Comida di Buteco, a celebration of Brazilian bar food that calls itself Brazil's largest culinary contest promises to be anything but unlucky for the bars who serve up this year's winning dishes.
Founded in 1999 in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, by Eduardo Maya, a local radio personality and boteco enthusiast, Comida di Buteco has grown to include 16 cities in Brazil and more than 200 bars and botecos all vying for the honor of claiming that they have the best bar food in their city. Every city has a separate contest, and winners are chosen by ballot by bar patrons, not by professionals. There are no national prizes, but in each city three dishes, from three different bars, are chosen as first, second or third prize winners.
Comida di Buteco runs from April 13th to April 29th in most cities, although the contest in Belo Horizonte, the acknowledged mecca of Brazilian boteco culture, runs from April 13th to May 13th and in a few other cities, the competition is non-concurrent.
Of the 16 Brazilian cities involved this year, 5 including Belo Horizonte, are in the state of Minas Gerais, reflecting the importance of boteco culture in that interior state. This is also the first edition of the contest that will include Brazil's largest city, São Paulo.
In Fortaleza, Flavors of Brazil's home base, this year's edition will feature 19 botecos and bars. As the contest is only 16 days long, it would take a daily visit to one or more bars every day of the contest to sample all the dishes in contention. This is not likely to happen, but we hope to be able to report on some of the bars, and their contest entries, during the next two weeks.