As you prepare for your Brazilian night it’s easy to forget that Brazil is an absolutely massive country. How large you ask? It’s larger than the contiguious United States by 300,000 miles. With such a massive population it’s no surprise that the culture and food of Brazil is extremely varied. That said, there are some themes that carry country wide, whether it be the love of football (soccer in the US), the general relaxed vibe that seems to exude, or the desire to spend the day snacking (we can totally relate). With all of this in mind, we put together the perfect date for a day in Brazil from home.
We say this is optional because this is not really part of the “Brazilian night” portion, but it would be a mistake for us to not include acai in some way or form. Acai are berries that grow in the rainforest that are typically ground into a delicious paste and topped with fruits, granola and honey to make the delightful creation known as an Acai Bowl. So if you have some time we recommend you start your day with an acai bowl and some Brazilian coffee. Acai Bowls are great because you can top it with any fruit and toppings you can imagine. We found and enjoyed this recipe (but feel free to find your own!).
Fun fact: Brazil mostly lies within the coffee growing belt, so naturally with so many coffee bean varieties growing there, coffee is a major part of the lifestyle. So for another authentic bonus, we recommend you pick up some Brazilian coffee like this.
We list food first not because we think it’s the first activity, but because the foods we’ve chosen probably need to be made in advance. While these are not the only food options you can make, in all the research we did these 2 items came up over and over, so we felt these were the things we needed to try.
Feijoada (fay·jow·aa·duh) is a black bean and pork stew that is unofficially considered the national dish of Brazil. Many shops sell this comfort food on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The reason we say to make this ahead of time is because a stew, and ya know, stews have to stew. You are easily looking at a few hours at least of cooking time, so we recommend setting this up in the morning in a slow cooker for later in the day and using the would be cooking time for fun activities! (more on those later) You can find our recipe of choice here. If you want to take your authenticity a step further, add a garnish of farofa.
Brigadeiro are delicious little balls made with condensed milk, which may be the sweetest most delicious ingredient in the world! The origin of the Brigadeiro is from the WW2 era and was named after the title of a politician, Brigadier Eduardo Gomes. Supporters were making treats for rallies and public meetings but ingredients were hard to find at that time, so condensed milk was used. The rest is history and an amazing treat was born. Now while you don’t 100% have to make these in advance, we think it’s best that these are ready to go for when you want dessert. Plus you want them to be kept cool so they don’t melt. The recipe we followed can be found here.
Brazilian Lemonade: Looking for something amazing and unique to go with your brigadeiro? We give you Brazilian Lemonade. Ready for another fun fact? There are no lemons in Brazilian Lemonade. Instead, it’s made only with limes. Yup, it’s a confusing name, but from what we’ve learned the word for lemon in Portuguese is limão, where they call Brazilian Lemonade limonada, which in English translates to, you guessed it, lemonade. Regardless of its name, this is a delicious and refreshing treat. While it’s not alcoholic, you could easily change that by adding tequila. We leave that choice up to you, but for the non-alcohol variety, here is how it’s done.
Cachaça: Cachaça is a Portuguese / Brazilian liquor made from sugarcane, similar to rum. The main difference between rum and cachaça is that cachaça is typically bottled immediately, whereas rum can be aged. When we picked up a bottle from our local liquor store (or package store if you’re from Connecticut) the owner told us to “Be careful with this stuff” – and while we’re not sure how to take that, we’re certainly curious to give it a go. While cachaça can be enjoyed by itself, it’s most commonly used to make the cocktail known as Caipirinha. Caipirinha is made with sugar, lime and ice, sort of like a mint-less mojito (that name probably didn’t stick..). Either way, sweet lime based drinks always seem to hit the spot and this one is no different.
For our themed dates we like to start with a drink and listen to some music before our activities… which brings us to…….
We Made You a Mixtape!
Mixtapes have evolved a bit since we were younger and to be honest, we never actually made a mixtape in our lives, but we have made CD’s which is essentially the same thing as a mix “tape”. Unfortunately even CD’s are ancient history at this point. Aside from aging ourselves, we did make a playlist for our Brazilian theme night and we are happy to share it with you. Be warned, this is quite the eclectic mix and basically any type of music possible could come out of this, but we hope you enjoy anyways!
Samba the Night Away!
You might be surprised to learn (we were) Samba is both a type of a music and a type of dance. I guess it makes sense, but it was news to us. In this case were are referring to the dance, although you will probably be dancing to Samba music while doing the Samba dance. (We are trying to see how many times we can use the word Samba in this paragraph!) It’s hard to pin down the definition of a Samba dance. It can be solo or a duet and can take many forms, but the best definition that we’ve read is that “you know it when you see it.” As Samba novices, we’re not sure that applies to us. Whatever the definition, we think learning to Samba is the perfect Brazilian night activity for your theme night. Try out some of these videos for some inspiration:
We used the word Samba 7 Times in one paragraph!!! YAY!
After You Work Up a Sweat, EAT
Now that you have built up a sweat Sambaing the night away (does that count as 8?), it’s time to eat! Luckily you’ve been paying close attention and have already prepared your food and now all you have to do is serve it! If you want to be authentic, serve your feijoada over rice and greens with your farofa garnish and a slice of orange. After you enjoy your feiojoada, get your bregediero ready to enjoy while you watch the Brazilian film of your choice. Which brings us to…
Cinema of Brazil
One of our favorite ways to have a theme night is to relax and watch some cinema from the country or region we’re celebrating. Even if we’re not super familiar with the media from our theme country, sometimes that leads to the most amazing discoveries (see our Moroccan theme). For our Brazilian night, we ultimately chose O Auto da Compadecida (A Dog’s Will) (which literally translates to “The Compassionate Woman’s Play”). It’s a comedy about 2 poor guys who get into all kinds of crazy hijinks, which is right up our alley. If it’s more serious cinema you prefer, we have a few more ideas for you, but obviously you are free to find your own (and if you do please let us know what you found!).
- Cidade de Deus / City of God (2002)
- Tropa De Elite / Elite Squad (2007)
- Meu Nome nao e Johnny / My Name isn’t Johnny – (2008)
- Pele – (2021)
A Brazilian Night Saidêra
In Brazilian culture, the Saidêra refers to the last drink of the night that you order with your bill. It’s a cool concept that isn’t that different than what most people do when closing out their bar tab, but we like that Brazil gave the act a name. So while you won’t have a bill to collect (another benefit to celebrating from home!), make sure to grab one last Caipirinha and have a send of on your amazing Brazilian date night! We sincerely hope you enjoyed!