An international experience even the pandemic can’t get in the way of

Brazil is a vast and diverse country, with strong regional characteristics, looks and tastes. But if you are planning a visit – or just curious and can’t wait until the pandemic is over to try the South American flavours – you can easily find Brazilian restaurants in England. These are a few dishes you must not leave without trying.

On top of the list – and not limited to any regions (I would say) – is the traditional “Feijoada”. A simple, all in one dish, salty, tasty and hard to resist. And let me warn you: it is very, VERY likely you will need a nap after this experience and will not need another meal later that day.

Feijoada (Black Beans)

Is a black bean-based meal with tender meat (tastes a bit like the Spanish Gammon) and sausage cooked all together for at least two hours – or faster if you have a pressure cooker. The dish and juices are served on top of white rice.

As a side dish is “farofa”, similar to breadcrumbs. The crunchy dry wheat mixed with rice and meat creates the perfect bite – not too dry and not too liquidy. It is typically served with thinly sliced green cabbage and pieces of orange, intended to help absorb the fat from the meat and further digestion.

As a Brazilian myself, I must say: when I miss home I make Feijoada.

Churrasco (Barbecue)

I remember the first time my family was invited to a barbecue in London. I was a child living in North London and we had been away from our home in Brazil for a while. We desperately missed the Brazilian food, especially the churrasco. I cannot put into words the disappointment when faced with a burger instead of our tender, tasty steak, and found out that, in England, barbecues have a different concept.

Originated in the south, the “churrasco”, or if you prefer, barbecue tradition, was created by the gauchos, people from the south of Brazil and quickly won over the country and, why not, the world? Ok, maybe too much. But let’s say that you can easily spot a Brazilian restaurant or even a traditional Brazilian steakhouse in England. The meat is normally served on a stick. The customer chooses the part that seems yummier and slices of steaks are served straight to their plates. Generally it’s a “all you can eat” service for a fixed price. But get ready for that bill!

Pão de Queijo (cheese bun)

A tiny piece of heaven called cheese buns or, in Portuguese, “pão de queijo”, is a delight and can also be found almost anywhere in Brazil. Goes perfectly with tea, coffee and is a gluten-free any time snack made with tapioca flour, milk, eggs, olive oil and, of course, cheese.

For Brazilians it is a ‘must have’ at home item. It is simple to make, and most people love it.