What to do with Jabuticaba

If you happen to stroll through a street market in Rio around now you will almost certainly see lots of these:


Jabuticaba (zha-bootchy-CAH-ba).


As fruits go, this one is pretty remarkable. First of all there is the tree. You may have seen these images before, but I think a fruit tree this unusual is worth a second look:


A heavily laden jabuticabeira. As you can see, the fruit grows directly out of the trunk and branches.


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The best way to drink a cacau caipirinha.

A couple of days ago I mentioned the fish that we ate on a remote beach in Bahia in the northeast of Brazil. When you’ve walked a couple of hours to get to a beach, you realise that you are basically a captive audience so if there’s only one thing on the lunch menu then you’d better hope you like it. As I said in the post, luckily for us it turned out to be one of the most delicious fish I’ve ever eaten.

On that same day, as we were waiting for the fish, a different guy came past and asked if we’d like a caipirinha. Regular readers will know I’m rather fond of Brazil’s classic cocktail and so won’t be surprised to hear that I immediately asked what fruits they have (caipirinhas can be made with all manner of fruit, not just lime). The first fruit the guy mentioned was Cacau and I stopped him right there. Cacau is the fruit whose seeds are used to make chocolate, but those seeds are surrounded by a sweet, refreshing pulp that tastes nothing like cocoa.

When the guy disappeared off to make the drinks, I expected him to return with a drink served in a plastic cup. As discussed before, this does not automatically mean it will be a bad drink and who could expect them to have anything else in such a remote location? But what he actually came back with was this:


cacau caipirinha

Caipirinha de Cacau!


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A Rio Caipirinha

Another post about Caipirinhas? Yeah, what of it?! Just a quick one today as I’ve been working all day would you believe? But as I toiled away, here’s what I was dreaming off:


Is it just me, or does this thing look about a metre tall? A trick of the light or something I suppose – this is in fact just a normal, smallish plastic cup. The drink inside was lovely, regardless of its humble container…

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The Ultimate Caipirinha

In today’s post I am going to tell you about what I think is the best caipirinha there is. I never thought I’d find a fruit that suited this cocktail better than the good old classic limão (lime), but I’m confident that when you try one of these you will agree. The fruit in question isn’t easy to find, but if you can track it down, you will have something pretty special on your hands. Let’s take a look at it shall we?


Limão cravo, rangpur lime, canton lemon, hime

Limão Cravo – unassuming looking little fellows aren’t they? This fruit goes by many names (even in Brazil!): Limão Galego, Limão Lava-tacho, Limão Bode, Limão Rosa, Limão Capeta. Outside Brazil the list grows longer still: Rangpur lime, Canton Lemon, Hime Lemon.


A confusing list of names for a citrus fruit? After recent posts, I don’t expect any of you to be surprised by that! This fruit was mentioned in the comments of a few recent posts and I had been keeping a look-out for them for a while. You don’t find them in every supermarket, but I managed to track them down a few days ago in the organic section of Zona Sul. As I appear to be going through a bit of a mystery-fruit obsession a the moment, you won’t be surprised to hear that I hurried home to take a better look at these strange things.


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5 things you should know about Caipirinhas

One of the first things that many people want to do when they arrive in Rio, is try a genuine caipirinha (cai-pi-REE-nya). I was exactly the same when I got here – I had indulged in Brazil’s most famous cocktail many times in England, but now I wanted to know what a real one tasted like.

In the two years that have since passed,  I have been researching this topic with (ahem) diligence and dedication and today I will share with you some of my findings.






1. Caipirinhas don’t necessarily contain cachaça

When you order a caipirinha in Rio, it is quite normal for your waiter to ask “With cachaça?”. The first time this happened I was confused. Would he ask me if I wanted gin in my gin and tonic? The reason is that many people here have their caipirinhas made with vodka instead of cachaça. “Aha!”, I hear you say, “But that is called a caipiroska (or caipivodka). A caipirinha, by definition, is made with cachaça”. Personally, I agree with you – it’s just that most of the waiters and bar staff in Rio don’t. Every so often, if you don’t specify, a caipivodka will arrive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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How to make a great Caipirinha

Before I get going on the steps for making a great Caipirinha, I want to reiterate the warning I gave in an earlier post – this is a powerful drink. When I arrived in Brazil I thought of the Caipirinha as being the same strength as a standard large measure of spirit (rum, vodka, whisky) with a mixer. It isn’t – I estimate that the standard version served in a bar or restaurant in Rio contains at least 5 or 6 standard measures of Cachaça…


The basic tools required to make a Caipirinha

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A Word of Advice…

…the Caipirinha is a powerful drink and should be treated with respect.

Do not make the mistake of underestimating the power of Brazil’s most famous cocktail. When I have recovered from my hangover, I’ll tell you how to make one for yourself.