Preparing for Noche Buena

As many of you know, my wife and her family came to the United States from Havana, Cuba. As we combined our families, one of the traditions she introduced Ryan and I to is Noche Buena. This Christmas Eve celebration features “pork” and is the highpoint of the Christmas season in Cuba.

I have always been a Christmas morning guy. As a child, I was always up first and sat at the top of the stairs waiting for my parents to get up and say it was ok to go downstairs to where Santa had left all the presents under the tree. I have lots of great memories and especially remember one Christmas where my father got me back for getting them up at the crack of dawn.

That year the thing I really wanted was a toy garage set. It was a very specific one I had seen in a store or on TV. I don’t remember what it was called now, but I can still picture it. It was usually obvious what the “big” presents were for my brother Donald and I and we got to open them first. That year, we opened everything, but there was no garage. From stories from relatives later, I guess I kept up a brave face despite the disappointment. After about thirty minutes, even my usually stoic father couldn’t keep a straight face and encouraged me to search around. I found my garage hidden behind his chair!

As much as I like Christmas mornings, Noche Buena has become Christmas for me. As I write this, my wife Teresa is hard at work preparing for Noche Buena 2020 at the Flemings.

For those of you who have never experienced Noche Buena, here is a nice overview from Chowhound.

Noche Buena Dinner

Of all the global Christmas food traditions, Cuba’s Christmas Eve roast pig might just be the best yet. The centerpiece of a Cuban Nochebuena is a lusciously tender, juicy, crisp-skinned roasted pig that’s been marinated in the classic sour orange, garlic, cumin, and oregano marinade called mojo. Known as lechón asado, this glorious pig is not only packed with flavor from the marinade, but imbued with smoke from the barbecue, and the puffy, crackly, savory pig skin basically becomes chicharrones.


Will do a post to share as Teresa’s creations as they come to life later today.
Merry Christmas everyone!

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