Taste for Salsa

Classic Cuban cocktails & Salsa with Italian hospitality

There’s nothing quite like the sound of Salsa music to lift your spirit and transport you back in time to the bustling streets of Havana, Cuba in the mid-twentieth century.

Aramis Reyes, a native Cuban and professional dance instructor met his wife Verena Musanti in her hometown of Turin in Italy. The couple shared a passion for dancing and made the decision to move back to Havana where Verena could take an intensive dance instructors course and gain the necessary qualification to become a teacher.

Upon arriving in Havana, Verena found that she became captivated by the city’s vibrant atmosphere and felt a particular bond with Salsa.

With her course completed, the couple began to think about where they would be best suited for the future. Due to a family connection, they chose Ferragudo and formed their dance group, Salsa & Sapori in 2001 in the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) in Portimão to promote Cuban Salsa (and other Latin rhythms) in the Algarve. They were astounded when more than 50 students turned up for the first class.

Verena joked, “I honestly think the fact that Aramis didn’t speak the language was a hit with the ladies. On a serious note though, it encouraged the students to absorb the music and not be distracted by verbal instruction, which gave great results. We soon felt that the dance group was not so much a class but a meeting of friends”.

The dance group grew across the Algarve, with weekly classes from east to west becoming more and more popular.

The couple began to perform shows, attend events in the summer season in front of large groups of tourists and even started travelling further afield to other regions of Portugal and abroad. Such was the demand for Salsa and Latino music, Aramis morphed into DJ Aramis, playing in many of the Algarve hotspots of the time, including Manoel’s Jazz Club and The Bote in Carvoeiro.

Their Mediterranean and Cuban characters, and professional and personal relationship make them the perfect hosts for their new project, Salsa & Sapori – Cuban Music Bar. It was a natural choice, which originated from the couple’s roots and young family commitments. They have brought their love of Salsa dancing, entertaining, eating and drinking together in an intimate corner property, owned by Jose Mourinho’s father, just off Ferragudo harbour.

Salsa & Sapori opened it’s doors in April 2015, revealing a brightly painted bar area with large Cuban images decorating the walls and hand-distressed furniture giving a classic Cuban feel.

Salsa and Latin music pour out onto the street enticing people inside, where a warm welcome awaits and the drinks keep flowing until the early hours. Smiling, Verena explained, “We offer everyone a small tapas with each drink. We really want people to feel welcome and enjoy our little slice of Havana”.

“We never know when the dancing will start. More often than not, the tables and chairs end up outside on the terrace and the bar area turns into a dance floor where we usually end up choreographing a routine with willing participants. Most people do end up joining in but we certainly would not force anyone to dance. Some people are more than happy in their seats, tapping their feet”.

With big plans for the future they are already taking reservations for private dance classes in the bar with one-to-one, group and even couples coming for pre-wedding dance lessons. The plans also include an extended menu to showcase several Italian favourites, daytime opening, parties and events.


Tel: 282 483 214

Author: Inside Carvoeiro

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