We continue on from France.
Brazil returns in between the Morocco and France Pavilions.
All of the major players return from last year, along with a little shakeup in the Portuguese wine department.
- Moqueca: Brazilian Seafood Stew featuring Scallops, Shrimp and White Fish with Coconut-lime Sauce and Steamed Rice – $5.25
- Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions – $6
- Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread – $4.50
- M.I.A. Beer Company Barbossa Black Beer – $4.50
- Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça – $10
Moqueca: Brazilian Seafood Stew featuring Scallops, Shrimp and White Fish with Coconut-lime Sauce and Steamed Rice – $5.25
It seems like we’re decidedly in cold weather territory here with a seafood stew, which Disney has begun serving exclusively outdoors in Florida as early as August to guests that have virtually no other option but to stand up and eat. With that said, this still touched all the bases for us early in the Festival – there was plenty of seafood mixed in to the hearty, creamy broth that was heavier on the coconut than the lime. A large piece of firm white fish sits on top of the rice mixed in with cilantro, pepper, tomatoes, and probably a little bit of paprika. I would have liked more citrus to counter the heavy flavor of the coconut milk, but this was a good dish at a good price. It’s going to taste even better come late October and into November.
Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions – $6
The tender Pork Belly is served perched on top of a bed of black beans with a tomato and onion relish placed attractively on top. 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. When it’s good, it’s very good, though.
Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread – $4.50
What is now $4.50 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 gooey texture is almost like they’re not cooked all the way through, but once you get over the initial shock, they taste pretty good and there’s just enough cheese flavor to make them addictive. Like the Soup in Canada, a lot of people are willing to ignore the hefty price in order to get their cheese on. That could be you.
M.I.A. Beer Company Barbossa Black Beer – $4.50
This Black Beer from M.I.A. out of Doral, Florida replaces the Brazilian Xingu that we’ve seen in the past. The Barbossa 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.
Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça – $10
The Caipirinha (ky-pee-REE-nyah) is Brazil’s national cocktail. 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 given the fact that it’s still served in this thimble-of-a-glass. The French Martini Slushy is a safer bet.
Overall, Brazil gets better as temperatures cool, which is not necessarily something that you’d expect given its reputation for being a hotspot. The Seafood Stew is good, but probably not a must-buy and the Cheese Bread returns as a favorite. The Pork Belly is iffy – about half the time it’s one of my favorite dishes and the other half of the time it’s one of the worst items I’ll try. Skip the wine here in favor of something nearby. The beer is an interesting try, but we’re going to see one of the best beers in the world ahead in Belgium with the St. Bernardus. These frozen drinks are rarer at the Festival this year, but the Caipirinha is probably going to be a tart sugar bomb and it’s served in such a small vessel that it almost doesn’t even deserve to be called a cup.