At Fazenda we are proud about our roots. We would like to share with you our passion for South America, its history, culture, food, news and tourist attractions
You can choose the name you'd like to give it, Doce de Leite (Bra), Dulce de Leche (Arg), Manjar (Ecu-Chi), among many others; but one thing is for certain, there are very few people who will try it and not fall in love immediately with its heavenly flavour.
It's not unusual for children (ahem!) to eat it directly from the jar with a spoon, but it's very much used in the preparation of desserts, ice-creams, cakes and more. At Fazenda you can find it on our Marquise de Chocolate, Crème Caramel, dulce de leche ice-cream and our pancakes. It is not unusual of our customers to ask for an extra dollop of dulce de leche with their dessert of choice.
It is widely available in its ready-made version, but if you're feeling like putting your cooking skills to the test, you can try the home-made version. Dulce de leche is basically milk simmered with sugar and stirred constantly until it thickens and caramelises. This version takes about 3 hours, and you can find a recipe here.
Another faster version uses condensed milk. This blog here shows three different ways to make doce de leite.
Have you tried dulce de leche? Have you made some before? Tweet us @fazendarodizio and tell us more!
'Novelas' (soap operas) are a big part of Brazilian culture. Both women and men of all ages get equally hooked. It is not uncommon to hear the country grinds to a halt when the final episode of the 7pm or 9pm novela is about to be broadcast. But what is so gripping about them?
Traditionally they showed story lines about wealthy characters and were supposed to be inspirational for the masses. Nowadays there's been a turn with them being a reflection of what tens of millions of Brazilians are, consume, love, hate and struggle with.
They often have complicated subplots and stories but they always depict current social and cultural issues (and some controversial ones thrown in the mix as well); they are all things viewers can relate to and which they actively discuss both on social media and with friends/colleagues/relatives.
And when they hit, they do it big, with people dressing like characters, consuming products they show on screen; and let's not forget the business sides of broadcasting companies, who launch highly successful merchandising lines which turn into must-haves.
When one of the biggest and most popular novelas - Avenida Brasil - was showing its last episode, even President Dilma Rousseff decided to postpone a political rally. Whether she was watching it or not we'll never know, but she knew better than to challenge the power of a prime-time phenomenon.
Had you heard about Brazilian novelas before? Have you had the chance to watch one? Tweet us @fazendarodizio and tell us more!
This small and colourful fruit (Passiflora edulis, Maracujá in Portuguese) is native to Brazil, Paraguay and the north of Argentina. At Fazenda we're proud to follow our tradition and include it in many of our recipes.
At present it is commercially planted in over 26 countries around the world, and its uses vary from medicinal (it is thought it lowers blood pressure) to the most widely popular culinary ones in cakes, juices and even cocktails.
An interesting fact about its name comes from when Christian missionaries arrived in Latin America. To try and convert the indigenous inhabitants, they drew paralellisms between the maracuja flower and the Passion of Jesus Christ. They said, among others, that the threads of the flower resembled the crown of thorns; that the 10 petals and sepals represented the 10 Apostles (excluding Judas and Peter) and that the 3 stigmas reflected the three nails in Jesus Christ's hands and feet.
At Fazenda we have a maracuja mousse, a cheese cake and also a maracuja margarita! If you would like the recipe of our mousse you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/fazendaleeds/notes
Located in the Brazilian state of Bahia, Praia do Forte is probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the Northeast of the country. It's an old fishing village that still preserves its rustic feel. With only four main streets, it's a refreshing relaxation spot away from all the noise and crowds.
It's also a great destination for eco-tourism. You can find the TAMAR project, a non-profit organisation that helps to protect sea turtles from extinction. It has 22 different bases now along the Brazilian coast, and in Praia do Forte you can find several pools with turtles and other kinds of sea life.
Among the other things you can do in this stunning destination are deep sea fishing, humpback whale tours and cruising of the River Sauipe in canoes. For more information about Praia do Forte follow this link http://www.praiadoforteturismo.com.br/en/a-praia-do-forte/
This 26km2, 21-island archipelago is considered one of the most stunning places to visit in Brazil. With a population of only 3500 inhabitants and a system of sustainable tourism, it is said to be a 'must' place to visit if you are ever in Brazil.
They say you need at least 5 days to visit 'Noronha', in order to make the most of all the natural attractions, to do some snorkelling and/or diving. The archipelago has a main island - which is the only one that is inhabited - the rest form an area called 'Marinho National Park' (Parque Nacional Marinho) and can only be visited with a special license.
Their beaches are divided into two sections: Brazil and Africa. Brazil (inside sea) has 10 beaches and two bays - one of them, Baia dos Golfinhos, cannot be visited. In these beaches you can find a calm sea most of the year and not too much wind, which makes them enjoyable. Africa (outside sea) has 4 beaches, two contemplation areas and a few natural pools. Here the sea is not as calm but you can find thousands of colourful fish, dolphins and turtles everywhere.
The average temperature here is of 28 degrees Celsius and it has only two seasons: a dry one from September to March and a rainy one from April to August.
If you would like to know more about Fernando de Noronha, click here http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1000
Brazilians love a good celebration - as we all know - and Christmas (Natal) is not an exception. There is a mix of African and European (mainly Portuguese) traditions that are part of the holiday season.
One of them is the Nativity (or Presépio), which can be seen in churches, stores and homes throughout the country during the whole month of December.
The one who brings the presents is called Papai Noel. The legend says he lives in Greenland but wears silk clothes due to the Brazilian heat!
Secret Santa (amigo secreto) is also a very common tradition in Brazil in the Christmas season. It's done among friends and families and they exchange correspondence using nicknames instead of their real names. On Christmas day they all gather and reveal who their secret Santa is and offer each other special presents.
Dinner is very much what you wouldn't expect in a country during summer, but European traditions imported to Brazil have instilled the cooking of turkey and ham, which are accompanied by a variety of vegetables, rice and fresh fruit dishes. Panetone is part of the dessert, as well as fruit salad, all washed down with refreshing caipirinhas of course!
Devout Catholics usually attend a Midnight Service called Missa do Galo (Rooster Mass). Its name comes from the fact that a rooster announces the start of a day and the service finishes at 1am on Christmas day.
A major difference between the tradition here is that people celebrate on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. They get together for a big dinner with the whole family and friends and stay up until midnight to open all presents and make a toast. Small children most of the time fall asleep before then but some fight against sleep and stay awake!
Some curious facts about Christmas in Brazil (via Redenvelope.com)
1. Brazil holds the record for the biggest Christmas tree in the world, the Lagoa Christmas tree in Rio de Janeiro, with 82 meters the equivalent to a 27‐floor building.
2. The Panetone was brought to Brazil by Italian immigrants after the Second World War and was popularized by Carlos Bauducco, the most popular Panetone brand in Brazil nowadays.
3. In Brazil, some people have roosters at home in the Christmas night, because they are thought to be the ones that announced that Christ was born. If the rooster sings at midnight the year to come will be full of happiness.
Brazil is filled with a fantastic party atmosphere during New Year's eve. One of the most famous destination is Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Nearly 2 million people, all traditionally dressed in white, gather every 31st of December to welcome the new year.
The reason why everyone wears white is because it conveys the message they're welcoming the new year with hope for peace and prosperity.
People in Copacabana beach (and others) make small boats which they fill with offerings for goddess Iemanja (goddess of the water) so she in turn gives them prosperity in the coming year.
There is music everywhere and parties take places all throughout the country. At midnight a majestic spectacle of fireworks takes place, which usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes. Celebrations continue until the early hours of the new year.
Reveillon is certainly a celebration like not many others. From the traditional celebrations to the impeccable parties to their banquets and fireworks, it's is overall a fantastic way to welcome the new year.
Here is a short video of a fireworks display in Rio http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI6QQoEUgjU
Once the preferred place of pirates and slave traders, Búzios is today one of the top tourist destinations in Brazil. This peninsula in the north-east of Rio has a little bit of everything for everyone.
It has more than 20 beaches along its coast, with those in the west offering calm and clean waters, whereas those in the east are a bit wilder and inviting especially to surfers and windsurfers.
The nightlife in Búzios is quite active, with numerous bars, restaurants and night clubs available throughout the peninsula.
If you're interested in Ecotourism, this is also the place for you. At Emerencias Reserve, you'll be able to find the purest Atlantic Forest vegetation and even the last golden Tamarin monkeys in the region.
If you'd like more information on this wonderful place here are a few links to help you:
The Brazilian photographer is famous for his documentary-type of work. Together with his wife they created the Instituto Terra and work towards the reforestation and conservation of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil.
An economist of profession, he turned to professional photography in 1973. After working as a freelancer for a couple of agencies, in 1994 he founded Amazonas Images with his wife.
His work includes a vast array of photographic essays, books, catalogues, among others. His latest exhibition in the UK took place at King's College London and included works from the Arden Collection of 20th century photographs.
If you'd like to visit his website, follow this link http://www.amazonasimages.com/accueil
We remember one of our customers saying that she particularly enjoyed ‘those lovely little things’ we serve at Fazenda when you get shown to your table. The lovely little things she referred to are our ‘empanadas’.
Empanadas are filled pastries that are popular across the whole of Latin America. They come in many shapes and forms, are made with different types of flour and come in a range of sweet or savoury fillings. In Argentina, empanadas vary in sizes, from little dainty ones (usually served at cocktail parties or for children) to larger ones.
The most popular savoury fillings are probably meat (with gorgeous seasonings including paprika and often with chopped hard boiled eggs), ham and cheese, cheese and onion and tuna. Cream of sweetcorn (‘humita’) is also a much-loved filling and there are many more exotic versions.
Now, sweet empanadas are a real treat. Imagine a little pastry filled with ‘dulce de leche’ or quince jelly... yes please!
If any traveller is ever visiting South America, this is a destination that should not be missed.
One of the great natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site, they are located and shared between Argentina and Brazil (with Paraguay sharing a smaller portion) and offer some of the most stunning sceneries.
Their name comes from the Tupi “Y ûasu” meaning “big water”, and its name is certainly a perfect description of the falls.
They are much higher than the Niagara falls and twice as wide. You will be amazed by the tonnes of water falling over cliffs and the mist arising from the jungle underneath.
Both Argentina and Brazil offer circuits, boat rides, and other activities so tourists are not only left to take in the view, they are offered to be part of it all.
One of the best places within the different circuits is the “Devil’s throat”, these are the highest, measuring 80m in a horseshoe shape.
If you’d like to see some striking pictures of the falls follow this link.
Here is also a piece written by The Guardian Travel Section on the Iguaçu Falls containing some tourist details - click here.
We have mentioned mate [MAHtay] briefly before, that traditional infusion from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil.
Whenever we mention Chimarrão - the Brazilian version - words like ‘friends’, ‘social’ and ‘sharing’ spring to mind. There’s a unique concept of bonding and friendship attached to it.
It’s prepared with erva mate leaves; these are small and dried. They are added to a mate gourd then a special straw called bomba is placed inside and finally hot (but never boiling) water is poured on the leaves and left to steep for a few seconds. The person preparing the chimarrão is always the first one to drink, and then pours some more water before passing it round.
Here’s a video on how to prepare a traditional mate (click here for video)
Everyone has their special tips and different ways of preparing their chimarrão. Some put the straw after the leaves, some before; some put half the water first and then add some more… But one thing is always true, if you see anyone drinking chimarrão, you will be invited to share one, and a couple of hours of amenable chat might follow after that.
Brazil is the country with the biggest tropical coast in the world; its warm blue waters, clear sandy beaches and hundreds of islands make it one of the best destinations to visit.
In total there are 2045 beaches, surely bound to cater for all tastes. You’ll be able to find busy beaches, isolated ones, those visited by nudists, others favoured by surfers, urban ones, distant ones, the list is endless!
The top 10 Brazilian beaches change depending on which website you stumble upon, but these are definitely in most lists. http://braziltraveltips.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/10-best-beaches-in-brazil.html
Marvelous scenery combined with favourable weather make Brazil a place that attracts tourism from all over the world.
Have you been to Brazil? We’d love to hear about your experience. If you want to have a look at more pictures and some of the comments our followers have made you can have a look at our Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/fazendaleeds
Capoeira is, according to those who know it best, pure art. It is a mixture of sport, pop culture, music and martial arts.
Its history takes us back to the 16th Century, when African slaves taken to Brazil by the Portuguese developed an activity characterised by complex movements and punches. It was born as a source of hope for freedom and survival from the colonial agents.
The differentiating feature of capoeira is its musicality. Those who learn this Brazilian martial art also learn to sing and play the typical musical instruments that accompany Capoeira. See here and here.
Since the 1970s Capoeira started becoming more popular, especially as it started being taught in other countries as well. It has even had some significant media presence, with it being featured in films, such as Ocean’s Twelve, see here.
It is without a doubt a symbol of the Brazilian people, their culture and the ethnic mixture that characterises Brazil.
For local Capoeira lessons see here
We brought you some information on Malbec, Argentina’s flagship grape, in a previous newsletter. Now it’s time to put the spotlight on Bonarda – an Argentinean grape variety, originated in Italy which used to be the most planted grape variety in the country before Malbec took over.
The Argentina Wine Guide explains that Bonarda is mostly used in table wines. The Wines of Argentina website (http://www.winesofargentina.org/) also explains that: “Bonarda produces frank and honest wines, with good body and colour, fruity raspberry aroma and subtle aniseed flavour”.
Bonarda is experiencing a revival, and is now used in premium wines. It is being transformed from the ‘ugly duckling’ of Argentinean wines into the ‘Malbec of the future’. It is mainly present in the Argentinean provinces of San Juan and Mendoza.
We are changing our wine list at Fazenda and one of our new wines is a lovely Bonarda. Next time you come to Fazenda try it, we are sure you will not be disapointed!
British immigration to South America brought many benefits. The British exports we have taken to our hearts include railways, football... and Aberdeen Angus! This breed of cattle was introduced to Argentina and Uruguay in the late 19th Century, and soon seemed right at home pasturing in the sunshine across the region. Aberdeen Angus meat is tender and marbled, with a unique and flavoursome finish. You will find “Angus Societies” in many South American countries, who still work hard to ensure outstanding breeding. Come and taste the beef for yourself and see why it is a favourite across the world.
The one word that will make any South American living abroad totally homesick is ‘asado’. In most parts of South America, an asado is a cut of meat, usually beef, cooked with charcoal made from native trees. In some areas such as Argentina and Brazil, asado is a very specific beef cut with bone (not available in the UK), found towards the rib area of the animal.
Asado is not particularly expensive or luxurious but many South Americans will argue that it is the most loved cut because of its delicious taste. However, it’s the social event that goes with it that makes asado truly special. In the same way that Yorkshire people go out for a curry, which provides a great excuse to meet up; in Argentina, Uruguay and the south of Brazil, people will meet either at home or at a ‘parrillada’ for an ‘asado’. It is not uncommon, given the notorious friendliness of South Americans, to meet someone and soon be invited to an ‘asado’ at their house (the social occasion is also known as ‘asado’). The asado culture brings together men and women, young and old, and people from all different social backgrounds. Asado is normally served on its own or with chips and salads. It can be accompanied by many different drinks such as a deep red wine, beer, even whisky, and often just a soft drink depending on the time of the day. It is traditionally the ‘man of the house’ who cooks it, and they can get pretty competitive about it! A good ‘asador’ (the person who cooks asado) is revered, whether they do it just with friends and family at home or professionally.
When you visit Fazenda, we will show you all the beef cuts available in Brazil, and our expert gaucho chefs can show you where asado comes from. And, if you ever visit South America, please order an asado and tuck in! Start with knife and fork, but please use your fingers towards the end – and never, ever forget to thank your ‘asador’ – make a fuss, they will love it!
Recipes for certain types of food, including Yorkshire puddings, gravy and, at Fazenda, chimichurri, are treasured by people, families and restaurants. It might be a bit of a mouthful to pronounce (even for native Spanish speakers – try chee-mee-choo-ree), but it is the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, sausages and beef.
You will find chimicurri on your table in Fazenda – give it a go. Have a small teaspoonful on your plate. We love dipping bread in it or having it with our very special and authentic ‘chorizos criollos’ (sausages).
So what does go in to our chimicurri? Well, it’s the mystery that makes it so special but we can tell you it includes a special mixture of herbs including oregano and parsley, garlic, olive oil, paprika, vinegar, salt and chilli. It is not particularly spicy but it does have a strong flavour which combines perfectly with Fazenda meat and a good red wine!
The Wall Street Journal recently featured an interesting analysis of the popularity of Argentina’s best-known grape variety, imported from France: Malbec. The article explains that: “The hot, high-altitude region of Mendoza proved particularly well suited to the thin-skinned, late-ripening grape — much more so than the cool climates of the Loire and Bordeaux”.
Wines of Argentina (www.winesofargentina.org) tell us what to look for in Malbec: “Malbec’s most significant characteristic is its intense dark colour. Higher-altitude vineyards produce Malbecs that offer a great balance between colour, acidity and sweet (yet abundant) tannins. Malbec’s aromas evoke cherries, strawberries or plums; in some cases it is reminiscent of cooked fruit (e.g. marmalade), depending on when the grapes were harvested. In the mouth Malbec is warm, soft, and sweet, with non-aggressive tannins.”
Here atFazenda, we have selected Malbec for you partly because of how well it goes with the fantastic and hearty food on our menu. As Wines of Argentina confirms: “It pairs well with red meat, grilled meat, hard cheese and pasta with tomato sauce”.
Have you tried Malbec? Give us your thoughts! Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.For the full WSJ article please click here
For the majority of Latin Americans, including Brazilians, Epiphany or Three Kings Day on January 6th is as important an occasion as Christmas. That is the day when, according to Christian tradition, baby Jesus and his parents were visited by the Three Wise Men (Reis Magos).
There are regional variations in terms of how this day is celebrated, but it tends to be a public holiday and children receive gifts. In some countries, children leave a bowl of water and some grass for the Three Kings’ camels. In other countries, they also leave their slippers outside their bedroom, for the Kings to fill with gifts for them.
So no need for January blues – come to Fazenda and celebrate like a King!
Feijoada – black bean and meat (pork/beef/sausage) stew – is Brazil’s national dish. It has many variations – not only regionally but across different families, just like any authentic traditional dish. The beauty of it is how rich and comforting it is – and how easy it is to share with friends and family.
The origins of feijoada are symptomatic of the blend of cultures that exist in Brazil – from its African slaves brought over to work in the plantations, to European immigrants and native cultures – they all make their contribution to this unique dish.
Traditionally served with rice (which you will find in Fazenda right next to the Feijoada tray) – this is one dish we would really recommend that you try. You will find Feijoada right on the end of our salad bar – enjoy!
You have probably heard in the press about Brazil being a powerful and growing economy that is alluring many British businesses and investors. We’ve had many visitors to Fazenda recently who have come to us after falling in love with Brazilian food on a business trip.
So what is it about Brazil that is currently attracting so much attention from the business world? The country has a stable government and a stable economy, rich resources and it is growing steadily. Unlike the UK, Brazil has not faced a recession in recent years. It is the fifth largest producer of cars in the world, the third largest producer of soft drinks (such as Guaraná, which we serve at Fazenda) and the second largest producer of mobile phones in the world.
With 200 million people, it is a very attractive market for British businesses who may find that their usual demand from the US and the EU is flat and are looking for new and growing markets.
When you come to Fazenda, try to spot some great Brazilian produce and get familiar with some Brazilian traditions. If you are planning a business trip, do let us know and we can teach you a few words of Brazilian Portuguese! Many of our gaucho chefs are from Brazil themselves and are more than happy to talk to you about their home country. Business is yet another great excuse to come to Fazenda!
If you have travelled across South America, you will no doubt have come across the widely-glorified “dulce de leche”, also known as manjar, cajeta or arequipe (depending on the region) – and “doce de leite” in Brazil.
The worst thing you can do is to tell a South American that this sweet, creamy and utterly delicious icon of their cuisine is basically like “caramel”, “sweetened condensed milk”, “milk jelly” or “a bit like fudge”. It is none of those things! It is has a unique flavour and very deep and creamy texture.
South Americans use it in everything. From cakes to ice-cream, from biscuits to liqueur. Young children quickly acquire a taste for dulce de leche and no honorable dessert menu in South America can omit it. It’s comfort food at its best. You can now find dulce de leche in delis across the UK and even in some supermarkets – looks like the rest of the world is starting to take notice…
That is why at Fazenda we will spoil you and offer you the most authentic of South American sweets in some of our desserts – try our ‘toffee pancakes’ and our unbeatable ‘toffee ice-cream’. We ask you just one favour in return… please don’t tell any South American friends that we have called them ‘toffee’! Dulce de leche is a regional treasure and it should be given the respect it deserves – it should be passionately enjoyed!
If you’re wondering where the word Fazenda actually comes from, it is the Portuguese word for large plantation or estate.
Usually owned by upper-class families in Brazil, fazendas played a very important role on the economic history of the country. Fazendas are found throughout Brazil; in the North-East you can find sugar cane plantations, in the Central and Central East regions there are coffee plantations and down in the Southern states, farms focus on cattle and more traditional agriculture.
In the colonial period, fazendas were primarily found in the North-East where sugar was produced, but this shifted during the 19th century to coffee production, which generally was concentrated in the South-East region of the country.
At that time, they created major export commodities for Brazilian trade but unfortunately this also led to intensification of slavery in Brazil.
In the early 16th century cattle began to arrive in Brazil, bought in from Europe by the Portuguese. The cattle industry developed quickly which was helped at the beginning by the transportation of sugar from the fields to the ports.
By the 18th century, the Portuguese settlements had spread south pushing the limits of the colony to, where nowadays, is known as Uruguay. The southern gauchos slowly started populating southern Brazil as the workforce for the upper-class landlords. This resulted in the breeding of large numbers of cattle which supplied food for the more industrialised fazendas in the Central and South-East regions.
In the 19th century, the coffee boom took Brazil’s fazendas to a higher level. Brazil became the world’s number one coffee producer exporting large volumes to Europe and North America, which required substantial investment in order to cope with the demand. Railroads, steamships and the telegraph were introduced to Brazil, all paid for by the money the fazendas supplied from their coffee crop.
In growing cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, merchants, lawyers, a middle class and an urban working class was established, once again paid for by the money from the fazendas.
Export companies were created to manage and market Brazilian coffee and rubber (later in the 19th century) and this helped to build and populate Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The urbanisation of South-East and Southern Brazil also broke the internal market, generating an even larger demand for food supplies. The southern fazendas grew exponentially in order to fulfil the demand.
Since the first Portuguese landed in Brazil, fazendas have provided Brazil with economic growth and still play a very important role, both for the internal and external market.