Baracoa is a place with strange foods whose names evoke its Indian past.
The banana, the coconut palm and cacao, its most extensively cultivated crops, are usually present on the table in one form or other, whether in delicious sauces, delicacies wrapped in leaves, in endless sweetmeats or in hot cups of chorrote, the addictive thick local chocolate.
These are sweets made of bananas. They are left to dry and afterwards are ground, sugar is added, and they are formed into small pressed squares wrapped in banana leaves.
Raw green banana is grated. This is mixed with sauce and sometimes stuffed with crab, wrapped in blanched banana leaves. This is boiled until ready to eat. If it is not stuffed it is called Guanimo.
This is one of the most popular sweetmeats in this area and the best known outside Baracoa.
Dry coconut is grated, it is set to cook with sugar until it is thick, then it is put in a cone made of palm leaves to whose geometric form it owes its name. It can be mixed with papaya, guayaba or orange.
This is a little fish, almost transparent, 2cm long by about 4mm wide. It is only found at the mouths of rivers when the moon is on the wane, from July to January, in the area of Baracoa. It is prepared in various ways: with tomatoes, fried, in omelettes, dry with rice and in coconut milk. The fishermen, from time immemorial, selling it in the streets, announce it with the following street cry:
Get your Tetí
When there are few delicacies available, this special dish is made by picking tender leaves of cabbage which are boiled and mixed with coconut milk and spices. This was one of the dishes our Mambises ate in the countryside.
This is a sauce which is made by grating coconut, extracting its milk with warm water and seasoning it, after which it can be used to cook various foods, especially fish, Tetí and crab meat.
Chocolate made at home from cacao made into a ball, which is grated and set to boil with milk; it is delicious for breakfast.