Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trip to Piedracuesta for cigars

Ok, I know I have not written in a while. Sorry I have been busy, as I am try to catch up and get ahead of the curve in getting material ready for my classes.
So, last week we got out early on Wednesday. So,my friend Robbie and I went down to Piedacuesta. It is a small town about a half hour taxi drive out of Floridablanca. We went there to find cigars. Something you probably don't know is that Santander(the state in Colombia I live in), was one of the first places in the new world to grow tobacco. In fact, this was before Cuba and the Central American area started to grow it. The story goes that the seeds that helped start Cuban tobacco plantations were shipped from here. Also, you should know, that they call cigars tobacco. They do not use the word cigar.
So, we hop in a cab and head for Piedacuesta. Little more that a half hour later and a 180,000 peso cab ride(yes a little less than $8.00). We pull up up this nondescript doorway in the middle of a roll of connected buildings. In fact, the block was one long front wall. It has an emblem that says it it the Brevas tobacco company. we go in and meet the daughter and son in law of the of the Brevas owner. They have a little display case, and you can look in the back and see the small factory. We both ordered a box of Robustos and a 4-pack of Churchills. They had Robby's order, but had to make up mine. So, as the girl was getting my order ready we walked through the small factory. There were about 8 people working in the factory. 3 women rolling cigars by hand, 2 men butting the bands on the c1gars, 1 woman tying the cigars into bundles, and a guy in the back grinding up the excess leaf into pipe tobacco. It was cool to watch them at work. The women rolling the cigars would be sitting an chatting to each other while rolling the cigars and cutting the excess with these big blades. And the guys putting on the bands gave us a show, by putting the bands on standing, sitting down, through their legs, and behind their back. SOOOOOOO COOOOOOOL!!.
After our self guided tour, we watched as the daughter rolled each of my cigars with a plastic wrapper to keep it fresher. Then she hand built the boxes for the cigars, packed them and cellophane wrapped them. Talk about fresh from the factory. While she was finishing up, the son in law gave us a Robusto to smoke. Tasty, packed just right with a smooth draw. We finally got our cigars,paid for them and headed back to town. When we got outside, we found our taxi driver. He had waited outside for us, so we did not have to call a taxi to get back home.
Later we found out that there are at least 4 other cigar factories in Piedracuesta, and we intend to visit all of them.
Finally, if you want to see all the pictures go to my picasa page and look for the Piedrcuesta - Brevas pictures.
Paste this to get there:
Chow, John

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