5 Things to do in Brazil

From Sunshine and beaches to rain-forest and other nature’s splendor, from Carnival to rich experience of colonial culture, Brazil is a country of abundance. And here is a top 5 list of things to do in Brazil.

5 – Salvador da Bahia

Salvador da Bahia. Brazil.

First colony the Portuguese developed. The richness in colonial history and architecture is worthwhile to wonder through.

4 – Rio Carnival

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Rio Samba Parade, festival vibe, endless celebrations and parties all over Rio de Janeiro’s every street, squares, bars, clubs and all other venues. It’s the best possible way to experience the passionate and celebrative spirit of this country.

3 – Amazon River

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What else could be better with than cruising along the river of a tropical rainforest? Amazon River is the second longest river in the world. Abundance of species is waiting to be seen.

2 – Iguaçu Falls

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Sits on the border of Brazil and Argentina, the Iguaçu Falls is one of the grest natural wonders of the world with 273 falls scatter along Iguaçu River. The U-shape Devil’s Throat fall is the most impressive of all.

1 –   Christ the Redeemer

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Needless to say, the statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janerio in one of the most appeal icon in relate to the image of Brazil. This 39.6 metres statue sits on Corcovado Mountain with the most amazing views to Rio and its splendorous landscape. And of course, no one is going to forget about the sunshine and beaches in Rio as well.

Commentary:

I have to say, for someone never been in Brazil, comprising this list is not easy. The temptation of traveling there is overwhelming. This temptation is actually a well demonstration of the effects to place essentialism. However, what it is not on the list regarding the economic, social, environmental sides of Brazil is also worthwhile to explore. What is so called “authentic” experience of the country is nothing more than just the essentialised image.

Churrasco – A Sit-down Experience of Exploration

The story of a place/people through the experience of their food.

Open Flame, sizzling meat, cattle and sheeps – the life of the Gauchos (cowboys).

????????????????????????????????????????Gauchos is the name for the men worked the cattle, or so we call cowboy.  They are originated  in the great wide plains areas of southern Brazil, Pampas, in the early 1800’s. The Gauchos raised cattle as their primary way of life while roaming through the land and trying to explore the unknow as well to look for gold (for some). There are many legends about the Gauchos. Wide flat hats, wool ponchos, long pleated trousers or loose baggy pands called bornbachas, and leather boots men around the open flame with fresh meat slow roasting/basting as the ash blown is the typical image of  the Gauchos life.

churrasco gaucho 3

Through the inspiration and the long tradition of the Gauchos, Churrasco, the brazilian cowboy barbecue, is served in Churrasaria, brazilian steakhouse. As following the tradition of the Gauchos, a variety of cuts of meat are slow roasted on charcoal or wood and service to you by slicing the meat freshly to your plate. “The slow-cooked meat basted in its own juices and resulted in tender, flavorful steaks” In a typical Churrasaria, waiter, who normally dresses in Bornbachas, comes and goes with a skewers of different meat and slices sample of each to your plate until signal of enough is shown. This style of eating is referred as espeto corrido or rodízio, where the ‘espeto’ means skewer.

CHURRASCO

Normally, a typical churrasco consists of free-flowing (all-you-can-eat) beef cuts, pork cuts, chouriço, chicken heart, dark chicken meat, grilled or fired pineapple or banana, etc. Some churrasaria feature over 15 different cuts of meat in one serving. The free flowing meat is complemented with a “not-an-average” salad bar, which provide a wide range of refreshing salad and other Brazilian side dishes.

The charcoal is burning, slight ash flicks up, the warmth of open fire along with the smell of the meat, a scenes of exploration of the Gauchos spirit.

Source:

Gauchos Brazilian Steak House, The History: A South American Tradition of Taste, 20th August 2014<http://www.gauchosbraziliansteakhouse.com/History.html&gt;

Batel Grill, The Origin of Churrasco, 20th August 2014 <http://www.batelgrill.com.br/en/batel-grill/the-origins-of-churrasco&gt;

Feijoada – A Culture Icon

An authentic dish often times reflects the culture of where it is from. The reasoning of each ingredient that is used reflects and illustrate the past of the culture. The way of the dish is cooked and served, in a way, also resemble the local culture and their ways of life.

Feijoada

Feijoada (source: forkfingerchopsticks.com)

Feijoada is claimed to be the national dish of Brazil by many, for those who disagree still can denial  that is one of most representative dish in Brazilian cuisine. Feijoada is essentially black bean stew with salted pork or beef cuts served on rice, and side with sauteed green, farofa (fried cassava meal), and orange slices (as shown in picture above). It is traditionally only served for Saturday lunch and special occasions.

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Slave Quarters Brazil

The dish is a perfect illustration of fusion between different cultures. The ingredients reflects a mixture of Native American, Indian and European influences. The dish is often time associated with the slave quarters, and it is claimed to be first cooked by slaves from gathered leftover meat and beans (very similar to the story of the famous southern american food, gumbo). However, this is not entirely true. The name of “Feijoada” is originated from Portuguese and is translated as “black bean”. Though, Feijoada, as the raw material, is originated from South American, it was used 300 years before the discovery of Brazil in the 1500 by the Europeans. The dish itself is a derivation of Europeans dishes that came to Brazil along with the Portuguese. The one of very first references of Feijoada  is not from slave quarters but with the restaurants patronized by the urban slavoratic elite, and later appear again being patronized by the “good society”.

As the lyric of the song Feijoada completa  (complete Feijoada), “Woman/ You are going to like that/ I am taking home some friends to chat”, Feijoada is not just a dish, but a reflection of the way of living. In some sense, it resembles the festive Brazilian culture.

 

Source:

Elias, Rodrigo. “Feijoada: a short history of an edible institution” <http://dc.itamaraty.gov.br/imagens-e-textos/revistaing13-mat06.pdf&gt;

Simplyrecipes.com <http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/feijoada_brazilian_black_bean_stew/&gt;