After the disappointment of Viva Brazil not quite living up to an authentic Churrascaria experience we are eagerly awaiting the opening of another Brazilian eatery in the Toon. Cabana Brasil has restaurants in London, Leeds and Manchester, and is set to open the doors of its Newcastle branch next month.
I thought I’d talk through some of the Brazilian delicacies that are on the menu to whet your appetite, including a few of my own favourites that I miss from Mr. Canny’s homeland.
Cachaça and Caipirinha
Cachaça is made from distilling sugarcane juice and is the most popular spirit in Brazil. Like rum, there are two varieties, with the white variety predominantly used in the creation of the nation’s favourite cocktail, Caipirinha. I personally find it too strong, but Mr. Canny can drink Cachaça straight. Definitely an acquired taste, like many spirits.Malagueta
A type of chilli widely used in Portugual and Brazil, you will see it mentioned many times on the menu of Cabana Brasil as a marinade for their meat. Thankfully there is also a Guava-cue marinade available for those who can’t handle the heat. Contrary to popular opinion, not all South American food is hot, and many Brazilians I know have complained about the amount of chilli or pepper I use in my own cooking!
Guava, found in the Guava-cue marinade, is a tropical fruit which we may have already encountered in energy drinks in the UK. The red fruit can be used as a substitute for tomatoes to minimise acidity, and because of its sticky nature will create a jammy sauce. As I’m not a big fan of spicy food I imagine I’ll be trying this out.
Bolinho de Chuva
Bolinho de Chuva, or Rain Cakes, are a speciality in both Brazil and Portugal. The dumplings are deep fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. A childhood favourite of Mr. Canny due to how easy they are to make, we tried to customise a recipe so he could enjoy them now he’s vegan, but with little success! I’m especially looking forward to trying Cabana Brasil’s version, which are stuffed with Nutella. Yum! Paçoca and Brigadeiro
Served as part of the Candy Box at Cabana Brasil, these doces are Brazilian delicacies. When anyone visits I always ask for Pacoça made from ground peanuts mixed with salt and sugar, to be brought over for me as I’ve tried – and failed – to make my own. Brigadeiros, on the other hand, are quite easy to make with practice. I even have a recipe for them on the blog, which can be found here.
Pão de Queijo
Pão de queijo, or Cheese Bread, is a small, baked, cheese roll which is a popular snack and breakfast food in Brazil. Similar to Italian dough balls, they are made with cassava flour. I’m not sure if I love or hate them, but Mr. Canny was a huge fan pre-veganism. Feijoada
A national dish, Feijoada is a stew made from black beans and a variety of meats. There are regional variations, and it is served with rice. Cabana Brasil have a veggie option which substitutes the meat for plaintain, peppers and aubergines. Mr. Canny is looking forward to giving this a try, if it is suitable for vegans. Farofa
Farofa is a toasted cassava flour mixture which usually tops Feijoada. It can be used on any main course dish to add flavour and can be found containing meat or fruit in some establishments. It has a smoky and salty taste depending on what it has been toasted with, and at Cabana Brasil is served alongside Salsa. Cassava Fries
Cassava is a versatile root vegetable and is used in Brazilian cookery much in the same way the English use potatoes. Unlike a potato, however, it can also be used as an ingredient in sweet dishes. Cassava fries are very popular and delicious. At Cabana Brasil they even serve the fries topped with Feijoada and cheese, which I’m sure will be very popular in the Toon.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my gastronomical tour of Brazil and are also eagerly anticipating the launch of Cabana Brasil in Newcastle. I know I’m looking forward to sampling their Cabana Cheesecake, a banana and doce de leite (a milk-based caramel sauce) affair topped with roasted almonds. Yum!
Thanks for reading,