Brasil 2004 — Catherina and I had a chance to be exchange students and we both ended up in ‘Terra da Xuxa’ Santa Rosa, Brasil. This is a very small town in the South of Brasil that we now hold close to our hearts.

We met each other on our first day at school. We were in the same class. Thank God someone spoke English (the town was so small that there were not many people who spoke English)! So me and Catha found each other very fast and became very good friends and did practically everything together.

We didn’t do that much actually… We loved spending time eating and watching movies together when we were not at school. But hey, there was nothing to do in Santa Rosa so we had no choice. I started to go to the gym at first but with the heat in Brasil I gave up very quickly.

So back to the food! We just loved the food. Everything is soooo damn good.

I especially loved the sweets from Brasil.  ‘Nega Maluca’ and ‘Negrinhos’ are my two favorite things. It was the first time I heard about Condensed Milk – you will not find anything sweet than condensed milk. Nega Maluca is a chocolate cake with a chocolate icing made from Condensed Milk and Negrinhos are just little balls made from Condensed Milk with Sprinkles.

Since we have Condensed Milk in Holland as well, I will make the cake some day and post the recipe.


Photo: Rodrigo Senna

Catherina liked Churrasco the most. Churrasco is grilled beef they mostly make in the south of Brasil. They use a lot of salt to make a specific taste. It’s soooo good. They also grill chicken hearts. I personally don’t like it, but in Brasil they really love it. I prefer Picanha, which is a filet steak. They eat barbecue like we do. A lot of meat, some mashed potatoes and bread or pasta. My best Churrascos are made at the riverside of Brasil – Argentina with my family from Santa Rosa they prepared the food like the whole day. The men went fishing while the women made the smashed potatoes and the salads.


Photo: Evandro O Souza

While I write this, I am thinking about all the other good stuff Brasil had. The fruits were amazing. Very tasty and very sweet. And at birthdays they always had little salty things called Pastels, stuffed with chicken, meat or cheese, hmmm I just loved them.

To drink, the ‘Gauchos’ (people from Southern Brasil) have Chimarrão or another name is Mate. This is a special tea made with herbs and as strange as I found it, we all drank from the same straw.  When we didn’t drink Chimarrão, the bottle of Guaraná came to the table. Guaraná is a soda made from the plant Guaraná and is very sweet as well.


Photo: Debora Sasali

Do you already understand why we gained that much weight?

We had a great time together and struggled being in Brasil far far away from home and yes, most of the time, we needed some comfort food during to get through it.

Thank God we can laugh about it now since we lost our 10 KG. However it took us a very long time to lose it. But for me, OK I hated my body but I loved the food sooo much and when I go back I will eat everything all over again but then I will return after 3 weeks and will not stay for 11 months :-). So problem solved!

I will never forget my Mexican (food)friend!