The state of Pará in the heart of the Amazon has not been exposed much to the influences of colonization, and so we find the gastronomy of this region different from the rest of Brazil.
The dishes are traditional and based almost exclusively on indigenous recipes. The Amazonian cuisine is composed of local ingredients that the chefs of Belém are working to reveal this lesser known variety of Brazilian cuisine to the World.
Amazonia: a wide variety of indigenous foods
The Amazon, the large tropical forest that covers 5,500,000 square kilometres is home to many treasures. The green flora is full of thousands of species of fruit, herbs and vegetables that the resident of Para know well, and cook every day.
The iguarapé, meandering the river, is also home to many species of succulent fish that are part of the daily diet of the inhabitants of the Amazon.
The Ver o Peso, literally “see the weight” is the market of Belem the capital of Para. There are more than 1,300 stalls in this open-air market, full of indigenous products. The fish stalls, selling fresh fish of all kinds are next to the vendors of tacaca, the traditional shrimp soup.
The dishes of North Brazil, fish, fruit and vegetables
Paraense cuisine, named after the state of Para, has long been unknown. Considered “home cooking” it has only recently become a part of Belem restaurants. Thousands of species of fruit and plants in the region allow the development of flavourful and fragrant dishes.
The basis of Amazonian gastronomy is cassava, which is consumed here from root to leaf. Cassava is juiced from an extract called Tucupi, a juicy condiment that embellishes many local dishes.
Jambu is another ingredient typical of Amazonian dishes. This spinach-like plant anesthetizes the tongue in seconds. An interesting experience to discover.
Amazon cuisine to conquer the world
The culinary culture of Belem is now championed by Daniela Martins, the daughter of Paulo Martins who created in a restaurant in 1972 to introduce tourists to the flavours of Amazonian food. Deceased in 2010, the cook has passed his love for Amazonian produce on to his daughter who is working to this day to make it known throughout the world. The cooks of Para learn every day to work on the products offered by the forest to create a quintessential, original and colourful cuisine. Amongst the main dishes of Paranese gastronomy, is Pato no Tucupi, duck cooked in the famous sauce made from cassava and garnished with Jambu leaf , Farina d’agua, local cassava flour and sweet yellow peppers. A true concentration of authentic flavours indigenous to Brazil!