In a house in Deland, Florida outside of Orlando, chef Beto Bellini of the restaurant Makun in Roraima, Brazil served Yanomami mushrooms with tucupi preto from the Wapixana and wild boar fillet, giant river fish pirarucu, crusted with uarini, and mouth tingling herb jambu in a cocktail with Cachaça and fermented melipona honey from Espirito Santo.
The Amazonian food pop-up dinner was hosted by Gregory Prang and Brain Kermath of Culinary Culture Connections, which has been trying to promote Amazonian cuisine in the US and has been importing products like Pimenta Baniwa and Yanomami mushrooms. Special guest professor and Almir da Fonseca spoke about his work on “The Brazil Project,” demonstrating how Brazilian flavors and colors can make a significant contribution modern gastronomy, emphasizing how Brazilian culinary traditions and ingredients are not as foreign as they might appear.
“The purpose of the dinner event was to celebrate the flavors, textures and colors of Amazonian culinary traditions and ingredients; promote the idea that in threatened ecoregions of Brazil like the Amazon, initiatives that strengthen access to fair markets for forest and agroecological products of indigenous and traditional communities can play a crucial role in maintaining cultural heritage and providing economic opportunities, while helping to preserve the ecosystems of the Amazon and people who depend on them for their livelihoods; and to evangelize Amazonian Gastronomy and the concepts of Amazon Pantry, Rainforest to Table in order to create greater awareness of unique Amazonian ingredients and culinary techniques in the US,” says Prang.
While some Amazonian ingredients were brought by Belleni, there were a surprising amount that the group was able to source from within the United States. Great Northern Products (Providence, RI) had five kilos of pirarucu, Peach palm fruit could be found by the jar on Amazon, and there was a Brazilian woman in DeLand that grew jambú.