Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Cafes Do Brazil - Brunch's Charismatic Companion
Since my college days when I was lucky to meet some fabulous Brazilian friends and thus getting exposed to its rich culture, I've always been a big fan. That's why when friend and blogger colleague Elena extended a generous invitation to a Cafes Do Brasil press brunch, I without hesitation said "sim." I mean, yes. I said yes!
Coupled with my excitement about tasting unique Brazilian specialty coffees, I was also thrilled the brunch was being held at a small but fabulous West Village restaurant, Casa. You guessed it, Casa boasts thoughtfully prepared Brazilian homemade specialties, which I've had the pleasure of trying before. If you haven't yet been, their pao de queijo is enough to convert you.
About Cafes do Brasil - I was surprised to find out that Brazil is actually the largest coffee producer, rich in Arabica and Robusta production. I always associated coffee production more with Columbia, but I guess you always learn something new when food and beverage is involved, so this intrigued me.
It was also interesting to learn that many Brazilian coffee farms have led the way in green coffee production, "some producing Certified Carbon Neutral coffees, and many championing fair trade and sustainable coffee production practices." This made me feel good about their products, and as a conscious foodie, I try to practice what I preach by eating responsibly and supporting the businesses that instill responsible practices.
And here's where Cafes do Brazil week comes into play. Organized by the Brazilian Coffee Roasters Association, it aims to spread awareness and excitement about Brazil's unique coffee products to the curious foodies of New York. This specially themed week, taking place between now and Saturday, November 19th debuts Brazilian coffee for the first time in a lot of carefully selected NYC establishments. Running the gamut from specialty food stores, coffee shops and of course some of the best restaurants in the city, I do hope you have a chance to check it out. Here's a list of participating locations.
Coffee -To give you a little preview of what you can expect from these coffees, I wanted to tell you about some of the varieties I tasted at Casa. There were three choices that were paired with brunch including one from the Cerrado region (medium roast), another from the Mogiana Region (light roast) and the last one from the Planalto Region (dark roast). It was interesting to taste the contrast in flavor and undertones in each coffee, and I preferred the Cerrado the most. It had a gorgeously rich color with a little caramel and a chocolate aftertaste. I think I found my answer right there - chocolate, my long-time obsession. I should've known!
I liked that this coffee brought forth a lot of boldness and confidence, and it absolutely didn't need any milk or sugar to go with it.
Brunch - What can be better than pairing high quality coffee with really top notch food?! Casa definitely brought their A game, as we were served a two course brunch, the first course consisting of various breads and pastries, and the second, eggs Florentine.
I loved the bread course, which definitely whet our appetite with a sampling of nicely warmed pao de queijo, bite sized cinnamon doughnuts and a generous slice of yucca coconut cake. My favorite was the latter, as it was moist on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside, the overall taste being savory and sweet at the same time. But not too sweet! It goes without saying that the pao de queijo was cheesy and delectable, a perfect representation of what this signature starter is supposed to taste like. Our new Brazilian blogger friend, Gisela confirmed it too.
In terms of the egg Florentine, that was also very tasty. The portion wasn't too large, which was a good thing and the eggs were cooked just right. I loved how runny they were in the middle, which created a silky golden sauce to dip the beautifully roasted potatoes in. A side of Brazilian sausage (or Linguica) made the dish sing even more, as it provided a bit more heartiness and smokiness that I personally can't turn down.
The staff at Casa as well as the representatives from Brazilian Specialty Foods and Apex Brasil portrayed a lovely display of Brazilian hospitality. They made me excited not only about the coffee and food, but also about visiting this gorgeous country one day.
Thanks again to Elena for the warm invite, and if you'd like more information about Cafes Do Brazil, visit www.cafesdobrasil.com
Casa - 72 Bedford Street, New York NY 10014
1 Train to Christopher Street