Minas Gerais is one of the places in Brazil where the food matters the most, and is often considered to be one of the most respresented cuisines throughout the country – some even say that Minas Gerais is the soul of Brazilian cooking.
The “Comida Mineira” is often based on crops such as corn, fruit, beans and coffee, together with dairy and beef.
Since Minas Gerais is so far from the ocean and coast, the question of nourishment was a problem to be solved. In the creation of traditional Mineira cuisine, there was a need to make the most out of the ingredients – the native ingredients, such as the harvest, hunting and fishing were created to make the most of what nature would provide.
Something very characteristic of Brazilian cuisine is that the meals are most often enjoyed in the company of friends and family! The Mineira kitchen is the star and protagonist of family gatherings. It’s the place where family and friends spend time together and eat and a typical kitchen in Minas Gerais would traditionally have had a wood-stove and a rustic setting. In the past, the wood-stove didn’t only provide the family’s with food, it also helped warm the house, smoke meat and boil water and help give the Mineira food its distinct flavours!
RENOWNED DISHES AND INGREDIENTS
“Pão de Queijo” (an immensely popular cheese bread, sort of like a chewy “cheese puff” made with Tapioca flour) is probably one of the best examples of beloved Brazilian foods that were born from the Minas Gerais area. ‘Feijão Tropeiro’ or Cattleman’s Beans are one of the most traditional dishes from Minas Gerais and combines dried beans sautéed with Cassava flour, eggs, bacon, scallions and other typical Brazilian ingredients. “Angu” is also very common and is similar to cornmeal with or without other ingredients, and then cooked in water becomes and becomes a Brazilian polenta. “Tutu de Feijão” is a typical dish made of beans, cooked, braised and thickened with manioc flour or corn. It’s usually sautéed with pieces of bacon, fried onion and garlic, and mixed with cassava or corn flour.
Some native and famous “Sobremesas,” or desserts, is “Ambrosia,” and is made with milk, sugar, cinnamon and eggs. The rice cake ”Bolo de Arroz,” and the sweet pumpkin-based “Doce de abóbora Compota” are also popular in Minas. Two other culinary celebrities are the liquor, Cachaça, and the wide range of cheeses. The “Minas Cheese” is known throughout Brazil and comes in three variaties – “Frescal” (fresh), “Meia-Cura” (slightly matured) and “Curado” (matured).
“Vai um queijim aí?” is typical Mineiro speak for “Would you like some cheese?”