Just 100 miles off the Florida coast yet a world away, Cuba is a land of history and mystery, all of which is revealed in its incomparable cuisine.
More mild than wild, Cuban cuisine relies on somewhat muted spices and lengthy simmering to build flavor.
Spanish colonialism, the slave trade and Cuba's Caribbean neighbors influenced the development of Cuban cuisine. Here, hot chilies are eschewed in favor of milder spices like cumin, oregano and bay leaves. Meats (pork and beef) slow-simmer in Spanish sofrito sauces.
Moros y Cristianos
Black beans and rice is a Cuban staple. The dish is called moros y cristianos (Moors and Christians). This is most likely a cheeky reference to how Moors and Christians came to live together after the Moors conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century.
The popularity of pork in Cuban cuisine has long historical roots. Forward-thinking Spanish explorers purposefully let pigs loose upon islands of the Caribbean to ensure that a ready, plentiful food supply would greet future expeditions. The pig population quickly exploded.