You may not realize how much you take your daily, simple, comforting American foods for granted until you leave your country. Although you’ll be pleased to see how many of the foods you know can be found in Brazil – there’s even okra and Hershey’s kisses – chances are you have a lot of food cravings.
As every expat knows, the longer you stay abroad, the more acute those cravings will become, to the point where every suitcase from a visiting friend or relative becomes a potential rescue package.
Learn which foods are worth leaving space in your suitcase, whether it’s because they can’t be found, they’re hard to find, they’re too expensive to enjoy at import prices, or they just don’t taste the same.
- Peanut Butter You may know that peanut butter is not a universal preference. In Brazil, many recipes include peanuts, but peanut butter has so little importance in the daily diet compared to what it represents in the United States that there is only one big brand on the market.
- You might be fine with the Amendocrem flavor, but others with a more particular flavor may want to bring some American peanut butter along with them.
- There is also a Santos-based company that makes peanut butter (see Products for »amendoim paste«).
- However, if you live in Brazil or are staying somewhere where you have access to a food processor, you don’t have to rely on store-bought products when you can use Brazil-grown peanuts and make your own peanut butter.
- Tortillas and Taco Shells Brazil does not have a Mexican community as large as the United States and the absence of large stacks of tortillas could be one of the first things you will notice in local supermarkets. If you have a fussy child who is going through a serious taco-only phase, work on that before you travel to Brazil.
- Some supermarkets have imported taco shells, but a small carton costs around $ 5. You can appease the Tex-Mex and Mexican blues at places like the Mexican restaurants in São Paulo or Taco & Chilli in Rio de Janeiro. Or buy your supplies in rare places like Villa Buena, also in São Paulo.
- If you’re staying in a room with a kitchen, you can stock up at the nearest street market and make your own guacamole and salsa.
- Cranberries You can find cranberry juice in Brazil in large supermarkets and at Lojas Americanas. However, bring your own cranberry sauce if you are vacationing in Brazil. Or, if you have access to a kitchen, you can gently take advantage of your local reality and create a spicy alternative using the delicious jaboticaba (in season from September to January; there is even a jaboticaba festival in Sabará, MG in November), as the author From a Kitchen expat in Brazil has.
- The minority of Brazilians who recognize the existence of blueberries could refer to them in English. For most people, the Portuguese word for cranberry – oxicoco , which is pronounced oks-see-CO-co – is nothing more than an obscure enigma.
- Blueberries Although blueberries are absolutely unique (do you know anything that looks, smells, or tastes like them?), You’ll find some delicious alternatives that can help ease your separation anxiety: Muscat grapes in the summer (a little hard to find) for your cupcake recipes; and purple açaí, mixed and eaten by the spoonful or drunk as a thick juice.
- Evaporated milk Brazilians consume staggering amounts of condensed milk each year. But evaporated milk has never really captured the way it has in the United States. Try larger supermarkets for the only brand available: Itambé Chef Gourmet.
- BBQ sauce when Kansas (or Texas or Tennessee) is away; If you suddenly get tired of Brazilian churrascaria seasonings and if local American-style barbecue sauces like Wessel just won’t cut it, you may need to have a smuggling stock for emergencies.
- Maple syrup You will find it, but not everywhere, and it will cost you. Call Casa Santa Luzia or try supermarkets with a good selection of imports like Pão de Açúcar.
- Enjoy your hardest time finding taste so far could have been in a grocery store you were unfamiliar with. In Brazil, where hot dogs are dressed in mustard and ketchup (or, in a more Brazilian version, with more mayo, marinated sauce, and mashed potatoes), the seasoning is harder to find than regular pickles. Look for these brands: Hemmer, a Blumenau-based company, and Companhia das Ervas.
- Candy Corn Yes, you will find quite a few candy bars and other goodies that you are used to in Brazil. But of all the sweets you wo n’t find, candy corn is one that you will feel most absent from, especially if you associate it strongly with childhood memories of fall and Halloween. It’s safe to say that there is nothing in Brazil quite like candy corn.
- Skim Milk Whether it is the kind that is sold in cardboard boxes, or the dehydrated version that is sold in cans or vacuum packs, Brazilian skim milk is like water for reality. I can only sympathize with this article, which may require a major desensitization or the addition of coffee and sugar, or chocolate mixes like Nescau, to get used to (if you ever do).
- Root Beer Even if you love it, try to think of it as an acquired taste. Root beer is non-existent in Brazil, and considering the reaction of most Brazilians who have encountered it on their trips to the United States, it’s hard to imagine it being produced locally, and imports seem to be absent from supermarkets.
- In the meantime, try one of the flavored soft drinks purchased in Brazil: Gengibirra, a ginger-based drink.