Posts Tagged ‘Rio carnival’

Rio de Janeiro — By therioguide on February 15, 2010 at 12:00 pm
Filed under: barbecue, beer, caipirinha, featuredarticle, Rio carnival, top-feature, vodka jelly

Carnival 2010 – What to Eat and Drink

You won't need to look far for food and drink during Carnival

Rio Carnival is all about excess, and there’s no shortage of opportunity to eat and drink yourself into oblivion during this most hedonistic of celebrations.

Throughout the four days of Carnival itself (along with the numerous pre and post-Carnival shindigs), the streets are jam packed with vendors selling tempting treats.

Beer drinkers will never have to take more than a couple of steps before encountering somebody selling chilled cans, while those feeling a little fruitier will find plenty of opportunity to sample Rio’s famous caipirinha (cocktail of lime, sugar cane rum, sugar and ice); or caipifruta – vodka or sugar can rum with any one of countless delicious tropical fruits. Expect to pay around R$5-10 for a drink of head-spinningly strong alcoholic proportions.

Carnival 2009 saw some smart-thinking locals come up with the idea of selling frozen, pre-mixed versions of the drinks, something that proved to be a huge hit with revelers sweltering in the heat of Brazilian summer.

The drinks have been no less successful this year, and can be picked up for anything from R$1.50 upwards.

Another hit on the street drinking scene this year has been fruit jelly (jello for American readers!) laced with a strong dash of vodka or cachaca (sugar cane rum, the local fire water). Typically selling at R$1-$2 for a little pot, the jellies have proved a big hit with curious cariocas.

If you prefer your food without an alcoholic kick, you wont have to look to hard to find something that takes your fancy. Despite recent Government clampdowns on street selling, the locals’ entrepreneurial spirit prevails, and there are any number of tasty options available on Rio’s streets and sands.

For those who like to spend Carnival on the beach, the good news is that you won’t even have to leave your sun lounger in order to fill your tummy. Swarms of vendors do the rounds of the beaches, selling everything from grilled shrimp to falafel.

If you feel your party spirit  flagging, listen out for vendors shouting what sounds like ‘A-sigh-eeeeeeeee’. What they are in fact selling is Acai – an Amazonian ‘power berry’ that is famed for its energy-boosting properties.

The berry is sold crushed with sugar and ice, and has a unique but absolutely delicious flavour that somehow manages to combine the taste of chocolate, hazlenuts and bubble gum. Trust me, it’s a whole lot tastier than that sounds. The hangover remedy of choice for many a Rio local, a bowl of Acai washed down with an ice cold coconut water should wipe out any traces of the previous day’s excesses and leave  you ready and raring to go for another day of Carnival excess.

Snacks such as sandwiches, potato chips and ice cream are in steady supply on the beaches, while the abundant beach kiosks are the place to head for something more substantial.

Wherever you choose to do your carnival partying, you won’t need to go hungry for long. At every other step you will encounter vendors selling food – from home-made cakes and pies to typical dishes from the Northeast of Brazil.

For a truly traditional Carnival eating experience,  look out for the many entrepreneurial types who set up barbecues on the street. Grilled pork, chicken, sausage and various other carnivorous delights are on offer, while vegetarians shouldn’t miss the delicious queijo coalho – a white cheese, similar to halloumi, which is barbecued and can be served with or without a generous scattering of oregano.

Ok, so maybe they’re not the healthiest of street snacks, but why not go crazy for once – it is Carnival, after all.

Photo: Lucy Bryson

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