Brazilian Portuguese is no exception when it comes to culinary idioms. We thought it might be fun in this post and in occasional future posts to feature some of these expressions and the foods that inspired them.
|The King himself, from the Brazilian website O Rei da Cocada Preta|
Earlier this hear, Flavors of Brazil published a recipe for cocada, a traditional sweet made from grated dry coconut and sugar syrup, sometimes enrichened with cream or condensed milk. It's delicious, no question, but why would someone who's got a big head consider himself the king of dark cocada? Like many food idioms, the origins of this phrase are lost in time, but in Brazilian folklore there is a legendary kingdom called Cocada Preta. It's supposedly located somewhere on a tiny island off the coast of Brazil, and although it is desperately empoverished and has nothing, the inhabitants think it's the best place on earth. It's likely that this island's monarch shares the opinion of his subjects, hence the idiom.
Basic cocada, made from coconut, sugar and condensed milk is bright white, but there does exist a variation called cocada preta. It's made with rapadura, a darkly-colored unrefined sugar. This dark brown sugar gives cocada preta its color, and indirectly gives Brazilians a colorful and flavorful way to express their opinions of the egoists in their midst. Next time on Flavors of Brazil, we'll post a recipe for cocada preta.