As the largest country in South America, Brazil is home to some of the most vibrant cultures, landscapes and biodiversity in the world. From the white sandy beaches of Copacabana that cover Rio de Janeiro’s coast to the thick foliage of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil’s inhabitants encompass everything from Portuguese speakers and indigenous groups to endangered wildlife in the Amazon river basin. A look into the country’s rich history unveils some of the most significant influences that shaped the country’s agricultural and cultural landscape. Native tribes inhabited Brazil or Brasil until it was colonized by the Portuguese (led by Pedro Álvares Cabral) from the 1500s -1808. It is thought that Brazil is named after brazilwood trees that lined many of the country’s coastal areas.
Although Brazil is free from Portuguese rule, the language and cultural influences are still present today. From the capital city of Brasilia to the life and vibrancy that explode from the streets of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero, a sense of community and energy can be felt instantly. Carnival is one of the most well known Brazilian celebrations involving street performances and intricate and colorful costumes to celebrate the beginning of lent. The weeklong celebrations bring together the community with a focus on the samba (most popular style of music from Rio) or the frevo (a plethora of music styles from Recife and Olinda, Pernambuco); it’s main focus depending on the geography of each town.
Just as the streets of Brazil are packed with vibrant celebrations and culture, so too are the delicacies of the country. As no surprise, one of the drinks sipped by Brazilians every day is coffee! Brazil is one of the top 3 suppliers of coffee across the globe. Locals will attest to their love of the caffeinated beverage, since it’s not uncommon for them to enjoy up to 6 cups of it per day! Coffee in Brazil can be enjoyed in many different ways such as a pingado (coffee with a splash of milk) or a café expreso, but what is coffee without a perfectly paired snack?
Pingado + Cafe Expresso
The Pingado and the Cafe Expresso are common ways Brazillians enjoy their coffee. Add a Pao de Queijo as a snack and you are sure to be transported to Brazil!
• Dark roast coffee •
A splash of a milk of your choice
1. Brew your favorite dark roast coffee with purified water if possible to add to the flavor. Use a stovetop espresso maker or a an espresso machine if possible!
2. Pour coffee in a an espresso glass or cup. For the Pingado, grab any milk of your choice and add a few drops until you are satisfied with the consistency. If you were in the mood for the cafe espresso, you are all set with the steamy espresso straight out of the coffee maker!
3. Grab a Pao de Queijo along with your coffee and enjoy the aromatic scents!
Breakfast in Brazil
Stroll through the streets and find yourself a spot in at a local lanchonete (fast food café) for a midday break or even for café da manhã (breakfast) and grab a pao de queijo (cheese bread) to balance the warm notes of your drink! Traditionally made of tapioca flour and mixed with cheese and eggs, pao de queijo comes out of the oven with a perfectly crispy exterior and a soft hollow interior. Just make sure to have plenty, as one piece won’t be enough!
Pap De Queijo-Ingredients
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
10 Oz tapioca flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and grease two baking sheets or add parchment paper if available. Mix in all the wet ingredients with the salt (milk, oil and salt) in a small pan on the stovetop. Keep the flame on medium heat and stir occasionally until bubbles begin to form on the edges of the mixture. Add the tapioca flour to the wet ingredients and make sure to mix well until there aren’t any flour clumps visible. The dough will have bounce and texture to it. Once the dough has reached this consistency, set aside in a bowl or stand mixer to be worked through. Next comes time to beat the dough. Begin to beat the dough either by hand or with the help of a mixer on medium speed until the dough becomes cool enough to touch. Once the dough has cooled down, it’s time to mix in the eggs. Make sure each egg is added one at a time and fully incorporated before the next one is added. Mix the dough until eggs have been fully combined into the dough. Now it’s time to add the best part… the cheese! Slowly add the cheese into the dough and mix on medium speed until it has been completely mixed in. The dough should have elasticity to it. Let’s get ready to form the buns. You can choose to make the puffs as large or small as desired by using a tablespoon or an ice cream scoop to create dough balls. Make sure to have a cup of warm water close by to rinse your spoon between each scoop of dough. Use your hands to roll the dough into equal sized balls. Place the puffs approximately 2 inches apart on the greased/ parchment paper covered baking sheets and bake in oven for 15 minutes or until puffs have turned a golden color.