Bandeira do Brasil

Bandeira do Brasil

Monday, December 15, 2014


Brazilian style pizza is extremely different from American pizza in many ways. The entire experience of pizza is something unique in Brazil. Pizza is traditionally eaten with a fork and a knife, which is unfamiliar to Americans. Americans usually use their hands unless they are attempting to eat a particularly large slice of pizza or the pizza is extremely messy. The pizzas are also not pre-cut by pizzerias and the pizza eater is meant to do that themselves. Occasionally, some pizzerias will provide small plastic pizza rollers, but often it has to be cut by a traditional kitchen knife.

The crust on Brazilian pizzas are typically very thin. Thicker crusts are sometimes offered, but they are rarely ordered that way, unless it is by tourists from Europe or America. The sauce on the pizza is also very thin. It is not common to be able to see the sauce underneath the cheese, which happens often with American style pizzas.

The toppings on Brazilian pizzas are very different from what an American is used to. Though we do occasionally top pizzas with traditional toppings such as olives, ham, bacon, oregano and tomatoes, we prefer to add more unique toppings as well. Some of the non-traditional toppings that Brazilians enjoy include: corn, quail, curried chicken, beets, eggs, raisins, bananas, hearts of palm and potatoes.

Pizzas in Brazil are also often topped with catupiry cheese. Catupiry cheese is a soft tangy cheese that has a similar consistency to cream cheese, but has a less sweet flavor. This cheese was invented by an Italian immigrant named Mario Silvestrini and has become a very popular Brazilian staple food. This cheese is also known to be spread on crackers and french bread, shrimp and salmon. Catupiry cheese is also often paired with sweets as a dessert

Though we Brazilians love savory pizzas, we also truly enjoy dessert pizzas, which are also sometimes called “sweet pizzas”. These pizzas also have a very thin crust and often are topped with catupiry cheese. Other dessert pizza toppings can include: plantains, chocolate, dulce de leche, guava paste, bananas, mango, strawberries, chocolate and even ice cream.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

FERNANDO DE NORONHA: a place to put in your bucket list

Photo by Henrique Neto

The government of Pernambuco charges a daily stay preservation fee for visitors to the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago. The following site (in English) might clear out any doubt: OFFICIAL SITE

Two-thirds of the archipelago are located in the Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park its access is restricted. The most beautiful beaches on the island are within it and to visit them you need to buy the ticket valid for 10 days. You can buy it online here.

By paying the ticket online you will earn an extra hour without being kept at a boring line to fill out papers on arrival at the airport. These papers are compulsory both in and out of the main island.

Should you decide to stay longer, you have to pay the extra fee at the customs station. Beware! Fine on overdue stay permit is heavy.


Sunblock, mosquito repelent, sun shades, snorkelling gear and a hat. Products go to the island by boat therefore elevating their price tags, specially sunblock and repelent.

WARNING: Noronha is a volcanic island and sun rays are exceptionally stronger there. Sunblock is of the utmost importance, especially behind the ears, even on a cloudy day, which is rare.


It requires some reasearch work, for prices vary tremendously. Both domestic airlines, Gol and Azul operate daily from Natal and Recife. 


Accomodation in Noronha is threefold: hotels, lodges and B&B. Camping is not allowed. Daily rates at hotels and lodges are around R$700,00 (approx. $290), but the downside is you´re going to pay the price of a five-star hotel in return for a three-star service. On the other hand, locals offer rooms at their homes with air conditioning, frigobar, cable TV, hot shower, fluffy towels, a substantial breakfast, all served with a welcoming smile.

Avoid doing tours by yourself. It may end up being a nuisance; the minimum stay period recommended is 5 days, so that you do not end up feeling like you´ve been through a marathon - you will get to know all beaches without time constraints and will have saved yourself $50.

The island fits within barely 17 sq/km. The main hamlet can be stridden easily and the 16 beaches, 4 at the Outer Sea (Mar de Fora), which face Africa, and 12 at the Inner Sea (Mar de Dentro) facing the Brazilian coast are within a walking distance.
Moving from one place to another can be done by means of buses, taxis or buggies ($67 daily rent). The most expensive taxi ride costs $15 (from the harbor to southeast of the island), and the bus which fares along the island is barely $1. Hitchhiking is also very common.

Friday, November 28, 2014


The continent-sized country also has a vast interior, with forests, mountain ranges (serras) and plateaux (chapadas) of at times staggering beauty. One dominant feature of its more mountainous landscapes is its waterfalls.

Walk a little further into the Brazilian wilderness and the waterfalls empty out. There is a waterfall along the two-day hike along the Vale do Pati, or Pati Valley, in the Chapada Diamantina national park in Bahia that is an oasis on a hot, long and dusty trail. So cool, shady and refreshing that it seems too good to be true.

For hikers, Brazil offers a lot more – there are three chapadas: Chapada Diamantina, in Bahia; Chapada dos Veadeiros, in Goiás; and Chapada dos Guimarães in Mato Grosso.

Excerpts taken from Folha de Sao Paulo, by Dom Phillips

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Please meet Izabel Mendes da Cunha, the most famous artisan of the Jequitinhonha Valley in the state of Minas Gerais. In the small town where she lived, the master artisan created and taught close to everyone to make clay dolls,  and turned the region into a major producer of ceramic arts. 

Daughter to a skillful craftswoman who made chinaware, Ms. Cunha started creating her famous dolls in 1970 at the age of 44. In the beginning the molded faces were only the heads of pitchers. Soon after came the breastfeeding mothers and brides figures, always copper-coloured mulattas with straight hair  and in various shades of clay.

In 2003, the dolls of Dona Izabel, as she is known,  ended up in the São Paulo Fashion Week, when designer Ronaldo Fraga honored the potters from the Jequitinhonha Valley. Mother of four, she received several awards such as the UNESCO Crafts for Latin America (2004), the Order of Cultural Merit (awarded by the Ministry of Culture, 2005) and the Popular Culture Award (by the Ministry of Culture, 2009). Dona Isabel was also honored by President Dilma Rousseff during the opening of the Brazilian Women´s Arts Show exhibited at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Please meet Goncalo de Carvalho street, in Porto Alegre, State of Rio Grande do Sul. It´s almost like living in a forest...

The more than one hundred trees of the  tipuana genus (also known as Rosewood), lined along approximately 500 meters of sidewalks, have been planted in the late 1930s by German-born workers employed in an old local brewery.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014


The Theatre Festival of the Portuguese Language (FESTLIP) brings together cultures and artistic expressions of the eight countries that have Portuguese as their official language. The festival features theatrical performances (11 of which are free), photo exhibitions, lectures, workshops and a gastronomic show offering dishes from the participating countries. Brazilian music and of the Portuguese-speaking countries is a highlight of the festival. The cultures of Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor and Guinea-Bissau are closely knitted in a fabric of  theatrical diversity.

The Festival takes place in Rio de Janeiro from August 27 to September 5.

PROGRAM (in Portuguese)




Friday, August 8, 2014


Twelfth Night or Epiphany Eve is a festival marking the coming of the Epiphany, and concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is defined by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking". 

The celebration of Epiphany, the adoration of the Magi, is marked in some cultures by the exchange of gifts, and Twelfth Night, as the eve or vigil of Epiphany, takes on a similar significance to Christmas Eve. 

It commemorates the first two occasions on which Jesus’ divinity, according to Christian belief, was manifested: when the three kings (also known as wise men or Magi) visited infant Jesus in Bethlehem, and when John the Baptist baptized him in the River Jordan. The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches emphasize the visit of the Magi when they celebrate the Epiphany. The Eastern Orthodox churches focus on Jesus’ baptism.

In the city of Muqui, south of Espirito Santo State, the Epiphany National Meeting has been held since the 1950´s , during which some 90 groups from various States such as Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Goias and Sao Paulo get together. It is the oldest and largest gathering of depicted Wise Men in the country. The event is taking place on the 23rd of August, 2014.

The Twelfth Night, or Folia de Reis is a beautiful celebration brought to Brazil by the early catholic Portuguese. It flourished in the nineteenth century in regions where coffee plantations prospered. Groups composed of musicians, instrumentalists and people from the community wear stylized costumes and they walk the town 
streets visiting homes, farms, and ranches.The musicians are welcomed with tables full of local dainties and in return they promote a night of great music and theater.

Monday, July 21, 2014


From the subtropical climate to the cultural habits, Porto Alegre is fairly different from the other state capitals in Brazil. Founded in 1742 by immigrants from the Portuguese archipelago of Azores, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul was the destination of thousands of immigrants from Portugal and Italy - like many other cities in Brazil but also from other European countries, particularly Germany and Poland.

Besides that, as the state is located far down the south of Brazil, the gauchos, as people from Rio Grande do Sul are called, share several cultural traits with their neighbours from Argentina and Uruguay, from the folklore music to the habit of drinking the mate infusion, or chimarrao.

Porto Alegre lies on the eastern bank of the Guaíba River, right at the convergence point of five other rivers, which together form the enormous Lagoa dos Patos (Ducks Lagoon). Its 497 square kilometres are covered with more than one million trees, making it one of the greenest cities in Brazil, despite being the nucleus of the fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the country, with roughly four million inhabitants. There are over 1.4 million people living within the boundaries of Porto Alegre.

Temperatures are a lot milder in Porto Alegre than they are in most of the Brazilian capitals, with an annual temperature average of 19.5ºC and cold winters that have historical records of snow and subzero temperatures. The four seasons are very defined, though, and during the summer, temperatures may go well beyond 35ºC. The capital of Rio Grande do Sul is also famous for featuring one of the highest human development index figures in the whole country.





Friday, June 20, 2014


It is here, at Mount Roraima, also known as Tepuy Roraima and Cerro Roraima. First described by the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in 1596, its 31 km2 summit area consists on all sides of cliffs rising 400 metres (1,300 ft). The mountain also serves as the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana.

Mount Roraima lies on the Guiana Shield forming the highest peak of Guyana's Highland Range. The tabletop mountains of the park are considered some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, dating back to some two billion years ago in the Precambrian.

Many of the species of the flora and fauna found on Roraima are unique to the plateau. It rains almost every day of the year. Low scanty and bristling vegetation is also found in the small, sandy marshes that intersperse the rocky summit. Most of the nutrients that are present in the soil are washed away by torrents that cascade over the edge, forming some of the highest waterfalls in the world.

Since long before the arrival of European explorers, the mountain has held a special significance for the indigenous people of the region, and it is central to many of their myths and legends. The Pemon and Kapon natives of the Gran Sabana see Mount Roraima as the stump of a mighty tree that once held all the fruits and tuberous vegetables in the world. Felled by Makunaima, their mythical trickster, the tree crashed to the ground, unleashing a terrible flood.

The adventures of the explorers Im Thurn and Harry Perkins in the mid-19th century may have inspired Arthur Conan Doyle's seminal book about people and dinosaurs, The Lost World, published in 1912.

In 2009, Mount Roraima served as inspiration for a location in the Disney/Pixar animated movie Up. Today, Mount Roraima is a destination for backpackers. Almost all who go up the mountain approach it from the Venezuelan side. Although the path to reach the plateau is well marked and popularly traveled, it is easy to get lost on top of the mountain, as there are few distinct trails and the near constant cloud cover on top and the uncanny rock formations make visual references problematic.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


The Brazilian government has issued an accessibilty manual for the 2014 World Cup´s Host Cities, but in Portuguese language only. Some impairments may quite as clearly be depicted by the international signs used, but the how-to is yet unclear. (manual)

One must begin by entering the city name (Pesquise pela cidade) and then filtering the search by a specific impairment. The result will be restaurants, hotel, show clubs, car rental spots, public spaces which feature special accessibility resources. Though not complete yet, bear in mind Brazilian people in general are very accessible, and one might eventually find help when less expected. Also, our legislation about accessibility dates back as far as the year 2000. (accessibility legislation) There´s zillions to be done yet, though.

A blog with focus on the World Cup accessibility and the forthcoming Olympic Games (in Portuguese)

Updated tourism information (in Portuguese)

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Carimbó is a tall African drum made of a hollow trunk of wood, thinned by fire, and covered with a deerskin. It is about 1m tall and 30cm wide. It is also the name of a Brazilian dance common in the northern part of Brazil, originally from the Brazilian region of Pará,  Marajó island and the capital city of Belém dating back from the time that Brazil was still a Portuguese colony.

Carimbó is a loose and very sensual dance which involves only side to side movements and many spins and hip movement by the female dancer, who typically wears a rounded skirt. The music is mainly based on the beat of Carimbó drums. In this dance, a woman throws her handkerchief on the floor and her male partner attempts to retrieve it by using solely his mouth.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


EMBRAPA, a company of technological innovation linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, focuses on generating knowledge and technology to Brazilian agriculture. Since its foundation on April 26, 1973 , it has been developing a model of genuine Brazilian tropical agriculture and livestock. Today it is a global benchmark in agriculture in the tropical climate and supports the Brazilian Government on actions to promote sector development in emerging countries This way, the barriers that limited the production of food, fiber and energy in Brazil have been overcome.

This effort helped change Brazil in innovative genetics biotechnology, agriculture R&D, and technology transference among others.  Nowadays, our agriculture is one of the most efficient and sustainable in the planet. We incorporated a wide area of degraded cerrado lands to productive systems; a region that now accounts for nearly 50% of our grain production. We quadruplicated the supply of beef and pork and expanded 22 times the chicken supply. These are some of the achievements that took the country from a condition of basic food importer to one of the largest food producer and exporter.

Territorial coverage

15 Centrail Units: located in Brasilia
47 Decentralized Units scattered: in all regions of Brazil
4 Virtual Labs Abroad (LABEX): in the USA, Europe, China and South Korea
3 International Offices: in Latin America and Africa


Total of 9,790 employees
2,444 researchers
2,503 analysts
1,780 technician
3,063 assistants


R$ 2.3 billion in 2013


Tuesday, April 29, 2014


You might as well check this out - a newly released Guide to the host cities. It includes services, tips and useful information so as not to miss the best of the World Cup. Also, news on the latest developments.

Why is the mascot a three-banded armadillo? In Brazil it is known as 'tatu-bola'. It is native to the country´s north-east and is capable of rolling itself into the shape of a ball when it feels threatened.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


One of the main tourist attractions in the city of Santos, the Museu do Café [Coffee Museum] was created in 1998 as an institution of the State Secretary of Culture, with the aim of preserving and spreading knowledge about the historical relation between coffee and Brazil. Among the objects and documents that make up its archive, it is possible to perceive how the development of coffee growing and the nation’s political, economic and cultural development are closely linked. This relation, which began in the middle of the 18th century, has remained strong until today. 

Photo by Marcus Cabaleiro
Installed in the former building of the Official Coffee Exchange, which began to operate there in 1922, the Museu do Café counts among its collection a stained-glass work and a number of paintings by Benedicto Calixto, an icon in the art of São Paulo State. Museum-goers can also visit the Auction Room, where the negotiations for setting the daily price for bags of coffee were held, until this activity was transferred to the city of São Paulo in the 1950s.

The building of the Official Coffee Exchange was constructed to centralize, organize and control the coffee market. Inaugurated in 1922, as part of the celebrations of the Centennial of Brazil’s Independence, the building became a key symbol of the wealth of the coffee business and one of the most emblematic sights in the city of Santos. 
The building’s eclectic architectural style and splendor, the quality of the materials used in its construction, and the richness of the details of its decoration all contribute to an understanding of its importance during the golden years of the coffee trade.

The Coffee Preparation Center (CPC) plays a fundamental role in spreading knowledge about the different ways to prepare one of the world’s most traditional beverages. Besides the barista course, it offers workshops and lectures for different publics, with the aim to stimulate the search for technical information on coffee.

Coffee that isn't strong enough is referred to as chafé in Brazil, which translates to "tea-coffee." A true testament to the fact that they don't believe in weak brews or tea, really. You won't find too many vanilla lattes either, they're not ones for all that jazz. They thrive on the traditional cafezinhos, which are espressos with a splash of hot water.
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