Italian Night – Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010

After dinner we were flipping through the channels and came across the Pennsylvania Cable Network’s PCN Tours show featuring the Avanti cigar factory in Scranton, PA.  The PCN Tours show is an hour-long, very simple, tour of manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania.  DVDs are available for purchase on the PCNTV.com website.  The tour was given by Avanti Cigar Company President Don Keating.  It was interesting to  see how this 100-year-old company uses machinery and techniques that are unchanged in at least 50 years.  They make thousands of Italian style cigars every day and they age them for quite a while before they are packaged and shipped.  This company really prides themselves on creating a high quality and consistent cigar.   Ironically, my wife and her father came home with baked goods from Termini Bros today.  After devouring a delicious biscotti and a cannoli, I ran out to the drugstore and picked up a pack of Avantis.  I’ve smoked plenty of  Toscano cigars, I had some Antico Toscanos from Italy years ago and enjoyed them.  Typically they are rugged cigars, often called cheroots, or  stogies.  Nothing subtle about them either and since they are dry cured, they keep for ever.

I am also a fan of black licorice.  The Avanti’s dominant flavor is anise, smoking on is like eating a package of black Twizzlers.  The PCN Tour show showed them painting the cigars with anise liqueur, and they load it on.  I was surprised at how long this little ugly cigar lasted, it was about a 45 minute smoke. This was an interesting change of pace, and I will enjoy these from time to time, and they have fewer calories than a box of Good ‘n Plentys!

Sunday I took a walk to pick up my car and smoked a 10-year-old Dominican cigar that was from E-Stix.com, an internet reseller from the ’90s which is, sadly, no longer operating.  It was actually a tasty cigar, it held up well after all these years.  It was a Churchill sized cigar that lasted the entire 3 mile walk.

Enough for now!  Until the next cigar,