If you like to eat, drink and have fun, Rio really is a great place to live. Sure it might not have the range of cuisines and night life of a cosmopolitan city like New York, nor the levels of culinary sophistication of a city like Paris, but what it lacks in those departments, it makes up in sheer gusto.
It’s only been a month since the excesses of carnaval died down, and already the spectre of the World Cup is looming (62 days and counting!). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – this Friday (11 April) sees the start of everyone’s favourite bar food competition – Comida di Buteco 2014!
If you’re not familiar with CdB, check take a look at this post I wrote a couple of years ago – this month-long orgy of eating, drinking and voting should be filling everyone in Rio with anticipatory excitement. 2014 will be its 15th year and the stats from last year are impressive: close to 400 bars in 16 cities took part in the competition, serving up 400,000 dishes to 3.8 million hungry revellers.
The CdB website makes a compelling case for the comida de raiz (traditional food) and the bars that serve it:
A true boteco is one of those places where the owner and his/her family work all day. It’s that place that has the owner’s name above the door, where the waiter knows his clients by name, where the bar food is made with care according to a family recipe. Because of this, we don’t select bars that belong to chains, large groups or investors.
In some years the CdB competition has a theme/ingredient that all participants must follow/include in their nominated dish, but this year they have decided to give the chefs a free rein. Again, from the CdB site:
This way each chef can do what he/she does best, showing 100% of their potential. We think this will give maximum benefit to the customers who will be able to taste, enjoy and vote to elect the best boteco in their city.
So if you’re in Rio over the next month, I suggest you start limbering up, loosen your belt a little and make it your mission to visit as many of the participating establishments as possible. The foodie fun starts on Friday!