On the east coast of South America there is a place where your taste buds can go to party. Known as the place to go during the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, the country of Brazil is not only waiting for you to visit… they want to feed you some of the best food in the world. Think of your Brazilian visa as your own personal passport into a world of culinary delight.
Origin of the Amazon, the world’s second-longest river, Brazil is home to some of the more diverse cultures in the world. All of these cultures have brought their own food traditions to the country and what has resulted is a food destination that is not to be missed. Every region of Brazil has a different food specialty influenced historically by those who settled the area. For instance, the Portuguese arrived in the 1500’s and with them came their style of cooking. The Portuguese brought sugar, citrus fruits, and sweets to the area. The Europeans influenced foods using eggs, fruits, spices bringing them together to create dishes like ambrosia. The Italians brought savory to the country with spices like parsley and garlic.
And then there are the other influences such as Japanese, Arab, and German, all bringing their own spin on food preparation. What resulted is today’s amazingly diverse culinary landscape. But good food in Brazil didn’t start with those who came to stay; it began with the original inhabitants like the Tupí-Guaraní and other native American communities. Manioc, a root vegetable that resembles a potato, is the basis for tapioca and farofa. Ground manioc is toasted in oil and butter and sprinkled over rice, beans, meat, and fish and has long been a staple in Brazil. The root grows well in Brazil and many other cultures adopted its use to enhance some of the recipes they brought to the shores of Brazil.
One of the really cool culinary facts about Brazil is that, depending on where you visit, the food is an entirely different experience. In the north, visitors will discover a cuisine that includes food heavily influenced by indigenous people; for example, the duck in tucupi. In the northeastern regions of Brazil you will find an African influence with foods rich in spices. Vatapá, a dish made from bread, shrimp, coconut milk, ground peanuts and palm oil is a favorite of the area. In the southern area of Brazil travelers will discover a German influence with an emphasis on red meat. Grilling is a favorite method of cooking and there are lots of sausages to try.
This is a very small sampling of what it means to eat in Brazil. The world of cuisine in this South American country is vast and diverse. So if you like great food, wonderful people and have the urge to grab your passport and visa and head out, head for Brazil where the food will amaze you.