Nuts about Brazil

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Brazilian stilt walkers

Discover Brazil without leaving Brussels – Federico Grandesso discovers Europalia and waxes lyrical about a day out with a difference

This year’s Europalia features Brazilian folk dance
This year’s Europalia features Brazilian folk dance

The international arts festival europalia, held every two years to highlight a different country’s cultural heritage, turns its spotlight this year on Brazil with a series of exhibitions and programme of events including music, dance, cinema, theatre, artchitecture, literature, fashion and design from the beginning of October until January 15.

Every weekend club.Brasil at the Europalia information centre in the Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels, will hold a series of free events, concerts, dance lessons, art workshops or street arts.

The Bozar Gallery of Fine Arts (Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Brussels) is hosting a number of exhibitions including one from October 12 onwards tracing the evolution of Brazilian art from the 1950s to the present day. Culture vultures may also want to view the exhibition dedicated to prize-winning Brazilian architect Paulo mendes da rocha – and why not take in the photographic display, open from October 6, featuring work dating as far back as 1840 through to the present day.  There’s a full programme of events online at www.europalia.eu.

AUTHENTIC CUISINE

After a rich cultural start to the day it’s time to discover culinary art and Club.Brasil will also feature a bar-restaurant selling Brazilian cocktails and snacks.  Further afield but within walking distance is Saudades do Brasil, a restaurant at Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés 30 offering authentic Brazilian cuisine. Owner/chef Sandro martins de Mello serves up a range of beautifully prepared and presented food and takes time to explain the menu and ingredients involved. Try Costelinhas (marinated grilled spare ribs) or Salada Búzios (avocado, scampi, red onions and tomatoes). Among the specialities Moqueca mixta, a mixed fish grill and Churrasco, a selection of grilled meat. Count around €30 a head for a three course meal; the house wine at €18 a bottle is eminently drinkable.

LEARN TO SAMBA

In the evenings, learn to Samba on Tuesday nights at the Brussels samba school in St Josse (www.ecole-de-samba-debruxelles.be) and then dance the night away to live music and party at the heart of the club scene at Canoa Quebrada, a flamboyant Brazilian disco-bar serving delicious tropical cocktails in the Bourse/St Gery area (Rue du Marché au Charbon 53 – www.canoa-quebrada.be).  A small bar on site La Canoinha is the ideal place to socialize and practice speaking Portuguese until the early hours of the morning.