Brazil is a tropical country with an abundance of everything

Interview with Thiago Ferreira, Member of Managing Board of Serbia4Youth

“I dream of building a little house on Kamena Gora” – Love brought the most famous Brazilian to Serbia and he stayed

We agreed for this interview after a tourism related Color Media Communications conference Thiago participated in. It was so easy to communicate with this 29 years old, young man who proves that new generations are open and positive and not only “hiding behind screens” as it is a general perception.

Thiago came to Serbia in 2012 and since then he has been working as a promoter of Serbia. My eye “caught” him as a charming tv host who spoke irresistibly charming good Serbian, showing that he has many talents to show and he choose Serbia as his professional arena. He holds a Serbian passport now and when he received it, Thiago said: “I am very honored that your country has recognized the quality of my many years of work on bringing Serbia closer to Brazil and promoting your culture and customs”.  Thanks to him, Brazilians have become frequent guests in Serbia, because of his blog “Welcome to Serbia” in Portuguese, on which he promoted Serbia and started organizing tourist tours.  This smiling tourism expert from Rio is now the “face” of Balkan Trip Television where he hosts the show “Tiago’s Balkan”. On this occasion let’s hear from the most famous Brazilian in Serbia, a part from his amazing life story related to Brazilian food.

Thiago, how would you describe the main features of Brazilian cuisine?

The main characteristic, in my opinion, is the variety. Brazil is a tropical country with an abundance of everything. In every corner, you can find all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables, top-quality meat, as well as snacks and sweets one just can’t live without. Everything is just so tasty that it is not unusual to find “rodízio” all-you-can-eat restaurants in every city. It seems like Brazilians have a problem with choosing just one thing to eat for a meal, so don’t be fooled – if you see someone eating rice, beans, meat, salad, potato and pasta all at once, it’s 100% sure they are Brazilian!

Which part of Brazil do you come from?

I was born and raised in the city of Rio de Janeiro, but half of my family is from Tiradentes, a small historic town in the city of Minas Gerais, some 300 kilometres away from Rio. I was always travelling back and forth between the two cities.

What are the three most known Brazilian meals and sweets from your region?

The best-known meals from Rio de Janeiro are definitely “feijoada” – a black bean stew with beef and pork and Globo cookie with mate, which isn’t really a meal, but rather the most famous snacks you will find on the beaches. From Minas Gerais, we have my favorite “feijão tropeiro” – beans cooked with salted or dried meat, manioc flour, and various flavorings, as well as the irresistible “pão de queijo”, literally translated to cheese bread – a must try! As for sweets, we have “brigadeiro” – a chocolate truffle all Brazilians grow up with and “açaí” – an Amazonian berry that made its way into becoming a well-known superfood worldwide.

Do you like to cook and who taught you how to cook?

To be honest, I don’t cook much, but I had my time living alone in Belgrade and ended up learning something. Friends and family helped me the most with recipes.

Which Brazilian meals you prepare in Serbia?

It’s hard preparing most of the Brazilian food in Serbia because you just can’t find many of the ingredients available in Brazil. However, Brazilians always find a way… We love preparing “pão de queijo” and “brigadeiro” for friends and family gatherings, but with some creativity, we can prepare also prepare our beloved rice and beans the Brazilian way.

What is your favorite Serbian dish and why?

Sarma! Because it was such a shock in the beginning, I couldn’t stand it – in Brazil, we don’t eat much cabbage at all, but after some time I fell in love with it, especially when it’s served together with “ruska salata” and homemade bread.

How do you like living in Belgrade? Which regions/cities have you visited and which is the one you would recommend to your expat friends and why?

I love living in Belgrade! It is one of the most exciting cities I have ever been to… It has something unexpected to it, which you just can’t really explain.  It’s far from being an obvious city… You really have to explore it to discover what it is really about and, once you do, I guarantee you’ll fall in love! Serbia is overall an amazing country… Working with tourism, I’ve visited all the regions and it’s hard picking a favorite one, but I have to admit western Serbia has a big part in my heart because of all its inspiring landscapes filled with mountains, cliffs, rivers and amazing viewpoints! I dream of building a little house on Kamena Gora, my favorite mountain village on the very border between Serbia and Montenegro.

And last but not least I decided to share with DC readers a recipe of my favorite “feijão tropeiro”- by far the most requested recipe on famous blog. Prepare Feijão Tropeiro and you will see that it is really “to die for” and is the ultimate Brazilian dish. Feijão Tropeiro translates to “Cattleman’s Beans” since back in Brazil’s colonial times, troops of cattlemen – known as “tropeiros”, in Portuguese – would travel long distances to explore the inland territories of Brazil and transport cattle and commodities.

Author Vanja Kovačev

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