Traditional Cuban cuisine is called Cariole and combines the tastes and influences of Spain, Africa and the Caribbean.
In Cuba most food is sautéed or slow-cooked over a low flame, very little is deep-fried and there is a noticeable absence of heavy or cream based sauces. Instead their cuisine relies on a few basic spices, such as garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves. Many dishes use a Sofrito as a base to provide flavour. The Sofrito consists of onion, green pepper, garlic, oregano, and ground pepper quick-fried in olive oil. The Sofrito is used mainly when cooking black beans, stews and many meat and poultry dishes. Root vegetables such as yucca, malanga, and boniato are flavoured with a marinade, called Mojo, which includes hot olive oil, lemon juice, sliced raw onions, garlic, cumin, and a little water.
Cuban breakfast consists of a tostada and Cafe Con Leche. The tostada is a portion of Cuban bread which is buttered then toasted. The cafe con leche is a combination of strong, espresso coffee with warm milk. Cubans’ breakthe tostada into pieces and dunk it in their coffee. Or some may eat ham croquetas, smoky creamed ham shaped in finger rolls, lightly breaded and then fried.
Cuban lunch consists of Empanadas (chicken or meat turnovers) or Cuban sandwiches (slice of pork, ham, cheese and then topped with pickles and mustard on sweetened egg bread).
Snacks: Cuban bakeries are famous for their finger foods.
- Pastelitos (small flaky turnovers in various shapes filled with meat, cheese or guava),
- Bocaditos (small bite size sandwiches layered with a ham spread).
Cuban Dinner consists of a meat, chicken, or fish dish as the entrée accompanied by white rice, black beans, and maduros (sweet fried plantains). Sometimes a small salad of sliced tomatoes and onions or avocados is added to the meal. The meal is followed by dessert, such as flan, a Cuban caramel, flavoured custard or the tangy and cream Cuban made Coppelia ice cream.
….. And another shot of cafe Cubano.
Celebrations: One dish that typifies Cuban cuisine and normally prepared for special occasions is pig marinated with salt, garlic and sour orange juice which is then roasted over an open fire and slowly cooked for several hours. It is always accompanied by Congri a white rice and black bean mixture also known as moros y cristianos, which means "Moors and Christians”.
For refreshments, the most typical drinks guarapo, a clear juice made from sugar cane or Mojitos made with lime juice and pure cane rum.