Chocolate’s strange journey

Last month I spent two very enjoyable weeks in Bahia, Brazil’s 5th largest state. It really was a great holiday – there were comedy translations, amazing beaches and one ridiculously beautiful tarantula.

We flew into Salvador, the state capital, and spent a couple of days exploring the city before heading south. Our route followed the coast and as we drove I noticed signs indicating that we were on the Costa do Dendê (Dendê is the fruit of the Oil Palm). Sure enough there were Oil Palms everywhere.

Then, just as we reached our destination, I noticed that the signs had changed and we had crossed into the Costa do Cacau. Of course, we traditionally associate cacau (that’s the Portuguese spelling of cacao/cocoa) with chocolate, but the only real contact I’ve had with this fruit since I’ve been in Brazil has been as a delicious, refreshing drink made from the pulp that surrounds the cocoa beans.

Although we were now on the Cacau Coast, we didn’t see much in the way of cacau. Then one day when we were driving through a small town, I noticed this:

cacau drying

“What?” I imagine you asking (that’s what everyone else in the car said when I pointed this out). You should be directing your attention towards the orange patches on either side of the road.

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Comedy Translations – Bahia Edition

A little prep for the non-Portuguese speakers among you. Remember the post about Misto Quente? OK, so that should remind you that the Portuguese word ‘misto‘ means ‘mixed‘ in English. And in the last post I showed you a couple of delicious examples of one of Bahia’s most famous dishes – Moqueca. It’s a seafood stew flavoured with coconut and dendê oil, but comes in various different combinations of seafood.

And finally, for the non-Americans, ‘co-ed’ is short for co-educational, and refers to schools where boys and girls are taught together.

OK, everyone up to speed? So now for the comedy translation that I found when handed the English menu in a restaurant in Salvador:

If you haven’t done so already, please place your mouse over the image and then wonder in awe at the amazing technical skills that enabled me to create that swanky mouseover effect (how many ‘mouseovers’ did you do before you got bored? Once should be enough, but I’m finding it strangely addictive…).

Let’s ignore the shirmp typo – I’m getting my fun from the ‘Co-ed’ seafood! So now answer me this: are shrimps the boys or the girls?


Reasons to visit Bahia #2 & 3: People and Food

When we arrived in Salvador, it became apparent that Mrs Eat Rio had been harbouring a little obsession. An obsession that  went by the name of Sorriso da Dadá. When you hear a Brazilian saying these words it sounds like ‘so-HEE-zo dadaDA’ – try saying it out loud, it’s pretty weird. On the third time I heard her mention it to someone, I demanded to know what this ‘dadada’ thing was all about.

The People of Bahia

It turns out that it is an amazing restaurant run a lovely woman named Dadá. The full name means Smile of Dadá and when we met her we found out why this is such a good name – she smiles plenty!

Dadá – amazing woman, amazing food! source.

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Reasons to visit Bahia #1: The Beaches

Phew – I’m back from a lovely relaxing trip to Bahia and have finally found some time to catch up. What a nice time I had – Bahia has so many great things worth mentioning. How about I start off by showing you some of the beaches? Bahia is renowned for its long stretches of golden coastline and after 6 months working without a break, I was ready to spend some serious time relaxing and enjoying the simple pleasures of sun, sand and sea.

Since coming to Rio I have become accustomed to the crowded beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, but in Bahia I reacquainted myself with the concept of the deserted beach:

Beaches of Bahia

Those 3 people in the distance were my travel-mates. This beach (Algodões on the Maraú Peninsula) was the best of the whole trip and we were pretty much the only people there.


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Bahia in Brief

Hi everyone! After 5 days in Bahia I thought I’d attempt a mini-post to tell you about how things have gone so far. I only have my phone, so please excuse weird typos…

We flew into Salvador, state capital and first capital of Brazil (replaced  first by Rio and then more recently by Brasilia). Salvador reminded me a bit of Panama City – large, rather ugly outer city, surrounding a beautiful, historic area that is popular with tourists. In Panama City, Casco Viejo is a lovely wreck of a neighbourhood full of beautiful crumbling facades. The perimeter is guarded by heavily armed police to keep the rich tourists safe.


Check out the phone boxes that look like coconuts!

Salvador’s equivalent is called Pelourinho and is far prettier and better maintained. Lovely old colonial houses, painted in complementary shades, line steep, cobbled streets. The heavy police presence (coupled with frequent warnings from random people) remind you that there are people who’d like to take your valuables if given the chance, but the overriding sense is that this is a city rich with music, history and culture.

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The storm before the calm

Wow, I’ve been so busy recently that there’s been no time for blogging! Can you believe I actually worked last weekend? Saturday and Sunday? Work has been crazy recently – lots of early starts and late finishes. Thankfully, after 6 months solid work, I have some holiday coming up. During these last few frantic days at work, my mantra has been “This time next week I’ll be in Bahia, this time next week I’ll be in Bahia…”.

Bahia, in Brazil’s northeast, is known for being a particularly laid back place. A friend told me that last time he was there, he was staying in a pousada (like a guest house or nice hostel). At around midday he found the chef snoozing in a hammock. The chef stayed awake just long enough to listen to the lunch order and then turned over and went back to sleep! Apparently the food showed up around 4.30pm!

As if in pre-penance for the relaxing times to come, the pace of work has been building to a crescendo. And as if to mirror this tempestuous ‘storm before the calm’, the weather in Rio has gone a bit crazy too. This was the view outside my window this morning:

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