bringing brazil to your kitchen

Posted by susan on May 2nd, 2011. Filed under: epicurious travel.

This is a sponsored post, written by me, brought to you to by FoodSpring. The thoughts, opinions, experiences and ingredients within this post are entirely my own.


There’s nothing better than exploring new cultures through traveling, but in between trips, there are plenty of opportunities to experience cultures from far away, locally. Lately, I have been taking in various aspects of Brazilian culture – Samba has become my favorite part of Zumba every week and my neighborhood is flooded with amazing Brazilian restaurants. I first became enamored with Brazilian culture when my friend Sue introduced me to capoeira, which is a beautiful Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music and dance.

When talking about culture of course, you can’t leave out the food.

I’ve always thought about bringing Brazilian cuisine recipes into our kitchen, especially since I’ve integrated meat back into my diet. But until my cooking abilities expand, I thought I’d start simple. During a recent movie marathon, I watched “Woman on Top” with Penelope Cruz, who plays a Brazilian chef who leaves her husband to move to San Francisco, where she becomes the star of a national cooking show, and I got some inspiration. Of all the wonderful cooking scenes in the film, there was one in particular that stuck with me – when she makes Brazilian coffee, or cafezinho.

I think this scene stood out for me not only because it was a pivotal point in the movie, but also because it takes a ritual that is familiar to many cultures – drinking coffee in the morning – and adds a special flair. I recently searched for this recipe and found a number of variations with a few common themes. In the process I also coincidentally uncovered another Boston blogger, BellyGlad, who loves this scene as much as I do.

To make cafezinho, all you need is water, a sauce pan that you’ll promise to only use for coffee, and finely ground coffee beans meant for espresso. You can also add whole milk and cinnamon sticks if you like. To start…

– Add water and sugar (to taste) to the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, so the sugar dissolves well.

– When the water and sugar mixture boils, add the coffee powder (for each cup of water, use a heaping Tbsp).


– Stir well and remove from heat immediately. It will look like a giant cup of espresso, with that chocolaty sheen swirled on top.

making brazilian coffee

– Strain the coffee with a traditional cloth coffee strainer, or use a paper filter if you don’t have one. As you can see, I improvised.

brazilian coffee

– Finally, pour the coffee into a tiny cup. I got to put one of my Sam Adams tasting glasses to work.

brazilian coffee

The coffee came out deliciously strong, smooth and a little sweet. Next time I’m going to try it with cinnamon sticks, which are added before the coffee.

How do you experience other cultures when you’re not traveling?

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