…. a Brazilian extravaganza!
Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, is the inspiration behind “In My Kitchen”, as she started this type of post in her blog many moons ago, and now many bloggers are doing the same. 😉
These are just some of the goodies we brought home with us from our trip, and most of it brings back memories of my childhood. You ‘ll notice that I definitely had more appreciation for sweets then.
To start off… Bombons Sonho de Valsa (A Dreamy Waltz). These (in the pink wrappers) are by far the most popular chocolate concoction in Brazil. They were created in 1938 by Lacta, and the label hasn’t changed much since then. Kraft Foods later acquired Lacta, and the new company came up with a few variations, but none as popular as the original. It has a center of cashew nut cream, surrounded by a thin layer of waffle crust, and the whole thing covered in milk chocolate. I grew up savoring these, and my favorite part was the creamy center, so if no one was around I’d carefully nibble the chocolate and the waffle, to enjoy the cashew nut filling all by itself!
Later, much much later, the same company created “Ouro Branco” (White Gold), the exact opposite of Sonho de Valsa, in that white chocolate forms the outside layer, with a dark chocolate/nutty cream lays inside. Ouro Branco arose in the mid 70’s, and die-hard fans of Sonho de Valsa (me included) would not touch one. But, one day I happened to try it, and concluded that they have their well-deserved spot on Earth! With their older brother they make a great yin-yang pair… 😉
Ovinhos de Amendoim (little peanut eggs). You can’t give these little delicacies enough praise. It’s impossible to eat just one. They are addictive and incredibly delicious! But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what an American traveling for the first time in Brazil had to say about them… 😉
They were a mandatory snack at my parents’ home to nibble before a Sunday lunch, or when friends came to visit. Japanese immigrants deserve all the credit for these little jewels. The outside layer is made of manioc (cassava) flour, which crumbles in your mouth and dissolves with a salty/sweet taste that’s perfect for the roasted peanut inside. They bring me memories of my Dad, because we’d sit down to watch TV and share a bag, fighting hard for the last ones. 😉
BANANA-PASSA (Raisin Banana) – Or, as Phil calls them “bananinhas.” Don’t hold their look against them. Ugly? …maybe, but sooooo tasty! Each one is a full grown banana, dried down (with or without additional sugar, depending on the brand), until they are about 1/5 of their size, and each packs a ton of banana flavor. They’re perfect for a hiking trip, but don’t forget each one you wolf down is an entire piece of fruit. Imagine what will happen if you eat 6 bananas! So, pace yourself, and stay with a maximum of two of these.
BALAS DE LEITE KOPENHAGEN. I have very few addictions. Nutella, Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream, and Balas de Leite (milk candy) from Kopenhagen. When I was young all the products from Kopenhagen were too expensive, and not a good match for my allowance. But when I had a little bit of extra cash, I’d indulge myself and buy a small bag of these candies, which put me in personal heaven for a while. Every time we now land in Brazil my sister gives me several bags to bring home!
The outer shell is hard; you can either bite it right away or let it slowly dissolve in your mouth until it breaks and releases its treasure: sweetened, condensed milk! I’m partial to the second protocol, but sometimes I’ll devour one just to get that mixture of crunchy shell with the condensed milk… aaahhh the simple pleasures…
CHA’ de CAMOMILA & ERVA DOCE. My Mom’s evening tea is a new found love. When I tried it I thought it was the best I’d ever had, but I could not figure out what kind it was. She finally told me her “secret recipe” – a mix of two herbal teas, chamomile and fennel, brewed together. Their flavors combine into something else, something soothing and smooth, a perfect way to end the day. I’ve been making it before going to bed, so me and my Mom share a similar routine, only a few thousand miles apart from each other…
and, finally, also in our kitchen, precious gifts from loved ones….
A painting of a Brazilian flag, which was a gift from my niece and her daughter. The center of the flag shows a flowering tree called “quaresmeira“, typical of Brazil, that is thought to bring everlasting happiness…
Wooden items, salad servers, lime mashers for caipirinhas, drink stirrers, all sitting on a beautiful wooden tray, a gift from my sister.
I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into our kitchen this month…
ONE YEAR AGO: A Journey to a New Home
TWO YEARS AGO: Pork medallions in mustard-caper sauce