I’m back! My two-week stint in Brasil was filled with tons of beach time, capirhirinas, world wonders, free futbol tickets, and new friends. The two cities I visited were ying and yang; Rio, the perfect bustling combination of jungle, sea, and city, and Buzios, a laid back picturesque village. The first ten days I was with a large group of twenty-somethings, none of my basic needs were priority. Water, food, and sleep took backseat to fun, beach bumming, site seeing, and soccer watching. I nearly died the night before my sister came because I drank a gluten-laden beer at fan fest. (It was the American thing to do, after all.) I remember shaking in the dark, my throat closing up, tongue swelling like a balloon, and thinking these absolutely cannot be my last moments on Earth. Luckily they weren’t and I’m here to tell the tale, as well as testify GLUTEN ALLERGIES ARE REAL! They are not just a rich person disease especially because I’m not rich, yet.
I must say my sister may have saved my life when she arrived in Brasil.
It became much more slow paced and I began to truly understand and appreciate the Brazilian culture. We were extremely fortunate with my pick of our Airbnb. We stayed in Santa Theresa, a very hipstery area of Rio. Our host Cris was well versed on her neighborhood. She took us on tours and even made us breakfast. (Hence why I picked her.)
Cris made this amazing cornmeal cake in a double boiler that we ate with a cheese that was a cross between sour cream and cream cheese. It kinda reminded me of a cake made from grits. But when I mentioned it would be good with honey or sugar she looked at me as if I had just cursed out her grandmother. Another morning she made this quesadilla like snack with tapioca powder and more cheese. I’m on a super search to find this trickster tapioca powder in the states. All she had to do was heat it in the pan and it bound together forming an incredible crust to hold the gooey, salty cheese. What made me the happiest was that all of these things were gluten free!
Having said that, the most magical thing I put in my mouth the entire time I was in Brasil was a brigederio. O to the M to the G. Heaven on earth I tell you. It’s like part chewy candy, part melt in your mouth celestial bliss. To my delight, when I was describing to Cris this little chocolate candy that was the best thing on this cake we had the night before, her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, “OHHH Brigadeiros!!!” (Btw the way it sounds in Portugese is way sexier than you are imagining it in your head.) As if figuring out the name wasn’t good enough my heart nearly exploded from excitement when she said, “Let’s make some!”
Right then and there she busted out some condensed milk, Brazilian brand of Nesquik, and butter. One pot, one spoon, in everything went.
Now if I had been in a smart state of mind I would have been taking pictures of this whole process going down so I could really share it with my reader(s). (hi mom) But I was like a kid in the candy shop (literally) watching them being created. She stirred vigourously and the thick mixture boiled and brewed. After about 7-10 minutes the mixture started pulling away from the pot, “There it’s ready.” She poured the oozing molten chocolate river into two bowls and then handed me the spoon, “You must always lick the spoon.” Something about the way she said it made it sound like it was life altering advice. As if licking the spoon is a metaphor for enjoying everything you do to the last little bit. It was a surreal moment that will be etched in my memory for life.
It’s been nearly a month since I have returned from Brasil and I have been basking in the afterglow. It’s been bad for my blogging but good for life. Brasil made me reflect a lot, what I am doing wrong and what I am doing right. Fortuitously, there is more right than wrong, otherwise I may have just stayed and opened up a very needed fish taco shack. I must really like being a chef because even with all glorious scenery, international men (..drool) and partying, my strongest memories are food related. Memories are truly made in the kitchen because every sense is used. I watched as she poured and stirred. I smelled the sweet chocolate velvet in the air. I felt the wooden spoon older than me. I heard as she spoke about what to look for in the finished product. And of course I tasted over and over again, a soul sastisfying sweet treat. Brasil I shall be back. I fell in love. In the meantime I well just recreate my memories with food.
Try it for yourself: http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/brigadeiro/2a9aca8f-1232-4045-8761-95a1cb3e2496 SO EASY!