In 1962, a beautiful woman named Heloisa Pinheiro regularly passed the Bar Veloso in Rio de Janeiro’s fashionable Ipanema district. The composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinicius de Moraes were hanging out in the bar. And after watching her pass by every afternoon, were inspired to write “Garota de Impanema,” and the legend of bossa nova music was born. Later, Jobim said, “She had long, golden hair, these bright green eyes that shone and a fantastic figure. Let’s just say that she had everything in the right place.”
Brazil is famous for two sensual traditions: Bossa nova music and Brazilian barbecue, or churrasco. This churrasco menu and romantic dinner plan is my nod to both.
Set the scene for this churrasco menu
Almost any occasion can be celebrated with a churrasco. But I like to put a little heat on my grill by making it a romantic, post-beach romp for two. First of all, after spending all day on the sand you’ll possess an alluring glow. Not to mention a languid sense of relaxation.
Second, Brazilian churrasco is all about meat. And men love meat. So they’ll be pleased with the chance to show off their grilling skills. No need to change from your beachwear. In fact, a sarong and tee shirt are all you need for this open-air affair.
Add these elements to your romantic night of Brazillan recipes
My churrasco menu starts the evening by muddling a few caipirinhas. And listen to romantic bossa nova music by Bebel Gilberto or Antonio Carlos Jobim or an upbeat, modern style by the band Bossacucanova. The churrasco is a casual event of great Brazilian foods. So stoneware, unfussy napkins, good steak knives and some tea lights are all that you’ll need to set the table.
Besides some fine-quality meat, a box of rock salt and a grill, you’ll want to make a few accompaniments to complete the meal. Some of my favorites of Brazilian cooking include a tomato and hearts of palm salad, farofa (toasted manioc flour,) and molho a campanha, a Brazilian-style salsa. For a sweet finish, make a pudim de liete, one of the more iconic Brazilian dishes popular throughout the whole country.
Bossa nova, sizzling heat, a refreshing cocktail and an outdoor barbecue…let’s just say it’s everything in the right place.
Churrasco Tri Tip with Molho a Campanha
Salada de Tomate e Palmito (Tomato and Heart of Palm Salad)
Pudim de Liete
Diane Brown is author of The Seduction Cookbook: Culinary Creations For Lovers
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