Oklahoma City has become a great destination for foodies, offering a diverse selection of restaurants with unique flavors and different cultural influences. More restaurants are seeking diverse sources of inspiration, and ethnic flavors, and thus allowing adventurous consumers the opportunity to try new flavors and ingredients.
Guests are more educated today than ever in worldly flavors and ingredients, explains Chef/Proprietor Ana Paixao Davis from Café do Brasil. Although diners want diverse taste experiences, they want food to be authentic, adapting dishes to fit menu creativity, while maintaining their authenticity; however, to do such can be a challenge, especially with the lack of knowledge of many vendors in bringing a few items to Oklahoma’s market, such as three of the peppers (Malagueta, Biquinho and Cumari) which are present in most of the menu’s items. Chef Davis personally brings them from Brazil, on her regular trips back home. Other ingredients used, such as palm oil, yuka flour, urucum oil, black rice, Brazil Nuts, and various other ingredients can be found at the Asian , Latin and Indian markets though; which show the influence of other cultures in the cuisine.
The food of Brazil is an interesting mix of cultures that have come together to create the modern Brazilian food culture. The original indigenous people of Brazil, the Portuguese, and the African slaves, brought by the Portuguese, have all had a part in creating this cuisine. Brazilian food is an exuberant, colorful mix of Portuguese, African and native foods, including some from the Amazon. The indigenous tribes developed ways of preserving meats by smoking and drying them; sweet potatoes, were present in most of their meals, and they also discovered delicious ingredients such as the hundreds of fish species acai berry, cocoa, cashews, Brazil nuts, corn, and countless fruits, as well as cassava root, which is used to make farofa and used in almost all of the various Brazilian cuisine dishes.
Portuguese settlers, along with African slaves settled in Bahia in the north-east, a province still renowned for its cuisine, and brought a range of influences and ingredients, including the Portuguese salted cod, as well as a love of baking and desserts, especially egg custards; while the Africans brought dende (palm oil), coconut, plantains and okra.
The national dish, feijoada, is believed to have been created by African slaves using dried beans, kale and cassava, along with what were considered off-cuts of pork and air-dried beef.
The southern part of Brazil was settled later with coffee plantations, which brought western European and Arab immigrants with the skills for cheese making and preserving meat. They contributed to a diverse cuisine centered around the Minas Gerais region. The Brazilian barbecue churrasco originated in the south of Brazil with the gauchos, or cowboys, who prized a cut of meat from the top of the beef rump called picanha, which is rolled in sea salt and sometimes garlic, and cooked rotisserie-style over charcoal on long skewers.
Brazilians love their savory snacks (salgadinhos), which they eat along with strong, black coffee, guarana (soft drink made out of guarana berries from the Amazon) or a caipirinha cocktail, which is considered Brazil’s national drink (made with cachaça sugar cane rum, sugar and lime juice). On most street corners you can also find pao de queijo, bite-sized cheese breads.
Café do Brasil has been bringing all these flavors and ingredients to OKC, for over 13 years. Located in the heart of Midtown, in a white Mission-style building that dates back to the 1930s, Café do Brasil has been the home of many cultures, and represents Brazil’s melting pot of colours, languages and customs.
Café do Brasil is known for its bright yellow walls, tall ceiling, loudness, and Brazilian artifacts hanging on the walls. The restaurant has a large dining room that can seat large parties as well as a smaller intimate area for smaller groups. The large room reminds Chef Davis of her family lunches on Sundays. She comes from a family of 12, that now has grown to 84 and counting, which when getting together is always fun, with everyone, talking loud, in order to be heard, laughing and dancing along with celebratory great meals.
Chef Davis makes a trip to her homeland at least once a year to attend gastronomic conferences and to work with renown chefs in order to keep up and bring to her now home, OKC, the newest and latest exciting menu items, including menu items for vegetarian, vegans and gluten free guests.
Café do Brasil has been bringing all these flavors and ingredients to OKC, for over 13 years. Located in the heart of Midtown, 440 NW 11th, in a white Mission-style building that dates back to the 1930s. For more information and reservations call 405-525-9779 or visit www.cafedobrazilokc.com.
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