I’ve always wanted to go to Brazil so the next closest thing for me was heading out with good friend and new food blogger Lise from Feeds and Fun and tagging along on Sunday with my most beautiful Brazilian friend Ana to a local Festa Junina – an annual celebration historically related to the European midsummer and generally held in country towns.
Sold out at 600 tickets, we headed straight for the churro stand – why we started with dessert, I’ll never know but despite churro popularity in Perth recently, it was the first time I tasted that delicious fried, doughy, sugary sweetness. We had it with caramel, which is how the Brazilians do it, and boy…I think I found a new favourite sweet treat!
It wasn’t long before we strolled over to the meat-on-a-stick stand and Lise and I gave the chicken shish kebab a go…it was just barbecued meat on a stick, so nothing fancy but filled the stomach none-the-less with a bit of brown flour, called farofa, topped on it.
Then…one of Brazil’s favourite treats.
The humble coxinha. Similar to croquettes, the coxinha (pronounced ko-shin-ya) is a deep fried dumpling with cheese, shredded chicken and spices. As most of you know me, I’m a vegetarian but on the odd occasion I will eat meat when my body needs it…and given I’m still recovering from swine flu, I’ve been forcing meat into my body for a quicker recovery and gave myself today to eat a bit of meat.
And these coxinhas are one of the best dumplings I’ve ever had! And that’s saying something because in Polish culture, we have a variety of dumplings, but not like these! Soft, crumbly, easy to wolf down about 20.
If anyone ever makes these, I’ll be expecting an invitation!
One of the last things I tasted (and took home with me for dinner) was a liquid-style burrito with cheese and spring onion sprinkled on top – Caldo de Mandioca. Meatless and hearty, it finished my day off perfectly.
Oh, and cheese buddies…I can’t forget the cheese buddies! Almost like bread rolls with melted cheese inside. Apparently I can get these from the supermarket so I’m heading to Woolies tomorrow to get me a pack.
Lise, Ana and I got to the Festa Junina fairly early in the day but by the time we left, it was packed to the rim with families dancing in the barn, every one catching up over a drink or two and congregations of people lining up at the stalls for a good feed.
Brazilians have got it right. They know how to be friendly, are keen to share their culture, know how to eat good food for hours on end, dance all night and have fun with and without alcohol. Thinking about it, I saw not one person at the festival with a cigarette (even out the front there was only always one – might I repeat, ONE – person having a cancer stick) and no one off their face drunk. It’s beautiful to see such a wonderful culture not getting ruined by brainless, deficient idiots at an outdoor event.
I have to admit it was mainly a day to eat and eat and eat but spending time with two lovely friends as even better – sharing laughs, learning from Ana, reviewing our food tastes, taking pictures and walking in the sunshine.
I can’t wait for the next Brazilian party (which, by the way, should be every weekend in my calendar!).