Tag Archive: beer

May 09

The great Brazilian bar food competition

Back in 1999, a guy called Eduardo Maya came up with an excellent idea. Eduardo has a rather inspiring story I think – a native of Rio, he spent some of his adolescence living in London during which time he developed an interest in food. After graduating in Mathematics, he moved back to Brazil to work a job in finance (we haven’t got to the inspiring bit yet, that’s coming up next).

After some time, Eduardo realised that he didn’t want to work in finance anymore and somehow landed himself a job hosting a culinary themed radio show (I had no idea such things even existed!). And then came his idea: A competition between all the botecos (bars) in the town of Belo Horizonte, state capital of Minas Gerais, where he was working at the time. The competition was dubbed Comida di Buteco.

Eduardo Maya. Chucked in his job in finance and decided to do something he loved. Seems like it worked out well for him. When I look into those spooky eyes though, I'm just glad he decided to use his powers for good...


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Jan 25

Clash of the Corruptions

People in Rio are always talking about the upcoming World Cup and Olympics. Will they be a success? What will become of Rio afterwards? Will the pacified favelas be abandoned and left to fall back into the control of drug dealers? What will happen to house prices? The list goes on.

A recent story was that Jérôme Valcke, the General Secretary of FIFA (football’s governing body), has been visiting Brazil to oversee the world cup preparations. Mr Valcke kicked up a storm by stating not only that beer must be sold in Brazilian stadiums, but that it will be sold in Brazilian stadiums. This is in spite of the fact that there has been a law here making such alcohol sales illegal since 2003 2008 (thanks Andre)! His words were:

“Alcoholic drinks are part of the Fifa World Cup, so we’re going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that’s something we won’t negotiate.”

Highlighting the fact that you're being arrogant doesn't excuse the arrogance. The head of FIFA, Sepp Blatter (also a scumbag), is a big fan of Valcke, saying: "When he began his work as director of marketing and TV in FIFA four and a half years ago, we were in a financial crisis. Currently we have an equity of 752 million Swiss francs."


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Oct 26

The Most Important Word in Brazil

The British (and English speakers in general) are not renowned for their knowledge of other languages. So many people in non-English speaking countries speak our language that our need just isn’t as pressing as that of, say, a Hungarian. So we’re lazy. 

I remember encountering a couple of 40 something English guys living in Medellin, Colombia. Although they had been living there for more than a year, their profound lack of Spanish was astounding. When they wanted to do their weekly shop at the local supermarket, they would hail a cab, get in and then hold up an empty supermarket carrier bag and point at the logo! Amazingly bad!

“Erm, you take-o me here-o?…”

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Oct 17

Post-it Peanuts

From time to time a curious thing happens when you are sitting outside a bar in Rio. You will be chatting away, drinking beer and gradually starting to get a little hungry when you glance down at the table and notice what appears to be a small post-it note on which are sitting 9 or 10 peanuts. Where did that come from?

Post-it peanuts – hard to resist when you’re drinking beer and caipirinha


Peanut sellers are found pretty much wherever there are a lot of people drinking at tables out on the street. Their strategy is to nip past, placing a few peanuts on a small scrap of paper on each table. They often whip past pretty quickly so if you happen to be involved in a conversation you might not notice them.

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Jul 17

Pé Sujo – Dirty Foot

-Vamos aos bares não só para buscar alegria, mas também para destilar as emoções.

We go to bars not only in search of happiness, but also to distill our emotions. (Meu Pé Sujo blog)

Literally translated, Pé Sujo means ”Dirty foot”. This is the term used to describe the many low-end bars that pepper the city. You will find a Pé Sujo on almost every street in Rio. As the name suggests, these bars are not known for their standards of hygiene – if your feet weren’t dirty when you went in, they most likely will be by the time you leave. They say that when the waiter wipes your table with a cloth, it actually makes the table more dirty! But these grubby drinking dens are loved as a quintessentially Brazilian place to drink beer and share gossip. 

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Jul 10

How to drink beer like a Brazilian

Right now it is quite chilly in Rio. In fact it has been cold for the last few weeks and I have to say I am starting to feel somewhat aggrieved – this is not what someone from my part of the world expects from ‘Sunny Rio’. Thankfully, most of the year the weather is just how I like it – hot, very hot or boiling. And the drink of choice when you are in need of refreshment? Cerveja! [ser-VAY-zha]

In the course of my (ahem) exhaustive research I uncovered some interesting beer facts. Brazil is the fifth largest beer producer in the world, making nearly 10 billion litres each year. Most of this is made by an evil company called Ambev which has something approaching a monopoly here. But I was surprised to discover that the average Brazilian drinks just 53 litres each year – compare this to the average Czech who drinks 158:

Top drinking from the Czechs. No big surprise to find Ireland near the top! (http://snippets.com/how-much-does-beer-consumption-vary-by-country.htm)

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Jul 01

That is so wrong!

One of the things I enjoyed most about travelling was meeting people from all over the world. Granted there weren’t many Somalians climbing the mountains down in Patagonia, but even so, I still found myself meeting and getting to know people of nationalities I’d never previously encountered. And through these people I was introduced to all kinds of new music, films, books, phrases, etc.

I now know that a “yoke” to an Irishman translates roughly as “thingamy” as in “Pass me that yoke there will you?”. That Fahhhhn! is a rude word in Swedish. That Mexicans sprinkle a little salt into their Corona (turns out that you can now actually buy specialised salt to add to your beer).

You want salt with that? I hated it at first, then found I loved it. But as soon as I left Mexico it was disgusting again...


Of course these differences in culture, taste and tradition led to many disagreements and debates, though perhaps ‘debate’ is giving these conversations too much credit as they rarely surpassed the repetition of the phrase “That is so wrong!”.

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