Only an hour from the 24/7 buzz of Rio de Janeiro is a tranquil retreat, where you can slow down and breath fresh mountain air, as well as savor slow food prepared with loving care. In the introduction to A Cozinha da Alcobaça, author and chef Dona Laura Góes says the food served in her pousada in Rio de Janeiro state, is based on “refined simplicity.” The Pousada da Alcobaça is a pretty and cosy 1914 colonial-style mansion, with 11 individually decorated rooms, set in lush tropical gardens sloping down to a sparkling river.
At Paraty, Brazil’s Academy of Cooking and Other Pleasures, chef Yara Castro Roberts and her photographer husband Richard (authors of the Brazilian recipe book The Brazilian Table) teach travelers to prepare four course dinners based each night on a different region of Brazil. One of Yara’s signature dishes is Trouxinha… Read More →
A few hours’ drive down the coast from Rio, more or less midway to São Paulo, is Paraty (also spelled Parati), one of Brazil’s greatest colonial treasures: a cluster of whitewashed villas on a bay dotted with paradise islands and backed by steaming jungle-clad mountains. Historically, Paraty was one of… Read More →
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.
When I arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil I had been traveling for approximately 22 hours. Many of those hours I was rushing to catch a train, to catch a flight, and to catch another flight. I dropped my bags off at my hotel, the Marina All Suites in Leblon, and went straight to the Hotel Fasano’s Al Mare restaurant in Ipanema to begin my first lesson in Brazilian cachaça with Leblon rep Eliana Pessanha.
Last year after eating at Alex Atala’s D.O.M. in São Paulo I predicted that the restaurant, then #18 on San Pellegrino’s World’s Best List, would make the Top 5 in 2011. I was close. It jumped up 11 spots to #7. Thus far, no other restaurant in South America has come close to the level of D.O.M. Atala is sourcing many rare ingredients direct from farmers and artisanal vendors throughout Brazil, including the Amazon, and presenting them in a modern form. Atala isn’t focusing on foraging like at Noma or molecular gastronomy like at El Bulli. Rather he is showcasing some of the most vibrant, exciting, and unknown ingredients in a new way. Two other Brazilian restaurants, Mani (#74) and Fasano (#59), both which focus on Brazilian ingredients, also made the list.