We’re setting the scene for a night in Havana!
By incorporating natural resources that Cuba is known for (cigars, coffee, rice, tropical flowers) you can bring the ‘feeling’ of being in Havana to your guests. Use palms and mosquito netting to bring in a tropical ambiance.
Set your dining table with a rustic burlap topper for a neutral base. Brightly colored napkins in a variety of colors, along with tropical flowers add pops of color to your party. For themed props pick up empty cigar boxes from your local cigar shop for just a dollar or two each, and use them in interesting ways.
The centerpiece is simple but eye-catching. A wooden “shipping crate” filled with excelsior holds a wooden cigar box which becomes the “vase” for flowers. The flowers are actually inserted into a smaller vase sitting inside the cigar box. A few cigars are added to the crate for a bit of whimsy.
Each place setting begins with a rattan charger and simple white plate. Add some color and interest with a tropical leaf laid across the top.
Napkins are embellished with vintage post cards that “feel” like they may have come from Cuba. Simply clip them to the napkin using a tiny cloths pin.
Light appetizers are presented on top of, and inside of cigar boxes filled with dry rice. A black bean and mango salsa served with rice chips, and Cuban Toasties are traditional Cuban fare.
Another classic dish to serve is empanadas. These hearty appetizers are a meal in themselves.
The most well known dessert is flan. This custard-like treat with caramel topping is easy to make and the single-serving size makes a lovely presentation placed on a bed of coffee beans.
Send your guests home with a cigar box that you’ve filled with these chocolate cigars. Print a simple ’thank you’ tag to add to the box and fill in with excelsior. Your guests will have a sweet reminder of their evening in Havana.