In this vast country which is Brazil, we have a rich regional cuisine that is almost impossible to generalize across a land that is coloured by such striking differences. A gaúcho accustomed to barbecued meat will probably not have heard about duck in cassava sauce ("tucupi") as enjoyed in Amazônia. The food in one region has an exotic ring for another region in the same country. Very often native fruits are unknown to Brazilians themselves. A city baby could drink kiwi juice every day without ever trying tapioca meal with palm-fruit, without seeing a guava, a bowl made out of a gourd, a sapoti or a genipapo.

When they came to Brazil, the colonizers did not discover a ready-made cuisine but the impact of the environment and new ingredients soon made themselves felt. The Portuguese and Indian cultures came together and the two culinary traditions met. Cassava, fruit, chillies, game and fish combined together happily with olive oil, dried cod, stews and numerous desserts.

Every region has its own festive dishes, but feijoada (bean stew) which originated in Rio de Janeiro, is considered by many to be the most typical of Brazilian dishes, even becoming the inspiration for poems such as "Feijoada à minha moda" ("My style of feijoada") by Vinícius de Morais. It is often served to visitors, who enjoy the pot of black beans in thick sauce, cooked with an abundance of fresh meat and charcuterie. The beans are usually served separately on one dish and the meat on another, accompanied by finely sliced kale, quick-fried with a little oil and garlic, cassava flour or "farofa" (flour mixed with butter), and slices of fresh orange. Everyone can choose how they want to eat it but no one must start without a caipirinha, Brazil's famous national drink, made from "cachaça" (sugar-cane brandy), lemon and sugar.

Flowing through Brazil from north to south is the "river" of everyday basic food, eaten for lunch and dinner and which varies little from region to region.
What then, would be a typical menu for a middle-class Brazilian family?
Breakfast: white coffee, rolls and butter. An optional extra would be fresh queijo de minas (cheese) and fruit such as papaya or orange.
A special feature is that the various dishes are brought to the table at the same time, except the soup, which precedes the meal, and the dessert at the end. The menu almost always includes plain rice, black beans or kidney beans in thick sauce, meat, poultry or fish, a green salad, cooked vegetables and a little fried cake. As side dishes there will be sausage with cassava flour or a farofa (cassava flour mixed with butter) and a glass dish with pickled chilli or chilli sauce.
At dinnertime soup might be served, the favorites being bean soup and chicken broth with rice, the latter being a panacea for all kind of ills, given to nursing mothers and as a cure for sickness.
Dessert may take the form of a sweet with cheese (another Brazilian peculiarity) or fruit or everything at once. Both lunch and dinner are followed by a cafezinho (cup of coffee).

In case you are a carnivore, you'll love the Churrascarias, the all-you-can-eat meat reastaurants. We will not make more explanations about this surreal and ultimate meat-eating experience so that you can see it by yourself during your visit to Brazil.