“It’s crumbling, but I really love Cuba.”
Top telly cook Valentine Warner is a familiar face to food fans for a host of different programmes.
His show What To Eat Now was clearly a tasty proposition the books accompanying both series became best sellers.
Valentine also featured recently in The Great British Food Revival.
The 41-year-old, who is married with two young kids, Louis and Minnie, is back on our screens this week. His new series sees him take a culinary voyage around Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
Valentine Warner Eats Scandinavia is on the Good Food channel (Sky/HD 247/Virgin 260), weeknights at 8pm.
“I do more cooking when I’m on holiday so I absolutely love having a break in France.
“For me here’s nothing better than spending a morning market-hopping around the little villages, then going home with amazing ingredients to cook.
“You have this gorgeous bread, great fish and vegetables. Just pour yourself a Pernod on ice and rustle up lunch.
“My wife’s parents have a house near a town called Montsegur de Quercy which isn’t far from Bordeaux.
“There are loads of lovely hilltop and riverside towns.
“It’s obviously a big wine growing region and there’s an amazing food culture.
“You can savour duck and mushroom and red wine along with great cheeses and salami. It’s a real food lover’s dream.
“The other big thing for me if I’m not cooking is fishing.
“If I can take myself off to a sandy beach with fluttering palms and then get out to sea to battle with a big fish I’m over the moon.
“Cuba is probably the greatest place I’ve ever fished. We went to Las Salinas next to the infamous Bay of Pigs.
“The fish are so abundant the rod is literally bending all day long you go home with sore wrists and an ache in your shoulder.
“You’re either wading knee deep with a fly rod or in a boat flicking a spinner under mangrove hedges.
“Often you’re catching a tarpon, which is basically an over-sized herring.
“I found Cuba totally fascinating although I’m sure that no one who actually lived there would agree with what I personally found great.
“For me it was the decay, the peeling paint and the rusty pipes and so on.
“It’s sad but you have this once-splendid city of Havana which is kind of crumbling and falling apart.
“Despite that, though, it has its own kind of magic.
“There is music everywhere and the people are incredibly friendly.
“Then you get outside the city and into countryside that’s dense with foliage and just spectacularly beautiful.
“My childhood family holiday memories are largely of America. We travelled round a lot through the likes of Montana and the Rockies.
“I always remember them as such fun times.
“In fact, that’s when I got into fishing in a big way.
“I think I was about eight at the time and that’s when it hit me that’s when I knew that I had found something I really loved.
“It’s a passion that has never left me to this day.
As told to Bill Gibb.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe