Sunday, May 06, 2007

Regional Tobacco

In Acre the most desirable tobacco seems to be that grown in the Juruá river basin. The two main basins, belonging to the Purus and Juruá rivers, have long divided Acre geographically, socially, and culturally, because of the difficulty of travel perpendicular to the flow of water.

This tobacco is not from Juruá, it's from Sena Madureira, a town that is in the middle of the state's long SE-NW axis, towards the end of the paved part of the highway, planned for decades, that is to link the two basins.

The tobacco is wrapped, after a short treatment, into these staves with strips of bark. Tobacco in this form costs, if I remember right, about 30 dollars per staff. I bought a 14-inch piece the day I took this photo, and I don't think I'll finish it in the next two years at the rate I smoke. This piece cost about 4 dollars. The tobacco is densely packed in its wrapper, and the usual way of removing it is slicing off little bits from the end of the staff with a knife (I use a cheese grater).

I was once shown the proper way to prepare this kind of tobacco by Altino, Acrean blogger and roll-your-own smoker extraordinaire. He would even put it in a pan to heat it up on the stove and "open the flavor," before fluffing it up until it was nice little ribbons hanging together like shredded wheat.

Altino, when he rolls it, also likes the lick the paper he rolls it in before most of it has been used up, so the extra can be torn off.

Mar sometimes says it smells like cigar smoke.

I asked this guy if he had any Juruá tobacco, but he said it's too expensive to bring it from there.

Ah, but I would have bought some!
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Blogger Tim Gallagher said...

Hi Matthew,

Just found your blog - really interesting. I'm a TV producer with Sky News in London and we're coming to Acre in December. Are you still there?


12:09 PM  

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