Meliá Cuba and a good Habano cigar, the perfect marriage
Maní, maní, maní…, si te quieres por el pico divertir cómprame un cucuruchito de maní. Cuando la calle sola está, casera de mi corazón, el manisero entona su pregón … this song about a peanut vendor can still be heard today in the streets, to the rhythm of son, rumba or meringue. Havana, a bustling, sensual, uninhibited and melodic city, bewitches anyone who comes here. The capital of Cuba, a symbol of charisma, hospitality, music, heat, dance, classic cars, rum and beautiful women, has assets to set the beat: the Paseo del Malecón, the Morro, the Capitolio, the Habana Libre, and, of course, its most prodigal son: the famous Habano cigar, named after the city itself.
The habano has become an image of elegance and style, a distinguished gem for those who know how to enjoy it. Choosing which habano to smoke starts with its physical attributes, using the senses of sight, touch and smell. Its colour must be balanced along its entire length. The experts in Cuba can recognise around eight colours and 64 shades, ranging from green or candela to dark brown. Feeling the habano from end to end between your thumb and forefinger will inform you of its inner composition. Smelling it before you cut and light it will tell you whether it is powerful and intense or floral and aromatic. Moistening the curved end of the cigar slightly before cutting it is not a bad idea; as well as taking your time when lighting it. You need to blow on the surface to check whether it has been lit properly, and only after this should you enjoy your first puff.
In Cuba, this indulgent ritual continues to be perfected, and as happens every year, experts and enthusiasts alike will be gathering at the largest meeting for lovers of the finest tobacco in the world: The Habano Cigar Festival, to be held from 24 to 28 February at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana. This year, the event will be paying tribute to four of the most prestigious brands: Hoyo de Monterrey, Partagás, Trinidad and H.Upmann. The varied programme of activities includes visits to the finest tobacco plantations in Pinar del Río, an International Habano Sommelier competition, a master class in Rolling “Entirely by Hand” and the first competition for creating the longest ash.
The tasting of cigars and of renowned international beers will be one more unique activity in which to participate during this 16th Festival. This unique experience will feature the Belgian beers Duvel, Leffe, Malheur and Chimay, as well as the Cuban Bucanero brand. The 2 Michelin star chef Ron Blaauw, along with the renowned sommelier Cuno Van’t Hoff, will be preparing a very special dinner, where haute cuisine will be complemented by the prestigious brands of Trinidad and Cohiba. Those attending will enjoy the privilege of savouring, on an exclusive basis, the new labels to be launched on the market, including a very special Habano, from Cohiba.
Meliá Cuba is offering participants three five-star hotels to match this major international event. Strategically located and boasting panoramic views of the sea or the city, Meliá Cohiba, Meliá Habana and Tryp Habana Libre are symbols of elegance and comfort. The top floors of the Meliá Cohiba and Meliá Habana are reserved for The Level, a concept combining superior comfort accommodation, exclusive facilities and sophisticated touches. Personalised service, privacy and attractive dining options from breakfast through to dinner, for those who prefer the distinction of the exceptional.
To continue with the enjoyment of a good cigar, there is no need to leave the hotel. They all have Casa del Habano cigar stores and the largest humidors in the country, where you can enjoy the most exquisite Cuban cigars, available in spacious stores. They boast a well-stocked shop equipped with a Walk in Humidor and Locked Humidor (for the private use of regular clients), Internet service, live hand-rolling demonstrations, specialist library, VIP lounge and bar with the most exquisite rums, whiskies and cocktails to accompany a good cigar
There are only a few days to go now before the world’s largest fine tobacco annual event begins. Admirers and enthusiasts from all over the world will be convening to explore the pleasures and secrets of a centuries-old tradition.
And in your opinion, what is the best brand of Habano?…