Best things to do in Brazil
by Chef Diego Pasqualicchio

A food trip to the Amazing Brazil .
Here we are,
Sharing with all of you my last culinary trip in the green land of Brazil,
where amazing food and culture mix in a wonderful twist with the immigration history .
Traveling in 15 different location in this huge country i saw and taste hundreds of different ingredients,from the sea of Rio de Janeiro to the hills of Minas Gerais and the rivers of Belem and Amazon.Here people eat all day long ,In the markets (mercado municipal)
you can find the best street food ever,like Pastel with Caldo de Cana, Coxinha ,Salgados ,Açaí with fruits,Tacaca' (a soup made of yuca juice) and amazing tropical fruits and nuts.
If you will have a chance to have a trip here you must visit the central market called "feira" and taste every thing  possible .

This is the Mercado Municipal de Sao Paolo , here you can find fruits from all over Brazil and the world. Fresh fish and meats and speciality from the rest of the world.

The most interesting in the markets are the spices,nuts and herbs.
Also there you can find always a part of the market dedicated to the local food. Have your lunch there is priceless and a must do! The food tastes fresh and unique .
You must don't miss the Pastel with many different filling (specially the bacalhau -dry cod) and the Mortadella sandwich; an epic sandwich ,3" tall . The Mortadella sandwich is sign of how the Brazilian culture is mixed and well integrated with many others countries like Italy , Germany , Spain and believe it or not Japan . In Brazil you will actually find the biggest Japanese community with 1.5 million people. 

The extraordinary vibe you can feel at the markets its unique. Full of people going up and down with their merchandise . Full of people talking and having a great social time in a place full of colors ,flavors with intense perfumes .
An amazing atmosphere with people talking about food,recipes and more , a place where you can taste the quality of the produce and try new flavors , a magical place where the visitors are just spectators of this incredible social theater .

Moving up north close to the Amazons the markets start to change is colors with many others different produce and incredible fish coming from the rivers.
Belem the playground for the chefs and foodies! The place where the best come from the forest and where the tradition to cook and preserve native flavors its still strong in the daily routine .
The place where you can really experiment unique flavors like the Jambu' a delicious green leaf similar to a Spinach and the Nettle, with a metal flavor like Tarragon ,with anesthetic power. Yes anesthetic! because this leaf immediately paralyzes your palate once you eat for a couple minutes. His flowers are used to infuse and flavor in the Cachaça .
In Belem you can easily find Piranha in the fish market and Piraruqu, a huge fish leaving in the amazon rivers.
Dried shrimp are one of the best quality in the world , sold by quality and size.

Tacaca' how can I describe you this unique dish? If you stop by Belem you must ask around for the stand of Dona Maria. Tacaca' is a hot soup made with Tucupi',Jambu' and dry prawns. The base of Tucupi' give it a nice fermented acid flavours balanced with sweetness of the prawns and the metallic flavour of the anestetic Jambu'.
Tucupi' its a juice extract from the cooked mandioca and fermented for a few days . The result is an excellent yellow lightly acid juice where you can use as base for  fish and soup.

You have to option with "goma" or without.The "goma" is a kind of warm gelatine go into the soup.The soup is served in a bowl made from an amazon fruit similar to the coconut in its shape. Add some spice chili from their market and you will have the best refreshing hot soup ever.

Into the Amazons rivers, from Manaus going inside the forest.
After few hours with the car from the city and few more with the river boat you may understand how big the amazon is .
The river's water barely move , where you have the impression to be cruising inside a mirror, where at some point you feel disorientated because you cannot understand where the sky end and where the river start to reflect the cloud in it.
 Amazon has to be lived at any time to appreciate all his beauty. Our guide was amazing , he brought us to see the sun raising ,fishing Piranha, walking in the forest, looking for the river dolphins (boto) and  late night  to spot night animals. That was the most beautiful moment in the forest. A deep-dark nigh where we could see the milky way reflecting on the perfectly flat river, on the background the trees could be seen in a light shade shadow. We felt we were cruising into space.


Fishing one of the most scary fish in the world , Piranha. They wil guide you with the canoa where the forest starts to grow , surrounded from the river water , there you can find them ! hidden in the low tide .
We fish them with pieces of chicken breast,  where once they smell food in the water , you will feel their presence immediately .
Once they arrive you will fish them one by one no stop.
Piranha leave in herd , when they are around you will easily fish them .
It's time to cook them ...we grilled and cook in a onion stew served with some withe rice. His meat, as predator fish is quite interesting not far from a mediterranean sea bass.

Amazon River Manaus

a piece of even in the Planet Heart ,an Immense dune desert of white bright ,thin send ,with his green and blue pools of sweet water.
Immense an peaceful place where not many are around ,
Enjoy the laud silent ! Lencois do Maranao
Run in the middle of nowhere and jump from the high dunes straight to the water.
Get lost in his natural beauty where you will love his emptiness .
The best location to stay close by is Santo Amaro , a small village where you can find just 3 basic things , food a place to sleep and Peace .
You must ask for a guide to go in the desert if you don't want get lost , because this place is really vast !
Around the desert you can find local farmer of tapioca where sometime offer some food as well.

One of the best place I had eat is Cantinho de Felicitades. Their local skinny chicken are really tasty. that's the perfect place to have your lunch break after the all morning in the Dunes.
Its a  local place in the middle of nowhere.

The Chef is an amazing person native from Maranao and she is keeping the tradition of their food culture. In santo Amaro they have a nice school cooking program where they teach all the traditional recipes to keep them alive from generation to generation. Don''t leave that place without try one Coccada from the chef .You will be amazed from the simplicity of their dish with an excellent quality.

Fogao for Tapioca 
Close by the restaurant there are a few family leaving on the desert border ,where they produce Mandioca flour from scratch . The process is laborious and  all hand made. First they produce the Tucupi juice from the fermentation of the Tapioca then they obtain the flour  , roasting the Mandioca on this pan with live fire . it called Fogao.
Tapioca flour is the  base of their culinary origin where many dish are executed with.
Till now the tapioca is considerate one of the most important aliment in the Brazilian food diet much more versatile then rice .

Acai' fruit bowl
Acai time !
This is the iconic fruit from amazon ,I am not sure you will like it or understand at the first time you try but I can tell you is one of the most interesting fruit I ever try.
His taste remind me the bitter olives , but after the first bite it develop different note of taste.
The texture is kind of granny dark puree' . The fruit looks like a a small black ball where it got process trough some grater where the skin got scraped off from the seed .
You need a big quantity of Acai to make one bowl of acerola !
Acai can be paired with fruits ,nuts,granola and similar and it get the name of Acerola where is bitter got balanced with honey or sugars.

I was amazed when I tried at the market some Acai with some fried river fish ,whoow ,guys this combination is just addicted . I recommend to stop to the Mercado Municipal  of Belem ,get inside and check the stand with more local eating that will be the best spot to try your fish and achai .  

Get Lost in the Belem Market and around , where you can try the freshest Acai' in many combination.
There you can find hundreds homemade products like the chili sauce and many more.
Popuna is an interesting fruit you can eat only cooked ,steamed and it taste between a chestnut and pumpkin ! would be interesting cook with !  
Mingau is a kind of Porridge served in the coconut shell , really popular on the market street.


Minas Gerais , the state of the Miners , cheese and green hills.
So much culture around here , the house of the stew and braised food . Here the food as a different style , so tasty , well seasoned and complete ! Every meal satisfy you in any sense .
A lot of history here around , the old immigrations an colony to work on the Gold mines where a huge part of the world wide gold was extract . One of his town pearl is Ouro Preto where gold is the main thing ! Churches Barocco style are covered with gold in every single inch .
Most of their dish are cooked in old fashion black stone pot ,where the food get slowly cooked ,what to said about  ! Cheese and Goyabada (goyaba fruit past ) is the national sweet .

Moqueca de peixe Bahiana .
If you are fish lover you must fly to Bahia and try a Moqueca de peixe e camarao ,the most tasteful fish stew cooked with  Mandioquina (baby sweet mandioca potato ) It will be the even in your plate ! It will never be enough .
Its a  simple and delicious popular dish combined with rice and 

I could write much more about this amazing country , but if you discover by your own will be much more interesting .
Is quite difficult write down the felling ,express the flavors ,the perfumes .Its all about experience and interaction with the environment around you . leave as a local and you will get the best from Brazil .
Every state as different habit , food and culture even if their belong the same country.
An indescribable food trip in heart of south america ! 
this was a remarkable trip for me I will never forget .I hope you will experience one day to understand better what I am trying to share .
Have a good one and stay tunes .

Chef Diego Pasqualicchio