With what started as a way of building and maintaining Cuban culture in Ghana and the rest of West Africa four months ago, the ‘Cigar Pairing Night’ was birthed.
Held at the end of every month at Little Havana in Osu, the event brings together people from all walks of life, especially Cubans and Afro-Latinas living in Ghana.
The Cigar Pairing Night promotes and creates the ambience of the Cuban cigar culture that leaves a lasting memory for both patrons and first timers.
Different activities ranging from the food they serve to drinks then to the main purpose of gathering, Cigar, took place. According to the CEO of Little Havana, Marcus Etty, Cigars is an acquired taste and therefore the night is for those who love cigars and want to enjoy it.
He noted that Little Havana is a lifestyle venue and “we are building a relationship with our customers to enjoy the Latino and South-American vibe and it might be anything ranging from food to alcohols to cigars. We just make sure we connect to the cultural heritage.”
Speaking on what necessitated the event, he said: “We are a Cuban restaurant, so you have to do the things like salsa and we sell cigars and we do our cigar night. Our food is authentic which means every food we serve here is Cuban. You can’t have a Cuban restaurant without having cigars. It is part of our culture. So, this night is for cigar lovers”.
He added that Little Havana celebrates all things culturally connected between West Africa and Cuba because 60% of everyone who lives in Cuba is from West Africa. “The food that we eat most of them is originated from West Africa. West Africa brought their food, their culture and their dance during the slave-trade”, he said.
Mr. Etty again noted that majority of people like cigars for the status of it whereas others like it for the taste. “They want to smoke and be seen smoking. But not many people get into how cigars are made and what goes into making different cigars and different brands including the difference between Cuban Cigar and Nicaraguan Cigars.”
Speaking on the health implications that cigars pose, he said cigars, unlike cigarettes, are not inhaled which also implies that the tobacco is not inhaled. He said that cigars and cigarettes are two different things but however admitted that cigars have some negative connotations but are the very lowest of any smoking making a swift comparison to smoking shisha or vaping or cigarettes.
Together with the Ambassadors from Havana Rum in Africa, the cigars were paired with vintage Havana Rum and Martel Brandy. Anybody that smoked a cigar therefore was entitled to a complimentary shot of Martel brandy and Vintage Rum including education on pairing.
In an interview with Cigar specialist, Kevin from Norman’s Folly in Ada, he said Cigars are usually premium tobacco leaves that put together and flavored normally fermented and stored for a very long time in a bun.
“So basically, you are sampling different flavours and some of the flavours you find in cigars can be a bit of earthy because you taste a bit of earth and you can taste things like roasted wood, cedar wood, pepper and peppercorn. So, it’s basically savouring”, he said.
He added that: “When you pair with different things, it gives you different after tones and flavours. People think Ghana is not entirely a cigar smoking country but it’s actually a misconception because in the sixties and in the seventies, people smoked. They smoked pipes and cigars.”
Touching on pricing, Kevin noted that cigars could cost as low as GHC 15.00 and as high as USD$1.5 million dollars.