Pies and pasties, it seems, are a main stay of Brazilian cuisine. I had no idea! Before arriving here I imagined that I’d find lots of fantastic tropical fruit, which is certainly the case, and plenty of places serving grilled meat in all its forms: also true. But it seems I have landed in pie and pastie heaven with every conceivable variation available morning, noon and night.
There are literally hundreds of places selling these snacks and where in the UK we might grab a sandwich to eat on the run, this finger food is the Brazilian refreshment of choice for old and young alike, at any time of day.
Along with the selection of pies and pasties, there are also a whole host of other delicious, mainly deep fried, goodies to tempt – most of them containing either cheese, beef, chicken or shrimp – and all of them a fantastic accompaniment to any drink. Even the juice bars sell them and I’m discovering that a meat pie can make a most delicious breakfast option, picked up on the way to the metro station and washed down with a healthy fresh smoothie of course!
It’s true to say that there is a wide variation in the quality on offer, with some places best avoided, but when you find a good pastie, piping hot and freshly made, there’s nothing to beat it. It would seem that by some incredible stroke of luck, one of the best places in Rio for sampling these delicacies is right across the road from my apartment! It’s more of a bar, serving ice cold beer on tap as well as great cocktails, but the main attractions are the pies and pasties. Constantly full, and with a long queue of people grabbing takeaways to go, it’s becoming very difficult to walk past without popping for a quick one! And with a vast selection of fillings to sample, there’ll always be a good excuse to keep calling in to try something new. I have a feeling that this place may well end up being my downfall during my stay here, but for the moment I’m enjoying every single pastie that I try – and if it does prove to be by undoing, then what a way to go. Pie and a pint anyone?