During the 4th International Habano Festival from February 25 – March 1st in Havana, the first Habanosommelier International Contest was held, in which there were participating sommeliers (wine and cigar servers) from many countries including Spain, France, England, Hong Kong and Cuba.
The event was held at the International Conference Center and the elimination round was the second day of the Festival.
Orlando Blanco, Emilio Blanes and Deny Frucot, representing Cuba, Spain and England, passed the jury’s evaluation of their general cigar knowledge, style, elegance and security during the serving of cigars. They were also assessed on their ability to correctly match fine wine and liquor with its corresponding cigar.
Friday, March 1st, the last day of the Festival, the grand finale was held and all of the 500 delegates and accredited press present in auditorium were able to actively participate in the theoretical exam. The finalists at that time showed their mastery of the art of serving tobacco in restaurants.
After an extended deliberation after the hard-fought finale, the jury, made of Simon Chase, President of Hunters & Frankau, England, José Ilario, Editor Epicur magazine, Spain, Patrick Tesseron, Alianza Cognac Habano, France) Cesar Adames (Editor Charuto y cia, Brasil),and Juan José Lopez Freyre, Instituto del Tabaco, Cuba and more decided:
the winner of the first Habanosommelier International Contest was:
Orlando Blanco of Cuba, Sommelier of the world famous Floridita restaurant in Havana.
This was the first edition, but it was consolidated as one of the International Habano Festival’s mainstay events with the utmost prestige and interes