Introduction

Introduction

By
Fernanda de Paula, Shelley Hepworth
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742706801
Photographer
Stuart Scott

Brazil has a fascinating multicultural past. The land was home to the native Indians before the Portuguese arrived, bringing with them centuries of European tradition and the largest number of African slaves in history. This unprecedented combination of cultures fused in a unique way that is today reflected in dishes across the country. Last century, new waves of European and Asian migrants from countries such as Poland, Lebanon, Japan and Korea added yet another layer to this bubbling culture of passionate people.

Brazilians have perfected the art of enjoying life and their capacity for fun captures the world’s imagination. It is a nation that loves to celebrate and will use any excuse to do so. Go to any football match, family barbecue, after-work drinks or the famous carnival street parades, and the playful atmosphere is contagious.

Invitations to social occasions in Brazil will specify a start time, but never an end. The parties go on for hours and are usually punctuated by food. At churrascos, the famous Brazilian barbecues, meat is roasted over open flames and served in small portions over long periods. The beach is a social event in its own right, with mobile vendors passing by on foot selling prawn kebabs, grilled cheese, pastries filled with meat, and iced tea. Little bars known as botecos are everywhere and everyone has their favourite. Delicious pesticos, bite-sized snacks, are offered alongside ice-cold beer and the national drink, caipirinha.

Brazil is a country of contrasts and while there are lots of choices for grazing, there are plenty of more substantial dishes too – some more casual eateries offer hammocks for patrons to rest in after feasting on the hearty meals they serve. While dishes such as feijoada are simply part of the national identity, others display regional variations. The African slaves brought not just a proud and vibrant culture of food, music, religion and dancing, but also the dendê palm, coconut and banana from their homeland. The prolific use of dendê oil in the cuisine of the North-East can be seen in the deep red tint of seafood stews known as moquecas, embraced across the country.

Rice, beans and cassava root (usually made into flour) are consumed every day in Brazil. These ingredients, combined with a variety of meat, seafood, river catch and native fruits and vegetables, form the foundation of the cuisine. Meanwhile, the sugarcane plantations introduced centuries ago by the Portuguese not only helped to create a country of sweet-lovers, but are also responsible for Brazil’s unique sugarcane spirit, cachaça.

In this book we aim to give you a taste of Brazil’s rich heritage and hope you feel the warm embrace of its people flowing through the recipes contained herein. The dishes are generally easy to prepare and allow for improvisation and spontaneity, both very Brazilian traits. Remember, in true Brazilian fashion, cooking is a joyful experience and always something to be shared, so have fun!

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