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What I Ate In Brazil: the Good, the Bad, and the Totally Gross

THE GOOD:

"Romeu e Julieta", Guava and Cheese

“Romeu e Julieta” in Curitiba. Romeo and Juliet, or guava paste and fresh white cheese, is a typical Brazilian poor man’s dessert. Both ingredients can be found at any grocery store for very cheap. While outside of South America quince-like pastes are used to dress up a cheese platter, guiabada (or guava paste) is apparently only consumed if you can’t afford anything else. So if you happen to like this sort of thing, you’re in luck because they are  practically giving it away in Brazil! (Also, pictured: salmon, cream cheese, chives, and honey mustard dill sauce.)

Brigadeiros, Café Gloria, Blumenau Brazil

Brigadeiros, all over Brazil. My Brazilian cousin-in-law tells a story of when she first learned about American birthday traditions: a cake with candles, party favors, paper hats… she waited and waited to hear the word that she associated most with birthdays. When the speaker came to the end of his description, she was aghast. What a miserable existence American children must face without a heaping tray of birthday brigadeiros! And once you’ve tried one of these simple treats, nothing more than sweetened condensed milk, butter, and cocoa powder rolled into little balls and topped with chocolate sprinkles, you’ll agree that your life up until that moment had been incomplete. The best ones we had were at the ritzy chocolate shop Passion du Chocolat in Curitiba and the cozy Confeitaria Cafehaus Glória in Blumenau.

Garlic Picanha, KF Grill, Curitiba

Garlic Picanha in a Brazilian Steakhouse

No visit to Brazil is complete without a trip to a churrascaria, the ubiquitous Brazilian steakhouse. And no trip to a churrascaria is complete without trying the picanha. Arguably the best cut, picanha is awkwardly termed rump steak in British English, and top sirloin in American English. Alone, it’s incredible, but encrusted in coarse salt and garlic…suffice it to say that that piece of meat pictured above was some of the best in my life. And I grew up on a cattle farm in Virginia and lived on steak tartare for two years in Paris, so that’s saying something…besides what it already says about my great iron levels!

Freshly squeezed cane juice with lime, Floripa

Freshly squeezed Cane Juice on Floripa. 

2.5o reais will get you a frothy cup of freshly squeezed cane juice on Florianópolis. Add a little fresh lime, and this drink  will transform even the staunchest of carbophobes into a total sweet tooth. Just check afterwards that none of your teeth have rotted out from all that sugar.

Calamari at Sabor da Costa, Florianópolis

Calamari on Floripa. 

Some say that deep-frying good seafood is the best way to destroy it. I say that if you’ve got delicious fresh seafood to begin with, than battering it up and throwing it in the deep fryer could only make it MORE delicious. For more pictures and information about this incredible meal, check out my article “Lunch by the Lagoon, Floripa”.

Oysters at Ostradamus, Florianópolis

Raw Oysters on Floripa

If you’re not going to eat it battered and deep fried, then you might as well eat it totally unadulterated. These raw oysters at Ostradamus restaurant were meaty, juicy and still a little salty from their life in the sea (where they had been until that morning). Normally I won’t eat an oyster without a generous drizzling of red wine vinegar and onion, but these were so flavorful I happily slurped them plain.

 

 

THE BAD AND THE TOTALLY GROSS:

Dark moment

Microwave-ready frozen lasagna in Foz do Iguaçu. Hey, you can’t eat steak dinners every night when you’re on the road.

Weird Breakfast Cake, Holz Hotel, Joinville

Chocolate candy, whipped cream, and maraschino cherry topped cake in Joinville. We stopped at the German inspired Holz Hotel for their breakfast buffet on the way from Curitiba down to Florianópolis. Points should be awarded to the hotel for trying to cater towards your typical German sugar fiend, but this was over the top. I mean, this thing could be a stunt double for Buddy the Elf’s spaghetti/pop tart/ maple syrup breakfast.

Filet mignon wrapped in bacon, drenched in gorgonzola sauce, sitting atop spaghetti in a mushroom gravy

Caloric Freakshow in Gramado. I won’t delve into the dirty details of this monstrous dish again (because I’ll probably barf) but if you want to read about it please refer to my previous article.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. operarose #

    Great summary.
    I LOVE brigadeiro! Very easy to make at home, too. I also love the guava paste that they have in Brasil, which can be used as a delicious filling for cookies.
    The ugly…yeah, I’ve seen some fairly horrid concoctions whilst traveling Latin America. It makes you wonder, what were they thinking? Then again, a lot of people ask me why Americans eat peanut butter. So, I suppose each country has its own “unique” delicacies that outsiders will never understand.

    December 22, 2011
  2. Sophie #

    Too true. Most non-Americans can’t understand our fascination with peanut butter, and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around just how much pickled herring Swedes consume annually, but that’s what makes traveling so special. Sampling the local cuisine is without a doubt my favorite part of the travel experience.

    December 25, 2011
  3. Madelaine #

    Quite possible my most favourite article!!!!

    Feliz ano nova gostosa!!!!

    x

    January 2, 2012
    • Sophie #

      Thanks Mads! 😉

      January 5, 2012

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