At Cuba’s 15th Annual Cigar Festival, held earlier this year in Havana, a team of Croatian chefs, led by Grgur Baksic, provided a complete menu of meals, including appetizers and desserts, which included tobacco as a major ingredient.
The main course that attracted the most comment was baked stone bass fillets wrapped in banana and tobacco leaves. But bread and butter infused with tobacco sauces and a demi-glace sauce enriched with ground tobacco also drew a great deal of interest.
Nonetheless, the most unusual item may have been the tobacco-flavored ice-cream. (Have Ben and Jerry been dissuaded by political correctness from attempting to create this flavor?)
Those who tasted these culinary concoctions struggled to describe the taste—and the aftertaste. Most eventually agreed that the flavor was peppery (echoing the commonplace assertion that any unusual meat tastes like chicken), and almost everyone noted that eating more than a few mouthfuls of anything ultimately produced a fiery sensation in their throats.
Since everyone attending this festival was already conditioned to the taste of tobacco, these culinary concoctions are probably in the early stages of development.
But expect Big Tobacco to be providing munificent grants to scientists to develop a whole host of more widely palatable food items that provide a mild tobacco-enhanced flavor—along with a mild nicotine buzz.
If this seems far-fetched, consider the very crowded “energy drink” sector, which is basically marketing concentrated caffeine as a “healthy option” because the drinks contain vitamins and no sugar or carbohydrates.
So don’t be surprised if a restaurant chain offering tobacco-flavored cuisine becomes the next big thing across America. I’ll even suggest a name for the chain–PM Restaurants–which suggests a nice night out and perhaps a previous era in which sophistication meant smoking not just after a meal but during a meal.