7 Brazilian foods to try in Utah to celebrate World Cup soccer
World Cup soccer is in full swing in Brazil, which may have you wanting to join in the festivities by sampling some of the country's signature foods.
Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese, not the Spanish, so its food differs from the rest of South America, according to the "Foodlover's Atlas of the World." Many of Portugal's signature dishes, including caldo verde (potato and collard green soup), can be found in Brazil.
During Portugal's rule, from the 16th to the 19th centuries, Portuguese leaders developed huge sugar plantations and, as in North America, they imported African slaves to work the fields. That African influence still is noticeable on Brazilian plates, with regular servings of okra, bananas, plantains, peppers and coconut milk.
And don't forget about the cassava or yuca plant. This starchy root, native to Brazil, is ground into flour and eaten as a popular side dish.
Here are seven foods that soccer fans are probably eating in Brazil and a few places to enjoy them in Salt Lake City. (See accompanying list for restaurant details.)
Feijoada • This rich pork and black-bean stew, served over white rice, is considered the national dish of Brazil. It is usually accompanied by a side of collard greens, linguiÃ§a sausages and farofa, a seasoned and toasted ground yuca that soaks up the sauce. In Brazilian homes, the stew is made with whatever meat is available, said Nick Utrera, a manager at the Rodizio Grill in Trolley Square in Salt Lake City, whose father is Brazilian. Pork shoulder or pork loin is the most common protein, but sometimes pot roast or depending on the region chicken or fish is added, he said.
Brazilian pizza • Pizza is popular in Brazil, but it's "not the same" as what is found in the U.S., said Perola Drogueti, whose family owns Sweet Spot Bakery and Cafe, a Brazilian eatery in Sandy. "It's one of the things that Brazilians miss the most about their homeland," she said. In Brazil, pizza has a thin crust with little or no tomato sauce and is topped with unique ingredients. The most common is chicken and catupiry a soft, mild cheese similar to cream cheese and calabresa sausage, Brazil's version of pepperoni.
Churrasco • This Portuguese term means grilled meat, and thanks to restaurants such as Rodizio, Tucanos Brazilian Grill and Braza Grill, Utahns are familiar with the churrascarias Brazilian-style steakhouses where the waiters move around the restaurant slicing skewered meat onto plates.
Cheese bread • The is the signature bread of Brazil, made with manioc starch, a flourlike substance made from the yuca, said Debora Hammond, who owns Cheese Bread Mania in Salt Lake City. It's usually eaten for breakfast with papaya juice or coffee. (Brazil is one of the world' largest coffee exporters, so the coffee culture is widespread and many drink strong, black coffee all day long.) Cheese bread also is served alongside salads or at parties, she said.
Coxinha • These breaded and deep-fried dumplings, stuffed with chicken, are one of the most popular salty snacks in Brazil, said Silvia Tosolini, owner of Bakery Street, a Brazilian bakery and cafe in Salt Lake City. Coxinha (co-SHEEN-ya), which means "little chicken drumsticks" in Portuguese, are formed into a teardrop or chicken drumstick shape.
Brigadeiro • This simple bonbon, made with sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder, was named after Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, a famous Air Force commander from the 1940s. "So the ladies who supported the presidential campaign started making the candy" to raise funds, Marcela Ferrinha, owner of The Sweet Brigadier, explained on her website. Ferrinha's online bakery sells a twist on the traditional brigadeiro by wrapping it in a Belgium chocolate shell.
Guarana • This beloved Brazilian fruit is about the size of a coffee bean, but has twice the concentration of caffeine. While guarana juice is consumed whenever possible, Brazilians also love GuaranÃ¡ Antarctica, a guarana-flavoured soft drink that comes in a green can with red trim. It is the second-best-selling soft drink brand in Brazil, behind only Coca-Cola. You can find GuaranÃ¡ Antarctica at any of the local Brazilian eateries.
Finding Brazilian food
From steakhouses to cafes, there are several places to get Brazilian food along the Wasatch Front.
Bakery Street • An entire menu of savory and sweet Brazilian specialties. 1370 S. State St., Salt Lake City; 801-486-0238. Open Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Braza Grill • Steakhouse. 5927 S. State, Murray; 801-506-7788. Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cheese Bread Mania • Traditional cheese bread you buy frozen and bake at home. Available at The Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park, all Harmon's Grocery Stores, Tony Caputo's Market and Deli, The Store, The Store Too, Pirate O's and other specialty stores. Visit cheesebreadmania.com for a full list.
Rodizio Grill • Steakhouse. 600 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City; 801-220-0500.
The Sweet Brigadier • Brazilian treats. Online only at thesweetbrigadier.com.
Sweet Spot Bakery and Cafe • An entire menu of Brazilian specialties including pizza on Fridays and feijoada on Saturdays. 664 E. Union Square (9480 South), Sandy; 801-207-2414. Open Monday-Thursday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tucanos Brazilian Grill • Steakhouse. 162 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, (The Gateway mall), 801-456-2550; and 4801 N. University Ave., Provo; 801-224-4774. Both locations open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Tushar Brazilian Express Â» Brazilian specialties. 1078 S. Jordan Parkway, South Jordan; 801-446-6644.