It’s all the rage these days, accumulating experiences instead of things. It applies to everyday life and is just as relevant when it comes to incentive travel. Whether it’s an individual or group activity, authentic, once-in-a-lifetime experiences are the stuff memories are made of. It’s also what keeps your reps earning their way back each year.
Local culture immersions always provide unique experiences and Brazil sure is the perfect place to boost your incentive travel program.
Brazilian gastronomy is an intoxicating mix of colors, flavors, textures and tastes. Native Amazonian ingredients and culinary traditions meet old European flair and dishes brought by immigrants from across the world, and that’s what makes Brazilian foods and beverages so unique.
No trip to Brazil would be complete without tasting at least some of the Brazilian drinks delights. We hope that this list has given some ideas about the taste journey that’s ahead of your team’s trip to Brazil!
Brazil’s national liquor must be tasted. Cachaça is a distilled drink made from sugarcane, with a high alcohol content. As with any other alcoholic beverage, there are fine versions of Cachaça, and there are several cheaper versions. If you want to taste and feel the burn of Brazil’s favorite drink, make sure you buy a nice brand. Cachaça is also known as Pinga, and it can be served with squeezed lime and honey.
To be legally called Cachaça, the spirit must be produced in Brazil. Anything else – even if it’s produced with sugarcane and using exactly the same method – is not cachaça; it’s rum or sugarcane liquor. Brazil holds the copyright to the name.
And beware, because there are several types of Cachaça produced throughout Brazil, with various flavors and, mainly, completely different qualities. A quality cachaça has sweetened perfumes that can refer to wood, vegetables, and fruits. The taste is velvety, slightly sweet, warms the throat and chest area after ingestion and, therefore, should be enjoyed with small sips.
As previously said, it is almost mandatory for any visitor to try a Caipirinha, the ultimate Brazilian Drink. The original version is made of Cachaça, sugar, lime and ice, all mixed up in a glass. There are however several other flavors, where different fruits substitute the lime: red berries, passion fruit, cashew, tangerine, and lychee are just some of them.
Caipirinhas can also be made with different alcoholic beverages. Sakerinhas, for example, substitutes the Cachaça for Sake, a Japanese fermented drink made from rice. This results in a smoother drink. There is also a version made from vodka, named Caipiroska or Caipivodka, depending on the region where it is ordered.
Guaraná is a kind of soft drink made from the guarana plant. The guarana is a small bright red fruit with a black dot in the middle, eerily similar to an eye staring at you. It is native to the Amazon basin, and it is extremely common in Brazil.
The first-ever processing of the plant into syrup was done in Brazil, and that little experiment evolved into a soft drink company that created this classic Brazilian drink.
However, it wasn’t immediately a hit. The first drinks made from the guarana plant were quite acidic and bitter, and people weren’t really into this. Antarctica, a company that is now famous in Brazil for producing this popular soda, developed a specific process that eliminated this bitterness and acidity and emphasized the characteristic fruit flavor.
The number one source of suffering for Brazilians traveling abroad is the moment they crave for a Guaraná and realize that, for some inexplicable reason, the rest of world doesn’t drink it. The unique exotic flavor of Guaraná is extremely refreshing. Try it at your own risk, though, because you might also end up craving it when you go back home.
4. Mate com limão (yerba mate cold tea)
Originally, Mate Leão is a brand of yerba mate tea created in southern Brazil in 1901 and purchased by The Coca-Cola Company in 2007. Yerba mate is a tree originating in the subtropical region of South America that grows in greater quantity and better quality also in the southern area of the country. In Rio de Janeiro, however, Mate Leão is much more than that! After all, together with the iconic Globo biscuit (a manioc starch biscuit) and Lemonade, it is the best snack to enjoy at the beach.
5. Caldo de cana (sugarcane juice)
Caldo de Cana, also known as garapa, is the liquid that’s extracted from the sugarcane during the milling process. It’s pretty much just sugarcane juice, it’s absolutely delicious, and it has some excellent health benefits. Caldo de Cana is full of antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids. A single 250-milliliter glass of the juice contains some 40 mg of phenolics, which is almost half of the recommended daily intake.
Brazilians have a sweet tooth, so this juice is served cold in street markets practically everywhere in Brazil. The beverage is usually paired with a snack like the pastel (a fried pastry filled with ingredients – meat, cheese, ham and many more).
Additionally, caldo de cana is often used to create other sugars like molasses, as well as alcoholic drinks, most notably rum and Cachaça. Caldo de cana doesn’t really have a distinct flavor – it’s pretty much like you’re drinking liquid sugar, so it’s best to be cautious with the amount of juice consumed.
On a trip to Brazil, visitors will certainly come across this purple fruit, which is usually served in the form of ice cream. Little known and often only available in powder form, açaí in Brazil is what chocolate ice cream is in America in summer.
Açaí is a super food with an incredible energy density, known for being nutrient dense, most notably the antioxidants, fiber, and omega vitamins that it provides.
In Brazil, people will often encounter special cafés or direct sales stands where açaí is offered and most of the time is possible to customize an açaí in different sizes and consisting of several layers in combination with other fruits, cereals, or even chocolate. Another variation is the pulp, a large bowl in which the açaí ice cream is served and garnished with banana pieces and cereals.
7. Água de coco (coconut water)
To enjoy a full experience on a Brazilian beach, you need to try some coconut water with your toes on the sand. This drink is nothing else than the liquid inside green coconuts, that is rich in minerals and slightly sweet. In Brazil, some sellers cut the top of coconut open when the customer’s order it, and then if asked will cut the coconut open so you can eat the delicious creamy white pulp inside.
Let’s embrace the best of Brazilian culture together! Access www.gotogetherdmc.com.br and talk to one of our Brazilian corporate travel specialists. We have tour ideas that you would never dream of.