There is the preparation of athletes competing at the Olympic games – and then there is the prep of party planners who love to throw a party for the love of the Olympiad. With the 2016 Rio Olympics comes perfect opportunity to serve up ethnic Brazilian cuisine on festive platters. No need to search far and wide for exotic ingredients for the food. All that is needed to prepare these winning appetizers of savory and sweet variety can be found already in the kitchen or at the local supermarket.
Brazilian beef skewers (Espetinhos)
Beef on a stick has its different versions around the world. The Brazilian one, smoked with strong garlic-cilantro flavor, is arguably the most succulent. Party hosts can recreate the churrascaria (Brazilian BBQ restaurant) experience at home, marinating the skewers on charcoal hours before Olympic coverage is televised.
Chicken Croquettes (Coxinha)
For delightful taste and visual intrigue on a platter, Brazilian street food favorite, chicken croquettes, are great to serve. Croquettes, shaped like drumsticks, are mouth-watering with chicken salad and cream cheese filling with a coat of deep-fried batter. These are best served warm. The finished snacks are almost too cute to nibble on – almost.
Cod Fritters (Bolinhos de Bacahau)
Fish is a staple throughout Brazil and beyond. The most fun way to eat it in Brazil is battered. Cod fritters, often shaped like cigars, are made from salted cod. The key to making cod right is to keep it light with a crispy crunch instead of a greasy, soggy mess. Plain cod from the seafood counter can be transformed into a finger food delight.
Cheese Bread (Pão de queijo)
Cheese in any form is almost a requirement for party food. In Brazil, no savory snack is more popped in the mouth at gatherings than cheese bread. Even health-conscious Brazilian-born supermodel Gisele Bundchen can’t resist the rich snack. Cheese bread is shaped into balls of tapioca flour, mozzarella and Parmesan. Served hot or at room temperature, this platter of balls is certain to be emptied fast by guests.
Two-dessert tray (Brigadeiros & Quindim)
These two simple, tempting Brazilian desserts served on a tiered platter sweeten up a Rio 2016 party:
First up are brigadeiros – scrumptious chocolate balls or bomboms. These are unofficially the national dessert of Brazil. Cocoa powder combined with condensed milk and butter makes this simple dessert. If sticking to Brazilian tradition, granulates bits of chocolate should be added on the chocolate balls.
Second is a tray of luscious cups of quindim – yellow custard that is quintessentially Brazilian with African and Portuguese origins. Made with eggs, sugar, coconut flakes and butter, quindim is indeed rich. Coconut, beloved in Brazil, can be added liberally.
Açai Berry Shots (Açai)
After a variety of deep-fried, salty and sugary bites comes something healthy – açai. The amazing dark purple berry is packed with antioxidants, high in nutrients like Vitamin A and low in sugar. To make the shots, açaí juice powder and juice can be found at finer supermarkets or can be ordered online. Açai berry shots served in little Dixie cups make for fun party swigs to digest the snacks down.
BBC Good Food