I have a slight addiction here in Brazil. The vice? Milkshakes.
Of course there are milkshakes in the US, too. And they're delicious. But Brazil's are better. My favorite is with ovomaltine (Americans may remember it as Ovaltine from when they were kids. Fun Wikipedia fact: the name in English was supposed to be ovomaltine, too, but someone spelled it wrong at some point and the wrong name stuck!).
The ice cream used is always a mix of chocolate and vanilla (if not on the menu, then per my request).
The addiction is facilitated by the availability of milkshakes and the plethora of ice cream stands around the city. These little "maquinas de sorvete" (literally 'ice cream machines') are pretty much all an entrepreneur needs to start up his own ice cream shop. So they're everywhere. In the grocery store. In Wal-Mart. There are 6 or 7 in the mall. On street corners. Some just sell small ice cream cones, but some buy a little mixer thing (like what McDonald's uses to make McFlurries) and add milkshakes to their menu.
The result? I usually make up some excuse to buy one every time I go out to run errands. Totally undoes my hard work at the gym...but I feel less bad because I know that Stephanie shares my addiction.
Then today, I met up with my friend Melissa. She is very very pregnant-- as in, due any day. What is a great way to relieve a pregnant lady suffering in the tropical summer heat?
Ice cream, of course!
But we tried to be a little healthier about it. A new ice cream parlor opened up in town that sells fruit-based ice creams and popsicles (as opposed to milk-based), so we went there. The popsicles are small and cheap so you can try different flavors. They're essentially just frozen fruit pulp with almost no additives.
The exciting part was that the ice cream parlor prides itself in selling only Brazilian fruits and buying from local and domestic growers and all that. So they had popsicles made from fruits that not even Melissa had heard of.
One page describes taperebá as being part of the mango family.
The English name is apparently "hog plum", but as an aside to the Brazilian English teachers reading: it's important to inform your students that, just because a word may EXIST in English for a given cultural thing-- especially food-- very few Americans will actually know what they're talking about if the fruit doesn't grow in the US and isn't part of the diet. Case in point: Knowing the word "passion fruit" for maracujá doesn't help anyone. Ask an American who hasn't lived in South America or South Africa to draw a passion fruit, or ask them what color it is. Most of them won't know.
(Another important example is palmito, which is often translated as "heart of palm". I have a student. She's a flight attendant for a Brazilian airline company. On a flight to New York, the dinner on board was "frango com palmito", which was translated as "chicken with heart of palm". Almost every single American on board stopped the flight attendants to ask what "heart of palm" was. She and the other flight attendants had no idea how to explain it-- they had all been taught by their Brazilian English teachers to just call it "heart of palm"! So when she asked me about it during her next class, we came up for an explanation that she can use in the future. We decided on, "It's a sort of vegetable that we have in Brazil. It's made from the inside of the bark of Brazilian palm trees. It's soft and kind of salty-sour. You should try it!"
In terms of the opposite translation-- from English to Portuguese-- we have a nice example with the blueberry. Blueberries don't grow in Brazil (well, according to Wikipedia, some very cold parts of Rio Grande do Sul have been able to cultivate them). There's technically a translation-- mirtilo-- but when I've shown people a picture I have of Alexandre eating blueberries in the US, they always ask, "what's that?". I know there's a kind of similar fruit here in Brazil, but I can never remember the name. So I explain blueberry by saying "it grows kind of like a strawberry, but it's small and blue and the flavor is very strong."
Do you guys agree on these types of explanation-translations? I actually have a list of cultural elements of Brazil-- mostly foods-- that don't have easy translations, and I make my students practice explaining them to me. I think it's an important habit to build. The cultures and countries are different, too-- not just the language.)
Anyway, the guy working at the ice cream shop recommended eating the taperebá popsicle with salt. I know you're probably thinking "a popsicle with salt? Gross!" But I don't think about food like that. My logic with food is.... if these people didn't die eating it, I won't either. That doesn't mean I like everything, but I try most everything at least once. So I threw some salt on my taperebá popsicle. It was delicious, of course.
I also had a guava one. And a corn one (my favorite). And a caju one. And now I have a headache from all the sugar.
(Another important translation fact: yes, castanha de cajú is "cashew", but there's no word for just "cajú" in English, at least that I know of. Only the nuts get imported to the US, not the fruit, because the fruit doesn't last very long off the tree. So most Americans don't know that cashews are actually attached to a fruit. I didn't know, and I didn't know for a while that cajú and cashew were the same thing for a long time after moving here. So teachers, you can tell your students to explain this to Americans, because it's something interesting!)
But yes, delicious. Melissa had one made of graviola (which again has an English name but I doubt many Americans know about it-- I didn't!), and another one that we also ate with salt but whose name escapes me now.
The next time I go back to the place, I'm going to try the South American avocado popsicle, and the peanut one, and one of the other fruits I've never heard of. :) At 75 calories per popsicle, at least they're healthier than milkshakes, right?