Because Camillo and I enjoy our food and drink, and whenever we have friends or family visit or we travel; what we do is eat and drink. I have written in ‘flowers’ many times on the topic of eating and drinking so if you have seen any of these photos before or heard the same story, forgive my duplications. This week’s topic was described as “native foods, restaurants and bars in your town”. I took a few photos specifically for this topic and I also pulled from my photo files from past times (parties). I, of course, ended up with too many photos and have a hard time eliminating marginal ones, so be patient as you look through them. Some of the photos are from Rio, some are Friburgo, some from parties at our home and there might even be some from Bahia but in all these places you can usually find the same (similar) foods AND I couldn’t eat my way through a year’s worth of eating just to give you a sample of food here, so I cheated a bit.
I started out little confused by what might be considered native foods in Friburgo or Rio. Brazil was colonized and the food, like in North America, is a composite of all the countries that participated in the (over) populating of this country. Here in Friburgo and in most of Brazil by varying degrees, there are large sections of descendants of Swiss, German, Italian, and Portuguese immigrants. There are smaller groups of Indian, Japanese, and African and there are smatterings of many other groups too numerous to mention that might have had an influence on and/or might be considered ‘native’. All of these groups brought a food culture and dish preparation with them and all of their foods have merged or converged into what we might call Brazilian food.
There is a trend now to more sophisticated dining but the majority of Brazilians still love to go out or entertain friends at home with two basic meals, Churrasco or Feijoada. Churrasco or what could be translated to a Barbeque but really isn’t, is a variety of meats cooked on skewers, turned slowly over hot coals and the meal includes rice, cooked fresh vegetables in season, served cold with light vinaigrette, and farofa. The meats range from chicken wings and hearts to picanha, ribs, and sausages. Large restaurants have more variety and serve rodizio (as long as your eating they bring more) but these would be the basics of any churrasco you might be served.
Feijoada is a black bean lunch served every Saturday in most restaurants. It has as much variation as the number of restaurants that serve it. This dish originated with the slaves in the northern part of Brazil and has worked its way south and become one of the most popular meals to enjoy. The story goes that as the ‘masters’ finished their elaborate meals, the slaves took the leftover meats and unused parts of the animals and kept adding it to the pot of beans and on Saturday they would feast. The animal parts like pig ears are mostly not used any longer, but salt pork, dried beef, sausage, ribs and such, fill the soup and add the flavor to the beans. The beans and meat are customarily served with rice, couve (collard greens sautéed in bacon grease and topped with bacon bits) and farofa. For Brazilians it is not about the big and somewhat heavy meals but about eating in large groups of friends and family. This is really their specialty in all things, the ability to ENJOY. Both of these meals require at least one Caipirinha and a nap after.
I ask Camillo for his list of favorite dishes. The list included Bobô de camerão, Rabada (ox tail), dobradinha (tripe), feijoada, Bolinhos de bacalhau (Cod fish and potato croquets), Casquinha de siri ,“a Brazilian dish made with crab meat, …. is prepared with coconut milk, palm oil, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs”, leitao (pork), crema de Maracujá and last but not least – Acarajé. I am not going to tell you what all of these are or I would be writing a dissertation on food here. If something is of special interest ask…. better yet come and let us take you around. We would need about 3 weeks for a proper eating tour.
For a list of Brazilian dishes and recipes try this hyperlink.
So far this has been about special occasion foods, when we go out for a regular lunch in Friburgo or Rio we generally eat ‘by the kilo’. These are well stocked buffets that you pay for the number of grams on you plate. Our favorite place in Friburgo is Excalibur. (esh cal E brrr) The pictures speak for themselves -
My meal was 9.62 and Camillo’s 8.96.
For now I added photos only of other restaurants and bars by way of the photo album. I know I have talked about at least two of these places and maybe some day soon, I will talk more about our other experiences here in Nova Friburgo and area, and in Rio de Janeiro.