Havana Food and Wine Tours
Indulge in the colourful vintage charm of Cuba's capital
Brightly coloured Cadillacs, quaint colonial buildings, the rhythms of rumba, jazz and the cha cha cha - all decorate the enthralling city of Havana. The capital of Cuba is brimming with stunning architecture and unique cultural experiences. Time flies here, and whole days can pass strolling through the winding alleys of Old Havana, enjoying Baroque buildings such as the stunning Cathedral San Cristobel, and seeing firsthand how Cuba’s signature export is made at a local cigar factory. With so much to see and do you will certainly build up an appetite, and there’s no better place to do exactly that than the capital city at the forefront of Cuban cuisine.
The key to Cuban food has always been simplicity. Unlike some of the neighbouring countries, the people of Havana rarely use chilli and other spices in their cooking. Instead, roast pork, chicken, seafood and fried plantain are usually served with a variety of beans, vegetables and rice. Though it might not be what you’d expect from a nation in the Caribbean, the freshness of Havana’s produce more than makes up for the lack of kick, and the dishes here are flavoursome enough without needing an abundance of herbs and spices.
Venture a little further from the tourist attractions and you’ll arrive at vibrant eateries where you can sit down and relax to live music, fresh cuisine and even a bit of folk dancing. Some of the tastiest food can be found in home-based restaurants known as paladeres, and thriving food markets offer fantastic opportunities for foodies to mix culture with culinary curiosity.
Cuban sandwiches, known to locals as Cubanos are a big deal in Havana. Filled to the brim with ham or roast pork, with cheese and pickles, these lunchtime staples hold a special place in Cuban tradition for reasons you’ll quickly become acquainted with after a mouthful or two.
Originating from the Spanish colonial days, another firm favourite is ropa vieja is a dish that has been adopted by the city. It’s a rich beef stew combining onions and peppers, served with fluffy rice. It crops up on many menus in Havana and has become Cuba’s very own national dish.
For something sweet, Havana ticks all the right boxes. First up are Churros. Street carts send the tantalising smell of these fresh doughnut-like treats across historic plazas, and anything served with a creamy chocolate sauce is difficult for most foodies to resist. A classic dessert alternative is Torticas de Moron, a deliciously sweet shortbread usually made with Guava.
Once a city stuck in its 1950s heydays, it’s clear that Havana is now moving forward without letting go of its distinct colonial charm. The food here is diverse, with international influences combining tastefully with authentic Cuban cuisine and techniques.