A few hours north of São Paulo in the hills outside the alpine like town of Campos do Jordão, some of the most creative Brazilian fare is being served at an ultra exclusive lodge restaurant called Mina surrounded by reclaimed wood giant walls of glass in the middle of 700 acres of Atlantic rainforest at the hotel and spa Botanique. Here, with 180-degree views looking out over the property’s massive kitchen gardens that are comprised of 400 raised beds filled with native chile peppers and herbs of every sort, executive chef Gabriel Broide serves multi-course menus that are available to the public. Broide previously worked at Café Boulud and Daniel in New York City, and more recently as the co-owner of São Paulo restaurant Dois.
The scale of what the food and beverage team do for the few guests at the property is extensive. They grows and roast their own coffee, they press their own olive oil, and have an extensive collection of artisanal cachaças and terroir Brazilian cigars, not to mention a well stocked wine cellar. What doesn’t come from their garden is foraged for in the surrounding hills or sourced from local farms in Vale dos Mellos. Broide’s food at Mina is reminiscent of the cooking of Alex Atala at D.O.M. or Helena Rizzo at Mani, though more ingredient driven and a quieter atmosphere. Reading through the list of ingredients on the menu is a step into the unknown: Tambaqui ribs, Paraíba Valley Red and Black rice, mashed Cará, Chevrotin cheese, Emburana seeds, Barú nuts, Cassava Uariní flour, and Indian Baniwa dried pepper. Here are a few sample dishes:
Mantiqueira’s Gargouille: A palette of colors from 30 different vegetables from their garden.
A fresh egg with cured beef flour, stir fried greens from the property, and warm mushroom foam.
Pupunha palm heart raviolis with mushrooms and sprouts, tucupi reduction, and palm heart foam.
Pato no tucupi: Shredded duck rice with the yellow manioc extract tucupi, the mouth numbing herb jambú, and a crunchy herb scented farofa.
Vacuum cooked pork ribs for 36 hours at 63 degrees Celsius with Paraíba Valley mini white rice.
Sorbets from fruits on the property.
Fresh Fruits with spiced dressing.
Fresh figs with thyme and lavender dressing and vanilla ice cream.
Mina at Botanique Hotel & Spa
Campos do Jordão, Brazil
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.