La Greca Blog
Column published in magazine:
For me, cigar tastings had always been hosted in castles and awe-inspiring venues of a journey back in time, yet only before the launch of the series of events “Encuentro de Aroma de Cuba”. Whether under the mystical candlelight of a medieval castle in Bruges, or at a chic star restaurant in historical Champs-Élysées, the atmosphere had always been enjoyable, the dishes not less than superb, but admittedly it was all as classic as it got. As a woman who is intrigued by elegant eccentricity like the marriage of femininity and edginess in Hervé Léger’s bandage dress conception of design and in all aspects of life, you can sense my wish for something rather more innovative and inspiring.
This year, the Bruges-based cigar club Aroma de Cuba took it a step further and made a choice that defied the past, like a slap on conventionalism and a proof that not only Romeo and Jullietas, but cigar lovers themselves can evolve, adapt and surprise. The venue: Knokke Out in Zoute, a vibrantly lit, contemporary interior where wood enhances the prevailing minimal coziness. The guests: Over 100 sharply-dressed cigar experts, magazine editors, club members from Benelux and beyond, friends and family who grasp the meaning of pleasure in sharing good moments, great food, honest smiles and - sometimes – cigars. Kind gestures like the exchange of gifts, the lazy blue notes from the live sax that accompanied our aperitif, the lavish buffet, the warm, inviting welcome by president Jorg Schelfhout, the informative and interactively entertaining presentation on the 6 offered longfillers made by past president and cigar master Koen Van Zandweghe, the chillout DJ compilation which gradually transformed into party beats, and the cutting-edge robotic light effects in Knokke Out, all composed the perfect beach-bar-feel farewell to the summer of 2015.
As was revealed to me, just like excited teenagers discovering how perpetually surprising the world can be, the restless younger spirits of the club are already dreaming of a totally new concept for next year’s event, while the older ones make sure that traditions are kept intact. Irrespective of the doses of old and new, I have faith in a well-balanced team. The blend will be… smoky.
Marianna Lagakou - Van Zandweghe