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Nov 24

The Best in the World?

I love cheese. Seriously, I’m a big fan, it’s one of the main reasons I don’t have one of those svelt, uber-bodies that you see on television (one of the reasons – there are others, like weaknesses for butter, paté, wine, beer and aversion to exercise). But anyway, please know that I love cheese. And I miss cheese from England – real Cheddar, Stilton, Blue Wensleydale, Stinking Bishop… drool. 

 

Stinking Bishop – not a classic name, but a seriously good cheese.

 

 

But however much I love the cheeses of my home country, I would never say that England has “the best cheeses in the world”. Because there are cheeses from other countries (mostly France) that are equally great: Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, Comté, Emmental, Ossau-lraty… Oh man!

A holiday in France a few years ago allowed me to fully indulge my cheese-greed.




OK, so I should get to the point before I suffer any more from saudade de queijo de verdade. My point is that although I think English cheeses are amazing, I wouldn’t say they are world’s greatest. However, I would like to bestow that honour upon something Brazilian. The bananas. Now maybe this is a sweeping statement given that I have not eaten bananas from every country in the world. But what the hell, I’ll keep saying it until I taste a better banana from somewhere else. 


Take a look at the bananas picked up from a stall on my way home last night:

I’ve got a luvver-ly bunch of bananas…



These cost me 3 Reais, equivalent to $1.60 or £1.03. All those bananas (there are 12). To be honest, I’m not sure if that is much better value than other places (I haven’t checked out global banana prices recently – it’s on my list of things to do), but it strikes me as great value for money. Especially when you take into account that these bananas taste amazing


They are sweet with a slight acid bite – a bit appley almost. And the texture is almost creamy – none of that floury, grainy feel I remember from bananas in England. I do remember having appley bananas in Ghana and they were very good. But in my opinion the bananas here in Brazil are even better. 



A word of warning – make sure you get the right kind of banana. Banana buying here is kind of complicated. Banana de Terra (Banana of the Earth = plantain) is a savoury banana that needs to be cooked – take a raw bite out of one of these and you’ll be disappointed to say the least! 

Banana da Terra – just waiting to ruin your day.



And it doesn’t end there, there are also: Banana Prata (Silver Banana), Banana Ouro (Golden Banana), Banana Maçã (Apple Banana) and Banana d’água (Water Banana). I’ll fess up here, I’ve got no idea what the difference is between these bananas so it does make banana buying a bit of a lottery for me. Any bananexperts out there who can help me out?

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11 comments

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  1. The Gritty Poet

    Not much of a banana fan unless eating Barreado.

    http://traveltoparana.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/pratodobarreado.jpg

    In this case banana is a must.

    Funny thing that banana seems to be a good side dish for red meat yet is hardly used as such, at least in Brazil.

  2. The Gritty Poet

    Just had to google a meat+banana combo to see what I'm missing out on, found this.

    http://www.whats4eats.com/meats/baho-recipe

    Have you tried this? It looks really yummy.

  3. Tom Le Mesurier

    I love them! Also great as a side dish along side hot Indian curries. A few slices of normal (sweet) raw banana will quickly relieve a burny mouth if there were one too many habaneros in the curry.

  4. Anita

    10 things you need to know about bananas here:
    http://thegoodblood.blogspot.com/2010/05/fruit-friday-10-things-you-didnt-know.html

  5. Tom Le Mesurier

    Hi Anita, nice link! That banana juice looks super-weird, but I really want to try it! I love the description of the banana juice at the Indian Scientists website: "The juice is clear and viscous liquid with a distinct banana flavour". Heh heh… :)

  6. Juliana

    Banana prata is nice to eat as a fruit.
    You should try banana da terra fried with a little bit of butter (a small spoon of butter is enough) add some cinnamon and sugar on top after it’s ready, it’s great. You can also put some cheese (normal cheese, like “prato”) on the side and let it melt with the banana.
    There’s also banana nanica, but I have no idea what to do with it. :)

    What about brigadeiro? Do you like it?

    1. tomlemes

      Hi Juliana! Thanks for commenting – sorry my overzealous comment-spam-filter put your comment in the bin which is why it took so long to appear.

      I shouldn’t have read this so close to lunch time – now I am really hungry! But this banana da terra idea is savoury or sweet? I’m so hungry it sounds delicious anyway :)

      Brigadeiro – urgh! For me it is way too sweet. I will never be a Brazilian if I don’t like Brigadeiro will I?

  7. Juliana

    Hi Tom!
    My husband doesn’t care for brigadeiro also and he’s brazilian, so don’t worry, it happens!

    Banana da terra you can use cooking fish, for example, but you can also make it sweet. Either way you have to fry it or cook it with some sauce (like fish + cream in the oven). But you shouldn’t eat it raw, it’s not the greatest taste, but I don’t think it either savoury ou sweet, it can go both ways.

    I’ll try to find a recipe for you later, I usually don’t use one, hehehe. :)

    1. tomlemes

      Ah cool – it sounds very versatile :)

      I particularly like cooking with the ingredients that (to me) seem exotic and foreign. Banana da terra would definitely belong in this category, alongside mandioca, mandioquinha and inhame.

  8. Marina

    Hi!! Talking about cheese… I am missing Requeijao so badly!! Even tried to make a home version, but didn`t work. Do you like it???

    1. tomlemes

      Hey Marina – I love requeijão! We always have a pot of it in the fridge. And once the pot is finished we have a new glass! :)

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