Thursday, June 18, 2009

Desserts (Sobremesas)

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I'm never sure how these pictures are going to stack up, so here goes: The chocolate dessert is called Bolo de Bolacha, or biscuit cake, quite similar to what we know as tiramisu. It is one of the top favorite desserts for Brasilians. The dessert in the bowl is called Sagu de Vinho, which is tapioca pearls in a sea of wine, finished with a dollop of cream. This is probably the most popular dessert in Brasil behind anything chocolate, of course. And the final dessert is Torta de Maracuja, or passionfruit cake. From my experience, these are the three most served desserts on any respectable dessert table in Brasil.

If asked to choose between the desserts here in America and the desserts in Brasil, I'd have to choose Brasil. I am not sure why, honestly, because bakeries in both countries serve up the finest in sweets, but there is something about eating a cake or a cookie made from scratch the old-fashioned way, that beats the quick fixes. The creams used are heavier and reminds one of the old days. Since Southern Brasil is known for its rich European influences, many of the bakeries (confeitarias) offer up some of the finest strudels and tortes I've ever tasted. The only thing that is rare in Brasil are donuts. The closest thing you'll find to donuts is a little fried dough concoction called orelha de porco (oh-rel-ya gee poor-so), or pig ears. They are akin to our fried cake donuts only denser and shaped in a ring resembling an ear. They are good, but have a tendency to be dryer than our American donuts.

There are some differences between American and Brasilian cakes as well. Again, Brasilian cakes tend to be denser and dryer than American cakes. As Americans like their cakes as moist as they can be, Brasilians go the other way. They do not mind if their cakes are left to dry out a little and prefer them as such to take with coffee in the afternoon. It is not such a big deal for Brasilians to carefully wrap their leftovers to keep them moist. It just doesn't matter. What a refreshing attitude.


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