So, you may not know this since I don’t know if I’ve really made it a big enough part of my blog, but… I LOVE FOOD.
I don’t necessarily always eat bad food, as I do love many healthy things too, but I eat very often. Most of my waking hours are spent thinking about what my next meal or snack will be, it’s really less of process to feed my hunger and more of a greedy hobby to be honest – eating is my favourite activity!
Recently I’ve been considering writing a blog post about all of the things I will miss from Floripa when I get back home, and, don’t get me wrong – I have seen some beautiful places and met some wonderful people – but once I thought about it, I realised that the majority of my list was made up of food items… There’s just so many delicious things here to miss!
And, as I definitely don’t have a problem writing enthusiastically about my one of my biggest passions, I thought it would be a good idea to dedicate an entire blog post to my foodie favourites from Brazil.
(By the way, the majority of these photos are borrowed from other peoples blogs, usually I’m too excited to eat the food to remember to take a photo of it! Credits below)
I know I mentioned this in my ‘Living in Brazil: the Best, the Worst, and the Inbetween’ article, but I really am amazed by the fruit here. I abandoned making smoothies many months ago, because it just seemed like such a waste of the beautiful flavours and textures of the fruit here. Just give me a plate full up with freshly prepared cubes of mango and papaya, and some strawberry and banana slices on the side – I am in heaven.
Thursday night is tapioca night in this area, the majority of the international student community can be found on the plastic chairs outside Mari’s little tapioca stand in the Centrinho of Lagoa da Conceição.
In England, even just the word ‘tapioca’ can make someone shudder, bringing back memories of pushing that tapioca pudding around their bowls in the old school canteen, in Brazil however, it’s surprisingly good! Instead of making their tapioca into a pudding, Brazilians traditionally use tapioca flour to make a type of crepe.
Then it is buttered and filled with either salgados (savoury topping choices such as cheese, bacon, ham, and other meats) or doces (sweet topping choices such as coconut, chocolate, and fruits.) My personal, surprisingly tasty, favourite was a tapioca filled with mozzarella cheese and guava jam; it sounds crazy, but it was scrumptious!
Although this is a drink item rather than food, it still deserves a place in this
article, as I love it so damn much! Like the Brazilian version of mulled wine (a concoction of sweet red wine, traditional Brazilian sugarcane liquor (cachaça), ginger, cloves and cinnamon, all heated to perfection) this drink is liquid comfort and cosiness.
Once it became too expensive to buy so many cups from the little street stands, we made the mistake of trying out making homemade quentão… It worked out so deliciously that now we drink litres of the stuff!
Arroz e Feijão:
Rice and beaanss! Who would’ve thought that I would ever get so excited about this, seemingly mundane, staple of the Brazilian diet.
But after eating so many times at the beloved UFSC canteen (it really is beloved, the students here even made a song about the whole eating experience) I now look forward to the occasional portion of integral boiled rice and tasty black beans. It’s a strangely comforting accompaniment option, especially if topped with delicious batata palha, or ‘crispy little potato chip-stick bits.’ (My translation)
Caldo de Cana:
Another drink that I simply couldn’t miss out, this is a ridiculously refreshing mix of freshly pressed sugarcane juice, ice, and lime. I gleefully gulp down a great big cup of caldo de cana once a week at the Wednesday market on our university campus after a long morning of classes, and I will dearly miss those moments of pure refreshment and happiness.
Pé de Moleque:
That’s peanut brittle to me or you, and it is surprisingly popular here. I blame my boyfriend for starting me off on this bad habit, as when he was here he bought us a packet of little pé de moleque bars almost every day (not that I am complaining!) There is something about those crunchy, caramelised peanuts that makes you want more every time.
It seems that people like to eat a lot of peanuts here, as another popular snack is paçoca (or little paçoquitas), which is a soft Brazilian candy made from sugar and ground peanuts. It comes in a satisfying block of nutty goodness, and is basically an excuse to eat a big chunk of crumbly peanut butter with no shame – perfection.
I know I’ve mentioned them before and how much I adore these delectable pastry parcels, but I couldn’t miss out a few lines dedicated to my fave lunchtime snack. An empanada de frango e requeijão (to be honest, it’s a chicken and cheese pasty) just hits the spot like nothing else really can.
Move over maté! Although technically chimarrão is just the Brazilian word for the Uruguyan/Argentinian mate, (remember that bitter drink I tried but kind of liked last semester?) a Brazilian friend here showed me a particularly special recipe…
She showed me how to make sweet chimarrão, with lemon grass tea, sugar, pineapple, and cinnamon, as well as the mate herbs. We drank this warm, delightful creation whilst sitting on her little balcony and watching the rain fall onto the mountain; cosy to say the least. Discovering this heavenly drink means that I’ve finally found a use for that big bag of mate herbs that I brought home last semester and have never used! I will definitely be recreating the recipe at home.
Açaí na Tigela:
My favourite Brazilian food! Made from frozen, antioxidant rich, native açaí berries, açaí na tigela which literally means açaí in the bowl; so creative) tastes like what I can only describe as the love child of a chocolate ice cream and a fruity smoothie.
You can buy one ‘completa’ (topped with banana, condensed milk, and granola) on almost beach you visit, or, for an even more exciting encounter, go to one of the little açaí bars and pick whichever toppings you fancy. (Mango, pineapple, strawberry, kiwi, chocolates, nuts, berries, syrup, you name it!) And although every acaí combination I’ve ever tasted has been a delightful experience, my favourite all-time favourite creation is açaí topped with mango, strawberry, honey and crumbled paçoca). It’s the perfect snack because it’s not unhealthy enough for me to feel guilty about indulging my one-açaí-a-day habit. (It would be nice to say that I’m exaggerating for comedic effect, but I really do think this may count as an addiction!)
Writing this late night has reminded me that I still have a little pot of banana-blended açaí waiting for me downstairs in the freezer, and on that note, I end.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this peak into my wonderful culinary experience; now I’m off for some delicious frozen fruity goodness.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post and would like to see me let my passion for food out more often on my blog, including things like recipes and restaurant reviews, let me know by commenting below! Thanks for reading 🙂
(Photo Credits- Tapioca: comidareceitas.combr & carolmagalhaes.com, Quentao: vinho e tempero.com.br, Arroz/Feijao: cotidiano.sites.ufsc.br, Caldo de Cana: buddhaspa.com.br & ducampeche.com.br, Pé de Moleque: guimaraes.ind.br, Pacoca: conexsoulnaestrada.blogspot.com & carolinaaugusta.com.br, Empanadas: garimpodafip.com.br, Acai: rajafrutas.com.br & Flor do acai)