The Duchess of Cornwall has promised to send her food writer son Tom Parker Bowles to Cuba after initially expressing doubts about the country’s cuisine.
Camilla and the Prince of Wales were left impressed with produce they tried in Havana at an event showcasing some of the best dishes from the Communist country.
Before the couple’s historic visit to Cuba, the duchess suggested, during a visit to the Supreme Court in London, that the country’s cooking was not one of the aspects of the tour she was most looking forward to.
The food showcase was staged at Habanera, a paladar, or private restaurant, in Havana, after the duchess’ comments.
When Camilla stopped at a display of artisan breads and cheeses she said “Can I taste a bit of this?” picking up a piece of cheese made with ginger. “I’ve never had cheese with ginger in it,” she said. “Very good.”
After trying another cheese, she said: “They are very very good, the best. I might send Tom here to write about the food.”
The Prince and The Duchess arrive at a paladar, part of the increasingly popular selection of private restaurants in Cuba. #RoyalVisitCuba
TRH try some Cuban dishes, including moro y cristianos, rice made with black beans, and local cheeses. pic.twitter.com/PRUL3fghTu
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) March 27, 2019
Lis Cuesta Peraza, the wife of the country’s president Miguel Diaz-Canel, told her that the country organised an international festival of its top chefs.
“We want Cuban cuisine to be recognised as our cultural heritage,” she added.
Ariel Causa, a director of Alamesa – a company which promotes the Cuban restaurant industry, said the country’s cuisine had a poor reputation overseas until recently.
Mr Causa, who showed Charles around the food displays, added: “They thought it was bland, that it was lacking imagination,” he said. “Just pork, rice and beans, salad.”
He said the event was set up after the duchess made her remarks: “The embassy contacted us to help organise this. They promised that we could help bring a whole different perception about it.
“This is not about Cuban cuisine. It is about the impression the Duchess of Cornwall will have about our country. And we are very proud of our country.
“I take it as a challenge. We love challenges.”
He added: “Somebody called us. They said, ‘We need people to help us create an event in order to show how beautiful Cuban cuisine can be’.”