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My favorite way to explore a culture is through the cuisine. It is one of the most interesting, and filling, ways to understand a culture's history as well as its role today. Cuba is no exception. A country that seemed blocked off from the world, at least the US, for decades, Cuba has a fascinating culinary history. And, despite the new restrictions on traveling to Cuba, a culinary tour with Access Culinary Trips is still permitted! Here is a a recap of my culinary trip to Cuba, which I originally wrote about in the Napa Valley Register. Despite new restrictions for Americans traveling to Cuba, it is still a top destination for tourists. And rightfully so. The largest country in the Caribbean, Cuba is a semitropical island with a coastline marked by bays, reefs, keys and islets as well as long stretches of lowlands and swamp. Half of the island is mountainous with the Sierra Masetra mountains to the east, the Trinidad mountains in the center and the Sierra de los Organos in the west.
When I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, Cuba was always off limits to me, somewhere I never thought I would be able to visit. But when restrictions were lifted in 2016, Cuba moved to the top of my list. I did not act on booking a trip right away, but as new restrictions came into place, I decided I could wait no longer. The good news is that is Cuba is still open to Americans and is a place worth visiting.
What started as planning a trip to the Red Sea to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of a good friend’s daughter has turned into a 2 week vacation to explore Israel and Turkey. While the trip is not for another few months, we are beginning to plan what we want to do and where we want to go. While some people may start by planning where they are staying, I am starting with where I want to eat. After all, I don’t want to waste any time on a meal that isn’t delicious.