The annual UK Habanosommelier final was held at Hunters & Frankau’s London head offices on Wednesday 5th November.
The six finalists were drawn from some of the leading cigar friendly restaurants, hotels and clubs in the UK. Five of the six candidates are also qualified ‘Masters of Havana Cigars’. The prize at stake was the title of UK Habanosommelier 2015, not to mention the all expenses paid trip to Cuba to represent the UK at the International Habanosommelier final during the annual Habanos Festival, held in Havana during the last week of February 2016.
Although it was a very strong field and the competition was close, in the final analysis, the judges, Hunters & Frankau’s Sean Croley (Sales & Marketing Director), Yadira Bulnes (Corporate Director) and Simon Chase (former Marketing Director), came to a unanimous decision to award Slawomir Bielicki (The Churchill Bar, Hyatt Regency) with the coveted title.
The morning began a stringent written exam that covered a comprehensive 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.
Jimmy McGhee (H&F Executive) said “The standard of competition this year was as high as I can remember it ever being. The fact we had five Masters of Havana Cigars competing meant that we had several very high scores indeed. Slawomir is a worthy winner and I have every confidence in him for the international final.”
A delighted Slawomir said “I’m excited to visit Cuba and to take part in the competition, representing the UK. I suppose the hard work starts here!”
Everyone at Hunters & Frankau wishes Slawomir the best of luck in his effort to bring the trophy back to the UK.
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