Brazil, the world’s fifth largest country and the largest in South America. With a coastline of 4,655 miles it borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile.
The Amazon rain forest is the world’s largest, recognised as having the greatest biological diversity in the world, containing one-fifth of the world’s freshwater reserves and producing one-third of the earth’s oxygen. About sixty percent of the Amazon lies in Brazil.
Some interesting facts:
Brazil has been the largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years
92% of all new sold cars in Brazil use ethanol as fuel, which is produced from sugar cane
Voting is mandatory in Brazil
Brazil has the third largest prison population in the world behind China and the US
Brazil is the only country in the world that has the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn running through it
Rio de Janeiro was once the capital of Portugal
Sex change surgeries are free under Brazil’s public health system since 2008 and almost 20% of Rio de Janeiro’s males are gay or bisexual
Rio de Janeiro will be the first South American city to host the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The 2016 Summer Olympics will take place from the 5th – 21st August. More than 10,500 athletes from 206 countries, including first timers Kosovo and South Sudan are due to take part. The games will feature 28 Olympic sports with 306 sets of medals, across 38 different venues.
Brazilian cuisine varies greatly by region, developed from indigenous, European, and African influences. Recipes I came across include Moqueca (seafood stew), Feijoada (black beans stewed with pork), Salgadinhos (salty snacks), Pastel (filled pastry), Pão de queijo (cheese puffs), Galinhada (chicken and rice stew) and Churrasco (barbequed meat) . Having not cooked many sweet dishes during this challenge, I opted to make Brigadeiros (Brazilian chocolate bonbons), the national truffle of Brazil. There were a fair few tasting volunteers for these little sweet treats!
Serves: Makes 20 – 28 (depending on size)
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
1 (397g or 14oz) can sweet condensed milk
4 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
30g butter, plus a little more for rolling balls
pinch of salt
Good quality chocolate sprinkles
In a small sauce pan mix the sweet condensed milk, the cocoa powder, the salt and the butter
Bring the sauce pan to the stove and heat it over medium-low heat
Cook it, mixing constantly (this is important, otherwise it will burn!) until it thickens, about 5 minutes
Run your wooden spoon (or spatula) through the middle of the mixture. If it takes a while for the mixture to move, then your brigadeiro is ready
Let it cool to room temperature
In a plate or bowl, spread your sprinkles
Once cool, grease your hands with butter and roll the brigadeiros into little balls. Use half a tablespoon as measurement, but you can make your balls as big or small as you’d like!
Roll the brigadeiro balls into the sprinkles and place them in paper/foil candy cups