By Anna Kaiser, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The annual Rio Gastronomia food festival kicks off this Thursday, August 15th. The ten day event is the city’s largest culinary festival and features tasting booths, cooking classes, live-music and traveling workshops throughout key points in the city.
The event is put on by O Globo, Riotur (Rio’s tourism organization), Sebrae, the state government and the SindRio (the union of hotels and bars) and all the participating chefs and restaurants.
In addition to the “Circuito Rio Gastronomia” (Rio Gastronomy Circuit) free cooking classes, the “Feira de Sabores” (Fair of Flavors) and live-music at the Jockey Club, there is the samba school feijoada cook-off, the “Caminhão Cozinha Show,” which will travel throughout the city, plus the hundreds of participating restaurants which have prepared special fixed plates at competitive prices for the event that will be showcased at their restaurants.
While Rio is not a city traditionally renowned for its cuisine, this year’s Rio Gastronomia hopes to create an impression, demonstrating the best of Carioca cuisine. The general coordinator of Rio Gastronomia 2013, Claudia Lobo, explained to The Rio Times:
“Rio Gastronomia offers several opportunities for the public to get to know the high quality of cuisine in the city. From the presentations of the best chefs teaching recipes served in their restaurants, the cooking show or at the Rio Gastronomia circuit, until the selection of the best feijoada of the samba schools. With all this, the event proves that Rio, in addition to having quality gastronomy, also boasts diversity in flavor to suit every budget.”
Cooking classes from some of Rio’s top chefs at the Jockey Club are free and open to the public through reservations by phone. Classes will run from Friday, August 16th through Sunday, August 18th, and include topics such as “Carioca Cooking,” “Indigenous Tapioca,” “The Perfect Hamburger” and “The Place for Men is in the Kitchen.”
To sign up, call (21) 2567-0464, operating hours from 9AM to 6PM. For a full list of the courses being offered, click here.
Classes will only be for those preregistered, but the “Feira de Sabores” and nightly live music is open to anyone. Kiosks from participating restaurants will serve tastings from some of Rio’s award winning restaurants like Ten Kai, Siri Mole, Entretapas, Da Silva, Focaccia and Confeitaria Colombo.
Live-musical performances will also run Friday night through Sunday night. Friday night features Rodrigo Santos, bassist from the Brazilian rock and roll band, Barão Vermelho. Saturday Jesuton will perform – a British artist who got her start singing on the streets of Rio. And Sunday’s performance will be traditional forró music by Moyseis Marques.
The “Caminhão Cozinha Show” is a traveling cooking event – which will hit several strategic points in the city, starting August 19th through the 25th. The event will travel to a wide range of neighborhoods and plazas including Praça XV, Lagoa, Ipanema, Praça Saens Peña, UFRJ, and Parque de Madureira.
Another highlight is “Feijoada Nota 10” – the feijoada cook-off competition between Rio’s samba schools. For the past few weeks, samba schools have faced off their feijoada recipes hoping to win the 2013 Rio Gastronomia Feijoada title. The cook-offs are open to the public – to try the “Perfect 10 Feijoada” one can go to the samba school’s “quadras” and have a taste for R$10 to R$20. Participating schools this Sunday, August 18th are Mocidade and Beija-Flor.
In addition to these special events, 440 participating restaurants have prepared a special fixed menu for Rio Gastronomia 2013. The restaurants hope to showcase the best of the best at a lower price.
An Ipanema favorite, 00 Bistrô, is among the participating restaurants. Their featured dish is octopus with black rice for R$42. Chef Flavia Passos explained that, “our expectations are high, we hope that the public enjoys the octopus created especially for the event!”