Brazilian Cuisine

Brazilian Cuisine

Brazilian Cuisine
It began as​ most ‘ethnic food movements’ do – with small restaurants in​ the​ neighborhoods where immigrants settled, diners and​ lunchrooms and​ tea rooms opened by those who wanted to​ offer a​ taste of​ home to​ their fellow émigrés .​
Chinese, Italian, Middle Eastern, Thai – from family run bistros, the​ cuisine spread as​ those outside the​ cultures of​ the​ ‘neighborhood’ learned of​ the​ good food and​ the​ word spread .​
The latest ‘new cuisine’ that is​ spreading like wildfire is​ Brazilian – a​ delicious blending of​ three separate cultures that comes together in​ dishes and​ delicacies that aren’t found anywhere else in​ the​ world.
To understand the​ cuisine of​ Brazil, one must understand a​ little of​ its history .​
The base of​ Brazilian cuisine is​ in​ its native roots – the​ foods that sustained the​ native Brazilians – cassava, yams, fish and​ meat – but it​ bears the​ stamp of​ two other peoples as​ well: the​ Portuguese who came to​ conquer and​ stayed, and​ the​ African slaves that they brought with them to​ work the​ sugar plantations .​
Brazilian cuisine today is​ a​ seamless amalgam of​ the​ three influences that interweave in​ a​ unique and​ totally Brazilian style.
The staples of​ the​ Brazilian diet are root vegetables, seafood and​ meat .​
Manioc, derived from cassava root, is​ the​ ‘flour’ of​ the​ region, and​ is​ eaten in​ one form or​ another at​ nearly every meal .​
The bitter cassava root is​ poisonous in​ its raw state, but when prepared properly, the​ cassava root yields farinha and​ tapioca, bases for​ many dishes of​ the​ region .​
The Portuguese influence shows in​ the​ rich, sweet egg breads that are served at​ nearly every meal, and​ in​ the​ seafood dishes that blend ‘fruits de mer’ with coconut and​ other native fruits and​ vegetables .​
The national dish, bobo de camarao is​ one of​ these, a​ delicious mingling of​ fresh shrimp in​ a​ puree of​ dried shrimp, manioc (cassava) meal, coconut milk and​ nuts, flavored with a​ palm oil called dende.
It is​ the​ African influence that is​ most felt, though – as​ is​ to​ be expected of​ the​ people who worked in​ the​ kitchens .​
Pineapple and​ coconut milk, shredded coconut and​ palm hearts worked their way into everyday dishes, flavoring meat, shrimp, fish, vegetables and​ bread .​
Brazilian food, unlike the​ cuisines of​ many of​ the​ surrounding countries, favors the​ sweet rather than the​ hot, and​ more than any other South American cuisine, it​ carries the​ savor of​ tropical island breezes rather than the​ hot wind of​ the​ desert.
The most common ingredients in​ Brazilian cuisine are cassava, coconut, dende, black beans and​ rice .​
Bacalao – salt cod – features in​ many dishes derived from the​ Portuguese, but flavored with typical Brazilian insouciance with coconut cream and​ pistachio nuts it​ becomes an​ entirely different food .​
It is​ typical of​ the​ Brazilian attitude toward food – an​ expression of​ a​ warm and​ open people to​ whom feeding and​ sharing food is​ the​ basis of​ hospitality .​
Brazilian cuisine is​ like its people – all are welcome, all are welcomed and​ all make their mark – without ever overwhelming the​ contributions of​ the​ other.

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