2014 Food & Wine: Brazil

I was excited to see this year the expanded menu at the Brazil kiosk for the Food & Wine Festival. Returning was the Crispy Pork Belly, which Matt and I both enjoyed last year.

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New items include the Moqueca de Pescado, Pao de Queijo, and Cocada.

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Matt was looking forward to ordering the Crispy Pork Belly again, and I think the dish was prepared much better this year. While the elements were essentially the same, featuring Black Beans, Tomato and Cilantro, the pork belly’s execution seemed better. Avocado was also in the mix with the tomatoes last year, but they didn’t make the cut this year.

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I know Matt didn’t miss the avocado since it’s not exactly one of his favorite things, and if I was ordering the Crispy Pork Belly for the first time, I wouldn’t either. However, I do think it was a nice additional element. I also thought the beans were cooked a bit better this year, but as we all know, different batches yield different results across the board.

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The pork belly’s fat was rendered nicely, and there was a nice smokiness to the dish. There was a light crispiness to the exterior that gave way to the tender pork. We both enjoyed this dish.

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Because I love bread and cheese, I was excited for the Pao de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread. While the recipe for this dish isn’t in the cookbook, there are scores of them a Google search away!

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Two bread puffs, each a a little bit larger than a golf ball, come with the order.

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These puffs are light with big air pockets, and the cheese, while incorporated into the dough, remains a prominent flavor and keeps the interior moist and chewy. I know I have a couple recipes on deck to make Pao de Queijo at home!

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My aunt ordered the Moqueca de Pescado, which features Regal Springs Premium Tilapia with Coconut Lime Sauce and Steamed Rice. I got to try a bite, and the edges of the fish were a bit overcooked, the the rest was flaky, mild and tender. While my aunt doesn’t like coconut, she didn’t really taste any in the sauce. I think that may be due to the other flavors happening that helped balance everything out. I thought the dish was good, but for me personally, it’s not one I’d be inclined to order again.

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Matt and I also sampled the Xingu Black Beer. Despite its dark color, it’s relatively light and a bit sweet. It’s nothing I’m going to be running out to buy to have at home, but it was worth the try, especially since we haven’t been partaking in too many of the drinks offered at the festival.

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My friend ordered a glass of the Carnaval Moscato Sparkling White Wine. No complaints. πŸ™‚

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In all, I think the Brazil kiosk was a successful one this year. I liked the additional offerings, and I do want to return to sample the Cocada. There’s also a good chance we’ll be seeing the Crispy Pork Belly and the Pao de Queijo again as well before the Festival ends and I find myself spending more time in the kitchen. πŸ˜‰

UPDATE!

I made my way back for the Cocada! This coconut dessert is an interesting one, but very simple. The exterior is hard, making it a bit difficult to cut into with just a fork, and you’ll definitely need some sort of surface if you don’t just pick it up and bit into it (though be careful in doing so, as you don’t want to crack a tooth!).

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Once you get past the exterior, the interior is soft – similar to that of a Mounds or Almond Joy – though the coconut shavings are bigger. It is VERY sweet, and eating it solo on my visit was a bit of a battle. It was a bit on the cloying side for me, but I love coconut so much I still ate the entire thing! Of course, I needed a full bottle of water after that. πŸ™‚

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We’ll keep you posted on updated reviews from Brazil as the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival continues. What have you tried from the kiosk, and what did you think? What are you looking forward to trying?

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10 responses to “2014 Food & Wine: Brazil

  1. Since I grew up in Brazil, I had to see how authentic things would be! I tried the Moqueca de Pescado, the Crispy Pork Belly and the PΓ£o de Queijo and all three tasted as I expected! πŸ™‚ The Carnaval Moscato was new to me and I really liked it! I also seeing the booth area setup with panels showing pictures and fun facts about the country.

    I’m surprised to read that there was avocado in the salsa last year. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. This year’s version is definitely more authentic!

  2. My friend and I enjoyed the pork belly last year although (in a good way and in a bad way) it was a huge piece. Made the meaty part a little more tough. It looks like this year they crisped up the fat a little? I wish the Pao was there last year but like you said, maybe I’ll try to make my own. πŸ™‚ I do have to say even thought I don’t like fish with a lot of sauce (or at least a more “complicated” sauce), that does look pretty good.

  3. Ricardo – Glad to hear the dishes were as expected! I picked up some Tapioca Flour today so I can make Pao de Queijo at home! πŸ™‚

    Cherry – It definitely seemed like that it was crisped up more over last year’s. Let me know if you try to make your own Pao and how it turns out! πŸ™‚

  4. Looking at the recipes now. I’ll have to try to find tapioca flour and figure out what cheese Disney used. It looks more cheesy than some of the recipes I’ve found.

  5. I picked up a 6oz box from a company called “Let’s Do… Organic” at The Fresh Market for around $3.50. Bob’s Red Mill also makes it, and you can easily find those products in the baking section of the supermarket or Target (or online). I’m going to try Parmesan for my first round and then some extra sharp cheddar for another batch. I think part of the fun will be experimenting with different cheeses! πŸ™‚

  6. Oh cool. I’ll have to look for that the next time I’m at Target. Now you have me thinking about different cheeses to try. I wonder if they all have to be somewhat hard (like parm, cheddar or maybe manchego) or if there’s a way to “bury” a dab of say brie or goat cheese in the dough.

  7. From what I’m seeing, it looks to be mostly harder cheeses since the dough sounds pretty loose, even with the cheese incorporated. Perhaps adding some more flour might tighten it up a bit to hide a soft cheese inside, but that may compromise the light air pockets that develop.

  8. For those who are not into baking (like me!), Forno de Minas, a Brazilian company, has frozen pΓ£o de queijo available here in the US. Here in the Houston area, I know of 3 stores that carry the item. I always have at least one bag in my freezer! πŸ™‚ Here’s more information: http://www.fornodeminas.com.br/en/produto/24/brazilian-cheese-rolls-pao-de-queijo/

  9. Thanks for the info Ricardo! It would give me a good idea of what to aim for when I try to make it myself. Would it be in a regular grocery store or a more specialty type store?

  10. Cherry – My bet would be on specialty stores. Although I found them once at a regular grocery store. I guess they were trying to see if it would sell.

    Regarding the Cocada, it sounds like they got the taste right. It is usually very sweet and I normally can’t eat too much of it. The exterior can be hard or soft depending on where you go but either way you should be able to pick it up with your hand to eat it.