The annual UK HabanoSommelier final was held at Hunters & Frankau’s London head offices on Thursday 30th October. Six finalists from some of the leading cigar friendly restaurants, hotels and clubs, with outdoor cigar areas, arrived to face a tough day of competition.
The prize at stake was an all expenses paid trip to Cuba to represent the UK at the International HabanoSommelier final during the annual Cigar Festival in Havana in February 2015.
Although it was a very strong field, in the final analysis the judges, Hunters & Frankau’s Sean Croley (Sales & Marketing Director), Ignacio Balmaseda (Corporate Director) and David Lewis (Chairman), came to a unanimous decision to award Luca Tramontana (The Wellesley Hotel) with the coveted title.
His almost flawless written exam coupled with impressive depth knowledge of Cuban cigars and exemplary cigar service carried the day.
The morning began with the contestants sitting a stringent written exam covering a range of cigar related topics including, Cuban tobacco farming techniques, cigar production, vitolas (sizes), tastes, flavours and service.
They were then set a role play designed to assess their knowledge of Habanos cigars, their ability to recommend the correct cigars for specific occasions and their skill in cutting, lighting and serving the cigars that they had recommended.
Finally, having cut, lit and presented a cigar to the guests, they were required to recommend a drink to compliment each of the cigars from a selected drinks menu.
In February of this year the UK candidate for the competition, Mike Choi, finished a very respectable second.
Everyone at Hunters & Frankau wishes Luca the best of luck in his attempt to go one next year and bring the trophy back to the UK.
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