In the serene coastal town of Limassol, Cyprus, a memory still clings to my senses. As the newly-opened Hawaii Beach Hotel stood tall, with its gleaming four-star reputation, I found myself working as a pool bar waiter in the tranquil summer of 1992.
The Hawaii Beach Hotel - Limassol, Cyprus - 1992
Nestled between the palms and azure waters, the hotel was a beauty to behold, but with one catch - it was really quiet! Those first weeks were filled with a curious blend of anticipation and calm, a sweet solitude that provided the perfect backdrop for creativity.
Living just a short moped ride away along the stunning western coast, I would make my way to the hotel every day. As the staff settled into our new digs, the novelty of our surroundings never wore thin.
It was in this unique setting that a real-life strawberry milkshake recipe was born, a concoction that would come to embody the very spirit of those early days at The Hawaii Beach Hotel. With "on-the-turn" strawberries that we staff were allowed to eat, we set out to craft something extraordinary.
What began as an experiment soon transformed into a labour of love. With the hotel's top-notch facilities at our disposal, we began to play with the proportions of the milkshake.
The strawberries, a tad past their prime but still rich with flavour, were the perfect metaphor for our fledgling hotel - a little unpolished, but bursting with potential.
The strawberry ice cream added a velvety richness, while the real strawberries imparted a texture that was both delightful and authentic.
Blending these ingredients together in the mixer, we found ourselves creating not just a drink but a story, a tale of innovation born from the simplicity of the island's offerings.
The final milkshake was a sensation that encapsulated the spirit of that summer - fresh, vibrant, and daring. A simple recipe, made unique by its circumstance, it became a symbol of our collective creativity.
As the days grew warmer and the hotel began to fill with guests, the milkshake became a staple, a favourite by the poolside. It was a connection to those early days of exploration, a reminder that innovation often blooms in the most unexpected places.
Working at The Hawaii Beach Hotel in Limassol, Cyprus, was an experience that went beyond just a job. It was an opportunity to bond, to create, and to discover the endless possibilities that lay in a scoop of ice cream, a dash of milk, and a handful of strawberries
Today, the taste of that milkshake still lingers on my palate, a memory of a time when anything seemed possible, and the joy of creation was as simple as blending together a few humble ingredients.
It's funny how a four-star hotel could inspire such a simple yet profound concoction. But perhaps that's the beauty of life's unexpected twists – you never know where you might find a taste of paradise.