I’m feeling pretty excited today – not only is it Friday, but I’ve just discovered the existence of Cachaça de Jambú! We looked at jambú before when I told you about Tacacá, the soup from the Amazon that makes your lips and tongue go numb (surely one of Brazil’s weirdest dishes).
Jambú is an Amazonian herb that gives tacacá its anaesthetic property. It looks rather like a weed, with straggly stems and strange yellow/red pom-pom flowers.
In Brazil’s northern states (such as Pará and Amazonas) the leaves and flowers of this plant are added to soups and stews. It has quite a nice flavour actually but it’s the strong numbing, tingly effect that really sets it apart from other greens.
And now they’re putting it in cachaça! I should be clear here, I haven’t tried it yet but you can be sure i’ll be doing my best to hunt it down at the earliest opportunity!
I heard about cachaça de jambú from this article in Folho de São Paulo. To be honest I don’t know much about it – is the practice of adding jambú to cachaça a new thing or have people been doing it for years? From what I can tell it is made by simply infusing regular cachaça with jambú leaves.
Other sources describe the sensation of drinking cachaça de jambú as giving a formigamento da boca – a phrase so delicious I wanted to take a quick look at it. The word formiga means “ant” and boca means “mouth”. Formigamento is a rather expressive way to describe any sensation ranging from light tingles to full-on itching. In this case we are talking about a pleasant tingling sensation as the jambú spirit swills around your mouth (try not to think of ants crawling around in there!).
Have any of you tried cachaça de jambú? More importantly can any of you tell me where I can get some in Rio! My tongue is trembling with tremulous anticipation!