Croatian chefs have taken a new approach on enjoying the unique flavor of cigars. A team of chefs from Croatia created a clever meal this week by infusing the flavor of tobacco leafs with a Cuban dish. The meal was made up of baked stone bass filets, bread and butter, a flavorful demi-glace sauce and ice cream.
Writer from Smoke Magazine, Gary Heathcott, said the tobacco infused meal gave him a buzz. “The first buzz I ever received from biting into fish,” Heathcott stated.
The meal was created for a group of cigar aficionados at the Havana Convention Center as part of Cuba’s 15th annual Cigar Festival. The festival is a six day-long event that gathers hundreds of cigar enthusiasts from around the world. Executive Chef and owner of the Gastronomadi dinner club in Zagreb, Cuba, Grgur Baksic, led the dinner.
Baksic along with two other chefs precisely wrapped the bass filets in tobacco and banana leaves and sprinkled it with garlic and honey to draw out the smoky flavor. The chefs went on to demonstrate how stirring tobacco sauce into butter can create a sharp and flavorful spread. Baksic also used a torch to dry out liquid-infused tobacco salt that can be used in a variety of dishes.
“It’s like how you can put chili on a sweet or a sour, you can put honey on a fish and on a fruit and on a meat,” Baksic said. “Something that is good is always good, you cannot make a mistake.”
Baksic said that the use of tobacco flavors in food was a result of years of trial and error. “We are a little bit crazy; our company are gastro-explorers, so we are always looking for what is not normal for other people.” While the meal proved to be a hit, chefs warned the tasters not to actually eat the tobacco leaves, as they would be hard on the stomach.
One taster said the fish was very spicy and the tobacco provided an intense black pepper flavor. We think Chef Baksic and his crew created quite a meal and would love to try it! What do you think?