Traditional Brazilian food is a vibrant mix with strong influences from Africa and Europe. What kind of food you will be able to enjoy depends on which region you visit as Brazil is huge – indeed, the 5th largest country in the world. The south-eastern region has distinctive Italian and German influences in their dishes whereas, the northern region leans more towards the traditional indigenous menu with a heavy Iberian influence.
Although perhaps not as famous as their carnivals, the legendary Amazon, their music and incredible history, the cuisine in Brazil is slowly coming into its own. Feast on the world’s finest seafood dishes, yams, cassava, pine nuts, acai, hog plums, tapioca, okra and their spicy sausage, the chourico, and wash it down with generous helping of their national cocktail – the fabled Caipirinha.
No matter where you go, your menu staples will consist of three items: farinha (flour), feijao (black beans), arroz (white rice) – oh and Caipirinha. Then each dish will have a poultry, red meat or fish serving to go with it. When you are on your tours to South America, there are 5 foods you must try in Brazil:
The national dish of Brazil – the Feijoada is a soul-reviving meaty stew made with love from scratch, with only the finest and freshest ingredients. Predominately made with black beans and pork, it is served with arroz, kale, orange salad, and ground manioc.
With traditional preparation methods going back some 300 years, the Barreado is a meaty feast fit for a king. One of its finest features is that it keeps its rich meaty flavor, even when it is reheated. Made in a clay pot, the meat is cooked for almost 24 hours, giving it time to shred and release thick flavors. Each pan is sealed with a dough made from flour and water before cooking, and the dish is served with bananas and oranges, along with banana rum on the side.
The delicious, yet simple baked dessert is a traditional favorite in Brazil. Said to have been an ancient recipe originally baked in convents all around Portugal, and sold through slots in the convent doors to civilians, this super-sweet custard desert is thought to have been a steady source of income for the holy sisters of the parish. Decadently rich, small in each serving and with just 3 ingredients - egg yolks, sugar and ground coconut, it is served upside down and is a bright yellow treat.
Moqueca is a delicious, slow-cooked seafood dish with a kaleidoscope of colors. Using a base of onions, tomatoes, cilantro, fish, and garlic, it is slow-cooked in a traditional Moqueca clay pan, known as a capixaba, with absolutely no water. The capixaba pan is made from mangrove tree sap and black clay which makes it waterproof, and is seasoned with a special oil before it is used. The dish can be made with many variations using fish, crabs, lobsters, sea crabs, shrimp, and even raw bananas.
The empadinha is a quaint little savory pie dish. Traditionally stuffed bread or pastry that is baked or fried, it comes with many different varieties and interesting fillings. Heaving with mouth-watering fish, cheese, chicken, vegetables, huitlacoche and fruit, each empadinha traditionally has one solitary olive, tucked away in the middle.