(Family Features) - Untamed. Exotic. Vibrant. These are just a few of the words used to describe Brazil. From its lush Amazon rainforest to its thriving cities, Brazil is a country teeming with life. And well worth a visit.
Brazil is the largest country in South America - and is roughly the size of the continental United States. While the language spoken there is Portuguese, its rich culture has been influenced by Portugal, Africa, Europe, East Asia and its own indigenous Indian people.
The country has five basic regions, each with its own distinct geographic and cultural variations. The Northeast has the greatest percentage of people of African descent. The South and Southeast are home to the majority of Brazilians of European and Japanese ancestry, while indigenous peoples live mostly in the North and Central-West.
But no matter where you go in Brazil - the sun-washed coasts, tropical rainforests, bustling cities or wide open plains - you'll find fabulous food.
With so many cultural influences, Brazilian cuisine ranges from the simple to the sophisticated, and blends flavors from all over.
Feijoada is considered Brazil's national dish. It's a stew with black beans and smoked and sun-dried meats, especially pork and smoked sausages. It's served with traditional side dishes such as orange slices, shredded kale, rice, cassava meal browned in butter, and a hot pepper and lemon sauce.
If you can't make it to Brazil this year, you can bring a taste of Brazil home any time. Here are some typical Brazilian ingredients you can use to liven up your meals:
Meats: Brazilian sausages, different cuts of beef, pork tenderloin, chicken thighs and drumsticks. Brazilian sausage may be hard to find, so you can use chorizo or other spicy pork sausages.
Tropical Fruits: avocado, banana, coconut, guava, lime, passion fruit, pineapple
Seasonings: chili pepper, cilantro, palm oil, sweat pepper
Sides: beans, cassava fresh fruits, rice
For your next party, start off with cod fritters as appetizers, then serve up some King Prawn and Coconut Stew over rice. Finish things off with fried bananas with cinnamon sugar or a cachaca and lime parfait. You and your guests will feel like you've truly had a taste of Brazil.
To learn more about Brazil and how to get there, visit www.braziltourism.org
"Como se diz isso em português?"
This means, "How do you say this in Portuguese?"
Here are some answers to that question:
How are you? -- Como vai? Tudo bem?
My name is ... -- Meu nome é ...
What is your name? -- Como você se chama?
Nice to meet you -- Prazer em conhecê-lo (male) -- Prazer em conhecê-la (female)
Yes -- Sim
No -- Não
Thank you -- Obrigado (male) -- Obrigada (female)
You are welcome -- De nada
Please -- Por favor
Very Good -- Muito bom
Delicious -- Delicioso