Monday, June 14, 2010

I miss Candy

I hate Brazilian Candy. It sucks. I'm sorry but I come from the Candy Land.  It pains me to think of my kids not recognizing the bazillion different candies in the 300 candy isles at Target.  And at Easter! Sure the HUGE chocolate eggs are cool but where are the peeps, the good jelly beans, the Cadbury cream eggs, Reeses peanut butter eggs, and robin eggs? 

I had a serious candy addiction back in the day.  I saw a homeopath once and she told me that my body had a sugar addiction.  I had been trying to cut back but physically felt ill.  I took some homeopathic meds but it didn't help. I was back on the candy horse.

Brazil broke my habit. When I came a little over 4 years ago, you couldn't really get American candy excluding chocolate.  I'm not a huge simple chocolate bar fan. I like them like my men, simple on the outside but hot, creamy, and full of nuts in the middle.  Ok, that last part was a bit dirty but you catch my drift.

One special day I found Nerds at my local supermarket.  I loved Nerds as a kid but hadn't really eaten them as an adult.  A box of tiny multi-colored booger looking things aren't really a mature candy. The little baby inside my belly had different plans. I took those Nerds home for a whopping R$10 ($5.55) for a small box.  It was oh so good!

I've adjusted now. I like jujubas (gumdrops). I'll eat baton (a chocolate lipstick).  All and all though, I've left behind candy and snacks. I've moved on to food!  Brazilians know how to do food. Who knew ground beef could taste so damn good?  Who knew you could use 12 cloves of garlic when cooking and not be overwhelmed? And beans, I never would have believed you if you told me that I'd manage to eat black beans at least 4 times a week.

So I gave up candy and my chip habit is all but gone too.  I am happy to say that you can now get big bags of chips down here! It used to only be the little lunch sized bags.  I was horrified when my Mother-in-Law pulled out one of those tiny bags out for everyone to share.  I'm American, that little bag is like a sip of water to my chip appetite.

Oh well, who knew switching from processed snack foods and candies to fruits, vegetables, free range meat, and legumes would be such a good thing. Ok, anyone with an ounce of brain but I didn't really believe them until I tried. 

On a side note: I do bring back certain snack/food items from home.
Licorice (never will be able to give up this habit)
Maple syrup
Peanut butter
Baking soda
Packets of taco seasoning
Packets of powdered Turkey gravy
Tea (tea down here is very weak)
Lawrys seasoning salts (amazing on popcorn!)

to name a few.  What can't you live without?


  1. PB, Maple Syrup, Tea and Baking soda were also on my list of things - I also wish I could bring some good ol' cardboard cartons of chocolate milk here too but alas....
    I have resorted to making Peanut butter (easy, except that they also don't sell Peanut Oil here - veg oil works fine) and also did you know that if your recipe asks for baking soda, you can just triple the amount and add that much in baking powder? Ie. Your muffin recipe asks for 1 tsp of baking soda, you just need to put 3 tsp of baking powder for the same effect. Ta da! Don't even need baking soda anymore.
    So many food things I miss about home... like the availability of VARIETY. For God's sake, one can only eat churrasco, japanese and italian so many times! Where's my Indian and Thai food when I need it?? :)

  2. I meant I bring baking powder. I find baking soda here. Can you find baking powder here? Does it work the opposite way?

  3. I find at least two brands of baking powder in the grocery store in the baking aisle. "Dona Benta" and I think the other "Flieshman's." "Fermento em Pó Químico" Red and white labels.

    I also make my own peanut butter.

    I miss decent chewy artisan breads. I can't even make my own because the flour here seems to come in only 7% protien varieties and I really need an 11%+ protien variety. Still trying to devise a workaround on this one.

  4. Rach, I can find peanut butter in Cianorte, the traditional american kind. How come you can't find it in Rio??? I can also find maple syrup at Zona Sul (the supermarket), and sometimes ranch dressing, which I love. And Linds, I don't know you, but if it helps, there's an ok indian restaurant in Botafogo (Taj Mahal I think) and Thai food in Leblon (Nam Thai), São Conrado (Sawasdee) and Barra (Thai Wok). You can also find muffin dough in Zona Sul, but the pancake dough sucks. I just came back from the US and it has never been so hard to eat good food there and mostly, to feed my 3 yr old well. Mainly americans are yet to discover the difference between spice and seasoning, or know how to make something seasoned without it necessarily being spiced.

  5. I can find peanut butter now and will buy it if I run out. It used to only be Peter Pan which is the crappiest peanut butter in the world. They recently started selling Skippy at Zona Sul. My complaint is that peanut butter shouldn't cost R$16. That's just crazy.

    I know you have ranch. I will not buy R$20 crappy maple syrup. I've never actually seen it but I hear that you can occasionally find it. I've seen molasses but that's not the same.

    Muffin dough? Where? I don't buy pancake dough or even bring it anymore. I found a great recipe from scratch that is super easy. I make it the night before and put it in the fridge.

    American cooking is hard to get used to. I have some trouble with my boys when I get there too. We aren't a spice people

  6. Actually, as being a European (France), and living for about 2 years in Rio now, not only candy, but food in Brazil is generally bad.

    Not only it is hard to find quality ingredients, it's also about impossible to find a high quality piece of meat. There are about zero to non local butchers selecting their own meat at the farms, local small spice shops,... It's all supermarket over here.

    However, the perfect part about living in Rio is the fact that due to it's nice weather we can enjoy a big part of our time outside. I just love to enjoy my creations outside.

    And Ps Rachel: love your blog !

  7. Sorry for frequency of comments today but I am making my way thru your blog, at least for the next hour. Yes, Skippy, and the reduced fat version as well! Sometimes Zona Sul has it on sale for R$13, which is amazing because when I first came here, Peter Pan was selling for R$26, 6 years ago. The price has dropped a bit, yay! Same with the maple syrup, which I too refuse to buy, but you can find it at Zona Sul in Leblon for R$27, under R$30. And salad dressing, probably a market that could boom, but alas, I miss a GOOD ranch or blue cheese, espcially a reduced fat version, which you aren't gonna find. So, as you said before, somewhere on this blog, get ready to cook a lot more than you did before if you are searching to relplicate things you miss. I just went to an great (tiny) Asian shop today in Flamengo and bought as much as I could wobble back to my car with, including my beloved Sriracha hot chili sauce (R$12)..not bad for Rio. I've also learned to make many salad dressings, usually with a yogurt base, and they're pretty decent. Jim, I think Talho Capixaba has great bread, I love their Italian loaf, it is yummy and R$3.80 per loaf.

  8. Love the frequency! There's a bigger Asian shop on Rua das Laranjeiras, after the deaf school. Is the one you shop at on Paissandu or Marques de Abrantes?

  9. Today I went to Casa Vitana on Paissandu and I always find that it's not a huge hassle to get a parking spot somewhere nearby, took me less than 5 minutes to park today around noon. I have been to Casa Fiji on R. das Laranjeiras before, it's just SO difficult to park in Laranjeiras and if I know I'll be lugging bottles of things, well...let's just say the last time I tried to go there I drove around for 45 minutes before giving up. I've never been to the one you mentioned on Marques de tell!!! Also worth noting, Casa Vitana will deliver to the Zona Sul region if you order more than R$40. But for me, I just love being in a shop with so many tempting and interesting items to peruse.

  10. The one of Marques de Abrantes is at the very end of the street, near the tiny little catholic church. It's actually a Japanese store. Parking isn't as bad as Rua das Laranjeiras but start looking once you get past Pão de Acucar. It's on the same side. I don't know what days they are open. I don't think they know what days they are open. It's safest to go in the afternoon

  11. Stephanie - thanks for the redirect to Talho Capixaba. I just visited their website and will DEFINITELY stop by every time I'm in Leblon.

    Now if we can just get them to open a counter in Niterói!

  12. Surprise! Yesterday at Zona Sul supermarket I found a variety box of Hershey's candies. In the box are snack size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Milk Duds, York peppermint patties, Almond Joy, Mounds, Whoppers and Hershey's cookies and cream. I'm not a huge candy person but since I know this is probably something that will disappear from the shelves never to return...I bought a box.

  13. Heck, I was happy to find in yellow Lemonade lemons. I like to cook and bake so I'm always happy to find ingredients I can use with my old recipes. Maybe if I can find the ingredients or come up with suitable substitutes I'll make some peanut butter, coconut, and marshmallow creme Easter Eggs this year =) I'm working on baking Apple Cinnamon, Pumpkin and Coconut Custard pies this week!

  14. I just did a search for Brazilian candy and came across your blog. I'm confused though. A friend of mine from Brazil post all these beautiful pictures of candies. Not like the kind you get here but they get them from like a bakery, I think? All the parties she goes to have so many pretty candies. I'm always hungry when I see the photo's.

    What can I not live without?? Tabasco sauce!!

  15. It's just not quite the same...

    But we do have Tabasco sauce here!