Monday, April 25, 2011

Crazy for Coxinha

Veloso Bar's coxinha
Way back in 2009, in the early days of Flavors of Brazil, we wrote a post about an iconic Brazilian snack food called coxinha. As we said in that post, a coxinha is "a small, teardrop-shaped chicken croquette." and there's no doubt it's the most popular quick snack in Brazil. One can buy a coxinha at almost every one of Brazil's thousands of stand-up lunch counters, at juice bars, at buffets, and even in the country's finest and most upmarket restaurants.

Brazilians are crazy for the coxinha. It has a place in Brazilian culture analogous to the Great American Hot Dog, and shares some of the virtues of that sausage-in-a-bun. It's small but filling - it makes that pesky hole in the stomach disappear in short order. It can be eaten without a plate or silverware, even while walking down the street. It provides that salt and fat that one craves from time to time, particularly when drinking beer. The main difference between the Brazilian coxinha and the American hot dog is merely that you can buy a hot dog at the ballpark, but there are no coxinha vendors selling their wares in the stands of a Brazilian futebol field.

The love that some Brazilians have for the coxinha is reflected in a blog called Soy Loco Por Ti, Coxinha!, dealing with all things coxinha, which refers to the coxinha as "Sacred Cone." The title of the blog translates as "I'm crazy for you, coxinha" and is in Spanish rather in Portuguese in homage to Caetano Veloso's famous song "Soy Loco Por Ti, América!" The blog is the work of a group of coxinha enthusiasts and biologists from Unifesp, the Federal University of São Paulo. It's filled with coxinha lore and legend, and perhaps most interestingly, a complex and detailed evaluation of the coxinhas from a number of Brazilian bars and restaurants - all done with the goal of finding Brazil's best coxinha.

After extensive on-site research of bars and restaurants, mostly in the vicinity of São Paulo, the bloggers from Soy Loco Por Ti, Coxinha! have crowned a São Paulo bar named Veloso as coxinha-champion of the world. Here's a translation of the review of Veloso's coxinha by one of the blog's critics, Gabú:

Veloso's Sacred Cone is almost perfect. The flavor is marvelous, the spicing is just right, the crust sweet and crunchy, the dough is sinfully good - even though is made with wheat flour it is light and not at all gluey. We do have a few reservations, though. The shape isn't perfect, not the shape we all adore, and the coxinha is just a touch greasy, though this might be due to the fact that they are made to order...

Veloso's coxinhas cost R$3.50 (about USD $2.00) each, or one can buy a basket of six for R$17.50 (USD $11.00), This makes it a relatively expensive coxinha, due no doubt to the fact that it is being served in an upscale bar in Brazil's most expensive city. From the sounds of the blog's review, however, it sounds like it is still a reasonable value.

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