With the recent kick-off of the long anticipated Fifa World Cup 2014 in Brazil a few days ago, all the worlds eyes are on this colourful, culture rich country. Apart from being interested in the football matches, everything about Brazil is featured on news networks, chat shows and social media platforms across the board. Of course, one aspect of this flamboyant country is their flavourful cuisine and let’s face it, food will always have people sitting up and paying attention.
Brazilian cuisine is made up of both European and African influences, but over the years have developed into quite an interesting and intriguing unique type of cuisine. The various regions of Brazil are fairly different in cooking methods and ingredients preferred. All the diversity, however, results in what makes Brazilian cuisine so exquisite.
Original ingredients that natives first used in food preparation included cassava, which is a starchy root vegetable known as tapioca in its dried powdered form. Tacacá, is a soup prepared with cassava as one of the main ingredients. It’s highly popular in the Northern regions of Brazil and includes yellow peppers and shrimps. Dried shrimps, onions, okra, palm oil, tomatoes, fish, garlic and fresh coriander are all highly popular ingredients. Fresh coriander is known as cilantro in South America.
Cupuaçu is a fruit that contains a white pulp with a unique fragrance. It’s popular to use in desserts, juice and sweet preparation. It’s said cupuaçu tastes like a combination of pear and banana. Other fruit that is known across the world, but highly incorporated in local cuisine include mango, guava, orange, passion fruit and pineapple.
Some well-known and popular dishes of Brazil that you might recognise is feijoada, polenta and coxinhas. Feijoada comes from the Portuguese influence and is a bean stew with beef or pork. Polenta is a creamy porridge prepared with unrefined cornmeal. It can be served sweet or savoury, as a porridge side dish or allowed to set, then cut and grilled for more pronounced flavour. Coxinhas are popular street food prepared by shredding cooked chicken and cooking it in a batter. It’s usually shaped back into the form of a chicken leg.
Nuts like cashews, peanuts and pine nuts are incorporated in many dishes, both savoury and sweet. A spicy sausage, linguiça, is also a firm favourite used as the main flavour ingredient in many dishes. It’s fairly similar to the Spanish chorizo.
Cachaça is a worldl-renown spirit distilled in Brazil from sugar cane. Sugar cane cultivation was introduced by the Portuguese in the 1500’s. Cachaça is highly popular in the preparation of cocktails and is also used in Brazil’s national cocktail, caipirinha. Caipirinha is a refreshing cocktail consisting of cachaça, sugar and lime.
Food to eat when in Brazil:
Deep fried chicken and cheese bites associated with street fare. It’s delicious and very popular.
Amazing sweet treats consisting of a chocolate truffle covered in chocolate sprinkles.
Pinto beans (speckled beans) are sautéed with cassava flour, spring onions, egg and bacon. It makes for a decent breakfast dish or street food.
Spicy and flavour packed stew prepared with beans, beef and/or pork.
Bolinho de Chuva
Similar to doughnuts, these deep fried balls of dough, sprinkled with sugar and spice, are delicious and very popular.
Moqueca de Camarão
A fragrant shrimp stew prepared with coconut milk. Various vegetables can be added to preference. A popular dish in restaurants, but can also be found at food stalls on the street.
A delicious roast beef, mozzarella and pickle sandwich. Once again, popular street fare.
Créme De Papaya
Just as the name suggests, a creamy papaya dessert prepared with vanilla ice cream and ripe papaya.
As basic as it comes – a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Popular all over the world!
Deep fried chips made with yucca. Yucca is another name for cassava, a starchy root vegetable that’s extremely versatile and used in the preparation of many dishes.
Chicken, olives, palm hearts and corn together with various other ingredients are combined and baked together to result in a gorgeous pie. Chicken can be replaced with shrimp or beef.
Beijinho de Coco
Truffles made with coconut and condensed milk.
Brazil obviously has plenty on offer. Apart from amazing visual appeal, cultural interest and flamboyant spirit, the cuisine of this beautifully diverse country will tantalise the taste buds of any foodie.
Wikipedia, 2014, Brazilian cuisine, viewed on 19 June 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_cuisine
Food to eat when in Brazil: Buzz Feed Food, 2013, 24 Traditional Brazilian Foods You Need To Eat Right Now, viewed on 19 June 2014, from http://www.buzzfeed.com/gabrielakruschewsky/traditional-brazilian-foods-you-need-to-eat-right-now
Featured image: Door To Brazil, 2014, Brazilians – A Very Friendly Culture, viewed on 19 June 2014, from http://doortobrazil.blogspot.com/2014/02/brazilians-very-friendly-culture.html
Brazil: World Finance, 2011, Brazil: country of the future, or has its time come?, viewed on 19 June 2014, from http://www.worldfinance.com/inward-investment/americas/brazil-country-of-the-future-or-has-its-time-come
Cupuaçu: 21 Food, n.d., Liofruit 100 – Cupuacu Powder, viewed on 19 June 2014, from http://www.21food.com/products/cupuacu-powder-741742.html
Coxinhas: Cuisine du Bresil, n.d., Cheese Balls, viewed on 19 June 2014, from http://cuisinedubresil.com/en/product/cheese-balls/
Mandioca Frita: Pra Come, n.d., Mandioca Frita, viewed on 19 June 2014, from http://www.pracome.com.br/2009/06/17/mandioca-frita/
Beijinho de Coco: Doces Momentos, n.d., Beijinho de Coco, viewed on 19 June 2014, from http://www.docesmomentos.com/produtos/docinhos/beijinho-de-coco/