Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Rio to Host Summer Olympics 2016: A Caipirinha to Toast Them

October 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

olympicsartCongratulations to my Brazilian buddies celebrating today — Rio de Janeiro was named yesterday as the host of the 2016 Olympics. It’s an historic choice – the first time a South American country will host the Summer Games.

Colorful Rio, the Marvelous City

A few facts about Rio: A head count in 2008 indicated there are more than 14 million people in the city. Many of them speak a dialect of Portuguese — this city has the largest population of Portuguese outside of Portugal. It was once the capital of Brazil (which is the fifth largest country in the world).

carnivalrio2This city is world famous for Carnival — a larger version of  the pre-Lent parties around the world, including New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. Costumers and float makers are reknown for their elaborate work and the four-day celebration gets bigger and more intense in competition each year. Samba Schools provide the dancers — whose headdresses form the bulk of their costumes.

They’re not big on clothes in general here — the beautiful bathing-suit-optional beaches on the Atlantic attract sunbathers from everywhere.

Hum along

Latin rhythms and jazz from Brazil have swept the world. Baby Boomers know Rio as the setting of Antonio Jobim’s 1960 grammy winner, Girl From Ipanema a smooth and sexy song that kicked off a bossa nova craze.

christstatueRio is surrounded by mountains and forests and has a wealth of natural resources. Sugarloaf, a rock formation on the beach, is one of the icons of the area, as is the always-photographed statue on the mountaintop, Christ the Redeemer.

Rio  is also home to Tijuca forest, notable because it’s the largest urban forest in the world — and man-made.  Tourism and banking are top economic movers there, though tourism has in recent years taken a hit because of violent crime in the city.

Here’s hoping the awarding of the Games here will breathe new life into civility and prosperity for the colorful area.

Do the samba – and drink the caipirinha

caipirinhaSamba to the kitchen, then, and to toast the new Olympic city with their sure-to-be famous national cocktail and one of my favorites — a caipirinha (say ky-purr-EEN-ya). Think mojito — it’s the same principle — lime and rum – without mint. It uses cachaca – a sweet rum made from sugar cane juice. Because there are only three ingredients, and most of it comes from the cachaca, use a premium brand that’s smooth.

Here’s the recipe:


  • 1/2 to 1 lime, cut in pieces
  • 2 teaspoons caster or superfine sugar
  • 2 ounces cachaca
  • ice cubed, crushed

Wash the lime well, halve, and seed. Cut into pieces; place the lime pieces in an old-fashioned glass. Add sugar.

Use a pestle or wooden muddler and mash while twisting to muddle the sugar and lime to a paste.  Crack the ice and add to the glass. Add cachaca and stir. Garnish with lime or berry.

Note: Keep the sugar mixed in the drink by stirring often.

Watch it being made here.

Tags: Sips: Drinkables · Today in the World of Food

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