What is a Typical Brazilian Breakfast?
I was surprised to learn from my time living in Brazil that unlike American Breakfast, Brazilian Breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day. On the other hand there are preferred breakfast foods that Brazilians tend to enjoy that we’ll be covering today.
Known as Cafe da Manha, (Literally translating to Morning Coffee) Brazilians eat very minimally when it comes to what we would consider breakfast. With coffee being the baseline, many Brazilians between the hours of 6:30 and 8:00 am will eat:
- Light Cold Cuts
This of course is a major over generalization of this question as the region breakfast preferences are as diverse as the New York coffee and bagels to the Southern biscuits and gravy or grits. So we’re covering what individual foods are most commonly consumed amongst the larger populations of Brazilians throughout the country.
What are some Brazilian breakfast breads?
Bolo (bowl-o) or Cake
It’s not uncommon for Brazilians to eat versions of unfrosted cakes for breakfast. One popular breakfast cake is called bolo de fubá. This cake was originally brought to the country by African slaves. Fubá originating from an African word for flour is now accepted in Brazilian Portuguese to mean cornmeal. Bolo de fubá is a cornmeal cake that calls for both sweetened condensed milk as well as Parmesan cheese, and the flavor is just to die for. It has a flavor similar to american cornbread but is cheesier and creamier that what Americans would be used to.
Pao de Queijo (pown-deh-KAY-zho)Brazilian Cheese Bread
Brazilian Cheese Bread is widely associated with American Churrascarias and served with the primary Churrasco in the round. Easily attainable from Brazilian Padarias (bakery), Cheese bread makes an awesome companion to morning coffee. It’s pretty common for those living in highly populated areas to get breakfast on the go from a padaria. Cheese Bread has the flavor of a cheese dough, with a consistency of a stringy german pancake, it’s my opinion that cheese bread is highly addictive with how delicious they are.
Check out the Official Espeto Grill Recipe for Traditional Brazilian Cheese Bread that was translated directly from Portuguese and on that Chris learned directly from a Brazilian Baker circa 2002.
Pão Francês (pow-n Fr-awn-se-ss)(French Bread Roll)
Brazilians have access to common industrial loaves of bread, popular in the united states for making basic toast, but the preferred breakfast bread of choice in Brazil is Pao Frances. Imagine a full size french bread condensed down to the size of a 4-6 inch roll. Almost equal in texture and flavor, the french bread roll is easily toasted on a griddle surface or oven broiler with butter on the cut section.
In the south, which has a higher European influence, it’s common to add jams or jellies to the toasted roll. French bread and cold cuts make for a delicious light dinner, it sometimes takes the morning shift as an on the go breakfast sandwich. This makes a welcome companion to the morning coffee.
Fruitos (fru-toes) Brazilian Fruits
Brazil is a land of diverse fruits and produce. While I was living in Brazil I would go to the supermarket and be blown away at not just how big the fruit sections were, but how many varieties of fruit were being sold in those markets. In one area passed through I counted over 16 varieties of oranges alone. Everything from navel oranges to blood oranges.
That being said, Papaya is one of the most common breakfast fruits to eat when available. Around the size of a Nerf football, this yellow fruit, has an orange flesh and little black seeds in the middle. The Papaya has a mild sweet flavor similar to the texture of cantaloupe. When ripe is is pleasant and light, however, I’ve had under ripe papaya which had a flavor resembling the taste of dish soap.
Harvested from the Acai Palm Tree, these berries range from 1-2 cm, and are a deep purple color. Most recently heralded in the united states as a superfood these little berries pack a wide variety of nutrients and antioxidants that are claimed to help everything from improving cognitive function to improving heart health. Commonly used for fruit juice, pureed for a fruit bowel or dried for use in granola style morning bars.
Are pretty common as a breakfast fruit as well in Brazil. I would get Mangos from the store when they were in season and some of them grew to be the size of some Nerf Footballs. I learned to cut the Mango properly while living there as well. LOL
I remember trying to slice mango before living there and I would try to peel it like an apple and eat it like one as well. This left my face a sugary mess and stringy mango in my teeth. Later I learned you cut the mango longways along the flat side of the pit. Then you can either take a spoon and scoop out the flesh like a little mango bowl, or you can take a knife and slice the flesh into little cubes to remove one by one. This also makes adding mango to fruit salads possible.
Passion fruit is another Popular breakfast food. Often made into yogurt, the flavor right from the fruit is like a concentrate, I learned that the dryer and uglier the fruit appeared the sweeter the flavor of the contents.
Kiwi Fruit isn’t native to Brazil but has been adopted in to the cornucopia of Brazilian fruits eaten during the breakfast hour. This little brown on the outside and green on the inside fruit is about the size of a oblong golf ball and has a sweet and slightly tangy flavor.
What are Common Brazilian Breakfast Beverages:
As established before Coffee is a breakfast staple in Brazil. It’s easily accessible in the area and give you the morning get up and go, many people look for in an energy stimulant. I can’t say I’m too familiar with the coffee in Brazil as I personally don’t drink coffee, but I asked some Brazilian friends of mine who do, to recommend their favorites.
This one actually blew my mind when I first moved to Brazil. In the United States we’re used to seeing Milk sold in one gallon containers in the refrigeration section of the supermarket. The milk experience in Brazil is vastly different in the fact that before it is opened, Milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
Yeah you read that correctly. It is sold in a similar contain that most chicken and beef broths are sold today. Like a liter size juice box, milk does need to be refrigerated after it is opened and only lasts a few days after.
Brazil’s juices are like the fruit section of the supermarket. Expansive in it’s selection you can make from a powder or concentrate almost every fruit under the sun. Even including juices that aren’t available here in the united states like cashew juice!
Yup! Cashews come from a fruit and that fruit produces juice. I never enjoyed drinking it myself as it literally tastes like a sweet cashew. Juice can also come from a bottled concentrate or even freshly juiced. I mentioned Cashew Juice was my least favorite, my absolute favorite was a juice called Caldo De Cana, or sugar cane juice!
The vendor would literally take stalks of sugarcane and run it through a machine that had two wheels in close proximity designed to extract the juice from the cane. The would take the squeezed cane and fold it in half just to run it through a second time, extracting every drop. If you request it, they can add a lime, or pineapple to the squeeze to give you a variety of flavors.
In conclusion, unlike the American way of thinking that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, Brazilians make lunch the most important meal. Breakfast, often times is simple, quick, and convenient.