But nothing beats HAVANA that interminable bakery of affections, true friendships and lately good food and wine.
This last visit in January, each and every night I had people over to dinner and as usual about 15 of us get together for a long reunion over dinner, drinks and conversations and heated debates. No TV blaring, soft music downloaded from Spotify in the background and wine flowing freely. My friends truly enjoyed Radius 2016 Merlot from Washington State, the Malbec was to their taste and Carmanere from Chile was well appreciated. And of course there is the ever present Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
For dinner, I was able to procure Langostinos and the usual cuban accoutrements and I was able to add some Salmon, sardines and Oysters (for some reason oysters were not popular among my friends). The neighbour/good friend who prepared the dishes used the condiments I had brought from Cochin, so the vegetables: Berenjina Eggplants, Acelga Chard and the salad had a Masala taste to them.
It was a memorable evening, even though the other evenings when the diners were less in number were equally sumptuous with lobster, chicken in curry, mackerel among other delights.
Cubans are the most affectionate people that I know, as you can see in the photo, every one is touching some one else!
Olives, stuffed with anchovies, mixed nuts and savoury biscuits to dip into salmon paste.
Cubans like pasta with chicken with mayonnaise and other flavours
Cuba is one of the more educated countries in the world. Of the 15 people gathered tonight, every single person had an university degree, 5 of them at doctoral level: social sciences, Marine Biology and Medicine. One lawyer, one Hospital Laboratory technician, one editorial assistant, two engineers, two biometricians! and overseeing was a friend who has a degree in Gastronomy!
We consumed about 6 bottles of wine. No one touched the large bottle of Santero Rum. Still and Sparkling water was available.
For dessert, my sister in Miami suggested that I provide Ice cream (Cuba has excellent ice cream) and she gave me a packet of Oreo cookies to accompany that..
It was a wonderful evening and all of us felt so grateful to have such strong friendship along with our love for our island.
Of the 15, 10 had travelled to various countries mainly to attend conferences and occasionally for family reunions. Of the 10 only one has been to USA for family reasons, and another had gone there for scientific research collaboration.
If you are in Havana, please join us for an evening of affections and alimentation and a little wine!