Friday, November 21, 2008

Festival da Jabuticaba

Portuguese Word of the Day: Jabuticaba (it's pronounced like ja-bu-chee-CA-ba)
Say it out loud. It's a really fun word to say. I've been bouncing around the house repeating it over and over for a couple weeks now. And it still makes me smile.

Thanks to a reader's suggestion, Eric and I journeyed over to Sabará last Sunday to check out the Festival da Jabuticaba. Sabará is a smaller city on the edge of Belo Horizonte. From what I could tell, there doesn't seem like there would be a lot going on if it were a normal day. But bring in tons of fresh Jabuticaba (which is most likened to a muscadine grape except with really tough, bitter-tasting skin), along with lots of products featuring the fruit, and hoards of people from all around converge on this town.

After sitting in lots of traffic entering the city, giving up and parking on the edge of town, walking to the festival site, waiting in line to pay our entry fee and get inside, we finally made it in just in time to be informed that they had run out of fresh jabuticaba, but they were working on obtaining more. We got there just a little bit after opening time Sunday morning and the festival was scheduled to go until the evening, but apparently the first ones in were serious jabuticaba lovers and did some major mowing down of the fruit in less than 2 hours. Below are the sad, empty tents where crates of jabuticaba were supposed to waiting for all to enjoy.

It was an absolutely beautiful day, but man was it hot! People were packed in anywhere they could find some shade. And the only open spots around were the areas in full sun. (Also, if you look around the base of the tree in the picture below you will notice a pile of purplish-black jabuticaba skins. Most people seem to just eat the sweet insides and toss the bitter skin.)

Luckily for us, despite the lack of fresh fruit, there was no shortage of delicious treats made with jabuticaba. Inside the building at the site, vendors were set up giving away samples and selling all sorts of goodies containing jabuticaba: jelly, wine, syrup, juice, liquor, pastries, cakes, candies, truffles, along with my two personal favorites, slushies and homemade ice cream. I would have never thought to make ice cream with jabuticaba, but it was incredible! And quite a hit on such a hot day! We ended up purchasing our fair share of treats to consume on the spot and we sampled tons from everyone's booths. We ended up coming home with a jar of jelly which is really to die for. I have missed having homemade jelly so much since moving here, as I didn't bring all my supplies to make my own.

After filling our bellies, we didn't stick around much longer although we would have liked to hear the bands that were scheduled to play later in the afternoon. My body isn't so content in the heat these days, so we made our way back home and spent the rest of the day in the pool at the clube. Being that most buildings around here (including our apartment) don't have air conditioning, we are really thankful to live so close to the clube. Sometimes the only way to get cool on those sweltering days is to flop around in the pool for awhile!


AcesHigh said...

in southern brazil, jelly (geléia) is not that popular.

we consume more SCHMIA, which comes from german SCHMIEREN. Its at the same time similar and different from normal geléia.

ps: jabuticaba is amerindian (guarani?) in its origin.

Anonymous said...

I simply cannot imagine how hot it must be, since you - a south Georgia girl who loves the heat - has made reference to it several times.


cherie said...

Pardon that slip in subject-verb agreement. You KNOW I know better. Must be the cold up here.


Emily said...

Cherie, I'm not sure if it really is THAT hot or I am just not tolerating it as well 'in my condition'. Luckily, it's been more overcast and rainy the last few days, so I've gotten a break! (Oh, and just so you know, I do KNOW that you know better! Just be sure to over-look the mistakes I make in my haste and we'll call it even. hehe)

Lori - Blondie in Brazil said...

What a cool event. The best thing about Brazil for me has been these kind of festivals.

Try as I may I'll never be able to pronounce that word. I screw it up everytime. I do like the fruit though. :)