What's a tour of Little Havana if you don't include a cigar factory and store? We stopped by Cuba Tobacco Cigar Factory, where the founder, and reputedly most photographed man in Little Havana, Don Pedro Bello sat outside smoking a cigar. Inside the delicious smelling store, Cuban seed cigars were being rolled.
Next it was time for Dessert - Part 1 at Ysell Bakery where we enjoyed "Pastelitos de Guayaba" or guava pastries and some elixir of the gods - "Cafecito" or Cuban coffee - one of the true pleasures of life.
Above is a "guarapera" or guarapo machine. The sugar cane is inserted at the top and the juice comes out the little spigot on the side. It's then poured over ice, and yum! While at the "fruteria" Steven told us about several traditional Cuban fruits and vegetables that were for sale. Some in the group bought some to take home.
Behind the fruteria, we saw some chickens and roosters, adding to the "local color"...
Across the street from the fruteria stands the Bay of Pigs Memorial. We took a moment for Steven to give us a brief overview of that historical misadventure.
From there we walked to Azucar Ice Cream Company, for Dessert Part 2 and the end of the tour.
As part of the tour we were given one scoop of whatever flavor we wanted, I went with Avocado, which was creamy and refreshing, with a subtle avocado aftertaste - really delicious.
The Little Havana Food Tour is a great way to taste the tastes and learn a bit about this uniquely Miami neighborhood. It runs every Saturday at 12:30, but you have to make reservations as the tours fill up quickly. Grace likes to keep the groups small so that it's a fun and friendly experience. As I mentioned, they happily accommodate vegetarian diets. I also liked that it wasn't only a food tour, participants learned about Cuban culture and the neighborhood's history.
We had lots of fun, ate and drank all kinds of Cuban treats, met some very nice tour-mates and learned stuff! What better way to spend an afternoon?
Check out the Miami Culinary Tours web site for details on the Little Havana Food Tour, as well as other culinary tours in the Miami area.