Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On the Road - Jericoacoara (Pt. 4)

Last month, before Flavors of Brazil's excursion to Jericoacoara, we published a few posts about this isolated beach resort. One post in particular seemed to be very popular judging from the number of hits it received. It concerned a local resident of Jeri, who goes by the professional name of Tia Angelita (Aunt Angelita) and who is famous both locally and beyond the city limits for her delightful banana torte.

We were aware of her notoriety when we wrote the article, and when we published the recipe, which came from a regional cuisine website, it did sound very, very good. So when we went to Jericoacoara, it seemed imperative to try out her torte for ourselves.

There are no street numbers in Jericoara, and only the main streets seem to have a name. Directions tend to be in the "go up that way for a while, then when you see the laundromat on your left duck into the alley on the opposite side of the street. Follow that for a ways, then turn left on the first smaller alley you come to...." So when we asked local residents how to find Tia Angelita's bakeshop, we got general directional pointers only, even though everyone seemed to know her. No one gave us a blank stare when we said, "Which way to Aunt Angelita's?" But no one could give us precise directions either.

With a bit of perseverence (a virtue not easy to come by in the hot mid-day sun) and even more luck, we finally came upon a tiny sign in front of a fairly anonymous residential-looking house with a large verandah. Sitting in the verandah were three or four adolescent girls, gossiping about Justin Bieber, no doubt. We asked them if we had the right place and if so, could we have a couple of pieces of banana torte. The answers were yes and yes.

We followed one of the girls inside, where there were a few table, a counter, an ice cream freezer and a coffee maker. AND a tray of banana torte. We bought two pieces for R$3 each (about USD $1.55) and decided to eat them on the way back to our pousada, as it was very hot inside Aunt Angelita's.

The torte looked exactly like the photo we had published in November (it's published again below). It was slightly warm, whether from the oven or the temperature in the bakeshop it's impossible to tell. Bringing it to our mouth, the two unmistakeable aromas of cooked banana and powdered cinnamon hit us straight on. Once we bit in, they were the two principle elements of the flavor profile, but there was also a nice butter flavor in the bananas and in the crust, which had almost a shortbread consistency.

It was unanimously agreed that Angelita's torte lives up to her recommendation. We're not marijuana smokers, but there's no doubt that one slice of this torte would be heavenly relief for someone suffering an almost-terminal case of the munchies. It's great stuff.

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