Tropical Food of Cuba
East Caribbean island of Cuba enjoys a rich cultural heritage from which has arisen
culinary traditions that are as vibrant and varied as the diversity of cultures
that have contributed to the development of this distinct and delicious cuisine.
to the ancient influence of the native people of Cuba, the Spaniards brought their
own culinary styles, tinged by the Moorish culture who held huge parts of Spain
for centuries. The slaves that were brought from Africa made significant culinary
and cultural contributions, with other culinary traditions being brought to Cuba
with the French colonists fleeing uprisings in Haiti.
these varied influences came together, a distinctly Cuban flavor and style evolved,
which is reminiscent of hand-me-down styles of cooking by oral tradition and eye,
rather than relying on specific measurements, and the creation of dishes that
tend towards the simple and hearty, and that can be left on their own to simmer.
heavy sauces are unusual and deep-frying is just not a favored cooking method.
Naturally, the island nation uses a great deal of seafood in its cuisine, which
encourages simple cooking techniques and spicing that is meant to enhance, not
smother, natural flavors.
most common spices used in Cuban cuisine are garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves.
Sofrito is also popular, and it used in a wide range of dishes, from beans to
meats to pastes that are made from a base of tomato sauce. A typical sofrito is
derived of green pepper, onion, garlic, oregano and black pepper fried in olive
oil until the pepper, onion, and garlic are soft and translucent and the flavors
blend to Cuban "perfection."
dense, nutritious, energy producing vegetables commonly used belie the African
and native Cuban influence on the cuisine of the island nation. Yuca, malanga,
boniato, and plantains are among these, and are often simmered together with other
vegetables and served simply, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with chopped
fresh onion -- a satisfying, strengthening, and simple dish for a hard working
are often prepared using island flavored marinades of lime juice or a sour juice
of the orange as a base. Then the meats are roasted or simmered very slowly with
spices, usually for hours. Beans and rice are an essential part of most meals,
with black beans being well known as a Cuban staple and specialty.
cuisine is also renown for its baked goods, which include a variety of turnovers.
Some are filled with spiced meats and other types feature a quintessential Cuban
blend of cream cheese and guava paste. Flan is one of Cuba's most beloved dessert
Cuban cuisine, the subtle flavors of healthy foods are enhanced by cooking and
spicing methods designed to bring out the best in every facet of a dish. Naturally,
the culinary traditions of Cuba are a delight to the tongue, but they also offer
an intriguing glimpse into a culture that has brought together many varied elements
to form a cohesive whole.
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