It’s easy to fall in love with the nature and culture of Brazil. We can be seduced there by Rio de Janeiro with its famous monument of Jesus the Redeemer, Copacabana beach, the carnival or a football match of the national team. But what flavors can we taste in Brazil? How to do some delicious pairings? This time we get carried away by its gastronomy at the pace of samba.
Brazil is a country known for its passion for football, its joy and the carnival which seduces with music, dance and colors. But Brazil also has a very interesting gastronomic side that allows us to travel to its regions and fully enjoy their profound and varied flavors.
The roots of Brazilian food come from four continents: influences of migration from Europe, mostly Portuguese, Italian and German with beers and recipes with pork and sausages; a strong indigenous origin, especially in the Amazon; and African and even Asian influences.
Brazil is a huge country and its regions contribute with its own hallmark. For example, in the northeast, there is a strong influence of African cuisine; in the north, indigenous roots; in the southeast, a greater preponderance of Italian immigrants who bring various kinds of pasta, such as capeletti in brodo (with meat and served in a broth). For this delicious dish, I recommend a medium-bodied red wine, juicy and tasty as Trio Merlot.
Many techniques are of indigenous origin, such as roasting on a mud panel on three stones or in an underground oven, but they have been adapted by immigrants. A popular recipe in Brazil with an indigenous origin is the pamonha. It is a paste made with corn wrapped in leaves (much like the Chilean humita).
Africans brought their own recipes, but they replaced the original products with some local ingredients. They often accompany savory dishes with fruits such as oranges. One of the most famous recipes of this culture is acaraje, a dish based on white beans, onions, coriander and vatapa (dried shrimp). This dish has a lot of weight, so you need an equivalent wine. Beans and the intense aroma of shrimp ask for freshness and creaminess. For all that I recommend Casillero del Diablo Brut Reserva.
There are also some common denominators in the country: a kind of national food. The three Brazilian pillars are: beans, meat and carbohydrates, mainly rice, fried plantains, potatoes and grains such as corn, millet or sorghum. These ingredients are the basis of many dishes, from the famous feijoada to the stone soup of Portuguese origin.
Brazilians, especially in the south of the country, are in love with the roast beef and are true masters in their preparation. The most famous meat cut in the land is called churrasco and specialized restaurants are called churrascarias. With a rich and juicy Brazilian churrasco, don’t hesitate with the choice of wine. Uncork Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoy its good structure, round tannins and unforgettable taste.
Another ubiquitous ingredient is yuka and its various versions, such as flour or tapioca. It is used in almost all recipes, to prepare bread; thicken sauces and stews or making some desserts and sweets. Brazilians also use lots of fruits, because its climate allows them to enjoy very different tropical fruits, some of them unknown in other parts of the world. The most famous are: orange, mango, jackfruit, acai, mango, mamões, goiabas, maracujás, pineapples, fruit-do-count and cajus (chestnut fruit). Among the dry fruits highlights pequi nuts (walnut), which is very popular in the kitchen of the Goias state and is usually served with rice, cajus and coconut milk.
The Atlantic coast allows enjoying seafood. A very popular dish in several states, from Espiritu Santo to Bahia and Para is the moqueca capixaba. It is a type of fish stew with tomatoes and onions, cooked with palm oil (another ingredient that characterizes the Brazilian food). The dish is seasoned with pepper and coconut milk. For this recipe I recommend Casillero del Diablo Shiraz Rosé. With its freshness it works very well with fish meat, but also its sweet notes harmonize perfectly with the tomato sauce.
One of the most typical preparations, considered as the national dish, is undoubtedly the feijoada. This recipe comes from the Rio de Janeiro area of Brazil, but has its roots in Portugal. It is a very rich dish with lots of ingredients. It is prepared on the basis of black beans cooked with meat and served with rice. It can incorporate different parts of pig, such as legs, ears and bacon, and other smoked or salted meat.
With this rich and hearty dish you need a wine with a good structure, with some smoky notes that allow a divine and tasty combination. Thus I recommend you try it with Trio Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine of great body that combines three varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon gives concentration and class, Syrah adds floral and spicy notes and Cabernet Franc provides finesse and an herbal touch.
Although there are millions of versions of feijoada, I present a very easy to prepare recipe, that will leave your kitchen full of Cariocas aromas.
Ingredients for 4 servings
- 500grs of black beans
- 200grs of smoked bacon
- 200grs of dry beef
- 200grs of pork ribs
- 100grs of smoked sausage
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 chopped onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup rice
- Black pepper and salt
- Vegetable oil
- Soak the beans and dried meat during the night.
- Drain all meat and bay leaves; bring it to boil in a large pot over high heat with the ribs of pork, smoked sausages and bacon.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 2 hours. Then cut into fine pieces.
- In another pot prepare the black beans. Cook over low heat in cold water until boiling, immediately cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours.
- Prepare a sauce with beans. Heat oil in a frying pan; pour finely chopped onions and garlic, fry until they are translucent.
- Into this onion & garlic ready mix pour a portion of black beans and crush them with a fork. Incorporate it into the rest of beans and cook for 20 minutes stirring constantly. Its aim is to achieve a very thick broth.
- Mix meat and beans, let simmer for about 15 minutes for the flavors to blend. Season it to taste.
- Serve with rice.