I was a bit surprised to find the most exciting flavors of Cuba to be in the cocktails. The food was good but not spicy like I had expected. We had one meal with some peppers that had a little kick to them but that was about it. Lots of salt, rice, beans, and plantains. Here are some highlights of the flavors of Cuba.
As far as street food goes, the crispy flour tortilla chips covered in sugar were as yummy as any. How this guy kept them so fresh in the humidity was beyond me.
With the notoriety of the Cuban pork sandwich, I was wondering how easy I would find my pescatarian diet. It wasn’t very difficult. Most meals offered a fish option, like this one with red snapper, along with veggies and fried plantains.
Cuban coffee is very strong. Similar to Italian espresso, the traditional way that makes it Cuban is to add sugar directly to the espresso pitcher as the shot is being pulled. This iced version above was delicious.
Like most tropical islands, fruit was abundant. The pineapples grow small but sweet and coconut is used for drinking and flavoring things like ice cream.
After our visit to the Hemingway House, it reminded me that I hadn’t had an authentic daquiri yet. This natural (not frozen) version at our hotel bar in Cienfuegos was tasty.
Since we were traveling in a large group, most of our meals were a set menu with your choice of drink and main course. Most meals came with salad and bread to start and dessert at the end. The majority of the time dessert was ice cream, except for when we had flan or guava jelly with gouda cheese on top (above).
The traditional drink of Trinidad is the canchanchara (and it is very strong). It’s made of honey, lime, rum (of course) and ice — and is typically served in a pottery cup like this one. They say it was invented to withstand the difficulties of the 10 Years’ War.
The Cuba Libre is another traditional cocktail found everywhere. Mix cola, lime, and rum and you’re in business!
The mojito was hands down my favorite — just fresh mint, lime juice, and rum.