conch ceviche bahamian style

Culinary Culture of Key West

Join Chef Bove for a fun and informative tour of Cuban Cuisine

You will learn the history, the preparation and taste 5 cuisines of Key West that you can't experience anywhere else.

Guanábana Mimosa’s

Guanábana Nectar served with  Jaume Serra Cristalino, Cava

19th century Café con Leche

with sweetened condensed milk

Cuban Mix

from the best bodega in town, it's a secret

Traditional Cuban bread

served alongside and dunked into a hot can of cafe con leche

Cuban Queen of all Pudding 

bread pudding best served warm from the oven with Cuban coffee


The History of Cuban Coffee

Jose Antonio Gelabert opened the first coffee plant in Cuba in 1748 and production methods were later improved by French colonists at the turn of the century. Coffee production in the 19th and early 20th centuries became a major economic force in

Cuba and a defining aspect of the culture.

That is, until the Cuban Revolution and Castro’s regime beginning in 1959, at which time coffee production was nationalized. The island produces both Arabica and Robusta beans. While Cuba’s coffee production and exportation may not be what it once was, the cultural heritage of 

Cuban coffee lives on in Florida cities like Miami, Tampa and Key West.

For example, café con leche is a local breakfast staple in Key West and is famous for its close proximity to Cuba; the islands are only 90 miles apart. But the two island destinations share more than just geographic proximity. Cuban exiles have found a safe haven in Key West as far back as the late 1800s when they first fought for independence from Spain. Founded in 1871, the San Carlos Institute on Duval Street still stands today as a cultural center and reminder of Key West’s relationship with the Cuban diaspora. One of the best ways to get to the connected heart of the Cuban and Key West cultures is through cuisine, and this is especially easy to do when it comes to Cuban coffee.


History of the Cuban Mix

The Cuban Mix (also known as the Cubano or Mixto) is a hot, pressed pork, ham and cheese sandwich traditionally eaten by the Cuban working class. The sandwich dates to the 1500s, when the Spaniards brought ham and cheese with them to the New World. The sandwich served as a lunchtime meal for workers at Cuba’s cigar factories and sugar mills.

During the late nineteenth century, the Cubano made the 90-mile journey across the Straits of Florida to Key West with Cubans who came to work in the Key West cigar factories. By the 1870s, there were 29 factories in Key West employing 2,100 workers producing more than 170,000 cigars a day. In 1886, one of the largest factories, El Principe de Gales, burned to the ground. The owner, Vincente Martinez Ybor, decided not to rebuild in Key West but to relocate his operation to Tampa, to what is now the historic Ybor City neighborhood. Although Ybor’s move essentially brought an end to the Key West cigar industry, the Cuban influence had a lasting impact on Key West’s culture and cuisine.



Cocina Cubana de Key West

"Presented by Chef Joey Bove" 

11:00am - 1:00pm

Oldest House Museum and Garden

$55.00 per person