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The cuisine of Brazil according to Heloisa Bacellar

The cuisine of Brazil according to Heloisa Bacellar


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On the occasion of the release of her cookbook "Made in Brasil" in France, we asked a few questions to Heloisa Bacellar, Brazilian who officiates in her restaurant in Sao Paulo and who spent a year in France to learn our techniques culinary. So we asked her about this essential piece that is cooking. Decoration, habits, equipment, discover with us how Brazilians live cooking every day.

What relationship do Brazilians have with their cuisine?

In the past, the kitchen was a purely functional space. We did not eat there and there was no question of receiving friends there, for a good ten years this idea of ​​camouflaging the kitchen tends to disappear. Today the Brazilians are embarking on work to unite living room and kitchen. The open kitchen has the advantage, here as elsewhere, of being able to cook in the middle of others. At home, the kitchen is a real living space, we eat there and it is also here that we receive our friends.

What is the style of Brazilian cuisine?

When the kitchen was "hidden", there was finally no reason to think about its decor but today many Brazilians want to bring a personal touch and invest in its decoration. Some opt for a modern style, in black, white or gray with Scandinavian touches. Vintage is also a trend that works in Brazil: everything that is retro is highly sought after. My kitchen is rustic in style, with lots of old utensils found everywhere, in Brazil, France and around the world. When people arrive at my house, they tell me that it makes them want to do the same. For me, it's important to be able to cook and eat in a place full of charm.

What objects are found in all Brazilian cuisines?

The most emblematic object of Brazilian cuisine is undoubtedly the wooden spatula, but you will also find stone pots from Minas Gerais (soap stone pots) and rustic black pottery…

What is the essential ingredient of Brazilian cuisine?

If we are talking about fresh produce, we cannot ignore cassava. Cassava flour is commonly used for several recipes such as farofa (fried cassava semolina), pirão (sauce made from fish broth and cassava flour) or "polvilho" (cassava starch). The other essential ingredients of Brazilian cuisine are coconut milk, grated coconut flesh, peppers, palm hearts or guava paste.

You spent a year in France. What differences have you noticed between French and Brazilian cuisines?

Size especially! In Brazil, houses and apartments are much more spacious than in Europe, therefore the rooms such as the kitchen are larger and the equipment, in particular the fridge, is adapted to this space. In big cities like Sao Paulo or Rio, Brazilians are not used to doing small shopping. Rather, they go to the market once a week to buy vegetables, meat and fish. For the rest, they go to the supermarket once a month. In France, you have lots of food trades and artisans who have their own business, the French have privileged relationships with their cheese maker, butcher or fishmonger. In Brazil, this hardly exists anymore, the supermarket has become the norm.

Obrigada Heloisa for this interview!

Find all of Heloisa Bacellar's cuisine in her book "Made in Brasil" (€ 7.90 at Larousse editions) but also, for the lucky ones, in her restaurant La Da Venda in Sao Paulo.