From grilled pork to gloopy cheese and fried pastry dough, Brazilian cuisine is deliciously indulgent, diverse and full of things that aren't quite good for you (or in some cases, categorically unhealthy). And that's why many of its most famous dishes make fantastic snacks to watch the World Cup by.
No one wants to watch the 2014 action kick off with a lacklustre bowl of pistachios for company. But give us a Misto Quente - a toasted Brazilian beauty of a sandwich filled with deli ham, dijon mustard and oozing gruyere cheese - and you're talking our language. Not to mention cinnamon-dipped sugar doughnuts (Bolinho de Chuva) or chicken rice fritters.
So come grab a cold beer or a chilled glass of Rosé and have your cheering voice ready, as you peruse our pick of the top Brazilian snacks and appetisers to watch the World Cup by:
Image: pecadodagula.blogspot.com.br via Pinterest
This grilled ham and cheese sandwich is a Brazilian staple and comes in crusty toasted buttered bread. It's a delicious Panini-style creation that's very easy to make and usually features some particularly gooey type of fromage, whether that's gruyere, mozzarella or Muenster cheese. An egg may occasionally be thrown into the mix too.
Acarajé black eyed bean and shrimp fritters
Image: worldlifestyle.com via Pinterest
A fiery street food dish, Acarajé is a speciality of the northeastern state of Bahia where it's popular beach snack along the region's stunning coastline. Save yourself some time by buying tinned black-eyed peas, add in a handful of shrimp, caramelized onions and a dash chili powder and you'll have yourself a spicy delight of a snack.
Pastéis de Queijo
Image: via Pinterest
Wherever you go in Brazil, you'll find people sharing platters of this beloved appetizer (also known as empanadas) over a cold beer or three. The pastels are made from thin, flaky layers of fried or baked pastry with a variety of fillings from shrimp to lean ground beef or artichoke hearts. Perhaps the most common and satisfying centre is that of thick, gloopy melted cheese such as gouda or mature cheddar.
Empadão de frango
Image: tvgglobal.com via Pinterest
The recipe for empadão de frango, a comforting and yummy chicken pot pie, has been passed down through generations in Brazil. Think melt-in-the-mouth pastry heaped with diced chicken breasts, tomato paste, black olives and hearts of palms. Mushrooms and potatoes may also be used, along with white wine and oodles of whipping cream. Who could resist... ?
Image: frombraziltoyou.org via Pinterest
Often described as the national dish of Brazil, feijoada is a hearty pork and black bean stew served with rice, hot pepper sauce and orange wedges. It's traditionally prepared the night before but this salad recipe is a quick-fix version that's perfect for a light summer snack. It comes with canned black beans, smoked sausage and bacon and orange vinaigrette.
Bolinho de arroz
Image: cozinhasitatiaia.com.br via Pinterest
These rich and moreish rice fritters are sold by food vendors all over Brazil and make a top notch halftime snack. Fillings vary from shredded cheese to dried shrimp and small piece of chicken and white fish. Garnished with mayo, saffron and lime, they're simple to make and can be savoured in style over a chilled glass of Rosé.
Bolinho de Chuva
Image: salsinhaecebolinha.wordpress.com via Pinterest
Moving onto sweet treats and few words will speak louder to us than cinnamon sugar doughnuts. These crunchy "little cakes of rain" (named after their distinctive raindrop shape) are made from dropping spoonfuls of buttermilk batter into oil and dusting them in sugar and cinnamon. Light and airy, they're usually eaten with late afternoon coffee in Brazil and sometimes come stuffed with sweet whipping cream or doce de leite.
Image: comidasebebidas.uol.com.br via Pinterest
Brazil's trademark fudge truffle balls are named after a 1940s Brigadier General who had a passion for chocolate. Made with condensed milk and cocoa, they come in paper cups and are a staple of Brazilian birthday parties. This version comes with a gorgeous strawberry twist, with strawberry jelly and drops of pink gel food colouring.
White Chocolate Pavé
Image: Rosana McPhee
Pavé is a massively popular dessert in Brazil, and with good reason. There's not much to dislike about this layed feast of cookies, tropical fruit (think lemon and coconut) chocolate and cream. Sweetened condensed milk is a big feature here, as are chocolate sprinkles. This version throws in orange blossom, Brazil nuts and whisky for a bit of an exotic spin.
Passion fruit caipirinha
Image: vintagekitchennotes.com via Pinterest
No round-up of Brazilian cuisine could go without a mention of the World Cup host's glorious national cocktail - the Caipirinha. With sugarcane liquor cachaça at its heart, added to lime and a truckload of sugar, this drink certainly packs a punch and is not for the faint-hearted. In Brazil, it comes in all sorts of tropical fruit flavours from kiwi to strawberry and fresh fig. This recipe features one of our favourite fruity versions of the drink; passion fruit.
Words: Anna Brech