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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.

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Thank you so so much for sharing. I'm sure the health department would have a field day with the butcher...LOL....but who doesnt want to reach into the monitor for a piece of that meat?

thanks again

This was such a delight to read - so deliciously descriptive! The photos are wonderful as well. I LOVED the butcher - wish that was possible here!

Suddenly I am craving and black beans and rice! And fried plantains! I enjoyed your description of this market!

No apologies for this market -- it takes me to a place I can't go, and thanks for the journey! (What I like about the butcher's stall is the scale)

What wonderful post- I agree with SusieR above - "deliciously descriptive!"
You have put me in the mood for shopping - I am going to hit some of my small local fruit and meat markets today and see what Cuban delights I might find! Here in the Boston area we have many. Thanks!

I love seeing markets from around the world, thanks for posting this one.

Thank you for your lovely comments! It was a grand adventure and I am grateful to have the opportunity to share. Happy cooking and dreaming everyone!


Cuba is so interesting right now. I love the book "Habana Libre". I'm so happy it came out.

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