••• Gourmet brigadeiro from Sweet Dreams, Rio de Janeiro. Photo courtesy of Sweet Dreams.


Ask Brazilian children what they expect to find to eat at a birthday party. Besides cake, they're probably going to answer brigadeiros.

Unlike other Brazil sweets whose origin dates back to colonial times, brigadeiros have a more recent history.

Condensed milk, first manufactured in Brazil in 1921, made it possible for Brazilians to create a chocolate sweet which was a favorite with Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, one of the heroes in the 1922 lieutenant revolt at the Copacabana Fort.

When Eduardo Gomes was a candidate to Brazil presidency in 1945 - the first year Brazilian women could vote for president - ladies who supported him sold the chocolate sweet in fundraisers.

Eduardo Gomes's campaign slogan - "Vote no brigadeiro, que é bonito e é solteiro" (Vote for the brigadier, who's good-looking and single) - didn't grant him victory, but Brazil had a new name for an increasingly popular sweet.

Make this birthday party hit at home with the brigadeiro recipe from Marian Blazes, Guide to South American food.

Pronunciation: bri-ga-DAY-ro