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Feliz Pascoa: Easter in Brazil

wrapped ovos de pascoa for Brazilian Easter

Brazil remains a predominantly Catholic nation, with nearly 70 percent of the population identifying as such. This means Easter, or “Pascoa,” is a big deal. With Carnival drawing to an end, Brazilians turn their attention to the more solemn-yet-still-joyful traditions of Easter. While Brazil celebrates in much the same way as the US, with chocolate eggs (called “ovo de pascoa”) and Easter Mass, there are a few rituals that are a nod to the country’s unique history and blend of cultures. 

Pascoa in Brazil

The Ovo de Páscoa

In Brazil, Easter eggs hold a special place in the hearts of both children and adults. Unlike American eggs, which are often small and plastic or hard boiled, a Brazilian ovo de pascoa is chocolate and LARGE–about the size of a pineapple. Some are filled with more chocolate, but most are hollow and contain small toys or wrapped candies. 

The ovos de Pascoa are sold wrapped in foil that is twisted and fluted at the top. You can find them lining the aisles of supermarkets or, more often, suspended from the ceiling like helium balloons. They arrive in shops well before Easter Sunday and can set you back a pretty penny (as much as $30 per egg!).  

Good Friday Dinner

The Friday before Pascoa holds a significant place in the Christian calendar, marking the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In Brazil, it is customary for families to gather for a special dinner on Good Friday, often featuring fish dishes. This tradition reflects the Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, the period of fasting and penance leading up to Easter.

Bacalhau is a kind of salt cod that features in a variety of recipes, and will typically be found in some form for dinner on Good Friday. Bacalhau com natas is a favorite, as are fried fish balls called bolinhos de bacalhau. 

Minas Gerais Páscoa Flower Carpet

In the state of Minas Gerais and other regions, Easter is celebrated with a unique tradition known as the flower carpet, or tapete de flores. This involves creating elaborate designs using flower petals and colored sand. In some areas, children dressed in white sing hymns while the carpet is being made. 

Blooms for Palm Sunday

A species of flower called the macela, is a beautiful, tropical bloom that flowers only around Easter. For this reason, it is often brought to mass on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Pascoa. The auspicious flowers are also used for a variety of medicinal purposes, from indigestion-curing teas to crushed petals stuffed in pillow cases to promote sleep. 

Painting of Cats and Dogs in Ivoti

In the town of Ivoti, there is a rumor that takes on a whimsical tone with the tradition of painting cats and dogs. According to local lore, this playful custom originated centuries ago when villagers would paint animals to let the children know that Easter was on its way. 

Easter Dinner Made Simple

Wondering what to serve for Easter dinner? We can help! You can either enjoy a delicious meal tableside at one of our 50+ locations, or order a beautiful dinner to go. Or, purchase one of our hand-curated butcher boxes to have premium cuts of meat, like Australian rack of lamb, delivered right to your door. 

Cornmeal Porridge With Coconut Milk (Canjica)

blue bowl of cornmeal porridge topped with cinnamon sticks

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Corn dishes are extremely popular in Brazil, especially in sweet favorites like curao de milho, cornmeal cake, and pamonhas. Today’s recipe is another sweet treat featuring corn: cornmeal porridge with coconut milk and, of course, sweetened condensed milk. Infused with warming spices, it is the perfect comfort dish on a cold winter morning. 

Do Brazilians Eat Cornmeal Porridge for Breakfast?

Generally speaking, breakfast in Brazil is a light meal with milky coffee and a little starch, like a buttered roll or slice of baguette. While porridge is generally consumed in the States as a breakfast item, this creamy cornmeal version is more often eaten as a dessert or snack during the Festas Juninas in Brazil. 

The Festas Juninas take place shortly after the country’s second harvest of sweet corn. They honor St. John the Baptist and are meant to celebrate the harvest, with plenty of corn dishes for sale. It is, after all, winter in the Southern Hemisphere, so warm, comforting dishes are in order. As a cheap and plentiful crop, you’ll find corn just about everywhere: popcorn, roasted corn on the cob, sweet corn pudding, cornmeal cakes, and even on top of hot dogs

Where Does Cornmeal Porridge Come From?

Cornmeal porridge is called “canjica” in Portuguese. Like many dishes, it likely arrived with slaves from West Africa. The Bantu languages have similar words to describe dishes made from ground corn. 

From Portuguese, “canjica” also refers to hominy, which is dried corn kernels that have been soaked in an alkali solution (sometimes lye). Traditional Brazilian recipes for canjica often call for canned or dried hominy in place of cornmeal. This is certainly an option, but we like the cornmeal for simplicity and speed.

Toppings for Cornmeal Porridge?

This canjica is already infused with lovely spices and vanilla, as well as that sweet shredded coconut. It really doesn’t need much on top, except another dash of cinnamon and a few coconut flakes. That being said, you can kick it up a notch with a few toppings that pair well with the other flavors:

  • Fruit: bananas, peaches, and apples work especially well with the cinnamon and coconut
  • Cream: a splash of heavy whipping cream never goes amiss with a good bowl of porridge
  • Roasted peanuts: many Brazilians like to top their canjica with some chopped roasted peanuts for added crunch and flavor
  • Shaved chocolate: why not? Chocolate is always welcome, and with the cinnamon, the taste would be reminiscent of a lovely Mexican hot chocolate. 

Cornmeal Pudding Recipe 


1 cup cornmeal
2 cups water
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup condensed milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt (optional, to taste)
Additional condensed milk or brown sugar for sweetening (optional)


  1. Prepare the Cornmeal Mixture: in a bowl, mix the cornmeal with 1 cup of water until it forms a smooth paste.
  2. Cook the Cornmeal Mixture: in a pot, bring the remaining 1 cup of water to a boil. Once boiling, gradually add the cornmeal mixture to the pot while stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming.
  3. Add Coconut Milk and Shredded Coconut: lower the heat to medium and stir in the coconut milk and shredded coconut. Let the mixture simmer gently for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to your desired consistency.
  4. Add Condensed Milk and Spices: pour in the condensed milk and stir well to combine. Add the ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt if desired. Continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  5. Adjust Consistency and Sweetness: if the porridge is too thick, you can add more water or coconut milk to reach your desired consistency. Taste and adjust sweetness by adding more condensed milk or brown sugar, if needed.
  6. Serve: once the porridge reaches your preferred consistency and sweetness, remove it from the heat. Serve warm in bowls, garnished with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or shredded coconut on top if desired.



Perfect Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Valentine's Day Breakfast of Brazilian beans on toast with fried eggBeans on Toast: Brazilian Style

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Nothing is more romantic than breakfast in bed: something hand-cooked with love, a steaming mug of coffee, and maybe a fresh rose is a winning combination by any stretch of the imagination. But what do you make? Pancakes are nice, but a touch boring (and sticky). Eggs Benedict is lovely, but poached eggs aren’t in everyone’s skillset. So what dish is the perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast? Drumroll, please…it’s beans on toast. 

Now, before you start laughing, hear us out. Sure, beans on toast is not known for being a classy or romantic dish. In fact, it is about as simple as a meal can get: a can of Heinz beans in tomato sauce warmed up in a saucepan or the microwave, then unceremoniously dumped on top of a slice of toasted bread. No shade–it is actually delicious, especially with a dash of Worcestershire sauce. 

But we want something special. Our Valentine’s Day breakfast takes the humble beans on toast to gourmet heights by incorporating a little Brazilian flare. That’s right: this is beans on toast, Brazilian style. 

Brazilian Beans on Toast

This beans on toast dish is by no means an authentic Brazilian recipe. It is a hybrid of the classic British recipe and distinctly Brazilian flavors. Specifically, we are drawing inspiration from one of Brazil’s most treasured dishes: feijoada

Feijoada is a black bean stew simmered with calabresa sausage, bacon, herbs, and aromatics. It is earthy, spicy, and utterly delicious. That is why it finds its way onto the table at nearly every meal, along with a pot of fresh Brazilian rice. 

Sausage, bacon, and beans might be a little rich for the start of a romantic day. That is why we have adapted the recipe to be largely vegetarian. Beans are still slow simmered in a flavorful broth, but we omit the greasy sausage and bacon in favor of a runny egg on top. 

Eggs for Beans on Toast

While most Brazilians do not typically consume eggs for breakfast, they are not averse to them in other dishes. Most often, they come in the hard boiled variety. You’ll find hard boiled eggs in and on everything, from Brazilian pizza to salt cod dishes. That being said, you could substitute the fried egg for this Valentine’s day breakfast with a hard boiled one. You can also skip the egg entirely if you want a vegan option. 

Feijoada vs Tutu de Feijão

There is another dish in Brazil that is called “tutu de feijao.” Like feijoada, it uses soaked black beans. Unlike feijoada, however, it does not call for sausage and the beans are pureed before they are cooked with bacon and aromatics. Today’s Valentine’s breakfast is, perhaps, a hybrid of Feijoada and Tutu de Feijao, since we are omitting the meat but leaving the beans intact. 

What Type of Bread is Best for Beans on Toast?

You want a sturdy bread that can maintain a decent crunch while being smothered in that delicious feijoada and runny egg. For our money, you can’t go wrong with sourdough. Cut it nice and thick and toast it with a brushing of olive oil, and you can practically eat this Valentine’s breakfast with your hands (maybe don’t try it if you are having it in bed, though). 

Another surprising pair is brioche with beans on toast. The savory, saltiness of the beans is beautifully offset by the sweet, slightly caramel flavor of the brioche. However, the brioche is a much softer bread, so you won’t have the toasty crunch for long. 

What Drink for Valentine’s Day Breakfast?

While we don’t understand it, we accept that not everyone is a coffee-lover. Brazilians themselves tend to go light on the coffee in the mornings, with just a splash of it in a warmed milk drink called “pingado.” We think something sweet is in order to go with this savory breakfast. You could try, for example, a hot mug of creamy Brazilian hot chocolate or black tea with cream and sugar. 

If you really want to win your Valentine’s Day breakfast, though, may we suggest a mimosa with passionfruit juice in place of orange juice?  

Dry Beans vs Canned Beans for Brazilian Beans on Toast?

While we are certain to get a slap on the wrist for this, you can use canned beans for this recipe. We prefer the dry beans for flavor and texture, but canned versions are just fine in a pinch. Just keep in mind that you will need to significantly reduce the cook time (probably the appealing part of using canned beans). Simmer until the flavors have had time to meld and everything is heated through–around 30 minutes. 

Smoky Flavor Without Sausage?

Our secret weapon for today is smoked paprika. Even a small amount lends an earthy, meaty flavor without any smoked sausage or bacon at all. We also add in a little Worcestershire sauce for British authenticity and umami, but you can leave this out if you want to keep the beans vegan. 

Valentine’s Day Breakfast Recipe: Gourmet Beans on Toast


1 lb dry black beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
3 large tomatoes, diced (or 1 can stewed tomatoes)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp smoked paprika
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
4 cups vegetable or mushroom stock
4 cups water
Extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp salt (more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves


  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and stir in the diced onion. Cook until the onion softens and appears translucent.
  2. Add in the garlic and tomatoes and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  3. Drain the beans of their soaking water and rinse them well under fresh cold water. Then add them to the pan with the onions, garlic, and tomatoes.
  4. Add the stock, water, smoked paprika, salt, bay leaves, and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. 
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for two hours. Then, remove the lid and simmer for a further 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add a dash or two of the Worcestershire sauce add this time.
  6. When the beans are nearly finished cooking, toast your bread and prepare the eggs. In a small saucepan, add a generous amount of olive oil and heat over medium. Crack in two eggs and fry until all nearly the whites have turned opaque. Then, flip the eggs and cook for another 30 seconds (over easy). 
  7. Add two slices of toast to a plate. Ladle a good amount of your beans on top of each slice, then finish with the runny, fried eggs. 

Note: this recipe makes quite a lot. You can store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week or freeze them for up to four months. 

Now, What About Valentine’s Day Dinner?

Why not keep this Brazilian theme going and take your sweetheart out for an incredible meal at one of Texas de Brazil’s fine dining locations? Our attentive gauchos, mouth-watering dishes, and romantic atmosphere will ensure you have the perfect Valentine’s Day celebration. Go online to find the location nearest you and book your table today–spots fill up fast! 

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