The stories of Brazil and its cuisine are heavily influenced by Portuguese colonization of the 16th century, slaves imported from Africa and indigenous peoples.
The settlers brought their culture but also their gastronomy, their influences continue to permeate current Brazilian cuisine. Slaves taken from Africa to work in the sugar plantations also left their mark, influencing even the names of Brazilian dishes. In the same way, the native legacy remains important today, in particular with the contribution of cassava flour, a basic ingredient in the cuisine of Nordeste and Amazon.
Colonial cuisine with Portuguese and African influences
The names of Brazilian dishes usually consist of a mixture of Portuguese and African terms. The colonial past of the country has largely marked the Brazilian culinary art. The incoming Portuguese settlers adapted the recipes of their country with local ingredients.
Slaves from Africa also participated in shaping what Brazilian cuisine is today. Their influence is major since settlers also brought crops from Africa such as banana and yam.
Brazilian cuisine is therefore a mix of local products for instance cassava, black beans and coconut milk, and ingredients from Africa such as banana.
The cuisine of Para, the most traditional of Brazil
In the heart of the Amazon rainforest, the state of Para, little affected by colonization, has retained its traditional cuisine. The paraense gastronomy consists of ingredients provided by the river and the surrounding forest.
Unmistakeable in Belém during the extraordinary open air market, the local cuisine is colourful and full of unique flavours. Promoted by chefs who are passionate about the produce offered by this particular region, it is developing throughout Brazil, which is in turn discovering the richness of this unique gastronomy.
African influences in Brazilian cuisine
As a result of slavery, Brazil has seen a large number of Africans who have reinvented Brazilian cuisine, leaving a lasting mark on it. Even today, the gastronomy of the North of the country bears the trace of the African influence even in the names of the dishes that constitute the local cuisine.
Brazil and its typically indigenous dishes
Traditional Brazilian cuisine is recognizable by its way of sublimating indigenous foods. Belém, the state capital of Para, is the flagship of Amazonian gastronomy . Composed of fish, fruits, vegetables and herbs provided by the exuberant nature of the rainforest, Paraense gastronomy is tasty and colourful.
The gastronomy of Brazil, imbued with European influence
Brazilian culinary art is marked by colonial European influence. The national dish, Feijoada, is a kind of stew adapted by the settlers with the food at their disposal, namely black beans. Consumed throughout the country, the recipe differs slightly depending on the region.