A taste of Brazil

Celebrate the Games (and good health) with these fine flavours of Rio.

Berry special 
Historically a beloved energy source for Amazonian tribes, the acai berry (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is now served up in sorbet form (often with granola topping) on the streets of Brazil and is renowned for its abundance of antioxidants. You can find this super berry in pill and powder form at UK health food stores, but if you’re looking to savour the taste as well as the health benefits, you can buy it in purée form at sublimefood.co.uk (£39.60 for 24 100g packs). It’s a tad expensive, but works a dream blended into smoothies or whipped into desserts Rio-street style. 

Salad daze
Simple, unexpected and utterly delicious, the orange salad is a veritable culinary celebrity down Rio way. Sliced, chilled orange dusted with sugar, salt and pepper delivers a starter or side dish with kick, not to mention zero fat and vitamin C in abundance. Your heart, hair, eyes, brain, skin and immune system will thank you for this tart taster which is commonly paired with legendary Brazilian bean stew feijoada.

Back to black
The country’s signature dish, feijoada (pictured) is a beef, pork, tomato and black bean stew. If you’re a veggie, vegan or prefer different meats, it’s fairly easy to improvise (recipes are readily available online). Don’t be shy when it comes to blending in the beans. Also known as ‘turtle beans’ because of their hard shell, black beans are gold medallists in the protein, fibre, vitamin, mineral and potassium stakes. These adaptable pulses can be found dry or tinned at most major UK supermarkets. 

Flour power
Adaptability is a common theme with Rio’s favourite flavours, none more so than cassava flour (aka manioc flour, yucca flour, farinha de mandioca). Toasted with oil or melted butter and salt, the flour – sourced from the starchy root of a woody shrub native to South America – is a hugely popular savoury topping. You’ll find it sprinkled over sautéed kale or layered over rice and our old friend the black bean. As if great taste weren’t enough, there’s more good news: cassava is gluten free, amazingly contains virtually zero fat, and is on sale at most big-name supermarkets. Why, you can even buy it pre-toasted!

Foodie facts...
Did you know that the people in ancient Rome were so barmy about beans, four high-profile families nicked their names from them? Step forth Lentullus (lentil), Piso (pea), Cicero (chickpea) and Fabius (fava).