Last year, while enjoying chef Roland Villard’s incredible Amazônia Menu at Le Pré Catelan in Rio de Janeiro’s Sofitel hotel, I heard rumblings that the chef was working on a similar tasting menu comprising of the most common Brazilian ingredients: rice and beans. I just received word that the menu is now being served in the restaurant.
Like the Amazonian menu, Villard spent several years researching and traveling around Brazil and perfecting recipes to complete the menu. Almost ten different kinds of beans are used in the new menu, such as the fradinho, azuki, green, string, kidney, roxinho, and others. As for rice, Villard incorporates primarily black, basmati, carnaroli and argolinha branca. With each combination of the two primary ingredients, he adds things like foie gras, d’Angola chicken, shrimp, acarajé, tuna, and entrecote.
“Ever since I arrived at the country I was introduced to the rice and beans as being the two-fold adored by the Brazilians. What I did with my staff was to go over all the possibilities of these ingredients,” says Villard. “The rice and the beans proved themselves to be versatile with the different kinds of grains.”
Wine Pairing: Jean Pierre Fivria, who, for months tested several white and red wines with each of the recipes and ascertained that wines and beans can, yes, make a perfect pair. For the first four services, which include different kinds of beans combined with langoustine, shrimp, tuna and foie gras, Sauvignon Blanc (Tabali, Sancerre, and Pouilly-Fuissé), is utilized to help balance the bitterness and acidity of the beans. For the other dishes on the menu, Malbec (DV Catena Malbec) stands out.
Le Pré Catelan’s Nine Course Rice and Bean Menu
- Rice sheets’ roll with langoustine and green papaya to the açaí vinaigrette
- Kidney’ beans broth with flavor of starry aniseed and gorgonzola chantilly
- Manteiguinha’ beans blinis with mozzarella salad, tomato, tuna cream and Basmati rice pesto
- Carnaroli rice risotto and ‘Green’ beans, grilled shrimp with olive oil bisque
- Fradinho beans acarajé with grilled foie gras, Red rice chutney with maracujá flavor
- Azuki’ beans granitee with rice alcohol
- Ballotine of d’Angola chicken stuffed with mushrooms, petit gateau of White and Black’ beans and ‘Wild’ rice crisp
- Entrecote with purple onion and String beans marinated with white wine, Black rice croquette battered in oat flakes
- Mousse of Roxinho beans and Argolinha branca rice cream with orange caramel, cupuaçu ice cream
Rice and Beans Menu: R$ 250.00 + 10% per person (beverages not included)
Restaurant Le Pré Catelan
Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana
Av. Atlântica, 4240, Level E, Copacabana
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 7:30 pm-1:30 pm
Reservations: (21) 2525-1160
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.