Brazil returns in between the Morocco and France Pavilions.
Each of the food items return alongside the Frozen Caipirinha, while the beer and wine are new this year.
- Escondidinho de Carne – “Little Hidden One”: Layered Meat Pie with Mashed Yucca – $5
- Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions – $5.75
- Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread – $4
- M.I.A. Beer Company Barbosa Black Beer – $4.25
- Lidio Carraro Davidas Chardonnay – $5
- Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça – $11
Escondidinho de Carne – “Little Hidden One”: Layered Meat Pie with Mashed Yucca – $5
I’m not a big fan of this one despite several efforts.
The yucca on top tends to congeal into more of a puck-like situation and the beef underneath, while plentiful, is bland with just some onion and pepper notes. It’s a decent portion for the money, but I don’t think this is going to wow anybody.
Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions – $5.75
Here is this year’s version of the Pork Belly, which is served with a more attractive presentation than the past couple of years with the bacon arriving perched on top of the black beans rather than swimming in a pool of them. The pork remains tender, but it’s also still bland and stringy with salt as the only flavor that really stands out. The black beans underneath were more like refried mush than the al dente textural contrast that we’ve seen in the past. This is one of the more interesting items served at the Festival, but it’s difficult to recommend with the varying quality of execution.
Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread – $4
$4 buys you two of these surprisingly gluten-free biscuit-y looking cheese bread spheres. They actually arrive frozen and are then baked – if you visit Garden Grill after the Festival, you may find a handful in your bread basket as I did a couple of years ago. Anyway, these have a nice light, airy-ness to them with a mild cheese flavor. The texture is almost like they’re not cooked all the way through and is kind of gooey. Like the Soup in Canada, a lot of people are willing to ignore the hefty price in order to get their cheese on.
M.I.A. Beer Company Barbosa Black Beer – $4.25
Store Price: ?
Festival Price: 71 cents/ounce
This Black Beer from M.I.A. out of Doral, Florida replaces last year’s Black Beer in the Brazilian Xingu. The brewery’s most popular offering is their Mega Mix Pale Ale, which has turned up at several locations across property. The Barbosa is unique to the Festival as far as I can tell and follows the typical flavor profile of the style – coffee, cocoa, and dark roasted malts. Carbonation is light, making it easy to drink in the Florida heat with a crisp aftertaste. It’s worth trying as you probably won’t find it elsewhere.
Lidio Carraro Davidas Chardonnay – $5
Store Price: 72 cents/ounce
Festival Price: $2.50 cents/ounce
Value: Above average
Lidio Carraro was the official wine supplier for the 2014 World Cup and is one of Brazil’s best-regarded wineries. Their Davidas Chardonnay is a crisp tropical white wine with melon, honey, and vanilla notes up front with a nicely balanced palate. It’s one of the better wine values this year and a good choice in the Festival atmosphere.
Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça – $11
We picked up this year’s version of the Caipirinha (ky-pee-REE-nyah), which is Brazil’s national cocktail, made here with LeBlon Cachaca for $11. Cachaca is mostly unknown here in the U.S., but the pure sugar cane spirit is the most common hard liquor in Brazil and is becoming better known here in Florida with the influx of South American restaurants and bars that are popping up around the state. We didn’t much care for what we were served on day one – the drink was thin and incredibly bitter. It’s an expensive proposition as one of the most expensive cocktails and still served in a thimble-of-a-glass. A risky buy.