Monday, April 30, 2012

Guarapo de caña, as sweet as Cubans themselves

Perhaps because of their daily routine, some traditional drinks go unnoticed when speaking on Cuban cuisine. However, for their originality and roots in our culture, they occupy an important place in the history of food in Cuba. One of the main characteristics of Cuban drinks is their high sweet taste and that should be serve cold, with ice cubes. I would like to reffer to the well-known Cuban Guarapo de Caña (sugar cane juice), which is nothing more than the sugar cane strained juice. This ecological drink, besides having a pleasant taste and excellent nutritional characteristics to be rich in sugars, protein and calories, it is also one of the "traditional labels" of Cuban people during the summer months or dry season. Drinking a glass jar of chilled fresh sugar cane juice on hot days is a ruthless act of pleasure. The fascinating thing about the juice of sugar cane is, if not drunk just seconds after being obtained, it gets dark, and gloomy. So drinking this juice can not be a solo act, opening a sealed bottle, but the crowd of more than a traveler in search of the oasis.
It is common to see in the streets of Cuba the guaraperas (a mechanism to obtain cane sugar juice). It is a small electric press of fluted roller with a channel that collects the juice. It history dates back when black men were taken from Africa and forced to work as slaves (but this is another story). This juice, also known in Panama and Venezuela, is part of Cuban popular culture and due to its own characteristics, it has failed to be bottled so we should drink it very fresh, freshly squeezed.

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