Caipirinha – know the story behind the drink

We have written quite a long text about our local delicacies which we recommend trying while visiting Brazil , however, we have not mentioned anything about local drinks. Let us introduce you to our national drink – caipirinha. This is a 100% must-try when visiting our beautiful country. Caipirinha is perfect during hot days on a beach. If you would like to know what is the history behind this yummy beverage and how to make it, this is a place for you.

How caipirinha was created

 

There are many stories about how caipirinha was invented so we will not give you an exact answer. Some sources say that during the Spanish flu people used to drink it to feel better. But how did they know that the combination of alcohol, lime and sugar would cure them? In the beginning, people used to put a cloth moistened in alcohol to their foreheads to reduce fever. Then they would suck lime to improve immunity. Once, there was a man who accidentally drank a drop of alcohol dripping from his forehead when he was sucking a lime. He felt a bitter taste so he ate a bit of sugar – and there you go – a perfect refreshing drink which cures you when you feel under the weather. This is how caipirinha was created. 

Another story is connected with the name of the drink. Caipira means ‘peasant’ in Portuguese. Because Brazil is the largest producer of sugarcane, the Brazilian peasants or ‘caipiras’ mainly work on the plantations of that cane. Sugar cane has various uses, it can be a component of fuel for cars, but most of all, we use it to make Cachaça. It is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. This cachaça was consumed by tired caipira after work, who also put lime into it as the taste was very strong. Because temperatures are generally high in Brazil, ice began to be added for refreshment. Well, but since Brazilians love sweet and not tart taste, they started thinking what to add to make it sweet? The answer came quickly – of course, what was in abundance in the sugar cane plantation? And so came the caipirinha and its name came from the creators of this drink – caipiras.

 

How to make a caipirinha

 

If you cannot wait and would like to try caipirinha now, you can easily prepare it at home. All you need is cachaça, lime, ice, and sugar

 

Cut ¾ of lime in wedges. Muddle the lime at the bottom of a glass to release some juice. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 40 ml of cachaça. Fill the glass with ice and stir. Saúde!

Enjoy this refreshing drink while visiting Brazil. We also like to add different fruit to our cachaça so you can find different variations of the drink like maracuja cachaça. We like the typical one, though. 

 

Do not forget that the best way to travel around Brazil is by bus. To buy the tickets online visit Brazil Bus Travel  and buy your tickets in advance.

 

Enjoy your stay. 

 

10 best dishes to try when traveling to Brazil

One of the best parts of traveling abroad is trying new dishes. There is nothing better than sitting in a restaurant and browsing through the menu. We find it very exciting and always order too much to be honest, don’t you? We search beforehand, what are the best dishes in the specific country and try to eat them all. It is also good to ask some locals to tell you what you should eat during your stay in their hometowns.

As we are here to help you organize your stay in Brazil (and we are those locals :)) you do not have to google the best dishes in Brazil. We will write them down for you. Enjoy your stay in Brazil and bon appetit.

Moqueca

 

This dish comes from the state of Bahia, which is located in the Brazilian Nordeste (in the North East). It is famous for its beautiful beaches and it is a favorite vacation destination for both Brazilians and many Europeans and Americans. 

The dish came to Brazil with African slaves. Moqueca can be prepared from fish, shrimps or a mixture of both. The seafood is dipped in a sauce based on palm oil ‘dendê’ (widely used in the state of Bahia), coconut milk and onions, tomatoes and peppers. We love this amazing mixture of flavors and often cook it at home as it is really easy to make. 

Feijoada

 

This delicious bean stew with beef or pork is our national dish. The name feijoada comes from the Portuguese word feijão meaning beans. The dish comes from Portugal, which being a colonial country for many centuries, has spread its culinary tradition all over the world. However, in Brazil, feijoada has become a national dish. How did it happen and what is the story behind it?

The legend says that the poor slaves needed nutritious and cheap food, which is why they mixed meat leftovers with protein-rich beans. Nowadays it sounds terrible, but slaves only got meat that was not eaten by their masters. So they only had ears and pigtails left.

 

Modern researchers, however, consider this story untrue. It is much more likely that the creation of feijoada is associated with the cultivation of beans in Brazil. Due to the low cost of production and the ease of growing this legume, bean grains have become the primary food product for European settlers. It was the wealthier inhabitants of Brazil at that time who ate a dish similar to modern feijoada because they had access to expensive meat. In contrast, poor settlers mixed beans with cassava flour.

Brazilian feijoada is prepared from black beans and salted pieces of pork or beef. In some regions of the country, smoked sausage is added to it. In regions of north-eastern Brazil, such as Bahia and Sergipe, cabbage, kale, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and even bananas are added to the dish at the end of the preparation.

 

Ready feijoada is served with white rice and oranges. A common addition to the dish is also chopped greens and manioc flour.

Vatapá

 

Vatapa is a time-consuming dish and therefore it is eaten rather on holidays. It consists of shrimps or other fresh or dried crustaceans, nuts, palm oil and vegetables which are enriched with bread, coconut milk and greens. The vatapa consistency resembles soup-cream as the long-cooked ingredients create the tasty puree. You can buy acarajé which is filled with vatapa at the street stands.

Tucupi

 

Tucupi is a sauce made from cassava root. It is characterized by intense yellow color and a long preparation process due to the poisonous cyanide present in the juice, which disappears after properly cooking the sauce.

It is often served with fish and duck dishes, but can also be used as a base for various soups.

Coxinha 

 

Coxinha is a popular delicacy served in pubs, as street food and everywhere as we love it. Coxinha consists of shredded pieces of chicken with various additions (e.g. cream cheese) which are enclosed in dough-based on broth and then deep-fried. Coxinhas are often served in the shape of small thighs (hence the name). Yummy!

Brigadeiro

 

This delicious chocolate-milk cake was created in 1940 in honor of Eduardo Gomes, a Brazilian politician, and soldier – “Foreman alias Brigadeiro” – his nickname became the name for the cake. 

 

Brigadeiros are probably the most known and liked sweets of every Brazilian. They are sweet, intensely chocolate, energizing and instantly raising blood sugar levels. Their main ingredients are chocolate, condensed milk, butter, cocoa and chocolate sprinkles for decoration. You have to try them. Yummy!

Acarajé

 

If you plan to visit Bahia, you have to try acarajé. Those bean chops (feijão-fradinho) with onion and salt are deep-fried in dendê palm oil. They are filled with vegetables or shrimps, depending on your preferences. If on a hot afternoon you see traditionally dressed bahianas on the street, frying something in a deep pan, this is how acarajé is made.

Feijão tropeiro

 

You will find this traditional dish in the state of Minas Gerais. It is a dish invented by cattle rangers (tropeiros) during the Brazilian Colonial period. It consists of beans cooked with salted or dried meat, cassava flour, various herbs, and vegetables.

Açaí

 

If you take care of your health and like discovering new recipes which are not only tasty but also very healthy, you have to try açaí.

Ripe açaí fruits have a dark purple color and look a bit like American blueberry. They grow on one of the world’s most fertile soils and that is why they are packed with nutrients. In the açaí berry pulp, you will find a huge dose of antioxidants, phytosterols, as well as mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids – omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9. The fruits also contain vitamins A, C, and B (B1, B2, B3). What is more, açaí berries are a rich source of fiber and minerals such as potassium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium.

In Brazil, you can try the so-called açaí na tigela. It is a frozen açaí mousse with guarana syrup, sprinkled with granola or muesli. It is usually served with bananas or other fruits.

Creme de cupuaçu

Cupuaçu is a fruit that tastes both sour and bitter-sweet. Therefore, in the north, it is used in both savory and sweet recipes. It can be used in cakes or just as ice-cream (when you put it in the freezer, it looks and tastes like ice-cream).

This is what traveling is about – an amazing experience of getting to know new food and flavors. We hope that you will find this list of the best Brazilian dishes useful. Enjoy 🙂

São Paulo is the second most desirable travel destination in the world in 2020

Thanks to Google research made between January and December 2019 for dates in 2020 (searches for accommodation – hotels), you can check which cities are those which people want to visit the most in 2020. This research may give you some ideas about where to go on your holiday. We are very proud that São Paulo is second on the list, just after Da Nang in Vietnam. If you decide to visit this unique place in Brazil, which we encourage you to do so, we will give you a few tips about what to see and do in the city. We will also briefly talk about the results of the research.

Google research – results

 

The first place on the list takes Da Nang in Vietnam. Da Nang is a city where many people start their adventure in Central Vietnam. It is often a halfway point for people who visit the country because it lies between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. The atmosphere there is different from those of both cities, though. Arriving there you can set off on a journey in almost every direction and find many fascinating and magical places. The city is surrounded by sea and mountains and it has a unique microclimate. 

The second on the list is São Paulo and then Seul in South Korea, Tokyo (Japan), Tel Aviv (Israel), Marseille (France), Vienna (Austria), Bangkok (Thailand), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Perth (Australia). Let’s focus on São Paulo, as this city is the closest to our hearts.

 

São Paulo – the largest city in Latin America

 

São Paulo is the largest city not only in the country but also throughout Latin America. It has a special atmosphere and many attractions. São Paulo is the most ethnically and religiously diverse urban area. This settlement, founded in the 16th century, still attracts crowds of tourists.

We have written about this city before and encourage you to read the article about time, weather and also some tips that we give to the tourists. Below you will find three other attractions that can be found in São Paulo that we have not mentioned in the previous article. 

Aclimação and Ibirapuera 

São Paulo is known as the concrete city, however, it is not entirely true. Aclimação and Ibirapuera are two parks worth visiting. The first park gives a delicate foretaste of the Brazilian tropical forest. In addition to the beautiful nature, you can encounter monkeys and proudly strolling peacocks. In Ibirapuera Park, on the other hand, you can see interesting constructions and works of art incorporated into the natural landscape. Everything can be touched which is quite an attraction for children.

Mercado Municipal Paulistano

 

This fruit, meat, and vegetable market delight with a variety of smells and flavors. Your taste buds will experience something indescribable. We are sure that you have never seen so many fruits, nuts, and seafood in one place. In addition to taste sensations, Mercado Municipal Paulistano also offers artistic experience, as the entire attic is decorated with beautiful stained glass windows.

 

 

 

Once you are in São Paulo, you can easily travel to other cities by bus. You can go to Rio de Janeiro in around 4 hours. All you have to do is visit the Brazil Bus Travel website and buy your ticket online. It is a recommended website that specializes in selling bus tickets for foreigners. 

 

We hope that you have found some inspiration for your next holiday. We wish you amazing experiences.

 

What to expect from Christmas dinner in Brazil?

Just in a few days, we will be celebrating Christmas. Even though it is hard to imagine this day on a sunny beach in Rio, the upcoming Christmas arouses a lot of emotions in Brazil as well. It is an extremely large country, both in terms of area and population. For this reason, Christmas traditions vary greatly from region to region. Brazilians also wait for this time of the year and prepare for it similarly as people in Europe – buying gifts, Christmas trees, preparing Christmas dinner, meeting family and friends and watching Christmas movie hits. 

Most of the Christmas customs derive from the Christian tradition and they have been adapted to local traditions and the climate prevailing in Brazil. 

Learn a little bit more about Christmas in this beautiful country.

Christmas decorations and presents

 

If you visit Brazil, you will notice Christmas trees and even palm trees illuminating with lights. Brazilians prepare their decorations in November or even in October. There are no rules when it comes to colour or the number of lights – people like to show their imagination. 

Santa Claus is certainly the most recognizable symbol of the holidays in this tropical region. All children love an old man with a beard and are happy to come to shopping malls to sit on his lap and get a small gift or candies.

Christmas time is, of course, a time when people spend time with their families and friends but the Christmas shopping madness is certainly a thing here as well. Trips to shopping malls with long lists of Christmas presents became a tradition as well.

Christmas dinner 

As we mentioned before, spending Christmas with family is very important in Brazil – it also involves Christmas dinner preparation. It usually takes place in the house of the oldest member of the family or the person that has the biggest house. 

 

Christmas dinner usually consists of the following dishes:

    • turkey,
    • Chester (chicken that has especially large chest and more meat than a normal chicken),
    • pernil (fresh ham),
    • salpicão (a mix of vegetables with mayonnaise),
    • farofa (toasted cassava or cornflour mixture),
    • rice with raisins,
    • fish,

 

  • Rabanada for dessert (kind of a french toast – sliced bread soaked in eggs with milk and fried).

 

 

Christmas dinner takes place on December 24, just after midnight. Kids get their presents before dinner as they will probably be too tired to stay up late. The party ends late at night.

December 25 is usually a churrasco (barbecue) time when everybody eats the food that was left from the day before. Normally, we usually do too much food for Christmas dinner, so we finish it the next day with our family and friends.

Brazil is a country extremely mixed in terms of nationality and ethnicity, which is why its Christmas traditions are a kind of hybrid of customs from different parts of the world. We hope that we more or less showed you how this special time looks here. 

Merry Christmas everybody.

What is the population of Brazil

Another topic that we would like to talk about is the population of Brazil. If you are thinking of going to Brazil, it is best to learn a bit about the country beforehand. We recommend learning about the climate, the most interesting tourist attractions, language, history and of course people. You do not have to know everything. Just basic facts thanks to which your trip will gain another dimension. We encourage you of course to read more about it. We will just make an introduction to this topic below.

The population of Brazil – basic facts

 

The ethnic composition of Brazil’s population is closely related to its history. Before the country was covered by the colonial expansion of the Portuguese, the inhabitants were mainly Indians. The development of plantations caused that slaves from Africa began to be imported. Over time, the white and black people began to mix. Another turning point was the independence of Brazil, which made immigrants from Europe come to Brazil. 

At present, half of Brazil’s population are white people and creole. Next, the black people, Indians, Mottos and Mestys. Representatives of specific groups are centered in specific regions. For example, the southern and south-eastern areas are inhabited by white people. East and north-east are inhabited by the black people and Indians are concentrated in the Amazon. Inhabitants are not evenly distributed throughout the country. They mainly focus on the coast to 500 km inland. The migration of people within the country occurs due to disproportions in socio-economic development. 

Catholicism is the most widely professed religion (64.6%). Then, there are the following: Protestantism (22,2%), Irreligion (8%), Spiritism (2%) and others.

 An extraordinary ethnic mix has made the local culture unique. The most known event in the whole world, that makes Brazil different from other countries, is the famous carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The slaves from Angola initiated samba that became a national dance. Everybody knows samba and knows where do people learn it the most. Those are those little things that make our country unique.

Brazil population – numbers

The population of Brazil in 2019 will grow by 1 525 000 and it will reach 213 863 000 people in 2020. Migration has increased the population by 6,000 people a year, including emigration and immigration. The average number of births in Brazil is 2 855 284 a year, the number of deaths is 1 360 165 a year. The natural increase will be around 0.70 percent per year. Since 1980, the population density of Brazil has changed from 14.5 to 25.0 in 2017.

We hope that we have given you enough information when answering the question ‘what is the population of Brazil’? As we have mentioned before, we encourage you to learn more about it before coming to Brazil. However, those basic facts should be enough for you. If you have any doubts or questions, do not hesitate to write them in the comment section below.

 

Let’s talk about Brazilian coffee

You may have heard that Brazil is famous for its amazing coffee. If you are a coffee lover, it is another reason for you to visit our country and try the coffee from the source. If you want to know more about this drink, please read a few facts about the so-called ‘cafe Brazil’ below.

Brazil is a country especially liked by coffee gourmets. This is where the excellent coffee comes from, with each of the smallest grains having an original taste and perfect aroma. Although Ethiopia is the homeland of coffee, Brazilian plantations supply the market with the largest amount of this valuable ingredient. Brazilian coffee is appreciated by professional coffee tasters who gave it the name of a ‘specialty’, as well as regular users while sipping “little black” to an afternoon dessert in the cafe (Brazil or other countries).

 

Where does the Brazilian coffee come from?

The best coffee comes from volcanic areas, with crops above 900 m above sea level, not contaminated with pesticides – at high altitudes diseases that invade the shrubs do not develop. Most of the plantations come from the times of the conquest of Brazil by the Portuguese, who in 1719 stole plants from Guyana and founded the first plantations. Thanks to them, until 1800, coffee has changed from stimulants for the elite into a drink available for everyone. Throughout the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century, Brazil remained the main producer and almost monopolist on the market of “black gold”. 

Arabica owes its name to the Arabs, who up to the seventeenth century held the palm of priority in its cultivation. The most cultivated varieties of Arabica in Brazil are Bourbon, Catuai, Mundo Novo, Typica and Maragotype. All are characterized by a mild harmonious flavor. It is almost completely free from acidity, with low caffeine content. Good Brazilian coffee Arabica can be so easily recommended to everyone: it is a coffee with a good, classic taste. What is more, it is suitable for both espresso and cappuccino.

Brazilian coffee – how should you drink it?

In Brazil, coffee is drunk all day long – from morning to late evening. Nobody is surprised that even children in primary schools drink it. Perhaps because you usually add a lot of sugar to it. After all, coffee must be sweet! Coffee is usually served as black coffee, and less often it is drunk with milk. The trend for cappuccino and latte macchiato restaurants has also arrived here. Sweet lovers will feel like in paradise – whipped cream, sweet syrup and a little bit of sugar cane are popular additions. 

The most common home brewing method to prepare the coffee is to pour boiled water over the top of a jug with a paper filter with coffee inside. The boiling water is gradually poured, so that the infusion slowly – not too quickly – drips into a jug.

When being in Brazil, try the typical coffee with sugar in Brazil café and tell us how you liked it. Enjoy the experience.

 

Benefits of Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are the seeds of the Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa) – a tree growing in the rainforest of the Amazon. Due to the characteristic look of the nuts, they are often called the Brazilian gold. The fruits of the peanuts resemble a coconut, from which, after being cut with a machete, you can extract the seeds. They dry in the sun and are being peeled. What are the details about the Brazil nut nutrition, can you always eat them and how many can be eaten every day?

How many Brazil nuts should you eat a day?

 

The selenium content in those nuts is so high that it is not advisable to consume them in excess – 3-4 nuts a day is a recommended amount. The consumption of one nut per day is absolutely sufficient if you just want to eat them just prophylactically.

They are also useful in the form of supplementing selenium deficiency – then the recommended solution is to take a maximum of two nuts per day. Like many other substances, depending on the dose, selenium can be both beneficial and toxic. In one Brazilian nut, there is about 50 mcg of selenium.

Even in the case of a deficiency of selenium, exceeding the maximum tolerated daily dose may cause unpleasant effects of selenium overdoses – eg. skin blemishes, nails breakage, hair loss or nausea.

 

Brazil nut nutrition

 

Due to the fat content, the nuts are quite caloric, 656 kcal per 100 g. However, remember that these are mainly unsaturated fatty acids, which regulate the level of bad cholesterol and reduce hypertension, so you do not have to be scared of them. They are a rich source of vitamins B1 and E, which as an antioxidant prevents the degradation of cells. It helps in maintaining a healthy appearance of the skin and mucous membranes. It also affects fertility and stimulates wound healing after surgery and burns. They provide the body with the necessary minerals in the form of magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, iron and calcium. They help in combating stress and can be consumed by diabetics.

 

Due to the high content of zinc, they are recommended for people who drink a lot of alcohol (zinc enhances the action of alcohol dehydrogenase-enzymes found in the liver). They also contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system and protection of cells against oxidative stress. These nuts have the highest content of selenium of vegetable origin, already one nut provides us with daily demand for this mineral. Selenium is above all a very strong antioxidant. It protects us against the formation of cancer cells. It positively affects the normal skin condition and the course of enzymatic reactions.

Can the Brazil nuts be harmful?

 

While the nuts are eaten in the right dose, they should not be harmful. However, the problem may be the presence of phytic acid, which is classified as an anti-nutritional substance. This component impairs the process of mineral absorption, delivered to the body along with food. This phenomenon, however, appears mainly in the case of exceeding the recommended daily dose. The effect of phytic acid can also be overcome by properly preparing the nuts before consumption – just soak them in water for a minimum of 8 hours. This solution also allows softening the nuts, so that their consumption does not strain teeth in case of hypersensitivity. People who have a high risk of allergic reactions – for example, after eating pistachios or mangoes – should not eat them.

 

We hope that we have encouraged you to eat the nuts. Complementing the daily diet in dried fruit and nuts, do not forget about Brazil nuts – a healthy, tasty and nutritious snack.