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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cuban cuisine - worth the taste!

Cuban cuisine has a very distinct palette of flavours, as it the result of native ingredients, Caribbean dishes, Spanish colonists, neighbouring French colonists, African slaves, as well as Arabic, Chinese, and Portuguese cultures. It has really strong similarities with the cuisine of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, since all islands have similar climate, produce the same or similar fruits, vegetables and roots, they all rely heavily on fishing. Also they all went through common historical changes, until the 20th century.

During colonial times, many Spaniards made Cuba their home, as the island served as an important port for trade. They brought with them ingredients, herbs and spices that were new and untasted, along with new tools to cook their favourite dishes. Spaniards liked their food fried, now many Cuban dishes are fried, east of Spain is a rice area, further establishing the dominance of rice in Cuban cuisine.

Cuban cooking relies on natural specific ingredients, scarce spices such as garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay laurel leaves limiting the use of pepper and other hot spices. The most typical dish would simply be rice and beans, either cooked together or apart. Together the recipe is called “Moros y Cristianos" (Moors and Christians) and separately it’s "Arroz con/y Frijoles" (rice with/and beans). The main course would be pork with a light tomato-based sauce or fish and rarely there could be a small side salad with lettuce, tomato and avocado. Desserts could be flan, bread or rize pudding.

Most dishes will taste rather sweet and more like a variation of something you already have tasted it before, but that’s what makes Cuban cuisine so unique, it cooks everything differently and with a new caribbean twist, making every bite different!

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