Sunday, June 13, 2010

July 12 - Dia do Namorados

Last evening, I went to a dinner gathering with Flavia at her friend Valiria's flat by the Lagou (lagoon). There were about 10 of us who met to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Valentine’s Day in Brazil is known as "Dia dos Namorados" when lovers exchange gifts, flowers and chocolates. Valentine’s Day festival in Brazil features the colorful samba dance, folk music and lives performances by popular rock bands and singers. One of the major Valentine’s Day attractions in Brazil is that people decorate their houses and shops in an exotic way to make it look more beautiful. All over the cities, bright illumination displays are seen accompanied by marvelous night long parties and events.

Flavia is a writer of children's books (she has 6 or more published) and writes a children's television show. Her friends are mainly journalists, editors and publishers. Before coming to Brazil I read a section done by the Wall Street Journal on Brazil, I discovered one of the party goers, was the journalist who wrote two of the articles.

We arrived at the party at 10:30-10:45 (they have a very different schedule than the US). Dinner was served in a casual style in the parlor - mix greens with star fruit, risotto made with yucca juice and mushrooms, dessert was figs with cream and assorted chocolates including a chocolate made with cupuacu fruit (please see below on what cupuacu fruit is). We ate dinner around 11:45 and then relaxed in the parlor. Being all journalists and editors, a heated debate started on the political impact of the government giving monies to the poorest people of Brazil. They are doing so to stimulate spending and life quality....or they are doing it because there is an upcoming election. Though most of the evening was in Portuguese, it was a familiar scene to home and was very enjoyable.

Cupuacu Fruit From the Rainforest
The Cupuacu fruit tree is a small to medium sized three which can grow up to 20 meters and is found in the Brazilian Rainforest. The cupuacu fruit belongs to the cocoa family and is known for its creamy pulp, which is used in Peru and Brazil to make some desserts such as ice cream and tarts, and condiments such as jam.

Traditionally, cupuacu fruit has been used by the Rainforest natives as one of their primary food sources for many generations and the seeds of the cupuacu fruit have been traded in the past by the tribes living along the Rio Negro and Upper Orinoco rivers.

The cupuacu fruit has similar health benefits to the well-known acai berry superfood, although it is sweeter and less well-known outside of the Rainforest. It resembles an almond-shaped melon with a hard, fuzzy brown exterior similar to that of a coconut.

The cupuacu fruit tree requires a very hot, very humid environment for growth, and despite the hot and humid atmosphere in the Amazon Rainforest it ripens only in the months of January and February. Therefore, cupuacu fruit is considered in short supply in many areas of South America, which accounts for the increasing price of cupuacu in other parts of the world.

Please take a look at this site to see a picture and a bit more information on the health benefits. I am sure it will be only a matter of time before we begin importing it!

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