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