Brazil's culinary influences include not only Amerindian and Portuguese foods, but the cooking styles of immigrants from many other parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Each of the country's five geographic regions offer cuisines that are distinctly different yet recognizably Brazilian.
The extraordinary cuisine of Brazil is an amalgam of the cooking heritage of three disparate groups of people: the native Indians, the conquering Portuguese and the African slaves they brought to work in the sugar cane fields. The distinct contribution of each is still apparent in many Brazilian dishes today.
Of course, certain dishes took on a new "Brazilian" identity. The Portuguese added their own stamp to several Indian preparations and in turn, the Africans altered some of the dishes of both the Indians and the Portuguese. They used foods and cooking styles brought from their homelands or brought their own recipes and changed them, using local ingredients. It was the African cooks in the colonial kitchens of the sugar cane barons, however, who provided the strongest influence in generating what would be considered a Brazilian cuisine.
European immigrants, Germans, Italians and Poles, as well as Japanese and other groups, came in huge numbers much later. These homesteaders, however, had little lasting impact on the Brazilian style of cooking.
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This page modified January 2007
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