Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tudo bem! Why Brazilian food is the best. By Sophie Cross. Yahoo.

I knew I'd found my culinary spiritual home
 when during my first morning in Brazil I was presented 
with a slab of dark, sumptuous chocolate cake…for breakfast.
This revelation was only further confirmed when
 the longer I spent travelling (and eating my way) 
through the country, the more I realised the huge variety 
of mouth-watering, delicious dishes it had to offer.

Brazil's history and culture have been simmering away
 for hundreds of years with influences from its indigenous,
 European and African inhabitants, resulting in a tantalising array
 of unique cuisine that I can't get enough of.
Its flavours are rich and subtly spicy, 
its fruits impossibly juicy and its meat melt-in-the-mouth.

And best of all, food is nearly always enjoyed in a fun,
 relaxed atmosphere shared among large groups of family and friends.
 It's often difficult to find a 'meal for one' in restaurants, 
unless you specifically ask.
Here are five of my favourite dishes - best accompanied with
 an ice-cold caipirinha to tickle your tastebuds and get the party started.


If feijoada were a person, 
it would be your best friend giving you a big hug. 
Derived from the Portuguese dish of the same name, 
it's a rich, slightly salty stew made with velvety black turtle beans,
 pork and jerked beef, accompanied by fresh orange segments, 
rice and farofa (lightly toasted manioc flour). 
While it was traditionally prepared with pig ears,
 tail and trotters, if you're squeamish some nice smoky sausages
 and pork ribs do the trick just as well.


The ultimate barbecue.
 Cuts of all sorts of meat are wedged onto thick metal skewers,
 roasted over hot charcoal until they are sizzling to perfection 
and then sliced off the spit onto hungry punters' plates.
 And, if you go to an upmarket venue, you pay a fixed price
 for the waiters to keep on serving you until you can't eat any more.
 Whether it's filet mignon, lamb, chicken or pork that floats your boat,
 the experience is a must-do for meat lovers.


If on the other hand you're a fan of healthy eating,
 look no further than açaí. 
The refreshing, slushy dish that can be enjoyed sweet or savoury 
is made from tiny purple-black berries picked from lofty palm trees. 
Some credit the berries as being a superfood bursting with antioxidants. 
But whatever its health credentials, I loved the fruity taste of açaí na tigela
 - when crunchy granola, chopped banana and a drizzle of honey are mixed in.

Moqueca Capixaba

Another heart-warming stew to be enjoyed with those you love
 - though this time it's made of seafood. 
Tomatoes, onions and chopped coriander are cooked slowly in a clay pot
 where they soak up the flavours of the fresh fish, prawns, crab or lobster.
 For me this dish evokes fond memories of the instant friendliness 
of Brazilian people - I first enjoyed it with someone I'd met
 mere hours before.

Pão de queijo

These "cheese balls" of fresh warm bread baked
 with cheese may look relatively uninspiring, but beware,
 you can never, ever have just one. 
What I love about this dish is how it represents that food
 doesn't always have to be slaved over, using complicated ingredients. 
Sometimes, if done well, the simplest combinations
 can be the ones you love and remember most.

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