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The next few years are set to belong to Brazil. With the World Cup and Olympics fast approaching, all eyes are on this fast growing economy. What I find exciting are the gastronomic exports and food trends that we are already beginning to see make their way into our culinary consciousness as a result.

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For those, like me, who have been enjoying Brazilian cuisine in London restaurants for some time, this is nothing new. Churrascaria, Brazilian cafes and delis have begun popping up around the UK at an increasing rate, mirrored by the influx of 118,000 Brazilian ex pats.

In the UK restaurant scene the Rodizio Churrascarias have been gaining popularity, as have fusion style restaurants such as Sushi Samba, offering a unique style of Peruvian, Japanese and Brazilian food. Brazilian cuisine has also been taking a chunk out of the street food trend with the likes of Prima Donna in Brixton Market offering tantalising Brazilian street food and Galeto’s in Soho which serves authentic, exciting Brazilian street food including Galato ‘little chicken’ and coxinhas.

What I find wonderful about Brazilian cuisine is the pure variety.This is a result of a combination of key ingredients introduced by different cultures that have made Brazil their home. From the original Native Americans to the influx of Portuguese colonizers, Black Africans, and recent European, Arab and Japanese immigration, it really is a cultural and culinary melting pot.

In celebration of this and the Rio Carnival kicking of next week, I’m helping you brush up on your Brazilian gastronomy with a little overview of all foods Brazilian, from your Feijoada to your frango!

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Feijoada – the national dish. Thick black bean stew served with rice and a variety of pork meats. Portuguese for ‘beans’, the dish has its roots in the African slaves who were bought to Brazil during the slave trade.

Coxinhas de frango – a common snack in Brazil which is minced chicken shaped like a drumstick and deep fried in batter.

Churrasco – Brazilian BBQ. 400 years ago ranching was introduced to the country and cowboys, called Gauchos herded cattle. Like the cowboys of Texas they created a new style of cooking – Churrasco – Portugese for Barbecue.

Churrascaria – a restaurant serving grilled meat in the traditional Churrasco style. Done right this uses chicken or pork, covered with fresh sea salt, allowing it to sit and marinate for at least one full night, with fresh lime juice and crushed garlic directly onto the meat. Red meats are seasoned with sea salt only.

Rodízio – the serving style now popular in the UK whereby the waiters move around the restaurant with the skewers, slicing meat onto the customer’s plate.

Passador – the meat carver with the meat!

Acarajé – black-eyed peas rolled into balls and deep fried, stuffed with shrimp, peanuts and other regional ingredients, typical in the Northern city of Salvador.

Pastel –sweet or savoury, filled with minced meat, chicken, shrimps, mozzarella, palm heart and cream cheese, or sweet with guava and cream cheese, chocolate, doce de leite, banana and cinnamon.

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