Merry (day after) Christmas to you all!
Well, December has flown by and now Christmas has passed. And though we’re very sad to be so far from our families on Christmas this year, we’re thankful for the beautiful day we awoke to in Picinguaba – sunny, blue skies with a wonderful breeze.
We had a successful celebration and Ceia de Natal (Christmas dinner) for the guests at the Pousada on the 24th. Generally, Brazilians celebrate with a big dinner on Christmas Eve, party late into the night and have a family lunch on the 25th. Jeff and I worked hard all day Christmas Eve to help the staff at the Pousada prepare everything – Jeff spent a lot of time on arts and crafts, which is maybe only going to be a once a year thing for him. But I think it paid off as we decorated simply and elegantly and treated the guests to cachaça from the fazenda accompanied by the Pousada’s caipirinha recipe. On Christmas day, I successfully made delicious cookies (thank you Martha Stewart and Foodgawker) that we served to the guests for dessert with ice cream – the cookies were a hit! I learned that our American tradition of cookie-mania during the holidays is possibly unique to the United States, so I was happy to share that with others. At the end of this post you’ll find the menu for Christmas Eve dinner at the hotel, the Pousada’s Caipirinha recipe and the cookie recipes – just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean you can’t make cookies!
Jeff and I had a nice holiday on our own. It was certainly a very different Christmas than any others in our lives, but we embraced the beautiful weather and setting and enjoyed time with friends and other expats. On Christmas Eve, after working all day until around 11 pm, we went to a gracious couple’s house in the village to hang out with some friends. Rose served a delicious meal (around 1 am!) and we all sat around drinking beers and champagne until around 3. On Christmas Day, Jeff and I enjoyed some time on the beach and had a wonderful Christmas lunch at a friend’s house with some other English speakers. The day was low key, not incredibly festive, but lovely. We were also able to skype with our families, which was great.
I have no pictures to share with you – so I apologize. You’ll have to use your imagination to picture us in this beautiful setting with lots of delicious brazilian food and a few excellent America cookies mixed in! I’ve been wary about using my camera these days as we were robbed twice the week before Christmas. Among other things, my amazing Canon SLR camera was taken, so that’s been devastating and put us on alert. We’re working through the emotional ups and downs of it all – being robbed, knowing someone is watching us come and go and everything else that comes along with it. Luckily the town has been supportive, which makes a huge difference, and we were able to put it behind us and hang out with some lovely people for the holiday.
New Year’s should be a site to see here in Picinguaba, so I’ll be sure to snap a few photos to share. Traditionally everyone wears white for peace, offers something to Yemanjá (goddess of the Sea), and jumps over seven waves for good luck. We’ll have a few guests in town, so we’re looking forward to the good company. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Ceia de Natal
Pernil assado | Baked ham
Tender | Pork roast
Perú | Turkey
Arroz branco | White rice
Arroz colorido | Colorful rice
Legumes da fazenda | Vegetables from the farm
Salada verde | Salad
Tomate cereja c/ queijo minas | Cherry tomatoes with fresh cheese
Tomate seco | Sundried tomatoes
Sobremesa | Desserts
Mesa de frutas | Table of fruits
Torta de maracuja | Passionfruit tart
Manjar de coco | Coconut custard
Panetone c/ sorvete | Panetone bread filled with ice cream
Pousada Picinguaba Caipirinha:
1 limão em cubos | 1 lime in cubes
1 colher de açúcar | 1 tablespoon of sugar
50 ml de cachaça | 50 ml of cachaça
1/2 copo de gelo | 1/2 cup of ice
Cortar de forma que o miolo branco seja excluído | Cut lime into 8 pieces, removing ends and white pith
Macerar o limão e a açúcar extraindo todo o suco | Crush the lime and sugar, extracting all the juice
Chacoalhar bem com cachaça e gelo e servir | Mix with cachaça and ice, shake well and serve
Basic Vanilla Dough