Sao Felix Baiano - Reconcavo

Cuisine

Delightful flavours

Brazil is the size of a continent – and this is reflected in the diversity of Brazilian cuisine. It is characterized by distinctly regional dishes and culinary habits, although the love of fresh fruit and fruit juices as well as the staples beans and manioc flour is common throughout the country.

The regional distinctions are due, among other things, to immigrants, who brought their own special cuisines to Brazil. São Paulo, for example, is known as the city where one can eat better pizzas and pasta than in Italy, and where sushi from Japan was appreciated long before the first sushi restaurants opened in Europe.

In the north of the country, in the Amazon, a wide range of fish dishes are traditionally prepared, including specialties that are unknown in other parts of the country. These include “peixe-boi” (fish-ox), a mammal that lives predominantly in water (manatee). Another staple in that part of the country is the highly nutritious fruit of the acai palm, which has only recently become known in the rest of Brazil.

Fish in the north, meat in the south – that is the influence of the gaucho culture, of the enormous cattle herds of the south. Churrasco – grilled meat specialties – originally comes from this region, but is now popular all over Brazil, and beyond.

Bahia has its own very distinct cuisine. Many dishes also have a role to play in the rites of the Candomblé. Bahianian cuisine has two extremes: it is either sweet or very hot, although chili peppers pickled in oil and vinegar are common all over Brazil. Another national culinary custom is that lunch is the main meal, while breakfast and dinner play a subordinate role.

A great deal of water, fruit juice and “cafesinho” – a “short,” strong coffee, similar to espresso, is served at all times of the day. Beer is very popular; wine is only really drunk south of São Paulo. Caipirinha, the cocktail based on lime juice and Cachaça (sugarcane schnaps), is now world-famous. Cachaca is also the basis of the Batida (fruit-juice cocktail) and the numerous liqueurs that are specialities of the Recôncavo.