I have to say I have been excited to be seeing our calendars filling up with tours this winter (for us here in Oz and those in the Southern hemisphere)… And I tell you what, I am certainly ready for a tropical getaway myself. It is on the backburner for us at the moment waiting on various permits coming through. Nevertheless, getting those trips planned to our beloved Cuba certainly makes me feel warm, and sometimes even fuzzy – especially when our feedback comes back from clients – in case you haven’t seen the latest, read it here ???? Always makes us proud!

Meanwhile, I have been creative in the kitchen – trying to bring the Cuban bread and the tortica’s into the household. So far I definitely wouldn’t make it on master chef! But what can I say, I am trying to make it happen for hubby. After all, Cubans have a well-documented love for all things sweet.

La Chocolateria

Known for their rich history as a major sugar grower, it’s no surprise that the Cuban palate is finely tuned to sugary delights. From dark chocolate to cakes, and flans to churros, Cuban sweets are as diverse as they are delicious. Organic and locally-sourced ingredients add a unique flavor to these treats, making them even more irresistible. Whether it’s baking a cake with innovative baking methods – like in a pressure cooker, as my mother-in-law does to showcase her ingenuity, or indulging in a perfectly made cookie, the Cuban sweet tooth is a testament to their deep-rooted love for confectionery. And in our household, whenever something turns out particularly sweet, my husband quips, “Are you Cuban?”

But why am I telling you all this?

Well because trying to re-create some of the sweets, I was remembering some of the amazing and must try bakeries of Havana! Cuban bakeries are a treasure trove of delectable treats, but you must remember the rule: The EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM! or in this case, the delicious pastry ????

Whether you’re seeking traditional pastries, crispy breads or innovative desserts, Cuban bakeries offer something for everyone. The best part is, you also get to see how love creates amazing things, as once again, some of these places have an amazing love story behind them… ????

Ps. I did joke on our recent trip that Cuba may need to come with a warning – Be careful! You may fall in LOVE ????

So where should your discovery of sweet delight begin? Given it is the hot and humid season, I’d say El Gelato. You guessed it from the name, this place isn’t just for cakes ???? Whilst they have amazing macarons, donuts and other delicious morsels, they also carry on the footpath of the nation’s most famous Ice-cream lover, Fidel, and have combined the best of Cuban and Italian traditions to create mouth-watering gelato flavors. Each scoop is a symphony of taste, crafted with love and the finest ingredients. From classic vanilla to exotic tropical fruits, El Gelato has something to satisfy every palate.

And what about those who, like me, aren’t a sweet tooth?

I still remember the first time I visited La Vicentina, a Swiss-owned bakery in Vedado. Stepping through the door, I was immediately greeted by the comforting aroma of freshly baked bread that transported me straight back to my childhood in Europe. The bakery’s cozy atmosphere, felt like a little corner of Switzerland tucked away in the heart of Havana. As I savored a slice of their baguette, I was astonished by the crisp crust and soft, airy crumb – a perfect match to the bread I had grown up with. The baker, takes a genuine pride in crafting each loaf with love. The unique sweets, offer a refreshing contrast to the traditional Cuban pastries. Every visit to this charming bakery definitely satisfies my craving for authentic European bread.

OK, there’s one sweet I can be impartial to.. Chocolate, especially the dark kind, which lucky form me is the norm in Cuba. And there is just a place to indulge in a chocolate – a paradise for chocolate lover’s – La Chocoletera! This renowned bakery in Cuba specializes in artisanal chocolates and decadent pastries, especially the rich and velvety dark chocolate. It’s no wonder why my step-daughter adores this place – the expertly crafted sweets are a treat for both the eyes and the taste buds.

From the moment we arrive, her excitement is palpable as she gazes at the array of beautifully displayed chocolates behind the glass counter. Each piece, meticulously hand-crafted, has its own unique design, making the selection process almost as enjoyable as the tasting. The attentive staff, always eager to share their passion for chocolate, often offer us samples, ensuring we find the perfect match for our personal preferences.

There are many more little hidden gems around Havana, and outside of it too! Most, you wouldn’t know existed without a local by your side who know where to find these. So if you are ready to find hidden gems on your Cuban holiday whether it’s a bakery, a delightful restaurant, amazing street food, a true farm house experience, feel free to reach out. We are always happy to assist in creating memorable Cuban experiences.