Brazil's food culture is a complex mixture of influences, but there are three essential referential points - the gastronomy of Europe, particularly of Portugual, the native American gastronomy of the indigenous Amerindian cultures, and the gastronomy of Africa, which was brought to Brazil by captive slaves. Bahia's food culture rests primarily on African roots - the slaves who came to Brazil from Africa beginning in the 16th century carried very little with them in the holds of slave ships. Only their African cultural heritage - food, art, religion, music, rhythms and the like - survived the trip across the South Atlantic from Angola, Benin and Guinea to places like Bahia, Pernambuco and Minas Gerais in Brazil.
Starting at the beginning of next week, when we're back from Bahia, check out Flavors of Brazil, On the Road - Salvador. If you know Bahia, it should bring back some great sensory memories. And if you've not been there, it will surely whet your appetite to go.