If someone asked me the best thing about Brazil, it would definitely be the people. They are so kind, welcoming, and hospitable. BUT, a very, very close second in the ranking of my favorite parts of Brazil so far is the food. Brazilian food is some of the best I’ve ever had and most importantly, it is prepared with love by the nation’s amazing people.
Today, we went to one of Metodista’s three campuses, where they teach gastronomy (cooking) classes, and were able to learn a little about the cuisine of Brazil. Much like the US has foods that are characteristic of the South and the East and West Coasts, the cuisine in different areas of Brazil varies greatly. In the Norte (North), food has more of an Indian Influence. In the Nordeste (Northeast) and Este (East), people cook a lot of seafood, because it is along the coast. Here in Sudeste (southeast), where Sao Paulo is, there are many varied dishes- often centered around the country’s delicious rice and beans.
In the cooking class, we learned how to make Galinhada, a traditional dish from Centro-Este (Central East) of Brazil. It is made of rice, seasoned chicken, peppers, tomatoes, and various seasonings. Honestly, it was one of the best things I have ever tasted. The rice was perfectly seasoned, the chicken fell off the bone, and the vegetables had great flavor. Maybe, just maybe, I will try and make it for my family when I get home!
After observing the chef make Galinhada, it was our turn to try and prepare dessert! We made a traditional Brazilian dessert called Brigadeiro. Brigadeiro is made with sweetened condensed milk (Brazilians love condensed milk! It’s in so many things!!), heavy cream, and other flavorings. Today, we made peanut butter Brigadeiro over the stove and then let it cool in the freezer. Afterwards, I got the chance to scoop it and roll it in a topping made of peanuts.
Now comes the best part- the taste test!! Brigadeiro is SO GOOD! It’s not like anything we have in the U.S. The peanut butter briagadeiro almost tasted like the inside of a peanut butter cup, but much creamier. This is definitely something I can make at home- and with only 2 main ingredients and endless options for toppings, I am very excited to experiment!
Each day in Brazil, I have had the opportunity to try so many new and amazing things, and food is just one of those. Even in the first three days of this trip, God has opened my eyes so much to His creation and the beautiful and diverse world that is around me. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here learning and soaking up every bit of the culture that I can! Plus, who couldn’t marvel at this world with a sunset like this?