Gastronomy

Culture

A simple and usually inexpensive option, which is also a good bet for vegetarians, is comida a quilo or comida por quilo restaurants (literally “food by kilo value”). In this buffet, food is paid for by weight. Another typical style is the all-you-can-eat restaurant where customers pay a prix fixe. In both types (collectively known as “self-services”), customers usually assemble the dishes from an extensive buffet.

Prepare to indulge in a unique dining experience with rodízio, a popular style of service in Brazil. In this style, a prix fixe is paid, and servers circulate with a tantalizing array of food. This is particularly common in churrascarias and pizzerias, offering an all-you-can-eat barbecue and pizzas of varied flavours. Each slice is served with care, ensuring you savour every bite of the culinary delight.

The regular restaurant with a specific price for each meal is called “restaurant à la carte”.

Food is a vibrant part of Brazil’s culture and identity, with churrasco (barbecue) taking centre stage. Churrascarias (steakhouses) are a hot spot, and the tradition of ‘barbecuing a little meat’ at home with loved ones transcends weather conditions, making it a year-round favourite. Barbecued meat and feijoada (meat and bean stew) are quintessential parts of Brazilian cuisine, showcasing its unique flavours and culinary heritage.

The connection between humans and meat is a tale as old as time, harking back to our primal ancestors when hunting was a matter of survival. The allure of meat’s flavour and the simplicity of its preparation led to its widespread consumption. In Brazil, this primal connection has evolved into a cultural trademark, with barbecued meat becoming a symbol of local tradition and heritage.

For tourists who visit Brazil, irrespective of region or city, a trip to a steakhouse is a must, an irresistible opportunity to savour the incomparable and authentic taste of Brazilian barbecue.

GREEN: I WANT MORE. RED: I’M DONE.

The way meat is served in these steakhouses, known as rodízio (which loosely translates as “rotation”), works on the principle of “eat as much as you can” and is as popular among foreigners as it is among Brazilians.

This is how it works: the restaurant charges a fixed price per head (drinks not included), and you can try every type of meat – chicken, lamb, sausages, and a wide range of beef and port cuts – repeating as many times as you wish. However, these days, Brazilian BBQ is not only about the more traditional cuts. In Brazil, some steakhouses already offer some unusual options on their menus. These meats go down well with the more demanding and adventurous diners, such as wild boar, alligator, frog, quail, rabbit and ostrich.

At a churrascaria, the dining experience is a feast for the senses. The rodízio system is a spectacle, with waiters parading around the tables, each carrying a large skewer of sizzling meat. They present you with a variety of options, and right at your table, they expertly slice the meat to your preferred thickness, cooked just the way you like it. It’s a personalised dining experience that truly caters to your taste.

While you are eating, there is a unique etiquette of “table signs” – which are made of paper, wood or metal, depending on the creativity of the steakhouse – which indicate your appetite via a simple colour code: the green sign, which says “Yes, please”, means that the waiters are free to circulate the table, continuing to offer all kinds of meat, until you flip the sign over to show the red side, which says, “No, thanks”, indicating that you are satisfied for now. In addition to the meat, the steakhouses also offer a buffet of salads, and some go even further, adding hot dishes, sushi, fish, cheeses, cold meats, and other side dishes like chips, pão de queijo (cheese bread), and pastéis (deep fried puff pastry with filling).

Not only is Brazil renowned for its coffee’s taste and quality, but it also stands out for producing some of the most unique and exclusive coffees in the world, adding a distinct flavor to the global coffee industry.

For decades, it has been hailed as the king of kings. There are many ways to prepare a flavoursome coffee: with filters, electric coffee machines and, more recently, domestic expresso machines that use coffee capsules filled with specified portions and flavours. Whether made at home or enjoyed in a café, bar or restaurant, the consensus is unanimous: coffee is excellent, and if it’s Brazilian – given its undisputed quality – it’s even more significant.

Coffee is unique in many cultures, with an estimated global consumption of half a trillion cups daily. Brazil has been the largest producer and exporter of coffee for more than 100 years, and the combined surface area of the country’s plantations is approximately 27,000km². According to production figures reported by the London-based International Coffee Organisation, the significant coffee producers behind Brazil are Vietnam (yes, after rice, coffee is the Vietnamese star), Columbia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, India, Honduras, Mexico, Uganda and Guatemala.

The Brazilian harvest is expected to exceed 53 million sacks of coffee in 2016, according to the Associação Brasileira da Indústria de Café (ABIC – Brazilian Coffee Industry Association). The association projects that consumption in Brazil alone could increase to 21.3 million sacks this year, which equates to approximately 173 billion cups! However, the volume of ground-roasted coffee exported is declining due to a Brazilian law prohibiting the importation of green coffee from other countries.

Meanwhile, in 2015, British company Costa Coffee invested approximately £40 million in the construction of a new roasting plant in Basildon (Essex) to help lighten the load of their other roaster in Lambeth (South London), which was inaugurated more than 30 years ago. With both plants roasting beans, Costa Coffee will produce an impressive 56,000 tons of roasted coffee per year, but coffee beans are not only used to prepare hot beverages. The caffeine extracted is also used in soft drinks, pharmaceutical products, and even cosmetics. New research in the field of health and wellbeing suggests that the daily consumption of coffee (between three to four cups per day) can actually help in the prevention of certain diseases, such as diabetes in adults, cancer (colon, liver and breast) and Parkinson’s disease, to name just a few.

Exotic Coffees
Brazilian coffee has one exciting variety: the Jacu Bird Coffee. These coffee beans are consumed and excreted by the Jacu, a native bird to the Mata Atlântica. Jacu Bird Coffee is expensive, nearly 20 times the price of standard coffee.

In Brazil, a melting pot defines not only races but also food.

The traditional food of Brazil is a combination of many different cultural inheritances that have mixed and created an exciting and unique cuisine. Originally, the food of Brazil was created by the native indigenous people, who have given most of the main roots of the country’s actual gastronomy.

When the Portuguese colonised Brazil, their gastronomy harmoniously blended with the traditional indigenous dishes. Then, during the times of slavery, Africans brought their gastronomy to Brazil as well, further enriching the combination of indigenous and Portuguese cuisine. However, these gastronomies didn’t completely merge; in most cases, they coexisted in a beautiful culinary symphony.

Then, many other immigrants arrived, including Lebanese, Germans, Italians, Japanese, Spanish, and many more, adding their dishes to Brazil’s gastronomy. Thus, Brazil’s actual gastronomy is the result of a combination of cultures and dishes of many different origins.

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brazil, brazilian, drinks, foods, gastronomy

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