The reason many of us travel is to experience life beyond the ordinary – and there is no place more extraordinary than the Amazon.
The Amazon River is home to an estimated 40,000 plant species and 3,000 freshwater fish species, many still yet to be discovered, as well as home to a host of ingredients and flavors most of us have never tasted before. When you cruise through the Brazilian Amazon, you are truly embarking on a culinary adventure.
Brazil is known mostly for its big meat-eating culture, especially with the increasing popularity of the churrascaria, but in the Amazon, fish is king. If you wanted to taste a different Amazon fish every day, it is said to take you more than three years to get through them all. Also popular in the Brazilian Amazon is the açaí fruit, but that’s just one of the native fruits for which the Amazon region is known. Brazilians use fruits and berries in many ways, from juices to flavorings for ice cream, which you can sample at bustling food markets in the larger villages.
Imagine savoring all of these flavors in addition to witnessing pink dolphins, monkeys and caimans in their lush natural habitat. This is indeed a trip of a lifetime!
SAIL: The Amazon. Witness rare wildlife and flora, as well as participate in its tastes and traditions, aboard the mid-sized Seven Seas Mariner®. Discover amazing places from the “Paris of the Jungle” Manaus to the small village of Parintins that steeped in centuries-old Indian culture. And journey to the point where the Amazon waters meet in Santarém.
SIP: Açaí. Açaí is an Amazonian red-purple berry that tastes somewhat like blackberries. The juice is both sweet and tart, but, most importantly loaded with antioxidants. The Yanomami Indians who live deep in the Amazon jungle have been eating açaí berries for centuries, using their potent power for health and well being.
SAVOR: Fish. Try any one of the myriad species of fish, including tambaqui, a sweet-tasting firm white fish that tastes like veal. The pirarucu, which can be as long as 10 feet and is eaten fresh, smoked, or salted and dried like salt cod. Or indulge in the surubim, the Brazilian catfish, big and bony and often prepared na brasa (flame-grilled) or smoked.
Mara Papatheodorou is a Master Foodie, a Tastes & Traditions Expert and a nationally established entertaining specialist. She has interpreted the cuisine and experienced the culture of over 65 countries worldwide. As an 11 year Contributing Editor at BON APPETIT Magazine, Mara scouted and produced the Entertaining with Style section that highlighted how real people entertain around the country and the world and was editor of their international editions. She works as a consultant with food companies developing recipes, menus and promotional campaigns.
Mara is the Tastes & Traditions Expert for Regent Seven Seas Cruises where she lectures regularly about the history of cuisine and culture and what to sip and savor in various ports. Watch her dining and wine tour videos on our website under multimedia.