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Posted by portugalpress on December 14, 2017

BBQ puritans rejoice! I am referring to those of us who shun the gas and insist on using real charcoal. It can be a hit-and-miss game especially when buying our coals from the supermarket.

For some time now, I have been buying the best quality lump charcoal I could find in my area from Importeco in Lagoa. But when I visited last weekend to stock up for Christmas, I was offered an alternative to the good quality local brand they stock, and it comes all the way from Cuba. The price per kilo is the same as the local brand (€15 for a large 15 kilo bag). I had never heard of Marabú charcoal until now and decided to give it a try.

Upon opening the bag, I found the chunks to be smaller than expected but of a surprisingly uniform size. They are also more dense and less dusty; this was encouraging and I was also very impressed with how easily they lit.

And it gets better! This is the cleanest burning charcoal I have ever used. There was hardly any smoke and they continued to burn hot and clean for a very long time.

Extremely happy with the results, I decided to give Cuban Marabú charcoal a quick Google. It is made from the branches and small trunk of the Marabú bush, an invasive plant that has taken over huge tracts of land in Cuba and is now being used to make charcoal by hundreds of local producers to be exported around the world.

Last year in fact, it became the first Cuban product to be exported to the USA in over 50 years, after President Obama relaxed trading laws.

So, if like me you plan to be doing lots of barbecuing over the Christmas holidays, head for Importeco in Lagoa (282 343 645) and grab a bag before it sells out!

By PATRICK STUART
patrick.stuart@open-media.net

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