FRUIT

By "fruit" one imagines many things, from pinneapples to apples, melons to peaches. Nevertheless, fruit in Brazil means something else. It looks as if it was invented here, in all its variables and deviations. In addition it is born and dies here, because many of them never travel legally. A visit to the fruit store is a free fall down Alice's hole, only that here Alice is a chef and Wonderland is full of favelas(shacks).

If first it was the fruit, the suco (juice) followed immediately. Brazilian Eve didn't offer an apple to Adam, but a suco de maça (apple juice), irresistible for the authentic, the fresh about it. Used to the "from concentrate" as we are, the real fruit juice sounds almost utopic. In which rootless times are we living where a juice is a reason of admiration?

One of this exotic cheap luxuries is the açaì. It's produced mostly in the North of Brazil, along with the cupuaçu, bacuri o pupunha, just to mention some other unsual fruits, although it's originally from Pará. Açaí is recolected from 6 to 10 in the morning or from 3 in the afternoon, avoiding the solar hell hours, by the peconheiros. They climb the palm trees provoking the fire ants and heights, performing one of those almost extinct professions that the rest of us would define as daring temerarious. Açaí can be found at every corner bar in Rio, usually as slush and with some nuts on top. It has a very intense sweet taste, and leaves a trace on the lips like red wine's one.

Finally, another surprise for me was finding cane's juice, or as I remember it, juice from a stick. That cane sugar comes from cane is a popular known fact, but facing the origin of the sweetness directly is not easy to assimilate. It looks more like magic than technology, when the waiter sticks the stick in the machine's hole and a juice comes out of the other side. It was sweet to inebriation limits though, and leaves you wondering about the palate frontiers.