Market to Pantry #22: Havana, Cuba
From Diana (MaudeRubyPearl), in Riverside, California:
Okay, so this one is cheating a little bit because it isn't a market we're able to frequent; however, it is a market my husband and I visited and loved this year. This past November we traveled to Cuba with some friends. This little open-air market is nestled in the city of Havana, between tall apartment buildings. It is shaped like an old Chianti bottle, with a long alley for an entrance, and then a round, wide bottom.
As you walk through the neck of the bottle, the first stand is the butcher's, with meat splayed out and hogs' heads tied above.
One of my most favorite things about Cuba is all of the COLOR! Everything is so incredibly vibrant. You can see that even this simple little market is no different: plantains, coconuts, papayas, carrots, greens--everything heaped high and vibrating with sun-soaked sweetness. For all the oppression Cubans have endured, the country pulses with spirit -- music is always playing; people are smiling and laughing; children are playing games... in many ways, it is magical.
At the market, little chickens roam the stalls, hunting for bits of dropped food. Vendors call out to the customers as they shop.
On the other side of one of the apartment buildings hugging the market, a game of soccer rallies on.
When I play the Cuban music we purchased while there, I am instantly transported back. The music, the sounds of the people, the smells of the fresh produce in the little market, the colors -- they all serve as inspiration as I cook in my own little kitchen, thousands of miles away.