Maribel is prominently located in the ski village of the Sierra Nevada national park, which includes one of the most extensive ski areas in southern Europe. 110 km of skiable slopes are distributed over 131 runs, including the highest slope in the Iberian Peninsula at an altitude of 3,400 metres.

With direct access to the pistes, Maribel, taking its name from the adjacent ski run of the same name, is 50 metres from the chairlift at Parador No. 1 and just a few metres from its sister hotel, El Lodge.

“Sierra Nevada is already a booming destination, and we want to bring even more to the table – a ground-breaking boutique ski chalet where you can dare to try thrilling mountain sports and which will bring people together from all corners of the world who are not afraid to set their own standards,” explains Daniel Shamoon, co-owner of Maribel.

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FAST FACTS

Z LOCATION: Maribel is located at 2,250 metres, in the Sierra Nevada ski resort (Granada province, Spain), and just a few metres from its sister hotel, El Lodge Ski & Spa. Sierra Nevada is a 45-minute transfer from Granada International Airport and just 2 hours from Málaga International Airport and Marbella.

Z OPENING DATE: December 2022.

Z LENGTH OF SEASON: Open until April 2023.

Z GUEST ROOMS: 29 rooms and suites, including duplex suites and the signature Maribel Suite, all with alpine-inspired interiors and Natura Bissé guest amenities.

Z DINING: Maribel’s includes an après ski terrace, bar, lounge, and a mountain view restaurant. Room Service available.

Z SERVICES: Spa with two treatment rooms, Turkish bath, sauna, indoor heated swimming pool. Ski and board rental boutique, and lessons. Transfers to and from the ski lifts for guests staying at the hotel. Local, gastronomic and sports guest experiences.

i www.maribels.com

to CONTENTS D SPOTLIGHT hotels 42 / DECEMBER 2022 ESSENTIAL MAGAZINE
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MERRY DECEMBER Calle

The Spanish don’t open their Christmas presents until next year but this fiestaloving nation doesn’t wait for the Three Kings to start the party. Essential singles out six festive must-dos from Andalucía’s

packed December calendar of seasonal traditions to make the last month of the year feel like Christmas every day.

DO THE MÁLAGA ILLUMINATIONS

CHRISTMAS IN CALLE LARIOS WILL LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE

Crisis, what energy crisis? It’s been looking a lot like Christmas since late November in Málaga, which switched on its festive illuminations a week ahead of most other cities. From now until Three Kings Night, over two million LEDs will add a festive twinkle to 500 streets in the provincial capital, weaving around palm trunks and decorating the branches of fig and almond trees all the way from the

Alameda Gardens to Muelle Uno at the port. However this year’s shorter schedule (lights off at midnight on weekdays, 2am on weekends and holidays), will save €7.000 in electricity bills and 4 tons in CO2 emissions. The lights of Calle Larios are almost as famous as Oxford Street’s. Last year’s Winter Forest theme drew tens of thousands to shop beneath a canopy of 342 sparkly leaves and 100 glittering suns. The visiting Mayor of Vigo, known as El Rey de la Navidad for his own city’s illuminations, hailed it ‘a miracle cure for woes’.

Flower power at Las Luces del Bótanico

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For more miracles, head round the corner to see Málaga cathedral shape-shifting before your eyes in a spell-binding videomapping show, projected onto the south tower three times nightly.

On the outskirts of town, LEDs are blooming all over La Concepción Gardens for Las Luces del Bótanico, a magical horticultural happening with perennial appeal. This year’s Follow the Star theme retraces the Wise Men’s journey to Bethlehem via an illuminated Hanging Gardens of Babylon and an iridescent River Jordan – all at an energy cost per visitor equal to firing up a filter coffee machine.

Last year’s record 110,000 ticket sales created a Parking Nightmare before Christmas but extra shuttle buses and car spaces have been laid on this season. i www.laslucesdelbotanicomalaga.com

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Las Luces del Bótanico
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ZIP OFF TO A ZAMBOMBA THESE BOOZY BONFIRE SING-ALONGS A RE THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

Zambombas hark back to the 18th century when neighbours shared communal patios. Come December, they fired up the brazier, drew around it on rickety chairs and, when sufficiently fortified with shots of anis liqueur, burst forth in villancicos (bawdy flamenco carols).

For musical accompaniment, they’d use anything to hand – an empty anis bottle banged with a spoon, or a cloth-covered flowerpot agitated with a stick. The low grating sound made by their makeshift friction drums gave the zambomba its curious name.

The lyrics to some villancicos would shock many a C of E vicar (Catholic priests are said to be ‘woker’). There’s one about the baby Jesus getting drunk on strawberry juice and another about a ‘millionaire business’ called the Vatican – best brush up your Spanish!

When everyone moved into apartments these courtyard carol fests nearly died out, until 2015 when the zambombas of Jerez and Arcos de la Frontera were given Cultural Heritage status as authentic oral traditions. Now every town in Andalucia is jumping on the ‘Zambombandwagon’ and these impromptu private celebrations have become public events with food stalls, cash bars, and professional musicians in the mix. Top pick in Jerez are the zambombas in the Palacio del Virrey Laserna gardens where the crackle of firewood, the scent of aniseed, and merry carolling voices come together in a warm Christmas hug.

The zambombas of Jerez have Cultural Heritage status © Manu López Iglesias
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The belén viviente of Beas is the oldest in Andalucia

MAKE A BEELINE FOR A BELÉN VIV IENTE

YOU WON’T NEED A PASSPORT TO VISIT THESE LITTLE TOWNS OF BETHLEHEM

Leave the Coast’s electric bling behind and head for the hills to experience life in the oil lamp age.

Throughout December many of Spain’s pueblos blancos resemble The Life of Brian film set for their annual Belén Viviente, a re-enactment of the Christmas story in the streets starring a cast of locals in flowing biblical robes plus their donkeys, ducks and sheep. If you thought you spotted a Roman Centurion outside the post office you weren’t dreaming.

Way more entertaining than the dreaded school nativity play, you can watch butchers, bakers and blessed (are the) cheesemakers plying their ancient artisan crafts, then eat the results.

St. Francis of Assisi started the tradition in 1223, casting an ox, an ass, and a human Holy Family in his Christmas Eve mass. Due to the impracticalities of working with children and animals in enclosed spaces, ‘Living Bethlehems’ died out but tourism brought

them back and this year they were secularised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Spain. The Belén of Beas in Huelva, dating from 1970, is Andalucía’s oldest while Arcos de la Frontera in Cádiz province lays claim to the biggest.

Miniature nativity scenes are also a big deal. Spain’s King Carlos lll shipped over an elaborate 600-piece set from Naples in 1795, since when no devout Spanish Catholic home, church vestibule, or important municipal building has been without a display. Often super-realistic with working watermills and flowing rivers, Sevilla’s annual Christmas Feria de Belén specialises in figurines if you want to make your own. Meanwhile the world’s largest collection of nativity scenes (70) is open yearround at the Museo de Belenes in Mollina, 16km from Málaga. A 25 metre display of Andalucia in 1AD and a mini-nativity viewed from the perspective of a Bethlehem stable rat are highlights.

One of 70 nativity scenes at Mollina’s Museo de Belènes
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IN DULCES JUBILATE GET THEE TO A NUNNERY FOR A LITTLE TASTE OF HEAVEN

Dulces de Navidad are a guilty Spanish pleasure but none are more sinfully scrumptuous than the Christmas sweets made by nuns.

Behind convent walls, this secret sister act of home bakers are up to their wimples in flour right now, praying they’ll beat the yuletide rush. Since the Reconquest, cloistered orders like the Franciscans, Carmelites and Poor Clares have eked out a simple living from sales of their buttery mantecados, powdery polvorones, and boozy borrachuelos, laced with a naughty nip of anis.

You can get them online these days but it’s more fun to shop from the Sisterhood direct. There are convent confiterías all over Spain (16 in Granada city alone) and the procedure is much the same: you ring a bell beside a small portcullis in the wall; a nun appears behind it whispering Ave María in traditional greeting, to which you may optionally reply ‘Sin pecado concebida’ (conceived without sin) –although a simple buenos días will do. Then you order from the price list, place your money on a revolving turntable and dulces appear in its place, like a miracle.

Mother of God truffles, marzipan Sacred Hearts… every order has its signature recipes and guards them with the secrecy of the confessional, although these more-ish sweetmeats were originally Moorish. The ingredients were given a ‘Christian’ twist with lard instead of olive oil in Spanish Inquisition days, when refusing to eat pork was proof of heresy.

The sugar rush they pack seems more vice than virtue but you can tuck in with a clear conscience because they’ve been blessed by nuns. And they are, indeed, divine! ›

Baking day at San Francisco Convent, Ronda
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© Karethe Linaae/ theolivepress.es

HAVE A FLUTTER ON ‘THE FAT ONE’

El Gordo is Spain’s secular miracle at Christmas, distributing sackloads of cash to thousands of lucky winners and making entire communities rich overnight.

The biggest prize pool in the world, worth a staggering €2.5 billion this year offers better odds than any other lottery. With 170 jackpots worth €4 million each, 170 second prizes of €1.25 million and an avalanche of smaller prizes, no wonder 98 per cent of Spanish

adults indulge in a flutter.

Millions tune in to the five-hour televised Sorteo on December 22, when the numbers and corresponding prize values are ‘sung’ by a choir from Madrid’s San Ildefonso School in a relentless numeric litany as the balls are drawn from golden drums. The tradition goes back to 1812 when the world’s second oldest lottery began.

Tickets cost a whopping €200

each and are sold in tenths (decimos), explaining why a whole village can win a jackpot prize. In 2011, only one of the 250 villagers of Sodeto in Huesca did NOT hold a winning ticket. But he cashed in after all by making a documentary about the extraordinary windfall.

Andalucía is the second luckiest region in Spain to buy a ticket, after Madrid, having produced jackpot winners 59 times. For a €20 stake, you’d be a fathead not to join in. ›

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THERE’S MORE THAN A FAT CHANCE OF WINNING EL GORDO

Hot toddies, roaring log fires, walks in a winter wonderland and sleigh rides in the snow… the Sierra Nevada ticks all those boxes with sparkly Christmas bows on.

Grey Britain hasn’t had a proper white Christmas since 2010 but, two hours from sunny Málaga, there’s a guaranteed delivery of the white stuff from November to April on the slopes of Granada’s mighty Mulhacén, 3,479 metres tall and Iberia’s highest peak.

The Sierra Nevada Ski, Snowboard and Mountain Resort has one of the longest winter sports seasons

in Europe. And the sunniest. Your snowman won’t melt but with 255 days of sunshine a year you can tan while you triple cork through Europe’s largest snowboard park and slalom down 110 km of pistes. ‘Ski in the morning, sunbathe in the afternoon’ is a lifestyle here. Dog sledding, snow biking, mountain trekking and night skiing through stunning National Parkland are others.

Santa arrives during Christmas week, whizzing down floodlit pistes with a sackful of surprises for the little ones. Pradollano village, the resort’s beating heart, twinkles with

festive lights and there are carol concerts in the square.

Go for the day or stay over – if there are any lift passes left! The advance sales record was broken in October. For the white Christmas of your dreams, El Lodge delivers an al fresco heated swimming pool and sunset views of snow-capped peaks from a hot tub. Owned by the prestigious Marbella Club Group, you can ski directly onto the mountain or watch the action slope-side from the sun deck, cocooned in a cashmere blanket. e

PLAN A WHITE CHRISTMAS IN ANDALUCÍA IT’S NO DREAM – ALL YOUR CHRISTMASES CAN BE WHITE WWW.ESSENTIALMAGAZINE.COM / 55

MAY ALL YOUR CHRISTMASES BE GREEN

For millions of people across the globe, Christmas is the happiest time of the year. Enjoying a warm family Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas day lunch, opening presents by a roaring fireplace, and sipping on a nightcap by the twinkling lights of a tree laden with ornaments are the stuff our best memories are made of. However, for many environmentalists, Christmas is one of the biggest annual global disasters.

MARISA CUTILLAS PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK AND SPECIFIED SUPPLIERS back to CONTENTS D SPOTLIGHT christmas 58 / DECEMBER 2022 ESSENTIAL MAGAZINE
WORDS

SAINT NICK’S IMMENSE FOOTPRINT

The following statistics will help focus your mind about the effect that the jolly season can have on global warming.

Z A study undertaken in the U.S. indicates that during the holiday season, every person generates around 635 kg of extra CO2 emissions.

Z Some of the biggest environmental problems are caused by artificial trees (each of which creates a footprint of about 40 kg of greenhouse gas emissions), Christmas lights, and travel.

Z Food waste is another big concern. In the UK, for instance, around seven million tons of food are binned at Christmas time.

Z Most wrapping paper used for presents cannot be recycled; it ends up in landfills.

Z Returned packages leave a trail of emissions since a myriad of planes, trains, and gigantic trucks are required to take them back to sellers.

Z In the UK, around £42 million worth of unwanted Christmas presents end up being discarded annually.

Z Around 41 per cent of toys received on the 25th of December will have been broken or discarded by March, with most ending up in landfills – per publication, teleSUR.

How can these problems be tackled while still making the season meaningful for those who wouldn’t dream of foregoing a little festive magic?

CHOOSING THE PERFECT TREE

As mentioned above, artificial trees have a sizeable carbon footprint

(around double that of natural trees). Moreover, they are often shipped from abroad. You don’t have to give up your dream of having a Christmas tree indoors, but you can reduce the environmental impact of your tree by:

Z Using a potted tree.

Z Buying a wooden Christmas tree that you can reuse every year.

Z Buying a tree from sellers that replant trees to replace those which have been cut down.

Z Buying a secondhand tree or using one you already have, even if it isn’t as amazing at the Times Square tree.

Z Making your own tree with sticks and branches.

Z Making a wall tree using lights and stickers. These look gorgeous and can easily be removed and stored away. ›

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Z Decorating your tree with eco-friendly decorations such as dried orange slices, ornaments made with recycled paper, pine cones, fallen leaves, and ornaments made from recycled materials like wood or glass.

Z For your tree’s garland, forego the sparkly plastic stuff sold at stores and make one of your own. String popcorn, dried fruits, flowers, paper ornaments, cinnamon sticks, herbs, and other items that bring you closer to nature.

Z Use the Christmas lights you already have or buy them second-hand.

Z If you must buy new lights, make sure they are LED lights, which use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional ones.

SERVING A SUSTAINABLE CHRISTMAS MEAL

Christmas is a time of abundance, but when it comes to preparing an eco-friendly meal, you should calculate the amount of food that your guests will actually consume to avoid over-purchasing. Source your produce from local markets and delight guests with regional delicacies (such as queso payoyo from Grazalema, tarta Malagueña, locally-made olive oil, and sweet wine from Málaga).

Think about packaging when you are making your purchases. For instance, going to a market and buying loose pieces of fruit is wiser than opting for prepackaged fruit sitting in plastic or foam containers and

covered in plastic wrap. What you do with leftover food can also make a big difference. Bones and vegetable peelings can be used to make a delicious stock, which you can freeze for future use. You can also turn leftovers into new dishes such as Christmas pizza or turkey salad. If you have a

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Finally, consider serving a plant-based meal this year, or substituting a few meal dishes with vegan or vegetarian ones. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, global livestock production makes up 14.5 per cent of all human-caused emissions. Imagine the extent to which the global footprint could be reduced if everyone went meatfree at Christmas! ›

ENSURING YOUR GIFT HITS THE SPOT

If other members of your family share your passion for the environment, suggest a Kris Kringle activity in which everyone lists around five sustainable items costing under a certain amount (forego a budget if you think it’s unnecessary). The most important thing is for each person to write down things they really

next to their most desired items. This is a simple way to ensure that no gift will get thrown away.

If you receive a gift you don’t like, don’t throw it away or keep it in storage. Instead, give it to a charity like cancer care hospice, Cudeca. The latter has a range of shops selling everything from clothing to gift items.

You can also agree to upcycle; create gifts for each other by hand from existing items in your home. Cute upcycled gift ideas include:

Z Framing classic records to decorate a statement wall in a gaming room.

Z Repurposed glass jars filled with homemade infused olive oils, spice mixes, infused gin or vodka, or a cake or muffin recipe-in-a-jar.

Z A homemade family board game.

Z Refilling candle jars with custom candles.

Z A money tree made with old Bath bombs with dried citrus fruit peels, with a few drops of essential oils like lavender or

A painted paw print dog treat mason jar.

An ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ jazzed up with small unwanted ornaments.

Christmas cross-stitch art on an old tennis racquet (you could sew a Christmas tree, snowflake, or winter flower in the centre of the racquet).

Z Cutting old cardboard into cute Christmas shapes and painting them in beautiful colours with your kids.

Reducing the carbon footprint of gifts has just about as many solutions as you can dream up. For instance, if your family is into social media and is techsavvy, you might decide to forego gifts and, instead, make a video or photo montage. To make things fun, everyone could pick one person in the family to pay homage to. All these videos could be uploaded onto a personal website or social media account for future access.

SAYING GOODBYE TO GIFT WRAPPER

If you are in a rush and you want a handy alternative to wasteful Christmas wrapping paper, Amazon sells a host of pretty recycled wrapping paper. You can also get crafty and use existing items to wrap gifts. For instance, crisp bags are made of brilliant metallic silver material on the inside. You can simply turn the bag around, cut it as you need to, and wrap your gifts, using old ribbons for a festive effect.

Paper grocery bags have a real eco-friendly feel to them, and you can make them prettier by wrapping string over them and adding elements like dried orange slices and Christmas ornaments. ›

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Some people are really clever, using hankies to wrap gifts and tying them up in creative bows and arrangements. Finally, what about giving someone a gift in an old balloon? Stick something small or a little cash in an emptied balloon, blow it up again, and place it under the tree.

SAVING ENERGY

Spain is currently facing the sharpest rise in the cost of electricity and fuel in its history, despite the caps set by the government. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to consider buying electricity from a green energy supplier or having solar panels installed (read our article on Nación Solar and you will discover that these panels pay for themselves in a few years). Lower your thermostat as much as you can if you use an HVAC system, and consider a home automation system to help you programme and reduce your energy use. e

Eco-friendly crackers made from recycled kraft card i www.kitchencraft.co.uk

Recycled cotton throw blanket i www.paperhigh.com

Recycled silver moon and star pendant i www.folksy.com

back to CONTENTS D SPOTLIGHT christmas 62 / DECEMBER 2022 ESSENTIAL MAGAZINE
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MOR E SUSTAINABLE GIFT IDEAS

As mentioned, the best gifts are those that you already have, so you could work from a shorter gift list this year. Supporting local businesses is also key. However, if you are an online shopper, you may be interested in buying gifts that are inherently more sustainable. Below are just a few suggestions.

Self-watering, hanging garden made from upcycled plastic that is 100 per cent recyclable (polypropylene) i www.thedesigngiftshop.com

Fairtrade baskets made in Ghana and finished with sustainable leather i www.lolaandmawu.com

RecyclableChristmasnapkins i www.talkingtables.co.uk

Reusable bread bag made from fast-growing jute

Fully biodegradable Christmas cards that are also plantable, embedded with a mix of 12 native wildflower seeds. Coming with recyclable kraft envelopes. i www.greenplanetliving.co.uk i www.kitchencraft.co.uk

Personalised bamboo chopping board
i
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wishes you Happy Holidays

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industry what Vlad the Impaler was to motivational team building, explains why he has the worst car karma in Marbella.

CARMAGEDDON!

Have you ever had an unrequited love affair? The type where the object of your affections takes a perverse delight in crushing your hopes and dreams? That, dear reader, is my relationship with motoring. What makes it even worse is that I love cars. Dad was a professional racing driver in the 60s and 70s and competed in some of the world’s most legendary events, including the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Targa Florio, Spa, Nurburgring, and

is a Life Member of the British Racing Drivers Club. A large part of my childhood memories is of time spent in the paddock at Oulton Park, or at the old clubhouse at Silverstone. Even now when I go to a motor race, I revert to being an over excited four-year-old and can bore unsuspecting people silly with my anorak-like knowledge of Formula One history. Sometimes though, I wonder if Dad entered into a Faustian pack with a particularly spiteful demon. He came through

his racing career without serious injury, and I have the sneaking suspicion that all his mechanical malfunctions have been passed on to me!

As a magazine journalist, I have been able to indulge my passion for motoring with new car reviews. These have included taking an extremely fast Caterham sports car through Battersea Park, an open top Bentley on a cruise around Barcelona and, most memorably, a track day at Thruxton in a single seater-racing car. “I knew

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Giles and Dad

exactly which car you were driving,” said my photographer when I came into the pits. “The helmet was a funny shape because you were smiling so much!”

My day-to-day driving, however, is nothing short of disastrous. To put it bluntly, I am the man that breaks the unbreakable. The pattern was set in my teenage years when my beloved Mini 1275 GT – yellow with a black roof and an absolute rocket –seized its engine as I was driving through the tunnel in central Marbella. I think that I actually wept as the grua took it away, never to be seen again.

I relied on public transport when I lived in London but, as anyone who has to catch a bus in Marbella will confirm, it can be somewhat, ahem, ‘challenging’.

Moving to a cottage on the lake in Istan meant that I had to get a vehicle. There are only three

buses a day to the pueblo in the week. Surprisingly, none of them was willing to make the detour down the 1.3 kilometre dirt track on the side of a mountain that leads to my place.

So, a 4x4 was in order and I duly invested in a Freelander. Bad move. I normally give my cars names, and the Mark I Freelander was christened ‘Tallulah’ after the notoriously difficult American actress Tallulah Bankhead. When anything broke it was usually not expensive enough for me to scrap it, but getting it fixed left a large hole in my wallet. In other words, she was a total b*tch. Eventually Ian, the Land Rover expert who I got to know increasingly well due to my frequent visits, advised me that she was beyond repair. I parked her in the Polígono and believed that was the end of it.

Or so I thought.

Tallulah still had one more trick

from the grave up her sleeve. Due to my well-known incompetence with paperwork, I forgot to officially scrap her and had my account embargoed for having an uninsured car on the road…

My next two cars were not 4x4 and the track did for them in under six months. So, it was back to the big beasts again and none was bigger and beastlier than the huge green Opel Monterrey that became known as ‘The Tank’. Unfortunately, it was also a 3.1 litre petrol automatic, and so drank more than Oliver Reed at a wine tasting. Thirsty would be putting it mildly. The Tank also used to pull the neat trick of breaking down on a Friday evening, normally with a Puente approaching. This meant it would be days before it actually made it to the garage to be repaired. After three years, I was once again waving goodbye to one of my cars on the back of a grua. ›

“In case you are wondering, I am something of a legend among grua drivers. We meet so often that last year I received a Christmas card thanking me for the business”
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In case you are wondering, I am something of a legend among grua drivers. We meet so often that last year I received a Christmas card thanking me for the business. Only bettered by the receptionist at the garage. She pointed me out to her young son and daughter as I was awaiting another expensive part, “Look children. There is the man who is putting you through school!”

There was only one thing for it. I would have to get an unbreakable 4x4. The kind of vehicle that you see the rebels careering across the desert with a large machine gun on the back. I brought a Toyota Landcruiser. They do not break. They are indestructible. They last forever. I broke it. Several times.

There have been the small, slightly annoying malfunctions. Then there was the Mother of All Breakages.

Any good story requires a great supporting cast and this one came in the shape of my brilliant and bonkers Goddaughter Ziggy and Lux, her ‘bestie’. As both are alternative circus performers –hoops, fire juggling, tattoos, you know, the normal – they were spending a week de-stressing at the Casita. Deciding to head out and visit friends, we gaily hopped into the Landcruiser.

If you don’t know the Istan road, there is a steep descent that takes you under the motorway bridge, followed by a couple of bends that I normally take at a reasonable speed.

With the Goddaughter sitting next to me, however, I remembered my duties as ‘El Padrino’ and eased off through the second bend.

There was a loud ‘BANG’, a metallic screech and I realised that the right front wheel had snapped off completely, was wedged underneath the car,

and that I would have to wrestle it gently into the nearest bit of shrubbery. My windscreen somewhat obscured by the greenery, I checked that the girls were ok (they were) and we gingerly made our way to the side of the road. If you ever want to meet the entire population of your pueblo, and get unwanted advice, break down on the only road leading out of it. Everyone from passing cyclists to old friends pulled over to have a look. It was quite the social event, especially when my best mates from the grua turned up!

Seeing my predicament, some wonderful friends offered me their BMW X5. “Vorsprung durch technic” yelled in glee as I took in the leather-bound beauty, fabulous driving experience and unbreakable Teutonic technology. Guess what happened next… e

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PAGANI UTOPIA SPORTS HYPERCAR

Pagani may not be the first name to come to mind when hypercars are discussed but the Modena-based carmaker has created some of the most intriguing high-end sports cars from any maker since it got started in 1992. Argentinian founder, Horacio Pagani was employed by Lamborghini before starting his own company and worked on some of that manufacturer’s most iconic models.

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Pagani’s cars have always been highly innovative, borrowing little from more illustrious competitors. Nothing confirms this approach better than the all-new 2023 Utopia, which is a refreshing blend of cutting edge technology and delightful vintage touches, especially in the cockpit. The styling is attention grabbing to say the least, embodying a kind of aggressive elegance.

The Utopia might be the best example of ‘the automobile as art’ we’ve ever seen, but from an engineering standpoint, it’s quite conventional despite its hypercar status. Pagani is evidently in no hurry to embrace electric or hybridelectric powertrains and has equipped the Utopia with a highly impressive

Mercedes-AMG engine. It’s a 6.0-litre V-12 with a pair of turbochargers developing an impressive, if not earthshattering, 864-horsepower. Serious enthusiasts will be delighted to hear that the car is available with a 7-speed manual transmission, though most buyers will likely opt for the 7-speed automatic with manual override.

The monocoque bodywork is created from a combination of carbon fibre and titanium and the structure is built around front and rear tubular sub-frames in an advanced steel alloy. The body should be very stiff and resistant to flexing in tight corners at speed. The structure is also light and fits in with Horacio Pagani’s philosophy of minimal weight and simplicity. ›

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It’s a belief that would have greatly impressed Lotus legend, Colin Chapman. The ultimate aim is that the Utopia will, above all else, be fun to drive. Vintage details around the body include leather straps with buckles to secure movable panels, a delightful feature that even Britain’s Morgan seems to have abandoned. Other key components around the chassis include powerful Brembo brakes, forged alloy wishbones for the suspension front and rear, and cast alloy wheels (larger at the rear than the front) shod with grippy Pirelli PZero Corsa tyres. The cockpit of the Utopia compares with no competing hypercar we’ve ever seen. The detailing is remarkable and the quality is so good, it makes some rivals look tacky and featureless. ›

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The steering wheel, flattened at the bottom for thigh clearance, is machined from a sold aluminium block and the parts you grip are the usual leather. Don’t look for much digital instrumentation here. Apart from one panel behind the steering wheel, the car has a full roster of round dials with polished aluminium bezels in true vintage style. The gearshift lever mechanism is exposed for all to see and again, is a feast of beautifully machined and polished aluminium. There’s no sign of a touch screen, a feature that won’t be missed by those

who love sports cars for their dynamic delights, rather than their infotainment capabilities. The cabin represents great originality on the part of Pagani and his team and brings a freshness that rivals should take note of.

All in all, the Utopia is a splendid addition to the hypercar segment and the usual rumours are circulating about all 99 copies planned being sold. The car is likely to be very expensive, but that’s all part and parcel of this rarefied market. The Utopia should start rolling out of the Pagani factory some time next year. e

Z EV DRIVE SYSTEM:

6.0-litre twin-turbo V-12 developed in cooperation with Mercedes-AMG.

Z TRANSMISSION:

7-speed manual or 7-speed automatic with manual override.

Z ACCELERATION: Zero to 100 km/h in 3.0-seconds.

Z TOP SPEED: 354 km/h.

Z I LIKED: Outstanding styling with interesting vintage detailing. Use of a reliable Mercedes-AMG engine is a great choice. Interior treatment is highly original and beautifully executed.

Z I DIDN’T LIKE: Some will question the use of a petrol-only engine with no electrification, but Horacio Pagani is probably planning something for the future.

Z MARKET ALTERNATIVES: Koenigsegg CC850, Bugatti Chiron, Mercedes-AMG ONE, McLaren Senna, Aston Martin Valkyrie.

Z WHO DRIVES ONE?

True driving enthusiasts with the means to acquire one of the most innovative of all hypercars.

Z PRICE AND

AVAILABILITY: Delivery date not yet announced. Price likely to top two to three million euros.

80 / DECEMBER 2022 ESSENTIAL MAGAZINE back to CONTENTS D SPOTLIGHT motoring
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Wherever You Are in the World, Have a Golden Holiday Season!

On the eve of Avatar: The Way of Water , one of the most-anticipated sequels in film history, Zoe Saldana is a woman with a lot going on. Not only is she dealing with what may be the most lucrative sequel ever, she’s also taken time to redress her perspective over the male/ female divide… in Hollywood and in life. As essential discovers, the results are illuminating.

ZOE SALDANA AVATAR… AGAIN

84 / DECEMBER 2022 ESSENTIAL MAGAZINE back to CONTENTS D SPOTLIGHT people

Not just a sequel, but a sequel of a sequel, and two more beyond that, taking us all the way through from Avatar 2 to Avatar 5. How do you get your head round that?

The project is huge, but it has to be. You have a film that took $3billion at the box office, and yet we are 13 years on. Perhaps it’s only right we’re getting as many follow-ups if it’s taken us this long up until now!

At 190 minutes, is there anything left for the Avatar sequels that come after The Way of Water?

All will be revealed – those tiresome words, I know!

Obviously when sequels are mentioned the first thing people think about is risk. Do you feel this?

I was very nervous. I was nervous because sequels can be dangerous. And we all were feeling the pressure. I think the first couple of days, we all had moments of, ‘can we do this again?’ ‘What was the secret ingredient? Do you know, does anyone? Should we just leave it there, not mess with it?’ There were a lot of nerves. It has been a long time.

When something hits so well, how can you go better. Could we go better? That was scary. This danger of throwing away what we had just for another role of the dice… or another few rolls of the dice. The stakes were huge. Are huge. And once we were in it, all that fear melted away. Jim [James Cameron] was in charge and his vision was present and trustworthy and I just hopped

on the ride and went with it. So, it was very different from the first. Way different. Different planet different.

But you’re convinced fans will love the follow-up?

The key word here is ‘more’… which is saying something because there was a lot in there to begin with. We know their personalities so much more; we can grow with them. There’s more love, more affection. More tears. Just everything heightened and bettered, I didn’t know this was possible because the first was such a beautiful, perfect package. ›

“I don’t care what other people think. I always say what I think. I hate the idea of putting on an act when I’m talking about myself doing press. There’s enough of that in this business and I don’t need to be part of that s--t... “
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We seem to be in a different era of film compared to how the world was back in 2009 with the first Avatar. Is that a threat to the integrity of the Avatar concept, or an opportunity?

It’s definitely an opportunity. A new generation of filmgoer has moved into the mix, but we still retain the curiosity and interest of the millions of people who went out to watch it first time around.

I can’t think of many films with 13 years between the first and second, but it's been pushed back a lot because of the time it has taken to write it.

Obviously, the continuation of the story is here and, knowing Jim, he's such a respectful narrator, so you walk a very fine line when it comes to manipulating a story because you are so attached to it.

I also think Jim needed for his sake to take time off because for all of us the first film may have been two years in the making, but for him it was more than 10 years. And now these next movies will be another 10. That’s a huge commitment in someone’s professional life.

How does he seem?

He has put himself back in a very beautiful place in order to be able to create these new stories, but it’s also quite intense because he's locking everything in.

All I can say to you is, you know, fabulous things are worth

the wait, and knowing what Jim is capable of, he is worth the wait. He loves this story, he loves these characters, but most of all, he adores the fans. He does it for them and wants to deliver the absolute utmost to them. I wanted to go back to Pandora real bad.

Avatar is such a big thing for you in among so many other major franchises, right?

Avatar will always be special because we created Avatar. You create a history for them, you create a culture, and I was there from the inception.

Tell us about the 3.30am makeup starts…

It was a little painful to shoot. All the green makeup and the prosthetics and having to get up at 3:30am for four-hour make-up sessions every day for six days

a week for months on end is an ordeal.

You like to be physical in films…

Having studied dance for so many years, I enjoy getting a chance to show that I can do a lot of stunts and be very physical. That’s a big advantage of mine, where I can dish it out and look convincing if I’m punching out the bad guys or shooting a gun.

I was raised in a family where women are expected to carry a lot of weight and where we get to run the household and take charge of things. I have an attitude where I feel I’m very much in charge of my life and I feel free and uninhibited.

That said, strength comes in many forms. Strength comes in quietness and in physiological resilience. I’ll always love to kick ass, that will never change… but there can be varying shades.

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You’re known for your action roles but we’re seeing you more and more in human dramas like Live by Night, I Kill Giants and Amsterdam. Is that an intentional move?

I want to portray more vulnerability, human vulnerability. I need to come back to earth more often; I feel like I’m always floating in space. I’ve been there for well over a decade. And loved every minute. Action, sci-fi, that has been my zone, and it will stay that way, but it might be nice to

bask in the everyday. Be in the norm.

Saying that, it’s hugely important to me to play these sci- fi roles as an example for young women because I want to push their ability more in this space. There are more earthy parts for women now that aren’t just in the role of a romantic foil, but we need to keep pushing that. I am passionate about that.

In the past you’ve been criticised for being so

outspoken. Do you regret some of the things you’ve stood up to talk about?

I don’t care what other people think. I always say what I think. I hate the idea of putting on an act when I’m talking about myself doing press. There’s enough of that in this business and I don’t need to be part of that s--t...

I think that the audience will give you credit for not being afraid to say what’s really on your mind instead of trying to be politically correct. ›

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You used to be a big advocate for women but have softened your approach of late, right?

My attitude has undergone a total one eighty when it comes to the choices that I make and the change in my life; my sons, my husband, have something to do with it.

I’m surrounded by the greatest men. I’m in a houseful of men, which is the complete opposite to my upbringing, all females. I feel like I’m learning so much about men now that I never knew before being enclosed by them.

My husband’s approach and outlook on life is so beautiful and worldly and not sexist in the least –the total opposite. My boys are my light.

So, what’s changed? Before, I think my own approach came from my discomfort…

always this need to be better than a man.

I felt I always needed to beat them, and that bred a desire to be strong and aggressive – strong, to me, was aggressive and intense.

Now I’ve had a few years of raising men, all men, which I never really considered would happen, with a wonderful man, it’s made me readdress my perspective, that perhaps it doesn’t always have to be so emotionally and physically forceful.

Yet you’ve often cited your mother as a major influence on your life. It’s obviously important for you to retain that same power and presence in the life of your sons… Definitely, yes. Ultimately, my mother taught me how to be happy, to follow my heart, and also to think very carefully and

clearly about what I wanted to accomplish in life.

I’ve always tried to be confident and not allow others’ opinions or judgements about me to define who I am

or how I think about myself. It’s important to have self-respect so that other people will respect you – I tell my boys this all the time, and I believe they will be just fine. e

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ENJOY BLOCKBUSTER FILMS ON THE BIG SCREEN THIS FESTIVE SEASON, INCLUDING AVATAR 2: THE WAY OF WATER WHICH IS ON EVERYONE’S WATCH LIST. HOW ABOUT A BESTSELLER TO TUCK INTO WHEN YOU’RE OFF WORK? SEE WHAT’S COOL IN SPAIN AND FURTHER AFIELD. 94

CINEMA SERIES MUSIC NEWS 92 Avatar 2 94 Hot New Films 98 New Book Releases 102 What’s Cool 92 98 102

AVATAR 2 THE WAY OF WATER TO BE RELEASED ON DECEMBER 16

It is only logical that James Cameron should entice his audience into the depths of the ocean in the long-awaited sequel to his blockbuster film, Avatar. Cameron is very much is his element, as he has already immersed himself and his crew (figuratively) into the icy waters that saw the Titanic’s demise.

Avatar, which was released in December, 2009, is the highest-grossing film of all time. It won 73 accolades, including three Oscars. The film possessed a unique blend of technological savvy in animation and a powerful message. It

spoke of diversity and acceptance and called for a revolution to save our natural habitats from greed.

In September 2022, Disney re-released Cameron’s seminal film in IMAX and 3D cinemas across the globe, to build up even more excitement for the saga’s second instalment: Avatar: The Way of Water. This is what we know about the film so far:

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WHO WILL BE IN THE CAST?

You’ll be pleased to hear that Avatar’s main actors (Sam Worthington, who plays Jake) and Zoe Saldana (Princess Neytiri) will be back. Stephen Lang will also return as the evil Colonel Miles Quaritch. He delighted fans by spilling a few beans: his 2022 character is “bigger, he’s bluer, he’s pissed off.”

The wonderful Sigourney Weaver will also be enamouring us once again as Kiri. Kate Winslet, meanwhile, will play the role of Ronal – a brave, loyal co-leader of a new Na’vi clan called the Metkayina. This marks her first collaboration with Cameron since Titanic in 1997. She will be joined by Fear the Walking Dead ’s Cliff Curtis, who will be giving life to another courageous character: Tonowari. The film will also have a host of talented child actors livening up its scenes –including Jake Champion, who will play Spider – a human child the peaceful blue creatures decide to adopt.

Two additional actors whose work we will undoubtedly enjoy are Oona

Chaplin (from Game of Thrones) and Michelle Yeoh (who needs no introduction). Chaplin will be in all the sequels and will be playing a lead role, while Yeoh will play scientist, Dr. Karina Mogue

WHAT IS THE PLOT OF THE WAY OF WATER?

Cameron and his team have released the first official plot summary of Avatar 2: “Jake Sully lives with his newfound family, formed on the planet of Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their planet.” The film will evidently be very much water-based. The dangerous operation that threatened Pandora in the first place will be back. Its onslaught will lead Jake to take his family to a seemingly safe harbour where they will meet the Metkayina. Another exciting innovation is the creation of a brandnew sign language, developed by deaf actor, CJ Jones (of Baby Driver fame).

MANY MORE TO COME

Avatar: The Way of Water is the second of five Avatar films. The remaining three will be released in 2024, 2026, and 2028, respectively. Each will tell an individual story, though there will be strong points of connection between all films.

INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY

Audiences can expect big technological advances from Avatar 2 Cameron has announced that he will be filming at higher frame rates (thus giving us crisper images) and using performance capture (which involves recording the movements of real objects and people) underwater.

December is the perfect time for the release of Avatar: The Way of Water. In this month in which material things command such importance, it is vital to understand the impact of consumerism on our Planet. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, go see Avatar, and allow its message to sink deep into your heart. e

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it”
Lao Tzu
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HOT NEW MOVIES

Between shopping and enjoying festive meals with family and friends, take time to catch the following film releases.

COMPILED BY MARISA CUTILLAS

VIOLENT NIGHT

» Director: Tommy Wirkola (What Happened to Monday)

» Genre: Comedy

» Cast: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Beverly D’Angelo

» Plot: This Santa movie certainly has a lot of punch to it! An elite team of mercenaries breaks into a family compound on Christmas Eve, taking all its residents hostage. The baddies think they have the upper hand, not realising that a dangerous foe is lurking about: Santa Claus (played by Stranger Things’ David Harbour). Old Nick is seething at the fact that the most special night of his year is about to be ruined, and he is ready to show his enemies that he is no saint.

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THE MENU

» Director: Mark Mylod (Succession)

» Genre: Dark comedy

» Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult

» Plot: A young couple visits a remote island, eager to try a special tasting menu that the chef has prepared for them. Little do they know that in addition to a lavish array of dishes, there are a few surprises in store for them, all set up by the mysterious chef. He isn’t just a cook, but also a storyteller… and the game involves guessing what the over-arching theme of his spectacular menu is.

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MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS

» Director: Anthony Fabian (Good Hope)

» Genre: Comedy

» Cast: Leslie Manville, Isabelle Huppert, Lambert Wilson

» Plot: This is undoubtedly the ‘feel-good’ film of the season.

Leslie Manville plays Ada Harris – a window cleaner in 1950s London, who falls in love with a Dior couture dress. She decides that she just cannot live without owning this dress and works hard to save up for it. With all her pennies in her pocket, she embarks on a trip to Paris that will not only change her life but also mark the future of the House of Dior.

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I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY

» Director: Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me)

» Genre: Biopic

» Cast: Naomi Ackie, Ashton Sanders, Stanley Tucci, Bria Danielle Singleton

» Plot: This is the true story of one of the greatest R&B/soul singers of all time – Whitney Houston. We follow Whitney through her youth and meteoric rise to fame, as well as her explosive love affair with fellow singer, Bobby Brown. Whitney was the U.S.’s ‘dream child’ but few knew that her life was marked by abuse and fuelled by drugs.

PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH

» Directors: Joel Crawford (The Croods: A New Age), Januel Mercado (The Lego Ninjago Movie)

» Genre: Animation

» Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Florence Pugh

» Plot: Antonio Banderas is back as the voice of swashbuckling Puss – a character who looks soft and furry but whose claws are sharper than you might imagine. This time, Puss discovers that his passion for adventure has taken its toll. He has spent eight of his nine lives! He embarks on an epic journey to find the mythical Last Wish and restore his nine lives. e

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BOOKS MAKE THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFTS, SO EAT, READ AND BE MERRY!

THE LIGHT WE CARRY: OVERCOMING IN UNCERTAIN TIMES BY

Following on from her hugely successful and critically acclaimed biography, Becoming, Michelle Obama brings us a book about hope and dealing with life’s difficulties. In The Light We Carry, Michelle offers new stories and astute insights into relationships, selfdoubt, and the struggles everyone faces. She discusses her most important principles such as ‘starting kind’ and ‘going high’. Using honesty, candour and her trademark wit, Michelle aims to get readers to open up to themselves about their own lives, the things that make them happy and, ultimately, to start a dialogue and create meaningful connections with others. “When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it.”

WORDS ALICIA DUGGAN OF THE BOOKSHOP IN SAN PEDRO DE ALCÁNTARA , CC LA COLONIA LOCAL 21, SAN PEDRO DE ALCÁNTARA. TEL: 951 779 785. WWW.THEBOOKSHOP.ES
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MY HUSBAND’S KILLER

Bestselling author of Friend Request, Laura Marshall, brings us a not so festive psychological thriller filled with secrets, lies and murder. Seven friends from university, now in their forties, spend a holiday together in a luxury villa on Italy’s Amalfi coast. Only six of them survive to the end of the holiday. Liz’s husband, Andrew, is missing, presumed drowned. Three months later, on the day of the funeral, Liz discovers that Andrew may have been having an affair with one of her best friends. As she considers which of her holiday companions could have been cheating with her husband, it becomes apparent that everyone is keeping secrets and they all had reasons to want Andrew eliminated. An engrossing and pacy whodunnit.

A POEM FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR BY

For those who love poetry or for those who don’t know where to start, this is an eclectic collection of 366 poems to read and share every day of the year. Divided into the months of the year, the verses have been carefully chosen to match the time of year to the theme of the poem and reflect the moods often associated with those months. There is a short introduction above each poem with a brief explanation as to why it was chosen. Featuring rhymes from classic and modern poets and a beautifully illustrated hardback cover, A Poem for Every Day of the Year is a beautiful and thought-provoking gift option.

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A WORLD OF CURIOSITIES

Louise Penny’s beloved Armand Gamache returns for its eighteenth instalment. This time round, the crime that brought Chief Inspector Gamache and Agent Jean-Guy Beauvoir together in the first place comes back to haunt them. The case involved two children so emotionally damaged that they may have been responsible for their mother’s murder.

Fiona, the older sister, was imprisoned while younger brother Sam was considered too young to try. Since Fiona’s release from prison, she has lived with Gamache and his wife and is now graduating from school. However, Gamache becomes uneasy when unhinged Sam returns to the area. Meanwhile, bookshop owners Billy and Myrna receive a letter dated 1862 describing a brickedup room in their attic which they decide to open, revealing occult books and a host of mysteries. A World of Curiosities is a tense and intricate thriller perfect for long time fans or as a standalone novel.

WINE FOLLY: MAGNUM EDITION

The perfect gift for wine connoisseurs or wannabe aficionados. Listing wines from all over the world, Wine Folly will teach you how to assess wine quality, serve and store wine, make great food and wine pairings, and generally improve your confidence in choosing a great wine, even on a small budget. Presented in an easy to read and understand format, the book deals with all the wine basics, dividing up wine by region, explaining wine traits, which glass to use, decanting time, general prices and offers suggestions of other wines to explore. Wine Folly is the master guide to the world and wine. e

VISIT THE BOOKSHOP

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Unlock Your Body’s Full Potential for Healing and to Reverse Ageing

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CELLGYM Hypoxia-Hyperoxia Training

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what’s cool?

LEXUS LC BLACK PANTHER

Lexus is once again the exclusive automotive partner for the new Black Panther sequel, Wakanda Forever. Lexus has renewed its collaboration with Marvel Studios to create a unique series of livery designs for the LC Black Panther, that mimic the claws of the large svelte cat on the vehicle’s exterior. i www.lexus.com

CHRISTMAS AT HOTEL LE MERIDIEN BARCELONA

Enjoy a Christmas to remember at CentOnze, the exclusive restaurant located in the interior of Hotel Le Meridien Barcelona, on La Rambla 111. Tuck in to a range of special mouthwatering dishes, like this exquisite Christmas Log stuffed with hazelnuts and salted caramel ice cream, and consider staying overnight in one of their deluxe rooms. i www.marriott.com

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FAIRMONT TAZI PALACE – TANGIER

The Fairmont Tazi Palace recently opened in the heart of Tangier. Arising from the residence of the King’s advisor, dating back to 1920, the palace has been fully restored and extended, and now features 133 bedrooms, as well as a Signature Suite, two penthouses, and the Katara Suite, as well as a range of superlative dining options. i www.fairmont.com

PLAYBACK MADRID

Playback Madrid, on Calle Piamonte, is a stylish new karaoke hangout that promises to become the ‘place to be’ for nightlife in the centre of the capital. Comprising eight distinct salons which combine privacy and sophistication, the venue promises a select gastronomic offer with special cocktails, forging memorable musical moments. i www.playbackmadrid.com

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WINTER BRUNCH AT THE HYATT CENTRIC GRAN VÍA MADRID

5*

Sample an innovative menu of dishes with a harmonious combination of sweet and savoury flavours comprising the new Winter Brunch at the Hyatt Centric Gran Vía Madrid 5*. This outstanding spread is being served on its terrace, El Jardín de Diana, on the 10th floor of this exclusive hotel, offering the best views of the main artery of the capital. i www.hyatt.com

A-BOX INNOVATIVE SUSPENDED STORAGE SYSTEM

Twils, the Italian manufacture of beds and sofas, has conceived the A-Box, a bed that ‘floats’ thanks to its unique design that makes the supporting feet disappear from view. The A-Box also answers the dual requirements of providing a harmonious, proportional, aesthetically pleasing bed, with a space to store bed linen beneath the mattress. i www.twils.it

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CANDELA C-8

The Candela C-8, which will be unveiled at the CES 2023 in Las Vegas, is the first electric yacht with the range to travel between popular destinations on the Mediterranean Coast. The craft can complete 50 nautical miles at a speed of 22 knots on one charge. This achievement is possible due to the use of hydrofoil technology, which cuts energy usage by 80 per cent compared with conventional boats. i www.candela.com

JOSÉ PARRIENTE 25 AÑOS EN BARRICA

As part of its 25th anniversary celebrations, Bodegas José Parriente has launched a 100 per cent Verdejo that its founder, Victoria Parriente began to produce in 1997. Barrelaged for 25 years, 500 bottles will be released from the last harvest collected by José Parriente himself, shortly before his death in October 1997. i www.joseparriente.com

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SEE INSIDE VILLA VALERIA AND MARVEL AT ITS TRANSFORMATION, COURTESY OF INTERIOR SPECIALISTS, ANTIMA. REVIEW STYLISH DESIGN AND FASHION TRENDS TO ENHANCE YOUR LIFE. CONTEMPLATE GIFTING A SPECIAL PERFUME THIS CHRISTMAS.

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108 Villa Valeria by Antima 122 Design Trends 130 My Fashion Inbox 136 Gracious Alma Occasion Wear 144 Perfume Presents 146 Gifts for Pets 148 Uterine Fibroid Embolisation INTERIORS ARCHITECTURE ART FASHION SPA 136 146 130

Details mark the Antima approach

The unmistakable touch that sets an Antima home apart is rooted in a very personal approach. Antima properties are sourced, designed, renovated, engineered, decorated and finished with loving attention to detail. “For us, each property we recreate is a unique project, and we design and fit them as if we were doing it for ourselves,” says chief designer Synne Brendmoe. “The idea of creating a personal dream villa each and every time is the principle that guides the way we work, and as a result we would happily live in all of them ourselves, though I have to say that Villa Valeria is a particular

favourite.”

All creative work has to flow and evolve, finding new sources of inspiration and expression. Antima’s latest project is a fine example of this, and therefore one of its most impressive homes to date. Set upon a gentle rise overlooking a golf valley down to the sea, access is through a quiet street in a select villa suburb of Marbella. “The original property had charm but had become outdated, so we took its prime location and created a new home, staying true to most of the original floorplan and also incorporating timeless elements.” ›

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Indoor-outdoor bathrooms with a touch of Bali

A TASTEFUL ODE TO STYLE AND ENJOYMENT VILLA VALERIA

Antima has made a name as a design-based company that transforms older villas in prime Marbella locations into stunning contemporary homes with a touch of original charm and refinement. With Valeria, the team has excelled, drawing from new founts of inspiration.

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A classic Mediterranean patio at the heart of the home

EXOTIC INSPIRATION

Villa Valeria marks a change of direction in stylistic terms, an evolution away from the cool Scandinavian-rustic style that fits so well with Marbella’s homes and climate. “For this wonderful property, we allowed ourselves to be inspired by the exoticism of Morocco, which opened the design to a world of beautiful furnishings, colours, textures and detailing,” says Synne. This visual and sensory exuberance was complemented with touches of Provençal and Andalusian style, all interpreted in a contemporary way. The result is a property with a timelessly tasteful look and ambience of its own. ›

Villa Valeria looks out over Nueva Andalucía, the Golf Valley and the Mediterranean Sea The art of blending classic and modern
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As the electric gates glide open and the villa’s forecourt reveals itself, details begin to catch the eye, such as the lush but drought-resistant greenery that envelopes the setting, and a colour palette that deviates from the strict white we have become accustomed to. “Villa Valeria is all about subtle yet stylish natural tones with a soft mint overtone.” The walls gently cast rather than mirror the sun’s light, making this a home that feels comfortable in all seasons. As you step into the house, the tall classic doors are the first of many design elements to stand out.

Found in an old country

monastery, they were painstakingly restored and painted in the home’s signature green-grey detailing – to wonderful effect. Maintaining the finest elements of the original property’s layout means that Villa Valeria celebrates the return of a classic villa element: the patio. A marvel of design

that dates back thousands of years, this enclosed open space allows for cooling air to circulate through the home while providing spectacular views along the infinity edge pool to the sea and also offering an imposing entrance with intimate lighting and spaces. ›

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An unequalled sense of arriving home
EXCLUSIVE DE SIGN INTERIOR DESIGN . BESPOKE CARPENTRY . FURNITURE COLLECTION
hours
Sat: upon appointment by Aalto Design
SHOWROOM MARBELLA - AVDA. BLV. PRÍNCIPE ALFONSO DE HOHENLOHE. URB. CAROLINA PARK www.aaltoexclusivedesign.com Opening
Mon-Fri: 10:00-14:00 16:00-19:00

21ST CENTURY COMFORT WITH A NATURAL TOUCH

The patio courtyard sets the tone for what follows, ushering one towards a spacious living room that retains another original feature – a beautiful stone fireplace, albeit with modern gas fire. This focal point competes with views of the sea, but walk around, from the lounge into the dining room, kitchen area and beyond, and you realise just how natural the flow of this house is. The Antima team always carefully considers the look and feel of each and every room, but then also makes sure that it all fits seamlessly and sensibly together, and this shows within Villa Valeria, where you

effortlessly glide from space to space, both indoor and outdoor.

In this way, the living room links with an outdoor lounge; the inside and outside dining tables have been designed in such a way that they can be joined,

and the beautiful kitchen with large bar and backlit ice bucket sink features a breakfast area both inside and under the stars. Sliding doors also reveal an adjacent space that is ideal as a little study or play area. It comes complete with a comfy bay

Pool and sea almost merge
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State-of-the-art family kitchen

window, a feature seldom seen in these parts but symmetrically repeated in the guest apartment on the other side of the courtyard.

This stylish room with its own private access, views and intimate outdoor seating area sets the tone for the altogether six bedroom suites in the property, one of which has an accompanying children’s bedroom with bunkbeds. Villa Valeria is sophisticated and luxurious, but with a very easygoing, natural sense of style. Flowing on from the main lounge is a cosy family room ideal for watching movies, and like most parts of the villa it enjoys direct access to its own outdoor area – in this case the main terrace that leads on to the garden and dramatic drop-edge swimming pool. ›

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The breakfast corner connects with the outdoor dining area

Beds fitted with topend television sets

STYLE AND ENJOYMENT

For me, the two defining elements of Villa Valeria are style and enjoyment, making it a sumptuously tasteful home with an effortless refinement, yet also one inspired by the sheer enjoyment of living here. This is also reflected in practical features such as a kitchen lift that takes prepared dishes to the entertainment areas on the lower floor and the rooftop, an outdoor kitchen and bar, and a cosy seating area with firepit that flanks the pool, not to mention a sprinkling of private relaxing zones from which to take in the sun and views. ›

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There is no upstairs floor, which qualifies this home as a villa in the strictest, most classical sense of the word. The master suite is located in the private wing of the main living area, at ground floor level, and with its own breakfast station, outdoor seating area, Balinese-style shower and bath mirroring the indoor bathroom, it offers a true sense of privacy. Indeed, close the door behind you, and it feels like a true suite, complete with state-of the-art dressing room made to measure. This is also true of the charmingly styled children’s bedrooms on the same floor, since bespoke furnishing is another distinguishing characteristic of an Antima home.

Intimate corners for all seasons
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THE SANDON BRAND

Antima custom makes much of the furniture and decoration that helps create the distinctive look of its homes, which has now been separated into a venture of its own, a dedicated furniture company named Sandon. The product range, which continues to evolve and expand, contains a highly personalised component and is manufactured in Spain. “Quality and style are two of our benchmarks and also the reason why Sandon pieces are so highly valued.” They help to create the special style and ambience of Villa Valeria, alongside handpicked furnishings from leading European design brands. ›

Villa Valeria offers style, practicality and homely comfort
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Bespoke interior styling and art selection by Sandor

The lower floor of the property contains both, in spaces as diverse yet complementary as a highly evocative Hammaminspired spa with sauna, Turkish baths and massage/ treatment area. Also on this level are a top-spec gym, a home cinema and an entertainment area with bar and adjacent wine cellar, all in close contact with outdoor spaces and natural light. This is also true of the two guest suites, if not the case for the immaculate laundry and machine rooms. The lower

floor furthermore features small, fully equipped kitchens in the guest suites and a food station with kitchen lift – a feat replicated on the large rooftop terrace, which in itself is a panoramic lifestyle space with lounging areas, firepits, outdoor dining, a barbecue and professional pizza oven.

“Villa Valeria is an exciting evolution in our design style,” says Synne, “but also first and foremost an example of how natural living, designed around enjoyment, can be in the 21st century.” e

g ANTIMA GROUP, MARBELLA/LOS ANGELES/OSLO

Tel: (+34) 620 399 567. www.antimagroup.com

The beautiful spa features Moroccaninspired design
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Decoration by Sandon
BoConcept & PlusStore Mijas Ctra. de Mijas km 3,5 29650 Mijas, Málaga Tel. +34 951 242 092
malaga@plusstore.es marbella@plusstore.es
malaga@boconcept.es marbella@boconcept.es
BoConcept & PlusStore Marbella Ctra. N-340 km 176, 29602 Marbella, Málaga Tel. +34 951 492 727 BoConcept El Corte Inglés Calle Ramón Areces S/N 29660 Puerto Banús, Málaga Tel. +34 659 388 226
www.plusstore.es
ecibanus@boconcept.es www.boconcept.es
ecibanus@boconcept.es
GOLDEN INSPIRATION WITH MAISON VALENTINA
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FEELING LIKE CHRISTMAS — ALL YEAR AROUND

Creating a bathroom is like getting married, it costs a lot and lasts a lifetime so you better pay attention when you embark on such an endeavour. If there is one room in the house that definitely deserves touches of luxury, it’s the bathroom — a worthy investment in your body and mind’s wellbeing. ›

Brown marble luxury guest bathroom, with Koi Collection Divine Wood bathroom with Shield Oval Mirror and black Darian Pedestal Sink
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When I was looking for inspiration for spa, or sanctuarylike bathroom designs, I came accross Maison Valentina, a brand of the famous Portuguese Covet House Group, presenting breathtaking furniture and fittings that make you feel warm and festive with or without holiday decorations.

Take a look at the Koi furniture set, for example, with an aged, brushed brass base and airy framework that resembles the scale-like pattern of the Japanese Koi carp. It’s a magical environment for long hot baths during a cold winter. ›

Neutral toned luxury bathroom
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Relaxing time in a gold luxury bathtub with a stun ning view
Showroom: Avenida Canovas del Castillo 25, Marbella blackshawinteriordesign.com / +34 951 403 787 Interior Design & Property Development

Talking about soaking, how about slipping right into a giant black gemstone? This diamond shaped bathtub is surrounded by a sleek wooden structure that is finished with a high gloss varnish — irregular in all regards. The designers of Maison Valentina lack no creative power. The Nazca Vanity Cabinet with its matte walnut veneer and white marble sink, for example, is named after a tectonic plate in the Southern Pacific Ocean. ›

A majestic bathroom with Diamond Bathtub in Sahara Noir Faux Marble finish
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Relaxing modern bathroom design with Nazca Vanity Cabinet

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No matter which item you look at, each detail and design concept will infuse you with a relaxed and dreamy aura, exactly what you’d expect from a space dedicated to wellness and vanity.

i www.maisonvalentina.net

Dark Bathroom with Darian Bathtub and Tortoise Mirror
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INBOX MY FASHION

Leading up to the festive season, my inbox turned all glamour and glitter. From hard-goth beauty to delicate feminine charm, here is my selection of the leading fashion houses' latest offerings. And I even sweetened the deal with some dolci! DISCOVERED BY

THE NIGHT BEFORE ‘The Night Before’ is Burberry's celebration of the fun and anticipation of festive preparations, captured through a boldly British and Burberry lens, starring Shakira and Burna Boy. Visiting their website will truly transport you to a different world. i www.burberry.com

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Dressing up is back, and this time Michael Kors means business. Shine bright beneath the disco lights in glittering styles that radiate glamour in MK's latest occasion wear. We love this sequinned mesh tank dress in silver, black or gold! i www.michaelkors.es

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VIVIENNE'S TRAVELS

Louis Vuitton recently released a selection of leather goods covered with a variety of cute new colourful illustrations as Vivienne, their mascot, continues to travel around the world. i www.louisvuitton.com

PRADA

Modernist tailoring takes shape as sleek new silhouettes in Prada's special collection for the festive season. Bags, accessories and footwear combine sophisticated designs and sporty details, dazzling crystal accents and metallic leather. i www.prada.com

ARMANI/DOLCI

To celebrate this holiday season, Armani/Dolci by Guido Gobino offers its usual selection of typical holiday sweets crafted with the highest quality ingredients, following traditional regional confectionery recipes with the utmost artisanal skill. If you like your desserts to be designer, check out this scrumptious looking 2022 collection! i www.armanidolci.com

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CAROLINA HERRERA

FINALLY IN SPAIN!

Having loved CH makeup and beauty products for so long, I am excited to announce that now Carolina Herrera fashion items are also delivering to Spain! Check out her bohemian fall collection, wrapping you in wardrobe warmth, presenting luscious handbags, bold Herrera Eyewear frames, and an attitude that’s audacious and exciting.

i www.carolinaherrera.com

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VERSACE DRAMA

Enjoy a glamorous Versacestyle night at the opera, with Lily McMenamy starring in the brand's 2022 holiday campaign. Explore the full presentation and a super gift guide on their website. i www.versace.com

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GUESS

A number of beautifully elegant party outfits were presented recently for this holiday season by Guess. Fringes with sequins, metallic knit, lace, velvet and faux fur will leave you feeling nothing short of special. If you are craving the high-life, visit their website and head for Marciano by Guess' new party collection inspired by The Grand Gatsby movie. Oh yeah! They did pull it off. i www.guess.eu

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Come with us on a photographic journey showcasing stunning occasion wear by Gracious Alma, London based award-winning luxury fashion designer. In preparation for the festive sesion, the grandiouse spirit of Marbella lifestyle was captured through the lens of British photographer, Tony Wellington in a beautiful La Alquería villa, starring alluring model, Indre Novikaite.

Location La Alquería Villa provided by Engel & Völkers Marbella, Spain

Photographer Tony Wellington Model Indre Novikaite Designer Gracious Alma Hair Ornela at OG Hair Salon
d LIFESTYLE
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Silver princess backless long dress
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fashion
FESTIVE SPIRIT MARBELLA LUXURY VILLA GLAMOUR Aztec square block colour dress WWW.ESSENTIALMAGAZINE.COM / 137
WORDS MADDIE QUINN PHOTOGRAPHY TONY WELLINGTON

Aztec square block colour dress

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Black wakanda short body dress
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Gold goddess body dress Silver princess backless long dress Black wakanda short body dress
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Gold goddess body dress
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Black wakanda short body dress
www.instagram.com/graciousalma
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Ivorian long black neck choker dress GRACIOUS ALMA i
Ivorian long black neck choker dress

beauty buys

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EAU DE PARFUM

SCENTS TO OWN

The winter season is associated with richer, long-lasting scents that celebrate unique blends of woody, spicy, and gourmand notes. Its fragrances are warm, comforting, and especially suited to the eau de parfum format. Below are just a few trending seasonal perfumes that will bring a sigh to your lover’s lips as soon as they take their first whiff.

OR GIFT IN THE FESTIVE SEASON
n SPA
Inspired by the magic of La Festa Della Luci in Lyon, this artistic-looking bottle contains fresh fruity notes that dry down to an ambery sensuality. 144 / DECEMBER 2022 ESSENTIAL MAGAZINE

1 – KAYALI VANILLA

Huda Kattan has joined forces with her sister Mona for this gourmand fragrance. Bursting with notes of tonka bean, this bottle also contains Madagascan vanilla, jasmine, musk, and amber.

2 – CARTIER DÉCLARATION

EAU DE TOILETTE FOR MEN

Citrus tree leaves, cedarwood, and cardamom make for a perfume that is crisp and fresh yet powerful and long-lasting. The blend is aromatic, spicy, citrusy, woody, leathery, and earthy all at once!

3 – MUGLER ALIEN GODDESS INTENSE EAU DE PARFUM

This 2022 release, contained in a deep amber bottle, contains Calabrian bergamot, jasmine,

and a vanilla bourbon infusion. Sensuality and audacity are its leading characteristics.

4 – PRADA PARADOXE EAU DE PARFUM

A floral and woody blend that contains pear, tangerine, bergamot, orange blossom, jasmine, neroli, amber, vanilla bourbon, benzoin, and white musk.

5 – LA PERLA SIGNATURE EAU DE PARFUM

A signature scent with dreamy, rich floral notes and a multitude of layers. Citrus top notes give way to fresh violet leaves, jasmine and neroli, then a vetiver and woody base.

6

– CHANEL N°1 DE

97 per cent of its ingredients are naturally derived and its packaging is environmentally friendly. Red camelia, jasmine, and rose are blended with citrus, red berries, iris, and musk for a uniquely revitalising product.

7 – YVES SAINT LAURENT LIBRE INTENSE EAU DE PARFUM

Jasmine, orchid, Madagascar vanilla, tonka bean, ambergris, and vetiver make for a sweet and citrusy yet animalic concoction. e

CHANEL

L’EAU ROUGE REVITALIZING FRAGRANCE MIST

The newly launched N°1 de Chanel line is the fashion house’s first foray into clean beauty. Up to

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HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR PETS

The vast majority of people in the EU, the UK, and the US consider pets to be treasured members of their family. As the festive season fast approaches, make sure your pet’s stocking is stuffed with goodies that show how much they mean to you. For larger items, wrap them up in pretty recycled paper and pop them beneath your tree.

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1 – LOZI X CHESHIRE & WAIN ROUND HAUS 02 – CAT HOUSE & TOWER A cute circular house and tower your cat will spend hours exploring and resting in. i www.cheshireandwain.com

2 – CAT CLOUD® BED - NIMBUS GREY This storm grey faux fur bed provides your cat with a cosy sleep thanks to five luxurious layers of fabric, encased in sumptuous faux fur. i www.cheshireandwain.com

3 – LOVE YOU — RUGS FOR PETS BY TAPIS STUDIO A pet carpet that is specially designed for your four-pawed BFF. i www.presshommes.studio

1 4

4 – DOG SNUGGLE BED IN WEAVE This stylish bed is ideal for dogs who love snuggling beneath the covers on a cold winter’s night. i www.charleychau.com 2 3

5 – CAT SCR ATCHI NG RAINBOW This cute scratching rainbow-shaped post is just about as colourful as it gets. It’s made of corrugated card – a material that cats can’t help but get their claws into!

6 – CAT WHISPERER SOUND BUTTON A sound button that purrs out a range of feline phrases that capture any smart kitty’s attention. i www.bubblegumstuff.com

7 – THE RUFF AND TUMBLE DOG COOLING COAT With triple-layered cooling technology, this coat keeps your dog comfortable on hot, sunny days. i www.ruffandtumbledogcoats.com

8 – LEATHER JELLYFISH CAT TEASER TOY – LUCKY DIP Your kitty won’t be able to resist playing with this jellyfish, whose tentacles are made from offcuts obtained from leather cat collars. i www.cheshireandwain.com i www.redcandy.co.uk

9 – GUMMI PETS 'FEED ME' CARNI FOLK PET BOWL Celebrate the life and colour of the carnival world with this cute pet bow. i www.thedesigngiftshop.com

10 – CHRISTMAS CROCHET CAT COLLAR This collar is soft, comfy, and just about as Christmassy as you can imagine. i www.talkingtables.co.uk

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UTERINE FIBROIDS

TO CUT OR NOT TO CUT… AN IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR OUR GYNECOLOGIST

While researching the Internet in preparation for this article, I realised how many informational blogs and support groups help women on their way from diagnosis to the choice of the right treatment. Women have been suffering from monthly discomfort all their lives and have been asked to do so quietly, privately, to function, nevertheless.

Contrary cases have been stigmatised by being called out as menstrual hysteria – all what a hard-working mother and professional is looking for! Names of blogs and associations, like Fibroid Fighters, show how important this matter is to women and the incidence of uterine fibroids make them an important aspect even from a public health point of view.

Medically speaking, uterine fibroids, also known as myomas, are something quite simple: muscular lesions growing inside the uterus. At times, they can result in large volumes of rigid material, causing severe menstrual and mid-cycle pain, prolonged and heavy bleeding, sometimes also impeding pregnancy.

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WORDS MANUELA REISBECK

As woman myself, I am well aware of the psychological aspect of such uterine issues, given the fact that the womb is the centre of our femininity, which is why the ultimate treatment option for a severe fibroid disease, the removal of our uterus, needs to be assessed and addressed carefully.

Before having the uterus surgically removed, there are several other options which every woman should discuss openly with a gynecologist she trusts. Young women and older women with several other significant diseases, may opt for a less invasive alternative.

For many years, a procedure called uterine myoma (fibroid) artery embolisation has been performed successfully and has become a standard treatment in a lot of cases. This is a simple, minimally invasive intervention, not a surgery, which leads to the occlusion of the arteries supplying blood to the fibroids. The procedure is simple: the arterial system being accessed through a needle prick in the groin, from here the interventional specialist will navigate directly to the arteries of the fibroid(s) and

inject very small beads into the arteries. Cut off from nutrition and oxygen supply, the muscular growth will shrink, and symptoms will be reduced. Some pain and discomfort will arise which is why we keep our patients in the hospital for 48-72 hours for monitoring. But there is no wound and no scar, the uterus itself remains untouched and after the catheter is removed, there is no prolonged convalescence time or wound healing. If you are a young woman with a desire to have children, preserving your uterus will clearly improve your chances. In the case of older women, with the presence of other significant diseases, you will reduce the risk of major surgery and other wound related complications. Nevertheless, uterine myoma artery embolisation is not right for everyone. Every woman is different and aspects like the size of the fibroids, quantity and exact location, must be considered when evaluating treatment options. Further, as Fibroid Fighters state on their website, “Your fibroid treatment should not make you anxious or worried and you should be confident in understanding the risks.”

CardioCare Marbella is a center specialised in endovascular procedures, minimally invasive interventions using catheters and wires to block or open arteries, depending on the goal. The placement of a heart stent is a typical procedure to open a vessel, while during uterine fibroid artery embolisation, we use small beads to occlude the vessels leading to the fibroid.

These embolisation procedures are carried out by our experienced interventional radiologist after reviewing the MRA images of the uterus and the fibroid(s) for better procedure planning.

We are happy to provide further information, preferably during a face-to-face consultation, however, we only perform the embolisation if it is recommended to do so by a specialist gynecologist and after reviewing your case with our interventional radiologist concluding technical feasibility.

g DR. MANUELA REISBECK

Internist at Reisbeck-medical private practice and CardioCare Marbella, international cardio-vascular centre. www.cardiocaremarbella.com

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z enterprise

FIND OUT WHY SUSTAINABILITY IS PARAMOUNT AT VISTA LAGO AND HOW THE GATED COMMUNITY OF AYANA ESTEPONA IS PERFECT FOR YEAR-ROUND LIVING. READ ABOUT THE ADVANTAGES THE NEW DIGITAL NOMAD VISA WILL CONFER, AND CONSIDER INVESTING IN SOLAR PANELS.

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152 Ayana Estepona 160 Sustainability at Vista Lago 166 Business News 174 Nación Solar 178 Pretty Thingie 180 Digital Nomad Visa 182 The Vibe BUSINESS LOCAL NEWS PROPERTY EVENTS 166 180 160

AYANA ESTEPONA

MODERN LUXURY MADE FOR LIVING

The Costa del Sol has a long history of property development, yet until recently most new homes built here were designed specifically as second homes. Ayana, near the beachside of eastern Estepona, represents a new generation of homes created with the comfort, space and amenities of full-time living in mind.

A gated community in a prime location of the New Golden Mile

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What would you do with a prime setting near the beach on the New Golden Mile? What would you do if it was a few minutes from downtown Estepona, 15 minutes from the Marbella area and covered almost 40,000m2 Such a privileged plot of land offers both the location and size to create a residential area of distinction, and in doing so the team behind Ayana have also answered the growing demand for homes that are made for year-round living.

Developed by Merlin Real Estate and designed by the prestigious architects,

Villarroel Torrico, Ayana is a gated community of stylish modern apartments and penthouses distributed over 14 low-rise blocks of ten properties each, all set within 27,000m2 of lush greenery – including almost a hectare of private parkland belonging to the complex and exclusive to its residents. “In many ways, it’s a perfect setting, 500 metres from the beach in rustic nature, close to town, access routes and sports facilities,” says Mark Strasek, Managing Director of Asset Folio EXCL, which is commercialising the project. ›

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Open plan living, modern kitchens and natural light

Across the road are the fivestar Kempinski resort hotel and the soon-to-open Pacha Club, an exciting new hub of restaurants, cafés, a beach club and entertainment options. “It’s an area that puts a lot of lifestyle at your fingertips while also being private and located near nature.” In fact, follow the private gated entrance into the complex, and

you find yourself in a natural area close to everything but bordered by rustic country properties.

A GARDEN SETTING Gardens envelop the two and three-bedroom garden apartments in a community that is free of passing cars. Traffic goes straight from the entrance into spacious

underground car parks, ensuring that Ayana is a living environment free of traffic.

“The fact that it also features almost 10,000m2 of private parkland makes this a perfect setting for families and people seeking quality of life, not just a home near the beach and lifestyle amenities,” says Kathryn May, Sales Manager for AYANA. ›

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The same thinking is also reflected in the design and layout of Ayana, where the four properties on the ground and first floor levels feature two-bedroom apartments on the inner section of the block, and three-bedroom ones making up the corner units. “All properties within Ayana are spacious in size, with a flowing open-plan layout and generous terraces, but the three-bedroom apartments have the look and feel of a

penthouse, complete with upper floor and expansive lifestyle terraces.”

The three and fourbedroom penthouses on the top floor also feature an upper area with a comprehensive range of entertainment facilities and options, including optional private swimming pools and hot tubs. “They epitomise the choice of amenities, materials and finishing that is typical throughout Ayana,”

says Kathryn, “including such details as the option of a walk-in shower or Cleopatra bath in the second bathroom.”

No effort has been spared to ensure higher levels of comfort coupled with lower maintenance costs than you would normally find in these parts, and this is achieved through such quality inputs as top-of-the-range heat and acoustic insulation, anti-glare windows that keep out heat

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Ayana is characterised by beautiful gardens and pool areas

and cold extremes, super-effective Daikin air conditioning systems, under-floor heating throughout, smart home automation systems that optimise efficient use of resources, and beautiful kitchens with extra-large island/ bars and American style fridges as standard.

RESORT LIVING

While catering to year-round residents, it cannot be denied that Ayana is located within the Costa del Sol, and as such it offers far more lifestyle options than a property in more northern climes would. ›

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Stylish modern interiors and high-spec details

Indoor pool and Spa area

Set within the lush gardens planted in large part with endemic, drought-resistant species are two large swimming pools – one heated and one flanked by a children’s pool, but both surrounded by a sunbathing deck.

Residents at Ayana also have their own private gym, spa with heated indoor swimming pool, sauna, Hamman and changing room facilities, as well as a co-working space, concierge and administration office, and a clubhouse with café. “All of which have been designed to offer the experience of five star resort-style living throughout the year,” adds Mark, who regards Ayana as one of the finest residential complexes of its kind on the coast.

“Ayana is the culmination of many years of experience in Costa del Sol property development, as well as very careful consideration about how to take the lifestyle elements of this region and integrate them into full-time, yearround living in a way that celebrates the Marbella way of life. The homes also offer the kind of additional space, privacy, storage facilities, practical amenities and above all ambience needed for a permanent residence. These properties represent the best of both worlds – prime homes in a resort setting.”

g Tel: (+34) 633 925 338 ayana@assetfolio.com www.ayanaestepona.com

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VISTA LAGO RESIDENCES

LUXURY LIVING WITH A FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY

Vista Lago Residences is known as a private gated hillside community of luxurious design-led villas within the Real de La Quinta country club. Besides a strong focus on style, however, sustainability is another of the central elements that has given shape to it. WORDS

Vista Lago residences are designed to offer quality of life and well-being

MICHEL CRUZ PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF BRIGHT
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Conceived from the outset as a design-led project with a strong focus on décor and art as factors central to quality of life, the fact that Vista Lago finds itself between Marbella and a nature reserve, surrounded by spectacular scenery and views across mountains and valleys to the sea, has also instilled a desire to make this one of the most environmentally sensitive residential developments on the Costa del Sol.

“When you build homes within such an inspiring setting, it is almost a duty to honour it in the best way that we can,” says Michael Rodziewicz, founder and CEO of BRIGHT. “This is done through evocative architectural styling that is in balance with nature, the use of the most environmentally friendly options available in terms of material choices, construction processes, energy use and even landscaping. Naturally, technology plays a key part in this, so if you want to fulfil the right

role as a property developer, you have to go the extra mile and invest in the most up-todate equipment and systems to minimise the impact on nature.”

His desire to obtain the highest levels of BREEAM certification for sustainable residential development also has a second dimension; one based upon not just lifestyle and comfort in harmony with nature, but also providing a living environment rich in quality of life. “Well-being is a highly valued element of living today, and now considered to be one of the truest components of the concept of luxury, so our homes focus not just on style and quality of amenities and finishing, but also very much on how you feel within a residence at Vista Lago.” Optimal orientation, design, airflow, natural light and views play a big role in this, with every detail carefully considered. ›

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‘EXCELLENT’ BREEAM SUSTAINABILITY CERTIFICATION

Since it was first established in 1990, BREEAM – the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method – has become the leading international verification system to determine whether a residential project conforms to sustainable development criteria. Those originally laid out by the Build Research Establishment (BRE) are considered to be particularly wellrounded and stringent, and over the past 32 years some 550,000 buildings in over 50 countries have been BREEAM certified according to a variety of categories and levels of compliance. Though this number seems large, it is only a fraction of all real estate in the world, so sustainable credentials remain very rare, and all the more so when you

can boast of obtaining Excellent level certification.

Michael and his team are working very hard to achieve just that, and are proud to now be in the process of approval for the ‘Design Phase’. “We have had to comply with a long list of strict requirements, which range from the environmental footprint of the materials used throughout the home life cycle to the impact of the property on its natural surroundings, the efficiency of energy usage, recycling of water, and much more.” This also affects the construction methods used, the technologies applied, the types of certified paint, wood and suppliers he can work with, as well as systems of heating, lighting, plumbing, electricity and water supply. In fact, all tiles, bricks and wood have to be sustainably produced and certified as such, and

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Vista Lago borders the Sierra de las Nieves national park

the building process has to be carefully tracked, managed and logged, resulting in a detailed external audit upon completion.

Summarised, the main criteria include achieving optimal energy efficiency of the building and reducing carbon emissions; enhancing quality of life through the comfort, health and safety of the occupants; including innovative new solutions and technologies; using land in a way that is sensitive to nature and the habitat of fauna; employing sustainable and low-impact building

materials; minimising pollution and run-off water, as well as acoustic and light pollution; reducing car journeys and providing access to more environmentally friendly alternatives; important reductions in building waste, diverting from landfill and maximising water efficiency and recycling.To comply with such strict regulations, the villas at Vista Lago are designed to achieve ‘A’ energy rating for both non-renewable energy consumption and carbon emissions, with the use of enhanced thermal insulation thickness, a high

efficiency Aerothermal system, intelligent control system and a controlled ventilation system with heat recovery. All the homes also feature an 8kW photovoltaic solar installation that contributes to the electricity supply and provides hot water for the home, with an approximate annual output of 14,000kWh. Intelligent control systems optimise the efficient use of the energy produced by independently controlling each area's heating and cooling needs, while indoor and outdoor lighting uses efficient sensor-activated LEDs. ›

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Although the design of the villas has sought to maximise views and natural light though large floor to ceiling windows, to provide optimum solar protection, high performance windows with solar protection glazing and external blinds will be installed where necessary. And to avoid interior heat loss during the winter months, low emissivity glass and thermal break profiles will be installed. Landscaping focuses on endemic, drought-resistant planting, and outdoor lighting features soft LED systems that do not affect birdlife.

Vista Lago also makes

use of recycled grey water for irrigation – 75 per cent of it coming from the community’s own collected sources – and toilets provide a dual flush level option while all taps make use of a pressurised water-saving system. There are even soil moisture sensors in place to make sure plants are not unnecessarily watered, and all of these systems have been designed –along with the villa design in general – after careful study of natural conditions such as local climate and airflow, natural vegetation, drainage, sunlight and also the geology and topography of the land.

21ST CENTURY DEVELOPERS

BRIGHT, the company that is developing Vista Lago Residences, has always done things this way, marking the company as a true 21st century property developer and a pioneer in the region. “Vista Lago Residences is a sustainable villa community within a country club that was the first in Spain to be BREEAM certified,” says Michael, who is justly proud of his company’s credentials in this regard. “Developing in this manner requires an increase in resources such as time of about 20 per cent, but there are no shortcuts to excellence, and it all results in homes

The residences at Vista Lago are designed with BREEAM certification in mind
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that are more attractive to live in, up to 25 per cent cheaper to maintain, and which attain higher resale values.”

As the key factor that forms a BRIGHT home is designed around how it makes you feel, well-being and harmony with nature are central elements that are highly

valued by today’s buyer. “Ultimately, this is the way forward, and homes designed and built this way are easier to maintain, more solid, and offer a greater sense of wellbeing. Choosing such a property ties in exactly with the reasons for wanting to live in a region such as this.” e

g Tel: + (34) 648 981 111. info@by-bright.com www.by-bright.com/vista-lago-residences/

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business news

THE CARMEN THYSSEN MUSEUM HOSTS MÁLAGA LUXURY SUMMIT

The Carmen Thyssen Museum in the centre of Málaga was a fitting backdrop to the presentation of Málaga Luxury Summit – a meeting of professionals from national and international luxury firms. The presentation of the event was attended by the Tourism Counsellor, Jacobo Florido, the President of the Elite ExcellenceSpanish Luxury Federation, Sandra Andújar, and the Honorary Consul of Monaco and ex-President of Richemont, Philippe Guillaumet. Topics discussed included market trends and predictions, as well as premium tourism in Málaga. i www.malaga.es

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HIGUERÓN SOUTH RESIDENCES

LENDS A NEW MEANING TO LUXURY ON THE COAST

Higuerón South Residences is a real estate project that aims to be one of the best places to live on the Coast. It comprises 164 avante-garde homes in which art and sustainability reign supreme. Homeowners of these residences will enjoy all the personalised services offered by Higuerón Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton 5*. The development is located in a privileged spot between the beach and the mountains, with outstanding views and year-round sunshine.

i www.higueronresortrealestate.com/south-residences

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EARTH 300 ALLIES WITH HM GOVERNMENT GIBRALTAR

Earth 300 was conceived to ring the climate alarm on a global scale. It has given rise to an innovative, technological platform for science, exploration, and innovation at sea – the Earth 300 vessel. Its ultimate mission is to help ensure the future of life on earth. Originally conceived in Asia-Pacific, Earth 300 is expanding across the world and is now announcing its first European anchor: Gibraltar. There are few other places in the world where land, water, and air come together in as breathtaking a setting. Having a presence there will help the Earth 300 team dream, dare, and do. i www.earth300.com

NEW OFFICE FOR ENGEL & VÖLKERS MARBELLA

Engel & Völkers Marbella have broken sales records for the second year in a row. These outstanding results, alongside the fact that they are considered one of the world’s leading luxury real estate companies, has led them to open their sixth shop in front of the prestigious Marbella Club Hotel. “At Engel & Völkers, we're experiencing a high demand for luxury real estate and are receiving a very sophisticated clientele. Due to our urgent need to expand, we chose this prime location to open our new private office, which will be a satellite launch to Engel & Völkers’ highend clientele," states the owner of Engel & Völkers Marbella, Smadar Kahana. i www.marbella-ev.com

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SO/ SOTOGRANDE WINS LUXURY HOTEL AWARDS

SO/ Sotogrande, SO/’s first hotel-resort on the Coast, is proud to announce that it has won two awards at the Luxury Hotel Awards 2022. It was deemed the Best Luxury New Resort and Best Luxury Health Spa. The awards ceremony took place in the glorious Swandor Topkapi Palace in Turkey. Over 300 invitees from across the globe flew to the site to collect their awards. i www.so-sotogrande.com

DRUMELIA SHINES AT EUROPEAN

PROPERTY AWARDS

Drumelia, the Marbellabased Real Estate Firm that was established in 1993, has added another achievement to its list of accomplishments. It was awarded first place in the following real estate sector categories (for Spain) at the 2022-2023 European Property Awards:

• Best Real Estate Agency Single Office in Spain

• Best Real Estate Agent in Spain (Artur Loginov) – for the second consecutive year

• Best Real Estate Agency Marketing in Spain

• Best Real Estate Agency Website in Spain

These award wins also come accompanied by nominations in all respective categories for the European real estate sector at the International Property Awards in February 2023. i www.drumelia.com

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ENGEL & VÖLKERS TO MARKET THE GALLERY BY MINOTTI MARBELLA

Engel & Völkers will be the exclusive marketer of The Gallery by Minotti Marbella – a collection of Roel Homes that will represent a step forward in the luxury living concept. The project will comprise 33 villas with sea views, exceptional communal services, and leisure facilities, in the style of a five-star resort. The facilities, services, and personalisation of the homes are some of the value propositions of this unique development in the area. i www. marbella-ev.com

OCTANE FRAGRANCES PRESENTS LIMITED EDITION PERFUME

When it comes to beautifully designed scents for men, Octane Fragrances certainly take the prize. This stunning bottle, which is made of aluminium and fibre, is similar in appearance and texture to a motorcycle grip. Within its interior is a precision mechanism that pulverises the right amount of perfume. The grip can be filled with three different perfumes: OC1, OC2, and OC3. Each has a different blend of components that enables wearers to express a different vibe. The brand recently launched a limited edition of Octane Grip 3. Only 2,000 bottles have been released. Octane Fragrances’ brand ambassador is no less than Jorge Lorenzo, which makes owning this beautiful bottle even more exciting. i www.octanefragances.com

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CIRQUE DU SOLEIL PRESENTS CRYSTAL IN MÁLAGA

Cirque du Soleil is back with another spectacular show, which will be taking place at the Palacio de Deportes José María Martín Carpena in Málaga from Saturday, December 10 to Sunday, December 18. Created by Shana Carroll y Sébastien Soldevila, the show takes its audience through a stimulating journey of self-discovery that is full of wonder. Feel the adrenaline rise as you immerse yourself in the imaginary world of the protagonist, Crystal, and watch her become the person she was always destined to be. i For tickets, www.cirquedusoleil.com/crystal

AMÀRE BEACH HOTEL

PRESENTS FIRST AMÀRE INTERNATIONAL TROPHY 2022

Amàre Beach Hotel gathered some of the best international golf tour operators at the first Amàre International Trophy 2022. The event, organised alongside Chaparral Golf Club, El Paraíso Golf Club, Costa Sol Deluxe Transport, and Turismo y Planificacion Costa del Sol, was attended by tour operators from Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Portugal, Italy, and the UK. The event will be held every year, with a view to informing European golf specialists about golfing novelties taking place on the Costa del Sol. i www.amarehotels.com

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KARL LAGERFELD VILLAS MARBELLA UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Luxury project, Karl Lagerfeld Villas Marbella, is currently being constructed and one of the five villas has already been sold. Spanish promoter, Sierra Blanca Estates, has announced that the keys will be handed to the buyer by the third trimester of 2024. All villas are inspired by designer, Kark Lagerfeld’s passion for architecture, photography, interior design, innovation, and sustainability.

i www.karllagerfeldvillasmarbella.com

AALTO COMES IN FIRST AT THE INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE AWARDS

AALTO Exclusive Design is proud to announce that it took home first place at the International Design and Architecture Awards 2022 for the project Casa Veranda. The latter was the victor in two categories: Beach House and Living Space Europe. Some 84,000 voters chose the winners, prizing qualities like talent and hard work. The management of AALTO stated that they felt humbled and fortunate to have been selected. They thanked their team, suppliers, and clients for the chance to transform properties into beautiful family homes. They also highlighted the work of developer, Miguel and Anabel Manzanares of Casas Fintech, and architect, Diego Tobal of Tobal Arquitectos.

i www.aaltoexclusivedesign.com

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LOOXUR BY PUYA

Puya has been offering bathroom and kitchen solutions to discerning clients in Marbella and San Pedro de Alcántara for over half a century. Recently, the firm launched Looxur by Puya, a brand that is centred on luxury and design. Around 400 persons attended its opening event, making their way through 2,400m2 of exhibition space. The latter features bathrooms, kitchens, pavements, wardrobes, saunas, marble and natural wood surfaces, and more. i www.puya.es

#STEMATESELLA EVENT FOSTERS TALENT IN WOMEN OF SCIENCE

The Spanish Association of Executives and Counsellors (EJE&CON) and the Royal Spanish Mathematics Society (RSME), alongside the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM) and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (ICMAT) has celebrated the fourth edition of #steMatEsElla. The latter comprises mentoring, coaching, webinars, and more. Its aim is to impulse scientific or entrepreneurial professions among students with undergraduate degrees, Master’s, and doctorates in mathematics and STEM subjects. i www.ejecon.org

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NACIÓN SOLAR

SOLAR PANELS AND EVS MAKE THE WORLD GREENER

Homes and businesses with solar panels on the Coast may still be part of the minority, but for Nación Solar’s Director, Brian Colombana, Spain is clearly heading in the same direction as California – a state which runs on 100 per cent renewable energy. “Spain is currently in

the position California was around 10 years ago,” he says, noting that the process of solar expansion in the Golden State was swift and unequivocal. In Europe, there is an additional incentive for homeowners and commercial premises to hop on the solar wave: the vertiginous rise in energy prices owing to

the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In August 2022, average electricity bills in Spain rose by 60.6 per cent compared to the previous year, as reported in the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP). Some countries fared better than others. In Germany, for instance, prices increased by

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only 16.6 per cent in the same time frame, and in France, the rise was even smaller (7.7 per cent).

AN INVESTMENT THAT PAYS

FOR ITSELF QUICKLY Installing solar panels is a wise move from an economic standpoint. It enables homes and businesses to make significant savings and ‘ends up paying for itself’ in a relatively short period. “There is a myriad of incentives for solar panels, including rebates, subsidies, property tax credits, and more. Solar energy also counts on a number of financing options;

for an installation costing around €9.000, you could finance the transaction and pay just €190 per month. Many home and business owners can qualify for 100 per cent financing on the spot (Quick Financing), so you can start saving money right away once the installation of your solar panel system has been completed. Depending on the size of your system, installation can take as little as two to three days. Even if you didn’t rely on any of these incentives, however, you would still recover the costs of installation in a few years. Moreover, properties with solar panels enjoy an increase of around five per cent in value. Embracing renewable energy

has yet another advantage: it reduces the demand on the grid,” says Brian.

DROWNING UNDER THE WEIGHT OF ELECTRICITY BILLS

Brian explains how difficult the situation has been for many people in Spain. “During the summer, we’ve seen businesses pay €1.900 for electricity in June, and €3.200 in August. The gas cap is fixed until November but after that, prices will most likely rise. People with fixed incomes are the ones hurting the most – not only owing to their electricity bills but also due to the rising cost of fuel. If they wish to reduce both these expenses dramatically, the solution is to go solar.” ›

“Every 24 hours, enough sunlight touches the Earth to provide energy for the entire planet for 24 years”
Martha Maeda
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POWERING YOUR HOME WITH YOUR CAR BATTERY: THE NEXT FRONTIER

Imagine if you could not only cut your electricity costs but also stop paying fuel costs. Nación Solar proposes installing a bidirectional charging system in your home so that the energy stored by your car during the charging phase could power your home. The scenario is easy to imagine: you charge your car during sunny hours and use this energy to power your home when the sun goes down. Brian explains, “Car batteries actually have an enormous charging potential. A full battery could power a house for up to a week.”

WHO IS NACIÓN SOLAR?

The Nación Solar team may be relatively new to the Coast, but they have a long history in green living. Brian, who completed his studies in Law but worked for much of his professional life as a software engineer, met Alf Clausen some 17 years ago in California. Alf and his wife, Sofía, own Nación Solar and they also control one of the largest EV and hybrid vehicle dealerships in Iceland. “There are numerous waterfalls in Iceland, so electric energy is cheap,” Sofia tells me. She is excited to be starting a new business in Spain and is enthusiastic about spearheading the shift to solar

that so many homes on the Coast need so badly. “Installing solar panels is an easy decision to make in Spain. Installation can take as little as two days. The next step is to install a bidirectional charging system and to rely on a plug-in vehicle instead of one that runs on fuel.”

Joining Sofia, Alf, and Brian is Tamara Oyarzábal, Nación Solar’s Chief Administrative Officer. The company is delighted to have found her, since she honed her experience in Florida, where she worked for two decades in solar energy.

If you are ready to make a change that is a sure win, give the friendly team at Nación Solar a call. They can inform you about everything from prices to financing, incentives, and other actions you can undertake to make sustainable living a reality.

g NACIÓN SOLAR

Andasol Business Center

CN-340, km 189, Office 1, Marbella. Tel: (+34) 951 249 018. www.nacionsolar.com

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Solar panels increase the value of your property by up to 5% (Source: NLRE) Best price guarantee — We will beat any quote by 10% The average client saves 80% on their energy bills  RESIDENTIAL  COMMERCIAL  HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS  NEW DEVELOPMENTS Call +34 (951) 249 018 for a free 15-minute home solar analysis! Nacion Solar S.L. Centro de Negocios Andasol Oficina 1, Avenida de Andasol N-340,Km 189 Marbella, Málaga 29604 www.nacionsolar.com

INSOLES Pretty Thingie EMPOWERING WOMEN ONE HIGH HEEL AT A TIME

Necessity is the mother of invention and nowhere is this more evident than in the serendipitous way that physicist and ex-NASA scientist, Irene Schneider, dreamed up her groundbreaking invention: Pretty Thingie insoles. WORDS MARISA

She was standing in a conference room speaking about missions to Mars, addressing some of the most prestigious scientists in the world. “It was a long night,” she tells me, “I wore high heels and I was in excruciating pain. It was a major event so by 2am we were all still networking. I remember wondering how humanity had managed to send human beings to the Moon, yet nobody had been able to solve the problem of aching feet from wearing high heels.”

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Who else but a NASA scientist could understand the effect that forces like gravity, combined with the structure of feet (which were never meant to walk on high heels) could have on our wellbeing? Irene approached this problem from more than a scientific viewpoint, however, since she has always been as passionate about art and fashion as she is about science. She says, “When it was time to pick my university course I was so torn between science and fashion and art, that I tossed a coin and science was the winner. I ended up studying Physics, first in Madrid and then at Penn State University.”

As might be expected of someone who is steeped in the Scientific Method, Irene tackled the problem of foot pain and high heels by studying insoles that were currently available on the market. “I found two major issues with them. Firstly, most were large; they took up the whole shoe space, thus making shoes too tight and forcing wearers to buy one size up. The second issue was an aesthetic one. I remember being at a Jimmy Choo shop

and the manager stating that they would “never” stick a blue gel-type insole (by a leading orthopedic brand) into one of their shoes.”

She elaborates, “I devised an insole that is currently in the process of being patented. Unlike traditional insoles, it is designed to cushion the foot in strategic places that hurt when we wear heels.”

Pretty Thingie is a luxury product that is made by female artisans who are trained in the art of handmade craftsmanship. Through us, they are earning an income and bettering their lives and the extra production cost is assumed by Irene. Her aim is to “empower women one high heel at a time.”

Pretty Thingie Insoles are a complete breakthrough when it comes to insole aesthetics. They are made with materials that are commonly used in other applications but can be transported to high heels. Irene explains, “One of the biggest problems with existing insoles is that they were designed by men who don’t understand the type of pain experienced when you’re in heels for various hours straight.” During her research,

Irene came across pretty weird inventions by men –including a heel that could be physically 'shortened' with a special tool every time the wearer’s foot hurt.

Irene was determined to make a product that slipped perfectly into a Choo or Louboutin, without taking over the shoe’s aesthetic. Pretty Thingie insoles easily fit into a clutch (as they measure only 8cm x 5cm) and boast gorgeous designs. Irene has dreamed up various collections, including luxury, everyday, and seasonal ones. She states that although “nothing will take away the pain completely (since heels are extremely unnatural),” her insoles will “help heel wearers feel comfortable for far longer. I tested them one night, dancing the night away. I was in my Jimmys for five hours and when I got back home, my feet felt fine. The next day I could walk perfectly; I had no pain at all!”

Irene is launching Pretty Thingie insoles this month from her home base in Marbella. Visit the site to check out her latest designs. i www.prettythingie.com

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SPAIN’S DIGITAL NOMAD VISA

In a nutshell, the Digital Nomad Visa (DNV, going forward) introduces great tax breaks (for both employers and employees), streamlines the visa procedure, allows for greater freedom, and most fundamentally reduces the admin control on applicants. WORDS

It’s no secret the expectation for the approval of this visa is through the roof. It is hands down the most anticipated visa. For the avoidance of doubt, the DNV is in its last stages of approval, so it is still a draft bill. We expect it to be passed over the coming months. Personally, I believe the DNV will in time become the second most sought-after visa following the coveted Golden Visa.

Times move on and most traditional visas in Spain –

which are decades old – have become outdated and no longer appropriately address the needs of modern workers in a digital economy. There is a huge pent-up demand for a specific visa that caters to digital workers who work from home remotely. This demand has fostered the creation of a specific visa that caters to the needs of digital workers, pandering to them. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic opened new opportunities to work from

home and has exacerbated and normalised the demand for telecommuting, which has now become ubiquitous. The Spanish Government was quick to pick up on this new trend and wishes to capitalise on it. To that end, it has devised a specific visa attracting talented foreign individuals and investments in its wake. This visa is tailor made for high achievers, enticing them with one-of-a-kind tax breaks.

I collate below in bullet points its main advantages

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and requirements, but with the caveat that some of the highlighted points below may yet be amended by lawmakers on being enacted.

MAIN ADVANTAGES

Z FIVE-YEAR RESIDENCY PERMIT. Initially on a one-year application, followed by two-year renewals up to a total of five years. The visa extends to the family of the main applicant.

Z IT ALLOWS YOU TO WORK IN SPAIN REMOTELY. Moreover, it encourages you to work in Spain, specifically remotely with your laptop (or desktop if you happen to be an old dinosaur like me). Unlike other Spanish residency permits (i.e. NonLucrative Visa which bans you from working in Spain, even remotely) this visa actively promotes you working in Spain (remotely).

Z ALLOWS YOU TO LEGALLY OVERRIDE THE 90/180-DAY RULE

that limits stay in Spain (and by extension in the Schengen Area/ EU). It is up to you to decide whether to spend one day or all year round in Spain, it makes no difference. This visa is all about freedom.

Z TAX BREAKS FOR THE

FOREIGN EMPLOYER (if it has an establishment in Spain).

Z TAX BREAKS FOR THE

EMPLOYEE (DNV applicant). This is the core advantage. It basically applies a privileged non-domiciled tax scheme to visa holders that allows them to pay a flat tax rate of only 15% on the first €600.000 of gross annual earnings over a five-year period. Over and above this threshold, they are taxed at the standard top marginal rate of 47%. In plain English, this greatly empowers digital nomad visa holders to legally circumvent the standard IRPF tax sliding scale that applies to the remainder of taxpayers.

REQUIREMENTS

Z You need to prove you are hired by a foreign company. This is the core requirement, i.e., a freelance IT artist with a contract.

Z You need to prove you have formal academic qualifications (i.e., a 3-year university degree).

Z You need to prove you have at least 3 years of work experience.

IN CONCLUSION

The Digital Nomad Visa addresses a gap for high-end professionals who wish to relocate to Spain, alone or with their families, and enjoy all the country has to offer, including ultra-low taxes, regardless of where they settle down in Spain.

In effect, you obtain the best of both worlds; you get to enjoy all the perks of being a (legal) full-time resident in Spain, albeit you are fiscally treated as a non-resident, paying (significantly) fewer taxes.

In my book, that’s a win-win. g Larrain Nesbitt Abogados have over 20 years experience in buying, selling, and renting properties, and also specialise in taxation, immigration & residency visas. Tel. (+34) 952 19 22 88. info@larrainnesbitt.com www.larrainnesbitt.com

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ENGEL & VÖLKERS OPEN HOUSES

Engel & Völkers Marbella invited agents, associates, and members of the press to two Open Houses. The former showcased an impressive 4 bedroom contemporary villa at Monte Mayor, while the latter presented a stunning newlybuilt 5 bedroom villa close to the beach at Altos de Puente Romano.

i www.marbella-ev.com

“Home is the starting place of love, hope and dreams” – Anonymous
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PHOTOGRAPHY KEVIN HORN

ESSENTIAL FOODS

Essential Foods, a company whose stated mission is to improve and prolong the lives of dogs, and which offers a full range of formulated foods and treats for dogs and cats, held an event at Ballroom Blitz in San Pedro to present its products, which are all handmade in England.

i www.essentialfoods.com

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen” –
Orhan Pamuk
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PHOTOGRAPHY
KEVIN HORN

AYANA ESTEPONA PRESENTATION

Asset Folio hosted a party to celebrate the success of the new development, Ayana Estepona, at Spilers Beach Club in the Kempinski Hotel. The project, which is located on a 40,000m2 plot of land facing the hotel and the new Pacha Club, will comprise luxury apartments impressively equipped for year-round living.

i www.ayanaestepona.com

“A house is made of bricks and beams. A home is made of hopes and dreams” –
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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PHOTOGRAPHY KEVIN HORN

STRAND PROPERTIES OPENS MALLORCA OFFICE

As part of its continued expansion programme, Strand Properties has opened a new office at Carrer de Can Veri in Palma de Mallorca. Famous Finnish pop star, Mikko Harju gave a performance at the opening party. The dynamic, Finnish-run company is at the forefront of the luxury real estate sector, with offices also in Marbella, Fuengirola, and Málaga. i www.strand.es

“The only bad time to buy property is later” – Steve Bolton
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PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF STRAND

MARIBEL HOTEL LAUNCH PARTY

Hotel Puente Romano hosted a party in its lively La Plaza to celebrate the launch of its fully refurbished newly acquired hotel in Sierra Nevada. The Maribel Hotel, with 29 rooms and suites, including the signature Maribel Penthouse Suite, and Maribel’s Restaurant, is ideally located beside the Maribel and Águila pistes.

i www.maribels.com

There is no such thing as too much snow” – Doug

Coombs
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PHOTOGRAPHY KEVIN HORN

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b gourmet

GOURMET CUISINE WITH MEMORABLE DISHES AND ENTICING FLAVOURS IS TOP OF THE MENU THIS DECEMBER – MAKE A RESERVATION FOR BOHO CLUB, MARTÍN BERASATEGUI, OR EL XATO. CONSIDER THE FACTORS INVOLVED IN GIVING WINE AS A GIFT THIS CHRISTMAS. 200

190 Boho Club 196 Gourmet Bytes 200 Martín Berasategui 204 El Xato 208 Wine as a Gift NEWS GASTRONOMY CHEFS WINE 190 196 204

A RESORT FOR ALL SEASONS BOHO CLUB

Boho Club, in the heart of Marbella’s Golden Mile, is a boutique resort par excellence. Operating as a hotel, its contemporary rooms and bungalows are stylish with state-of the art amenities, surrounded by enticing gardens, swimming pools, Bernies poolside bar, and a gymnasium.

WORDS JAMES SINCLAIR PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF BOHO CLUB
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In the words of the General Manager, Daniel Little, “ Boho Club’s maxim is to fuel the senses of our guests and, for this, we offer original experiences, beyond a tasting menu or a hotel stay. It is about surprising the client and getting them to enjoy a moment that will last in their memory.”

These sentiments are nowhere better epitomised that at the resort’s centrepiece, the Boho Club Restaurant. Open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, its interior expanse, refined with

a colonial feel, is a joyful place to linger with friends or a loved one. The ambience is always convivial, with DJ spun music, and the food offering is so good that you will aspire to become a regular visitor.

Under the very capable hands of Executive Chef, Diego de Río, the gastronomic offering at Boho Club is inspired and expansive. Diego is passionate about Andalusian cuisine with Mediterranean products, which he combines with international touches to great effect. ›

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NEW WINTER MENU

The restaurant recently presented a range of new dishes for the winter season, the very listing of which will leave your mouth watering.

To pique your appetite, try the Michelada Oyster, fresh Mushrooms with Oloroso juice, Foie Gras, Liquorice and Hazelnuts, the cured Scallop with Carrot, Beans and curried Pumpkin Cream, or the hearty Game Ravioli with Artichokes and stewed Ramen.    How does a Venison Sirloin with Chestnut Toffee and glazed Spring Onion sound, or the Wagyu Rib with creamy Jerusalem Artichoke and Puff Pastry

Potato? You can also savour Monkfish with Black Olive Romesco and roasted Pepper Juice, Sea Bass on Octopus Gazpachuelo with Chili Peppers, or grilled Octopus glazed in Teriyaki, Celery Ball and Eggplant.

For those with a sweet tooth, how about indulging in a Boho Rocher with Passion Fruit and Pineapple soup, the creamy Lemon, candied Peanut, Sablé, Basil and Mint sorbet, or the roasted Apple Millefeuille, Puff Pastry and Citrus? ›

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Restaurant with us Open every day from 8 am till after midnight. Free private parking and valet service. CELEBRATE THE FESTIVE SEASON CORPORATE AND FRIENDS TOAST MENU - SPECIAL NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER DECEMBER 25TH & JANUARY 1ST BUFFET BRUNCH Ctra.N-340, Km 176. Urb. Lomas de Rio Verde 144. 29602 Marbella. @bohoclubmarbella · www.bohoclub.com For reservations call: (+34) 952 157 222 (+34) 644 46 47 44

As well as these new additions, many Boho Club classics remain on the menu which will please the restaurant’s regular diners who will be able to continue to enjoy their favourite plates. A phenomenal tasting menu is also offered, with wine pairings, and Diego himself visiting diner’s tables to explain the compositions of its dishes.

The wine list is extensive, with over 300 references to select from and you can also enjoy cocktails

and drinks at the bar or in the comfort of the sofa seating areas.

CHRISTMAS PROGRAMME

With its exceptional location, accommodation on site, and friendly and attentive staff, Boho Club is the ideal place for any event or meeting. Whether you are looking for an impressive venue for a company Christmas lunch or dinner, or a special place to relax with friends or family,

it has everything to fulfil your needs. The restaurant has a range of menus for group bookings you can peruse.

Boho Club also has a comprehensive programme covering all the festive requirements for New Year’s Eve Dinner and Party, and Christmas and New Year’s Day Lunches. Contact the restaurant for further information.

g Operating non-stop every day from 08:00 until midnight. Reservations recommended. Lomas de Río Verde, Km 176.  Tel: (+34) 952 157 222. www.bohoclub.com

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NAVIDAD EN EL PALACIO CHRISTMAS AT THE PALACE 2022

Delicias Gourmet Group, which is dedicated to high-quality foods, recently held an event at its Nueva Andalucía store. Guests were able to sample a selection of products and meet the executive team. The Group also owns Delicious Gourmet Shop in Elviria, Delicias de la Huerta in Nueva Andalucía, Delicias Gourmet Resort in Estepona, Arbonauta by Delicias Gourmet Group in Zagaleta, and Delicias in Sotogrande. In addition to running these establishments, the group offers food delivery and catering services. It also has an online store. i www.deliciasgourmetgroup.com

Grupo Juicy Brands has chosen Booh! (the urban nucleus of Dark Kitchens) to deliver food by three of its brands to customers living in the Málaga area. The brands are Juicy Avenue (featuring fresh, healthy dishes), The Real (featuring personalised dishes), and Sweet Tea (serving ice-cream and dessert). Must-try dishes include poke bowls, salads, pizzas, burritos, and juices. i www.juicybrands.es

GRUPO JUICY BRANDS AND BOOH! OFFER HOME DELIVERY IN MÁLAGA WHAT’S COOKING ON THE FOOD SCENE IN MARBELLA AND BEYOND? FIND OUT BELOW! COMPILED BY MARISA CUTILLAS
WORLD FISH & MEATS IN NUEVA ANDALUCÍA
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DELICIAS
PRESENTATION
NEW TAI PAN Marbella Tel: 952 818 392 www.thaigallerymarbella.com Puente Romano Hotel, Plaza Village, Marbella. SUKHOTHAI Exquisite Royal Thai Cuisine Tel: 952 777 893 / 952 775 500 www.taipanmarbella.com Puente Romano, Fase 2, Marbella. Open Daily for Dinner from 8:00 Tel: 952 770 550 www.sukhothaimarbella.com Marbellamar, L-3A, Marbella. Open Daily for Dinner from 8:00 CHINESE RESTAURANTPOLYNESIAN BAR

SHERIFFS EGGS & SALADS: FRESH, HEALTHY FOOD IN THE HEART OF PUERTO BANÚS

Step into the world of Sheriffs Marbella Eggs & Salads: a haven of nutritious food made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. At Sheriffs’ inspiring new lunchroom, you will experience taste explosions, with eggs and salads playing the starring role. You can also opt for dishes to-go or home delivery. Sheriffs has so many flavourful dishes to choose from, ranging from ‘The Benedict’ (two poached eggs with beef bacon, spinach, and Hollandaise sauce on brioche bread) to Asian Chicken Salad (with vegan options available). The restaurant opens from 9am until 5pm and is located at the Cristamar shopping centre. i www.sheriffsmarbella.com

RUTA DE LA TAPA DELIGHTS FOODIES ON THE

COAST ONCE AGAIN

The 13th edition of the Ruta de la Tapa took place recently in Marbella, San Pedro, and Puerto Banús. Lovers of Spain’s favourite food (tapas) enjoyed a host of delights, all at moderate prices. Dozens of restaurants and bars took part in this initiative, which is one of the most highly awaited of the winter season. If you don’t want to miss out next year, download the app, Rutappa, so you can view all the establishments participating in your area. i www.rutatapamarbella.com

MARCOS GRANDA TO OPEN THREE NEW RESTAURANTS IN 2023

Talented sommelier and entrepreneur, Marcos Granda, has announced that he will be opening three new venues in 2023, in Gijón, Madrid, and Málaga, respectively. Currently, he already heads successful Michelin-starred restaurants Skina, Nintai, Clos Madrid, and Ayalga. In January, he will be opening Marcos in Gijón; the restaurant will be serving traditional Asturian cuisine. In February, he will launch Japanese restaurant, Toki, in Madrid. Finally, the month of May will see the launch of In-Formal in Málaga (featuring dishes made with top produce, as well as an impressive wine list). i www.restauranteskina.com

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MARTÍN BERASATEGUI…

Michelin-starred critics may be well-versed in the exquisiteness of produce, ideal cooking times, and novel techniques, but many would argue that diners’ palates are the best gauge of an excellent dining experience. Those who subscribe to this point of view look to lists such as Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best – a yearly compilation that includes categories such as Best Fine Dining Restaurants in the World. This year, two Spanish restaurants have made it to top five status – Martín Berasategui (in Lasarte-Oria, Guipúzcoa), which took fourth place, and El Xato (in La Nucia, Alicante), which took the fifth spot. What qualities did travellers most value and why are these restaurants worth a road trip or flight if food motivates you like few other passions?

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MARISA CUTILLAS PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF MARTÍN BERASATEGUI AND EL XATO
IN THE TOP FIVE OF TRIPADVISOR TRAVELLERS’ CHOICE BEST FINE DINING RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD LIST
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MARTIN BERASATEGUI

Chef Martín Berasategui is a true icon on the gastronomic scene, having dedicated 47 years of his career to his life’s passion. He honed his craft in France, where he lived and worked from the ages of 15 to 27. He was lucky to have great teachers such as Jean Paul Heinard, André Mandion, François Brouchican, and Bernard Lacarrau. However, his mentor in the world of haute cuisine was Michel Guérard, with whom he worked at the prestigious establishment, Les Prés D’Eugénie. Later, he sharpened his skills even more with Alain Ducasse at Louis XV in Monaco. In 1993, he opened Restaurante Martín Berasategui in LasarteOria (around seven kilometres from San Sebastián) alongside his wife, Oneka Arregui.

STARS IN THE SKY

The Martín Berasategui restaurant in Lasarte-Oria boasts three Michelin stars. Here, discerning diners enjoy a tasting menu that includes delights such as oysters with a wasabi emulsion and crunchy sea lettuce; smoked sardine with Basque

chilli sauce, cucumber mayonnaise, and watercress; and baby squid tartare in its own juice with touches of toasted walnuts, yema, seaweed, and kaffir. There is also an à la carte menu for those who are seeking a shorter experience.

WHAT DID REVIEWERS SAY?

TripAdvisor voters highlighted everything from the service

to the artistry of the presentation. One reviewer, Mattpoole69, wrote, “We treated ourselves to the 15-course tasting menu paired with the wine and enjoyed three-and-a-half hours of the most beautiful food to grace a dinner plate. Staff were really friendly and Martin’s nephew even gave us a tour of the kitchen to see where this magic was made.” ›

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Another diner reported that during his visit, Martin was away recovering from knee surgery. However, the chef had left his guest a present and his book. Kind, attentive touches such as these are one reason why you will find many reviewers comparing this restaurant favourably to other Michelin-starred establishments.

The excellence of the wine pairing experience and the knowledge of the sommelier are also frequently mentioned.

Creativity is highly prized, with one reviewer surprised at finding unique ingredients like sea urchin (which they had never tried outside Japan) on the menu. Far from leaning on Japanese tradition, however, the Chef has given this ingredient a personal touch and prepared it for his guests with a signature recipe. At his eponymous restaurant, Berasategui values artistry, but also teamwork. If he is proudest of one thing, it is his ability “to create unified teams and emblematic establishments.”

i www.martinberasategui.com

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…and EL XATO

Nestled in La Nucia, a municipality ensconced between Polop de la Marina, Benidorm, and Callosa de Ensarriá, and just three kilometres from the Altea Coast, is El Xato – the Michelin-starred dream child of Cristina Figueira. This restaurant is over a century old. In 1915, what was a modest wine cellar was converted into a tapas bar. Many generations down the line, it is one of Marina Baixa’s most prestigious restaurants.

A WOMAN OF MANY TALENTS

Chef, Cristina Figueira, is certainly a woman for all seasons. She commenced her career as a dental hygienist, learning the art of cooking under the guiding hand of her mother-in-law, Esperanza Fuster. Steadily and unceasingly, she became one of the most influential chefs in the region, owing to what the Michelin Guide

calls her “dominion over Alicantine recipes and her vision of creative cuisine, which is closely linked to the essence of this land.” At El Xato, diners can take their pick from tasting menus, succulent rice dishes, and punctiliously prepared pairings. When it comes to wines, bottles from the Comunidad Valenciana take the starring role.

There are two menus

available at El Xato: Menú Tentaciones (featuring six aperitifs, four entrées, a main dish and dessert) and Menú Centenario ‘El Xato’ (a menu that delights guests with Cristina’s most innovative dishes and has six aperitifs, six entrées, a fish dish, a meat dish, a refreshing ‘pre-dessert’ concoction and a dessert).

Both menus have a wine pairing option. ›

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WHAT DID REVIEWERS SAY?

Reviewers highlighted three main aspects of El Xato: its over 100-year-long history, the freshness of its Mediterranean cuisine, and the friendly, familyrun service. Sustainability, regional ingredients, and respect for the Planet are the values around which the staff’s work is centred. One UK reviewer, 494travels, said, “ I was blown away by the

extraordinary quality of the food and the number of dishes included, particularly for the price. The staff took the time to talk to us about the origin, story, and ingredients of each dish and were clearly hugely passionate about what they were doing.” Another highlighted the attention and knowledge of the sommelier.

El Xato has an interesting page on its website that you

should check out if you really want to make a foodie who will be in Alicante soon happy. This page features ‘Cajas Regalo Experiencia Seis Sentidos’ and it includes an array of menus you can add to your cart. With the gift code your loved ones receive, they can book a table through the website within a sixmonth period.

i www.elxato.com

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Although wine may appear to be an easy gift, there are many traps for the unwary. When we have a friend or family member who enjoys wine, we should not just pick up the first bottle we see in the supermarket. Although it may appear that the initial question should always be red or white, much depends on the identity of the recipient, and the tired formula of red for men, white for women can be ignored. Half a century ago, apart from wine, a gift bottle could be whisky, brandy, sherry or port. These are still premium offerings, but wine has become the preference in most situations, and not only because it can represent better value for money. WORDS ANDREW J LINN

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The overriding problem is that there are too many choices. For example, a gift of a single bottle (best if it comes in a presentation case); a six or 12-bottle selection; a bottle with wine glasses

WIN E AS A GIFT

included or with a premium corkscrew and capsule cutter. The variations are boundless. How about a gif t voucher for a wine store? Amazon sells them for the purpose of moving its vast wine selection. A semivirtual wine tasting, in which physical wine is linked to online commentaries with various degrees of participation by the tasters, is an awesome experience that can become addictive. It is ideally suited to wine lovers who have no-one with whom to share tasting experiences. What better gift for a lonely bachelor or divorcee? But on a purely selfish and sybaritic level, the most welcome gift really consists of one or more bottles of a wine that is expensive, or one which, in the normal course of events, would never even have been considered. From personal experience, such interesting gifts have included a thoughtfully selected box of American wines from

Washington State, Napa, and Oregon. (How many Europeans would normally consider buying these?) Nearer home, a case of Moroccan wines with a leaflet attached to the neck of each bottle describing the production process. And, best of all, a six-bottle selection of Georgian wines made and matured in the traditional clay qvevri vessels that substitute oak butts, complete with a CD-ROM of the best examples of the country’s traditional polyphonic singing. And a quality Hungarian Tokaji is an eye-opener for even the most well-informed wine buffs.

Champagne is obviously the classic gift, and the never-ending choice of different qualities, whether in presentation boxes or not, is ever increasing. It is however not always gratefully received, as, unlike wine, nonchalantly opening a bottle to enjoy en famille at home with some peanuts is only for selfish hedonists. ›

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Those little boxes of miniatures are hopeless. No wine can survive for more than a few months in such an unnatural environment, and although they can be beautifully presented in silk-lined presentation cases, they are made for show and not for drinking. Wine glasses are another redundant gift for almost anyone. If people don’t have any decent ones, it is because they don’t habitually drink wine.

The savvy giver may decide not to actually gift wine to a wine lover, thereby playing safe. Fortunately, other options are legion, and do not involve corkscrews and wine glasses. Winery visits can be paid for in

advance, and anyone living in a non-wine producing country can be almost transformed by their first visit to a bodega. Just the simple experience of walking between rows of vines, or watching pruning, is impressive in a back-to-nature way. Even better if the harvest is happening, and trailer loads of grapes are being tipped into wine presses to produce that magical liquid. Hardly likely though, as few wineries welcome visitors during their busiest time of year.

It is a gently flawed truism that if you have seen one bodega you have seen them all, though admittedly there is a certain sameness, whether they

are in West Sussex or in Chile’s Maipo Valley. Commercially organised wine holidays are certainly among the most welcome of presents, and the choice is vast. Best to consult the recipient in advance, as there is literally a world of difference between a cycling tour of Provence vineyards and a river cruise down the Moselle; (no prizes for guessing which is the safest option). So, best to stick to the good old bottle of tinto. Just make sure it is not a brand that can be found on every supermarket shelf or restaurant wine list. Anyway, most retail stores will allow returns for exchange with another wine. Amici vinum dant. e

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