Updated: Jun 4, 2018
Because the gastronomy of a nation is specially determined by the societies, traditions and customs in that culture as well as by accessibility and availability to certain foods and ingredients, to understand Brazilian food, it’s very important to comprehend its culture, and the origin of its ingredients.
Before European colonization, Brazil was inhabited only by indigenous people, which were usually mostly semi-nomadic tribes who subsisted on hunting, fishing, gathering, and migrant agriculture. Ingredients used by native peoples in Brazil included cassava, guaraná, açaí, cumaru, cashew and tucupi.
More than 500 years ago Portuguese sailors discovered and colonized Brazil, which is now the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world. Along with African slaves they settled in Bahia in the north-east and brought a range of influences and ingredients, including the Portuguese salted cod, onions and garlic, as well as a love of baking and desserts, especially egg custards; while the Africans brought dende (palm oil), coconut, plantains and okra.
From that time to now, Brazil also had waves of immigrants, who went to different regions of Brazil. For instance, the European immigrants (primarily from Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland and Switzerland) were accustomed to a wheat-based diet, and introduced wine, leafy vegetables, and dairy products into Brazilian cuisine, and Japanese immigrants brought most of the food items that Brazilians would associate with Asian cuisine today.
So, we can say that Brazil is like a pot of colors, languages and customs, likewise it is Brazilian food, a colorful and exciting mix of Portuguese, African and native foods. Just like its culture, Brazilian food, differs significantly by region due its continental size and the country's mix of native and immigrant populations, what has shaped a national cuisine with the conservation of regional differences. For example, feijoada, is the national dish, it is loved by all Brazilians and almost every day dish in the Brazilians’ diet. In contrast, dishes like feijão tropeiro, vatapá, acarajé and arroz carreteiro are more consumed in certain regions. Despite of this regionalism, some dishes with regional roots, became popular in all Brazilian territory, it is the case of churrasco (Brazilian barbecue) from southern Brazil and pão de queijo (cheese bread) from Minas Gerais.
This blog will bring a series of articles that explain Brazilian food and culture, its regional differences and how it affects diverse styles of food in Brazil. Also, the main ingredients in the Brazilian culinary, and of course a lot of recipes.
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