Good Food, Great Cuban Cigars and the Grandest Company: Part II
Our first full day in Corteno Golgi began with an early start, as we all helped ourselves to the breakfast buffet at Albergo Miramonti. We sat in the welcoming dining area and discussed last night’s antics and spoke about the Cohiba and Romeo y Julieta cigars we all enjoyed smoking. Our breakfast consisted of soft buckwheat breads topped with meats and mild cheeses, pastries filled with apricot jam and dark chocolate and naturally a double espresso or two. Ready to start the day, we all took a brisk walk up to the viewing point in Corteno Golgi.
If you are yet to visit Corteno Golgi, a small village in the Italian Alps, we’d like you to imagine a brisk walk with a substantial amount of incline and double it. It’s safe to say that the fittest of us hardly broke a sweat and the rest, well we were definitely catching our breath when we got to the top. Nevertheless, upon reaching it, the views made it all worth while. The small and quaint church, San Mortino stood there, with spectacular views of the mountains around it, truly picturesque, our friends and us stood for a while and took it all in. We spent some time talking to the locals about the Church, the village’s history and soaked up some sun before heading back to the hotel for lunch.
After freshening up, we all reconvened in the Cigar Lounge and we carried out our interviews, which we will be publishing in a later post on our Cuban cigar blog. But first up, we had an exclusive tutorial by legendary torcedor herself, Juanna (Juanita) Ramos Guerra. While we watched the expert at work, Juanita showed true craftsmanship as she told and showed us every move and trick, whilst keeping it light-hearted and fun with jokes and anecdotes. Honestly we think she could roll cigars with her eyes closed.
Juanita was such a showman when she showed us the technique behind rolling Cuban cigars.
Ramon Iglesias Centeno took his seat in the cigar lounge and made himself comfortable in the red leather sofa with a cigar in one hand and a rum in the other. A man very well accustomed to working behind a camera, he quite evidently knows how to work in front of one too. Our conversation with Ramon saw us discuss his photography, his passions and much more.
Our next guest, Zoe Nocedo Primo, is the Director of the Tobacco Museum in Havana and one who has possibly the most comprehensive understanding of Cuban cigars. Zoe gave us some very interesting answers to our questions such as what the Habanos means to Cuba and to herself personally and gave us an insight into the the people who have visited the Museum. Her knowledge of Cuban cigars, Cuba in general and tobacco is far-reaching and we feel we only scratched the surface.
Zoe Nocedo Primo spoke to us with fervour and passion about her role at the Museo del Tabaco in Havana.
Finally, we interviewed Angel Miranda, the creator of craft humidors and director of French company Sikerei. From the off start you could tell just how much passion Angel has for his creations and he spoke animatedly about the humidors he’s made and the ones he hopes to make. As well as this, he commented on the cigar industry and what he enjoys most about it.
Truly inspiring and an interesting few hours we felt we really got an insight into the cigar world and the parts these people play in it, which we will be sharing with you later.
Post interviews we all enjoyed some Cuban cigars outside with a glass of grappa and relaxed a little before heading to the Valley of S. Antonio Natural Reserve, known as Camnovecchio. The drive up here was beautiful but bouncy, thank the lord for suspension or that could have been pretty painful. With powerful waterfalls cascading down the mountain and panoramic views of Corteno Golgi, we were all left speechless from it. That or fearing for our lives as we climbed the rocky road to the valley. Upon reaching the meadow, with what breath we had left, this was quickly taken away from us as we took in the open space of Camnovecchio. Wild and wonderful, flowers filled the meadow, huge rocks strewn across the open field and a river clear as day passing through the middle, we felt we were in the true spirit of the mountains here.
We all took our sandals off and crossed the river, which was as cold as ice, refreshing in the Italian summer heat. Post dip, we sat down, took a refreshing cold beer and smoked the Partagas Series No.1 Edicion Limitada 2017 cigar which we received as a gift at the Encuentro Amigos de Partagas Festival at the weekend.
Our day ended with another delicious dinner served at the hotel, where we enjoyed shrimps cooked in garlic, chilli and olive oil and freshly caught trout. Followed by the fluffiest and most refreshing torta alla menta (mint cake).
Dishes and stories were shared during our beautiful stay at Albergo Miarmonti.
Post dinner we all enjoyed sharing stories over a glass or two of Santiago de Cuba rum which is not on sale yet as well as cigars gifted to us by our Cuban friends which included the exquisite Montecristo Edmundo.
A memorable time spent with some of the most interesting people, it’s a time we will look back upon fondly for many years and it is one that has only immortalised our passion for Cuban cigars.
If you want to read our interviews with these talented and fascinating individuals, be sure to keep updated with our Cuban cigar blog and keep checking back here!