When most people think of sweets from around the world, they tend to imagine French chocolate, Belgian waffles, or Japanese mochi (ice cream). But some of the most delicious (lesser known) treats can be found in Brazil—the largest country in South America.
Since it’s one of the biggest and most diverse places on the planet, it only makes sense that Brazil has treats to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. Brazil’s landscape has a little bit of everything, from mountains and waterfalls to beaches and rainforests. It’s also home to several large cities so there’s always something new to explore.
Most people are familiar with Brazil’s wildlife, but did you know it is also home to a wide variety of plants? Many of those plants are the source of modern-day medicine. And some of the country’s most famous food exports come from those plants as well—including chocolate, honey, fruit, and coffee. Today, we’ll be journeying across Brazil, from the Amazon rainforest to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, to taste the country’s best desserts.
Brigadeiros in São Paulo
Our first stop is the city of São Paulo. As Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo is home to a diverse population, with Brazilians coming from all over the country to live and work. As you might guess, all those people are bound to want a sweet treat that’s easy for life on the go in this busy city.
Luckily, such a food can be found in great quantities. One of the most famous Brazilian morsels—brigadieros—are small balls of chocolate fudge, usually covered in sprinkles. They are beloved by all and come in a variety of flavors, from milk to white chocolate. Many Brazilians serve them at festas, or parties, throughout the year, but you can always find brigadeiros at a local padaria, or bakery.
Sorvete of Minas Gerais
A land of mountains, Minas Gerais is the dairy capital of Brazil. Across its grassy mountains live herds of dairy cows peacefully grazing. These dairy cows are so important to the people of Minas Gerais that, in some towns, there are cow sculptures hand-painted and on display for all to see.
The cows of Minas Gerais are not just any cows; they are the cows responsible for producing milk that goes into many Brazilian food products. From pão de queijo (a cheesy bread) to doce de leite (a rich, caramel-like sauce), the cows of Minas Gerais provide Brazilians with so many tasty gifts. Sorvete, or Brazilian ice cream, is a popular one. The special milk from these cows makes the sorvete of Minas Gerais unique in richness and sweetness. You can try sorvete in almost any flavor. In fact, you can even order a brigadeiro-flavored sorvete! Next time you travel through Minas Gerais and see a cow, be sure to thank him for this delicious treat!
Leaving the mountains of Minas Gerais, we now head deep into the Amazon rainforest. The jungle of the Amazon is home to hundreds of plants and animals, and we are still learning about many of them. In this dense jungle, you may come across the açaí berry. A small, purple sphere, the açaí berry could easily be mistaken for a blueberry, but it has a very different taste and its own special sweet flavor.
But don’t let that sweetness fool you! The açaí berry is very healthy, and is now a popular snack across the globe. You will find this berry in smoothies, fruit salads, and other dishes, but we think it tastes best as a topping for a bowl of sorvete. In Brazil, there are even entire restaurants dedicated to serving açaí, so grab a spoon and dig in!
Coconut Water in Rio de Janeiro
After all those sweets, you’ll probably be craving a refreshment. What better way to finish off a meal than with a cool drink of coconut water! Yes, you heard that right— coconut water. When the green coconuts fall from the trees, fruit stand owners slice off the top and hand you a straw. One sip of this energizing drink will have you waiting under a coconut tree to catch a cup for yourself.
The best coconut water can be found at the beach, along Brazil’s coastline. You can always grab a tasty snack at a beach food cart. After a long day in the sun, head over to the coconut water stand and gulp down a glass or two. In no time, you’ll be ready to hit the road and explore more of this amazing country!