Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Brazilian cuisine on show

Published:Thursday | August 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Chef Garcia Brown adding the final touches to his Brigadeiro. - Photo by Brian McCalla
The acaça, which is served with vatapá in Brazil.
The toe-curling vatapá served with white rice.
The secret behind the Brigadeiro is to get the texture just right.
Batida De Limão, a divine alcoholic drink that can be described as an exotic lemonade.
Brazilian sweet treat Brigadeiro. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
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Jody-Anne Lawrence, Gleaner Writer

Brazil's culture is vibrant and playful, and its food is seductive. All this was well represented by Jamaican chef Garcia Brown, at a Brazilian food demonstration held at the Spanish Court Hotel on Monday.

Beverages were ready and waiting for guests when they showed up. The drink called Batida De Limão, made from white rum and crushed ice, was like lemonade with an exotic twist.

Brown prepared vapatá, a dish with strong African roots but is most commonly prepared in Brazil with predominantly fish ingredients. He used a home recipe that he learnt from the embassy’s Minister-Counsellor Sylvia Ruschel de Leoni Ramos. Vapatá is a creamy, tasty dish originally served with acaça. It includes basa fish fillet, dried shrimp, cashews, fresh tomatoes and sweet peppers with mediumsized shrimps – offering a burst of different flavours with a smooth, crunchy texture that will have your mouth in a frenzy. Acaça is the side dish of choice for vapatá. It is made with coconut milk, rice powder and heavy cream. This creamy side dish can be a hit or miss among non-Brazilians as the dish is served cold. It was therefore served on a small scale for guests just to experience the taste. Instead, the vapatá was served with white rice.

What’s a good meal without dessert? Brown prepared the Brazilian sweet treat Brigadeiro, made with cocoa powder, unsalted butter and condensed milk. It is relatively easy to make, but according to Brown, it’s made with love as it takes a lot of patience and involves a lot of mixing to get the texture just right. You could hear the sighs of approval as guests bit into it. Brown, who studied at the Culinary Institute of the Americas, worked at the Brazilian embassy for over a year.