Robaina's plantation

Saturday 20 June 2020

El Corojo (Pinar del Rio) another important tobacco growing area

                  The area of El Corojo belongs to the municipality of San Luís, it's located approximately 3 kilometers from the "las Cuchillas de Barbacoa" farm (where the late Alejandro Robaina Family Estate is located), 2-3 kilometers south of the town of San Luis. There has been very little written about this area that's known for it's wrapper leaf. However, much has been written about the 'Corojo' strain of tobacco leaf that's widely used in the area of San Luis & San Juan y Martinez. The Corojo strain was created at the famous El Corojo plantation owned by the Rodriguez family back in the early part of the last century. I'm not sure if the farm was actually located within the El Corojo area, what I have read was that it was located within the municipality of San Luis. The farm got its name from a palm tree that Rodriguez found growing on the plantation and all over the area. This part of the country was developed for tobacco growing back in the middle of the 19th century when the industry expanded.
                   There isn't much written about this part of Pinar del Rio except for geography. I wish I could tell you something about cigars produced from farms in this area but I can't. It isn't visited frequently and the tobacco growers I've encountered simply don't care to. But times are changing....El Corojo can now boast about having 2 'Hombre Habanos' within it's small confines. This year's winner for the award was Servilio Jesús Córdova (for Producción) and Armando Miguel Padrón won in 2008 (also for Producción), both their farms are located in the El Corojo area. I believe that someone will be producing some cigars soon....just to pass around to visitors. I Hope So.
                   It's not easy getting around El Corojo, most of the roads are not paved and could be quite hazardous during or just after a heavy rainfall. I've only been here several times but intend to visit more often in the future. The pictures I've posted were taken at different times and different seasons.

Many of the growers in the 'El Corojo' area come to get their tobacco plants here after they grow to a few inches

Alexis Benítez Toledo, nominated for Hombre Habano in 2012

Armando Miguel Padrón won Hombre Habano in 2008

Servilio Jesús Córdova won the current Hombre Habano for 2020


Monday 15 June 2020

La Reunion (Pharmacy) Havana

                On May 20, 1853, La Reunion opened for business for the first time on Calle Teniente Rey no. 41. There was a time during the twentieth century when this pharmacy was considered the largest in Cuba and the second largest in the world. It expanded in size between 1882 and 1886, adding warehouse space, office areas & a place for the production of medicines (something they were proficient at). It had become one of the most elegant and prestigious pharmacies in Havana.
                After the Revolution of 1959, this pharmacy (as with all the others) was nationalized and continued to function until 1999. At this time the Office of the City Historian undertook the major task of restoring La Reunion to it's former glory and to turn it into the Museum of the Habanera Pharmacy (Museo de la Farmacia Habanera La Reunión). Besides acting as a museum, it's open for business as usual.
                You will find showcases all around the pharmacy containing historical objects, many of which were found during archaeological excavations in the area. The restored shelves in the main room display imitations of jars that were once used to store pharmaceutical products. Spaces have been assigned for the dispensary functions, offices, warehouses and multiple service areas.
                Although an amazing job has been done in the restoration of  the La Reunion pharmacy, it must be known that it's not an exact replica. The layout may be the same, many of the furnishing as well, but many pieces have been added to reflect an entire history of Havana pharmacies.
                I must have walked by this place many times before finally walking in this past trip. It's worth the visit if you're wandering around Old Havana, it's close to wherever you are.

La Reunión
Museo de la Farmacia Habanera
Calle Teniente Rey esq. Compostela, 
Habana Vieja
Open: 9am-7pm daily
Admission: Free