The Foods of Brazil

The traditional Brazilian recipes still in use today are derived from three main sources: Indian, African and Portuguese.

From the Portuguese, brazil gets the cultivation of fruits and vegetables. The Portuguese brought their love of sugar and the many sweets that are used for birthdays, desserts, or on holidays; the use of wine in cooking and the habit of using many eggs, cinnamon and sugar. The Portuguese also brought such seasonings as the bay leaf, parsley, garlic, onion and olives. These are found in many recipes and are very widely used.

From the Indian, the most important aspects were the use of manioc and fish. The meal and flour native to their environment are used today in the well-known farofa, in making cookies, biscuits and some breads.

The African contributed heavily to the foods, particularly in Bahia, where many Africans are located. The Africans came as slaves and therefore adapted what was in Brazil to their ways. Some of the African products brought to Brazil were dende oil, hot peppers, coconut and coconut milk. Some of the well known African dishes are vatapa, xinxim, quindim, moqueca and cocada. Add to these three strong roots the lush vegetation producing practically all fruits and vegetables known to North Americans, as well as numerous others with which North Americans are not familiar, and you have unlimited possibilities for preparing a variety of tasty and exotic dishes!