01 of 08
One of the most unusual fruits that grow in Brazil is the jabuticaba (zha-bu-chee-KAH-bah). This dark purple fruit looks like a perfectly round grape, but it is not eaten like a grape. Jabuticaba has a thick skin that is not eaten. Instead, it is eaten by piercing the skin with your teeth, pushing the inside of the fruit into your mouth, and then spitting out the small seed.
This is a popular but sometimes expensive fruit that can be found in small quantities at local grocery stores or in boxes at fruit/vegetable markets. The flavor is tart and sweet at the same time, a bit like grape juice. The name of the fruit is derived from two words in the Tupi language of the native Tupi people that roughly mean "place where tortoises come from."Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Jabuticaba fruit grow right on the trunk of the jabuticaba tree. They begin as small green balls but grow and turn dark purple as they ripen.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Atemoia (ah-teh-MOY-ah) is a delicious fruit that is found in some outdoor markets in Brazil, often for a higher price than other typical fruits, even four reais per fruit.
It's a cross between a sugar apple and cherimoya. This large green fruit should be eaten when it gives slightly. Break it open and eat the white inside--its texture is soft and a bit grainy, but the flavor is a lovely mix of sweet and sour. Inside each section of the white fruit are large black seeds that you’ll have to spit out.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
Açaí (ah-sigh-EE) is a fruit from the Brazilian Amazon but has become famous internationally for its antioxidant properties. While it can be found fresh in some parts of Brazil, in most places the frozen pulp is eaten. Many locals in Brazil will order a bowl of cold açaí pulp, sometimes with bananas and granola.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Passionfruit, called maracujá (mah-rah-ku-ZHAH) in Portuguese, has two varieties: sweet (doce) and sour (azedo). In most cases, you'll want to go with the sweet ones. Eating them is simple; just cut the fruit in half and scoop out the juice and seeds and eat them.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
06 of 08
Mousse de maracujá (Moo-see dzee mah-rah-ku-ZHA) is a popular dessert in Brazil, and for very good reason. This light mousse is typically made with sweet condensed milk and passionfruit juice, then topped with a light layer of passionfruit with seeds. It's a rich, very flavorful fruit dessert that you can enjoy in many restaurants, cafes, and buffets.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
Guava, or goiaba (goy-AH-bah), is one of the most common fruits in Brazil. It can be found in outdoor markets, grocery stores, and even sold on street corners. Two main varieties exist--goiaba branca (white) and goiaba vermelha (red); the red one is my preference. Guavas are available year-round in Brazil.
Goiaba can be eaten in a few ways. After washing it, you can slice it into rounds or simply eat it like an apple by biting into the rind and fruit. You can also cut it in half and scoop the red or white fruit out of the rind. The seeds are edible.
Guava is also made into a delicious paste called goiabada. It's guava, sugar, and water that's cooked down to a consistency similar to a thick fruit leather but softer. It's inexpensive and keeps for a long time, so it makes a good gift to bring back to a friend. It's often served as a dessert with a plain white cheese, especially queijo Minas; this combination is called Romeo e Julieta because supposedly guava and white... cheese make the perfect pair, just like Romeo and Juliet.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
The Best Bananas
Bananas in Brazil are special. First, there are many varieties to choose from. Second, they are inexpensive and easy to find. Most important, they are delicious, especially banana-maçã, or apple-banana.
Banana-maçã is a small banana that is eaten when the skin is completely yellow and starting to turn brown in spots. It should be soft; if it is at all hard, it will leave a strange texture on your lips and tongue, and Brazilians will call bananas that are not ready "verde." The flavor is sweet and somewhat reminiscent of an apple. They are purchased in clusters and are slightly more expensive than other varieties of bananas.