Thursday, April 5, 2012

UPDATE - Brazil's DomesticBacalhau Arrives in the Supermarket

Pirarucu en route to Pão de Açúcar supermarkets
Last month, Flavors of Brazil reported in this post that bacalhau (the Portuguese word for salt cod) was being processed for the first time in Brazil's Amazon region using a gigantic native fresh-water fish called pirarucu instead of true cod, which only comes from the cold waters of the North Atlantic. An environmentally-sustainable product, bacalhau made from pirarucu is remarkably similar to the original product, and for several reasons enjoys a significant price advantage over true salt cod.

This domestic bacalhau is processed in the remote region of Maraã located two thousand miles from Brazil's big cities in the South, and up til now the product's distribution was restricted to villages, towns and cities in the Amazonian basin.

However, as a result of a recent marketing pact between the cooperative in Maraã that produces the domestic salt cod and Brazilian supermarket giant Pão de Açúcar, which was also reported in our earlier article, domestic Brazilian salt cod arrived this week in Pão de Açúcar's stores in São Paulo, just in time for the heightened Holy Week demand for bacalhau.

Tomorrow, Good Friday, is traditionally a meatless day in Brazil. For many Brazilians, it is also a day to feast on bacalhau. This year, for the first time, Brazilians, or at least those who live in São Paulo and shop at Pão de Açúcar, have a patriotic and environmentally-friendly option - they can eat Brazilian bacalhau. Because the North Atlantic cod fishery is perilously close to extinction, let's hope that they find this sustainable alternative just as satisfying as the original.

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