Brazil, the largest Portuguese speaking country in South America is made up of different cultures and has a variety of traditional food. The Brazilian cuisine is a combination of heterogeneous cultural inheritances that have assorted together and created a very interesting and unique cuisine. Each region has a different food specialty. It all started with the colonization by the Portuguese in the 16th century soon followed by the Europeans, Italians, Japanese and Africans among others. The first ingredients used by the native Brazilians included cassava, guaraná, açaí, cumaru, cashew and tucupi.
Suppers in Brazil are usually an affair for family and friends (with plenty of food for unexpected guests;) and a time to catch up and share special moments with the loved ones. Lunch is mostly the most splendid and substantial meal of the day followed with a strong shot of coffee. Many traditional dishes contain beans, rice or manioc flour. The most popular dish in Brazil is undoubtedly the feijoada (bean stew), a bean stew made with pork and rice.
Daily meals vary by region. At Café da Manhã (breakfast) it is prevalent to eat fresh tropical fruits, and local cakes, Tapioca, Pão de queijo (baked cheese roll), sweet cereals, cold cuts along with coffee, juices or tea. The almoço (lunch), is the most fulfilling meal of the day often comprises of rice and beans –the staple Brazilian diet– usually eaten with meat or eggs, salads and farofa (a toasted cassava mixture). Merenda or lanchinho (evening snacks) is a small meal between lunch and dinner of coffee, tea or chimarrão; a traditional infusion of the South Brazil accompanied by cookies, cakes and bread. Jantar (evening meal/dinner) is a light meal of soup, pasta, salad or beans and rice.
Silvana Novais, a native Brazilian and a new expertainer on our roster lets us into her life as she shares some of her most intimate relationships with her mother, daughter and the Brazilian cuisine.
When did you move to New York and what food ties you close to Brazil?
Born and raised in Brazil, I moved to New York 4 years ago. I miss rice & beans and Pão de queijo; one of the most popular foods in Brazil.
Has the Brazilian cuisine become more popular in US over the recent years?
The Brazilian community has grown a lot since I first moved here so has our culture and cuisine.
What inspired you to cook? What are some of the values and techniques you learned?
My mother taught me all the basics of cooking and I inherited the creative culinary skills from her. I started to cook with her specially because it gave me more quality time and an opportunity to connect with her in the kitchen where it was all fun and laughter. I didn’t cook much until the birth of my daughter and since her birth I felt the need to learn how to cook again, this is when I discovered my passion for cooking. Later in my life, I also had the pleasure to meet some inspiring chefs who gave me tips on different food styles and wine pairing.
How would you define your cuisine?
I define my cuisine to be diverse and rich in seasoning.
You are hosting cooking experiences on Keenobby. What can the participants expect from this experience?
The participants can expect to be around an easy going and lovely person and get to learn a little bit about the Brazilian cuisine.
Any special cooking secret you would like to share with our readers?
I don’t have any secrets but I have a simple tip: I try to keep my food natural and organic as much as possible.
Want to experience the Brazilian cuisine with Silvana? Check out her next sessions with Keenobby: https://www.keenobby.com/activity/pao-de-queijo-brazilian-cheese-bread/