Welcome to our Cuban cigar issue. Or Cuban tobacco issue, for there is no quick just in time manufacturing system when it comes to getting the best leaf from Vuelta Abajo. It may be an exaggeration to say that Cuban cigars are hand-rolled on a virgin’s thigh, but it is undeniable that much love and attention goes into every step of the process. The result is what brings thousands of cigar aficionados to the world’s most prestigious cigar festival in Havana. This year will be XVII Festival del Habano, to be held from Feb 23-27, 2015. If you get a chance to get a ticket for the gala dinner, don’t be put off by the formidable entry price—this is an event like no other in Cuba. Thanks to Amir Saarony for his cigar aficionado’s guide to Havana. If you get a chance do try and get a copy of his Partagás El Libro. This is the unparalleled look at the history of an icon.
The Havana World Music Festival features a superb line-up and is not to miss, Feb 6-7. Sticking with music, take the chance if you can to see Scott Zoid play at Cuba Libro on Feb 11, (5pm).
For fans of boxing, or simply the curious, check out the Cuban Domadores—they have taken their group by storm so far and will fight against the Chinese Dragons on Friday, February 6 and then the British Lionhearts on February 20. The atmosphere in Ciudad Deportiva is electric and this is your chance to see Cuba’s storied Olympic athletes at their prime. Pity anyone who has to go up against the incomparable Erislandy Savón Cotilla. His last Russian opponent barely lasted 30 seconds before being destroyed. Brits in Havana, your team needs your support. Bring a flag!
My favorite exhibition in years, the United Buddy Bears, are still around for the first couple of weeks in Plaza de San Francisco. If you haven’t seen them yet, make it your mission to do so. They are fabulous. And whatever you do, don’t forget Valentine’s Day on February 14. Nothing like a Cuban woman forgotten on the day of amor!
February 2015 Highlights (Havana, unless stated)
- Feb 6-7: Havana World Music Festival
- Feb 11: Scot Zoid at Cuba Libro (5pm)
- Feb 13 – Mar 9: International Book Fair
- Feb 14: Valentine’s Day
- Feb 20: Cuba Domadores va England Lionhearts World Series of Boxing
- Feb 23 – 27: XVII Festival del Habano.
Do check out our expanded Havana Guide, which is growing to accommodate the new bars, restaurants and casas particulares that continue to spring forth adding vitality and energy to Havana’s entertainment and hospitality scene.
Thanks to all of our contributors, sponsors, partners and readers. Do please keep providing us with your feedback, comments and suggestions. All enquiries should be directed to Sophia Beckman at CubaAbsolutely@gmail.com. All the best. Viva Cuba!