Oh, Brazil. There’s a lot of beautiful there. Beaches and mountains. And rainforest–which I’ll see someday, I swear it.
Between leaving the DC Metro Area and arriving in Knoxville, Jordan and I were lucky enough to spend almost 3 weeks in Brazil. We stayed with Jordan’s friend from college, Chris, near Salvador (in the state of Bahia). Chris teaches English in that area. Chris and his girlfriend, Milena, were excellent hosts–helping us communicate with others, helping choose our activities, and showing us Brazil from a point of view that we would never have seen otherwise.
While there, we ate many, many delicious things. Much of what we ate while there was completely new to us. At the time we visited, I was not a vegetarian, so we had beef (copain even!), visited a traditional churrascaria, sampled seafood dishes that were heavy on the dende oil, and partook in some of the villa’s group barbeques. Still, there were plenty of herbivore delights. The family of one of Chris’ students (following?) owns a produce shop, and let us sample anything that peaked our interest. Coconut water straight from the coconut was nearly a daily occurrence, acai (Rio bowls) made the cut frequently. Manioc (yucca) flour abounded. The dende oil and manioc flour are evidence of the African influences on Brazilian cuisine. (Bahia has been called “the Africa of the Americas”).
So, with all of this emphasis on the time I spent in Brazil, you’re probably thinking that this is the first place I had feijoada, right? Actually, while staying an eco-resort in Misiones Province in Argentina, I was introduced to feijoada.
And more travel pictures from Don Enrique (the aforementioned eco-resort). Don Enrique was the big splurge on our Honeymoon. I very much recommend the place to anyone considering it. The owners are so welcoming, the hiking guides are friendly and knowledgeable (and will put up with
your my very broken Spanish), the setting is wonderful. But the food…wow. All local, raised in their gardens, etc. I’d never eaten better. Don Enrique is nestled right up by the Brazilian border, and the Brazilian influence is quite strong.
Okay, so that’s not feijoada, either. Just one of the lovely meals we ate while there.
So what is feijoada? You had to know I’d get around to it eventually, right? Feijoada is a stew of beans and traditionally, beef and pork. It is a typical dish in both Portugal and Brazil and is considered by many as the Brazil’s national dish. It’s served with rice and typically some sides. While hiking in Brazil, it was often served with what seemed like an overwhelming number of sides. The meal below was just for the three of us. After a full day of the hardest hiking I’d done up to that point, we nearly cleared the table!
Since I’m no longer eating meat, I wasn’t sure how to approach this dish. I couldn’t very well just make beans and rice, because that seemed to be taking too much out of the dish. So I opted for Gimme Lean (just realized the rhyme with Jimmy Dean….:S) vegan sausage as my “meat” add in. It truly did taste like sausage, which weirded me out a bit, but then I gave in.
I served our feijoada with manioc fries, which I believe I am getting better at making! Remember, you’ll have to boil first. The dish really hit the spot for me.
The beans really covered the faux-sausage, but you can see it in the top of the photo.
Peeking out a little more in that photo.
While I really, really love brigadeiro (similar to truffles), I decided I would go with fresh tropical fruit for dessert, as fresh mangoes, papayas, and pineapples now all take me back to Bahia.
And I wanted to share photos of my lovely, slightly overpriced Anthropologie cup (purchased during the NYC trip)!
I’d say the joy of eating the pineapple out of such a pretty cup was worth the 10 dollar price tag.
Until we meet again, readers….