After the demise of Viva Brazil in Newcastle our options to enjoy the food of Mr. Canny’s homeland have become limited. That said, we don’t feel that any of the eateries we’ve found locally necessarily represent the standard of grub you’d encounter in South America. It was with some excitement we made a special trip to Redcar to try out Cacau Patisserie, a little cafe owned by a family from Sao Paulo. I’d enquired via Facebook as to whether there’d be vegan options available, as Brazilian cuisine is not exactly famed for being veggie-friendly – BBQ is huge in the state Mr. Canny is from, for example.
Cacau is located a street away from Redcar’s seafront, normally famed for its Lemon Top ice creams. It was lovely to see ingredients and products on sale in the cafe from Brazil, many of which aren’t available to buy over here. We were also bowled over by the selection in the cake counter. Quindim is a Brazilian delicacy made from sugar, eggs and coconut. It is similar in texture to Creme Caramel and is very sweet. This was very clearly not suitable for Mr. Canny, but it was great to see this popular dessert outside Rio Grande do Sul!The other patisserie on display was skillfully crafted in their own kitchen, which is not something that happens all that often in cafes these days.
Upon chatting we discovered that the family have vegetarians and vegans amongst them, which is why they have fantastic dairy and egg-free alternatives on offer like the Churros Cake pictured above. It was worth the trip for this cake alone!
Open since February 2015, Cacau doesn’t just appeal to expats either. The menu naturally features classics such as Feijoada, but sandwiches and pastas are also available too. There are plenty of meat options, like a classic Hot Dog topped with potato matchsticks crisps. I wished they had a veggie version of this!
Mr. Canny ordered Calda de Feijao, a creamy bean soup with croutons. Normally this would be topped with bacon – and the menu lists it as such – but for vegetarians or vegans they can serve without. Like with many items on the menu, they have considered those with dietary requirements fantastically well. There are even gluten-free dishes highlighted.
I tried their Pão de Queijo, which I opted to have with Nutella. These cheesy dough balls work really well with the chocolate spread, much to my surprise. Mr. Canny used to love Salami and Chocolate sandwiches in this non-vegan days, which should tell you enough about how Brazilians like to team unexpected food items together! I unfortunately couldn’t try their Coxinha or Esfiha, which both contained chicken, so made do with a Pizza Roll. We visited the Brazilian consulate in London recently and we’re offered these snacks outside from a lady with a trolley. Street food may be big all over the world, but I’ve never eaten a cheese roll out of a tartan shopping bag before! I didn’t have heart to say we make better at home to this mulher, and thankfully those I tried at Cacau were spot-on too.
The food here is great value for money, with Mr. Canny’s bean stew a mere £2.70 for his hearty bowl and my snacks at just £2.20. The atmosphere was friendly and warm and Mr. Canny enjoyed chatting in Portuguese with the family. They definitely have a loyal customer base, with people popping in and out while we were there that were welcomed like old friends. Although it is an 100 mile round trip for us, we will definitely be returning to Cacau Patisserie.
Thanks for reading,