Cooking With Kurma

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Kurma's South American Tour

Cooking With Kurma > Travel Diary > South America

Part Four: S„o Josť do Rio PrÍto, Brazil

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click for larger imageI was intrigued to find out more about Brazilian fruits. Pictured is the tiny pitanga fruit from a tree native to Barbados, called pitangueira in Portuguese. It turns a deep dark red when ripe and it's a little tart. The pitangueira grows all over Brazil, from the north to the extreme south, and apparently makes a wonderful tart juice. But Avyakta told me that, like jaboticaba, the fresh fruits weren't in season until October and November. Pity. But we might be able to pick up some pitanga juice from the supermarket.

click for larger image Jaboticaba fruit is grape-like in appearance and texture but with a thicker, tougher skin. The fruit is dark purple to almost black in color. The gelatinous whitish pulp of the fruit contains from one to four small seeds and has a pleasant, sub-acid flavor reminiscent of muscatel grapes. The remarkable thing about the fruit is that it grows directly over the trunk and main branches, all the way from the ground up, and the plant may fruit up to five times per year. The fresh fruit is delicious eaten out-of-hand and can be made into jellies, and jams. I recall tasting them in Australia in a tropical fruit farm in Queensland.

click for larger imageAvyakta also regaled me with tales of one of the most enjoyable (albeit sensual) experiences in Brazil - tasting the unbelievable variety of sherbets and ice creams made with tropical fruits, such as cashews, soursop, brazil nut, passion fruit, mangaba (pictured right), umbu and pitanga, and even coconut, avocado, peanuts and corn. Apparently there are sorveterias with over a hundred different flavours. I was looking forward to stumbling across such a place!

click for larger imageOk, enough of the aimless wandering! I gathered my wits and made sure we bought everything we needed for the class, crossing off from the list as we bought, as Avyakta went and loaded the fruits and vegetables into the car. Just before leaving the markets I fell upon a very impressive display of local confectionery, all displayed very hygenically in a refrigerated display case. Apparently this was a traditional type of pure vegetarian Brazilian fudge, many varieties, all made from natural ingredients. 

 

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