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Paleta Festa

Paletas Mexicanas strikes again, but with less gusto than that of the one I devoured in Recife; I have now commenced my search for the best Ninho Trufado lolly. A creamy condensed milk outer with chocolatey fudge inner. Just down the road from my airbnb was an array of organic markets, papelerias (stationery stores), bakeries and a Paletas Mexicanas store. Although not quite the standard of the Recife lolly, it served as a good brunch-time snack en route to Praia do Flamengo – another beautiful beach on the coast of Rio: super quiet, bright white sand and clear cool water.


For lunch we took a trip to Senador Camará, a neighbourhood an hours train ride away from the centre of the capital, but still in Rio – it’s a seriously big place. A poor community in the middle of the mountains, Senador Camará is where some family of my Pedro (my man) lives. So clearly we had to take a trip to meet the family, experience local non-tourist life and of course traditional food; to my surprise the cuisine is pretty simply here, dishes consisting of grilled meats, rice and beans. But don’t get me wrong, the flavours are on point, not lacking in any way. In fact you can really taste each ingredient to its fullest (when done well), enjoying the natural product in its simplest, tastiest form.

In particular I’m in love with Feijão, not to be confused with Feijoada; a dish made with beans but in different varieties and ways. Feijão Preto is made with black beans as is a soupy substance with the whole beans cooked in water – black beans typically are used in the South of Brazil, and brown in the North. Feijão is typically eaten with rice and grilled meats or fish and is loved throughout Brazil.


Some strange and pretty coconut like shells growing on trees by the shore.


A snack for the train journey… Pastel; a fresh light pastry filled with a variety of foods, most commonly cheese and ham. To wash it down, Suco de Coco; coconut juice – basically coconut milk/water/pulp blended with sugar and water.


A traditional and common homemade pudding I sampled was Pudim; basically a creme caramel. The silky egg body with a runny caramel sauce was delightfully light – an excellent way to top off the three plates of meat, rice and beans I inhaled.

Being surrounded by a language unknown is pretty confining, being limited to overly enthusiastic head movements, eyebrow raising and hand gestures. My Portuguese is still on the rise, and so for now I’m stuck in this strange mime-like state. A great plus when meeting loads of family members for the first time, am I right.


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