With more than 520 years of history, Brazilian cuisine is the result of a great fusion of ingredients, traditions and cultures that converged in this vast region of South America starting from 1920s. The native indigenous population had its own ingredients, dishes and tastes, which were later added by those of the African slaves who arrived in the country, plus the immigrants from Portugal, Italy, Germany, France and Japan. Each one with its own recipes, techniques, products and flavours, had to adapt to the possibilities of Brazil.
This vast country with diverse climates, geography and, therefore, a variety of products, made these cultures adapt according to the possibilities, developing new versions and mainly exotic culinary fusions.
This is the reason why Brazilian gastronomy has very particular flavours, whose aromas, textures and blends are unique. It is such a rich and diverse cuisine that mentioning a single typical dish is practically impossible, although the one that probably stands out the most internationally is Feijoada. These are five classic dishes of Brazilian cuisine that you should not miss:
It is by far the most famous dish in Brazil. If you are visiting this country, do not miss it. It consists of a stew of black beans (feijão) cooked with pieces of dehydrated pork meat (although there are many variations on the meat cuts, depending on the recipe, such as smoked sausage, ribs, loin, among others), which is served with white rice, cassava flour (farofa), orange slices, green leaves sautéed with garlic and sometimes a spicy sauce. It is commonly offered in restaurants on Wednesdays and Saturdays. History tells that this dish was created by the slaves, who received the less noble parts of the pork, cooking them together with the beans. Without a doubt, today a banner of this country. When it comes to finding the most suitable pairing, a medium-bodied red wine not very high in alcohol, such as a Carmenère or Merlot, are ideal when the pork is slow cooked. We recommend that you try it with Terrunyo Carmenère, a fresh, fruity wine with rich acidity and sweet tannins on the palate.
Another popular dish that derived from the Portuguese culinary tradition of “cocidos”, but using fish among its ingredients, in addition to dendé oil and coconut milk that the Africans introduced to the Bahia region, is Moqueca. It is a fish and / or seafood stew, which also has onion, tomato, peppers, coriander, malagueta pepper and is served with white rice. Shrimp Moqueca, for example, is a very popular recipe in all regions of Brazil, which pairs very well with light but structured wines, as it is a dish with a certain intensity. A coastal oaked Chardonnay like Amelia Chardonnay or a rosé as Concha y Toro Rosé are great options.
Pão de queijo (Cheese bread)
This typical recipe from the Minas Gerais area consists of small balls of cheese bread that Brazilians generally eat for breakfast or as a snack at any time of the day. Slightly tart in flavour, these rolls are very fluffy and with an irresistible crunchy crust. It is said that it was the African slaves who created this recipe, when they reused the remains of yuca, transforming it into flour to make bread. When slavery ended at the end of the 19th century, milk, eggs and the iconic salty cheese from Minas Gerais (the dairy capital of Brazil) were added to this recipe, resulting in this iconic bread that is also gluten-free. If you are thinking in an aperitive with Pão de queijo, don’t forget to uncork a Chardonnay.
Casquinha de Siri
This simple but tasty dish, typical of the coastal regions, is crab meat cooked with a sauce of onion, pepper and tomato, which is served in the same shell of the crab. It is sprinkled with cassava flour and cheese before grilling, which adds a layer of crispness and smoky notes. A starter dish that tastes very good when accompanied by an elegant white wine that does not overshadow the delicacy of the crab meat, and at the same time provides acidity and texture. A fruity Sauvignon blanc such as Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc or again a Chardonnay aged in oak as Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Chardonnay will create the perfect balance un your palate.
These fried croquettes that can be found in almost all bakeries, cafes and bars in Brazil, are another favourite snacks of Brazilians, especially in the southeast. They are characterized by their drop shape, crispy crust and stuffed with shredded chicken and cheese. They are so popular that even on May 18th in Brazil, Coxinha Day is celebrated: a day when everyone enjoys different versions of this “salgado” that can be prepared with flour, potato or cassava dough and a wide variety of fillings … even sweet and vegans! But in honour of the Chicken Coxinha, we recommend you enjoy it with a glass of sparkling Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Collection Brut.