Crashing a Culinary Moment in Curitiba
When four famous Brazilian chefs come together to tape a live reality show and create new dishes, you better believe I’m crashing the party! Local friends in Curitiba invited me to the event, which highlights a culinary movement happening in southern Brazil at the moment. Throughout my travels across the country, I’ve been noticing cities like Curitiba, Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo beginning to test and toy with the traditions of Brazilian food. This particular event called “Mesa ao Vivo” (live table) was a selective gathering for a small group of friends and peers that put a spin on well-known Brazilian staples like Coxinha and Costela. The chefs created dishes throughout the day while being filmed live for a local station and then people gathered at a local restaurant to eat, drink and celebrate the results. Words don’t do the dishes justice so let me show the tasty entrees with a few mouthwatering photos and explain how this great night played out.
After a few welcome glasses of champagne, the menu started with an appetizer sampler that included a tasty rendition on coxinha lapeana (fried meat, cheese and potato), carne de onca desconstruido (steak tartar), Cracovia, bigos and a variety of pickled vegetables with herbs and radish foam. I was familiar with the flavors but they were presented in a completely different way than what I had grown accustomed to here in Brazil.
The second dish was Viera e Pupunha (scallops and peach palm), over a crunchy farofa (toasted flour) and a dash of dulce de leite (condescended milk that tastes like caramel). I’ve never had peach palm before and it tasted like a crispy apple that paired perfectly with the salty scallops and sweet sauce. I could have eaten a hundred of those bad boys.
Bring on the main dish! Pork ribs with pinhao (local nut) bone marrow and fermented pineapple resulted in a taste bud explosion!
Last, but certainly not least, was the dessert that left our entire table smiling. The dish was a fluffy coconut crème with apples and honey that tickled my sweet tooth and left me begging for more. The dessert and each previous dish were paired with a wine or champagne, so by the end of dinner our bellies were full and our cheeks were rosy.
This wasn’t a traditional travel experience, but it’s the type I appreciate and remember the most. It was a local scene that gave me a peek into one aspect of local life in Curitiba, and it was delicious.