Saturday, June 20, 2009

Frutas do Brasil (Fruits of Brazil)

Most people, when asked what kinds of fruits you might find in Brasil, will tell you bananas, passionfruit, papaya, oranges, anything tropical. But did you know that in the interior part of the state of Santa Catarina you'll find some of the best varieties of apples, pears, and grapes?

The town of Fraiburgo is famous for it's apples. We drove through there once on our way to a beekeeper meeting in Videira (which we'll discuss later). It is beautiful country and we were lucky enough to have traveled to these cities right in the middle of harvest season. We stopped at the portal to Fraiburgo and bought some pears, big giant juicy pears, that were some of the best I've ever tasted. The pears we bought were not like D'anjou pears, but rounder and had brown skin. If you've ever tasted a small honey pear, that's what the taste of these reminded me of, only about 5 times the size of a honey pear. There were many varieties of applies, including large red delicious ones. We bought some locally made apple soap and jelly for small gifts to our family.

It was then on to Videira. Charles was asked to give a powerpoint presentation to a group of local beekeepers regarding how beekeeping is done in the United States. At the site where he gave the talk, there was a small winery operation adjacent. When we were finished, we walked over to the winery and sampled some of their wines. We ended up buying a couple of bottles. The quality of the merlot was comparable to any California wine and quite reasonably priced. I think we bought two bottles for the total amount of $R25, or about $12 U.S. Videira is known for its vineyards. The weather in the south central region of Brasil gets very cold in the winter months between June and September. Quite often, snow occurs in the town of San Joaquim, Santa Catarina. Therefore, fruits associated with colder climates thrive in this area. So next time you think of Brasil, remember, there's more than meets the eye.

Til Then, Tchau!