10.20.2010

Brazillia!!! Gostoso!

The beaches in Itacare were amazing!
the gang enjoying our agua de cocos before a day of surfing and beaching


As the sun was setting, a man entertains us with handstands on a surfboard

Next stop for me was Itacare, Brazil on my whirlwind world travels where surfing reigns kind in the day and dancing into the late evening.  There's an electricity in the air in Brazil even though everybody is chilling.  It was the perfect ending to my fantasy vacation with gorgeous weather, stunning beaches and amazing friends!  Now my favourite things there were the agua de cocos (Fresh coconut water) - literally off the trees!  Someone would climb the coconut trees, bring down the young coconuts, hack off the top and you would be able to drink the sweet water from it.  Delicious and made up of healthy properties - i tried to start my day off with one as it was not only nourishing but something that I wouldn't get back in Toronto!!  
After you were finished with the coconut water, you could get them to chop the coconut in half and then you can actually eat the slimy insides which was very sweet as well.  But sometime it was a little too slimy for me.  Another drink that was a favourite and a must have in Brazil was the National drink - the Caipirinha prepared with cacha├ža (I brought a bottle with me back home) and we had them mixed with lime and any other fresh fruit we desired.  I tried pineapple, mango, banana, ginger and I was smitten with passionfruit caipirinhas known in portuguese as "maracuj├í".  I have never seen passionfruit that big before and the sweetness of the fruit mixed with the tartness of the lime were a great combination.  The best part about passionfruit are the seeds, they were little bursts of sweet crunches in your mouth and were so thirst quenching.   

As for the cuisine, we had the freshest seafood and delicious meals that were home cooked for us by a talented cast of people including my favourite person - Junior. 
For breakfast, we could settle for a traditional tapioca- which refers to a kind of pancake made from Brazillian manioc starch and water instead of the little gelatinous nuggets you would get in bubble tea that I was used to.  We had the tapioca made from scratch for us and stuffed with tomatoes, basic and cheese.  They were light and a bit floury but always a good fix to start the day off. 
Another thing we could have was queijo coalho which was similar to the greek saganaki or middle eastern cheese haloumi as it wouldn't burn when you grill it and has a salty and rubbery texture.  Of course, it was a regular order for me as I loved it.  We could also order this at the beach shack and it would come grilled on a stick.   I am planning on searching for this cheese so I can bring back these beach memories!
We had a lot of variations of fish whether it was wrapped in plantain leaves or boiled to become a broth or in some kind of mash, the dish that stuck out for me was a salt baked whole red snapper.   The fish was so tender and perfectly cooked and seasoned with thick hunks of kosher salt.  I even had the pleasure of having one of the most tender parts which was the fish cheek.  It was simply scrumptious. 
Another favourite dish that was home made was the grilled bananas with chocolate sauce and this coconut pudding that I couldn't get enough of.  And people who know me well, will say that I'm more of a savoury person vs. a sweets person but there was something in the air or water that made me eat all these sweet desserts up!
One thing that was very particular was the fact that everything came with farofa- the manioc flour that was used to make the tapioca mixed with maize.  It was a side dish that looked to me like parmesean cheese but tasted like bread crumbs and just added a dry texture to anything it was added to. 
All in all, what an incredible end to my travels.  Everything was "gostoso" -which if said in the right context means 'delicious!!' :)


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