By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio Gastronomia, the city’s largest annual culinary festival, will be taking place from August 16th to 26th, boasting ten days of gourmet-style celebration throughout Rio. The event aims to showcase fine dining and promote the art of cooking, as many restaurants take the opportunity to offer a special set menu throughout the festival.
Rio Gastronomia is produced by O Globo in partnership with RioTur (Rio’s tourism authority) and SindRio (union of hotels restaurants and bars). Pedro de Lemare, president of SindRio, explains the purposes of the event.
“The idea is to show the strength of Rio’s cuisine to the [city] and ensure that residents and tourists have new dining experiences. There are lots of interesting things being created in the restaurants in Rio.”
One of the highlights continues to be the feijoada contest in Note 10, between six groups from Rio’s Carnival Schools, yet equally popular are the mobile cooking shows.
“They are an example of action to popularize Rio’s cuisine,” Lamare explains, “The cooking shows are something that attracts a large audience. This year, besides watching the chef prepare the recipe, the public will be able to taste it.”
Across the city, restaurants and bars are preparing their set menus, which they hope will entice customers and promote their establishment. American expatriate Sam Flowers, chef and owner of Ipanema restaurant the Gringo Café, is no exception and is already clearly excited at the prospect of unveiling his special three course American set menu for R$59.
Flowers describes, “Gastronomia Rio is a great event that promotes and celebrates the growing diversity and quality of restaurants in Rio. As an owner and chef I greatly appreciate the event’s promotion and publicity efforts that draw attention to restaurants for the local population.”
Similarly, Marcelo Jose Vianna Torres, the mastermind behind one of Rio’s favorite restaurants, Giuseppe Grill, is equally supportive of the event, stating “In truth, it’s the public that benefit the most because they get the chance to experience food from the very best restaurants in a relaxed and informal environment.”
Torres will be taking part in the event, having prepared a set menu for his new restaurant Laguiole. He reveals “Because the majority of the people who come to the event will never have been to Laguiole, I decided to offer some traditional house dishes [...] These dishes lend themselves well to being transformed into smaller sized portions which don’t require cutting so can be easily eaten while standing up.”
In terms of new events within the annual culinary festival, Gastronomia Rio has created a selection of cinema screenings dedicated to some of the latest unreleased cookery films. They will be shown at the Cultura Laura Alvim, in Ipanema and a selection of tasters will be offered at the end of each show.
The collection of films includes; ‘18 Comidas,’ centered around Spanish cuisine, ‘Cooking with Stella’ which concentrates on Indian food and ‘Oma & Bella’ for an insightful approach to Jewish cookery whilst ‘Cooking up Dreams’ investigates the complexity and flavors of Peruvian cuisine.
Finally, those wishing to experience a variety of cuisines whilst learning about how to recreate them will be able to do so at the Jockey Club, which provides the venue for a number of classes headed by Rio’s master chefs from August 17th-19th.
To learn more about the restaurants participating, the program of cooking demonstrations and cinema screenings plus much more, visit the website for details.