A new University of Gastronomic Sciences study trip will set off on February 16, bound for Brazil. The destination is the state of Minas Gerais, with its capital Belo Horizonte, its rich rural areas and its colonial mining towns.
Students will be welcomed by Nella Cerino, an UNISG alumna and Italian gastronome who lives and works in Brazil, where she collaborates with local bodies and institutions such as the Prefecture of Belo Horizonte and the Frente em Defesa da Gastronomia Mineira and Marcelo De Podestà, Slow Food Belo Horizonte representative.
Nella Cerino is playing an active part in the organization of the trip, which will allow the students to discover the regions rich agricultural and gastronomic tradition, and will accompany them on most of their excursions.
The first day in Belo Horizonte will include a meal in a typical lanchonete, or luncheonette, serving street food such as salgadinhos, patties of meat, rice or cheese, and a stroll round the city. Dinner will be organized in a boteco or botequim in Santa Tereza neighborhood a pub-like establishment that serves food and drink. The following day the party will visit the city’s Mercado Central.
The next stop on the trip will be the city of Sabará and will include a visit to the Jabuticaba Gourmet women’s cooperative, specialized in processing jabuticaba, a tropical fruit typical of the area, for a tasting of the fruit and its by-products.
The students, accompanied by Slow Food Belo Horizonte Convivium leader Marcelo De Podestá, will then move on to the Montes Claros area where, in the farming town of Itacambira, they will meet chef Bernadete Guimarães and find out more about the local gastronomy with an indigenous meal of biscoito de forno de barro, beiju de mandioca, doce de marmelo, requeijão, queijo, rapadura, vinho de uva and mane na pedrá. They will then meet freshwater lambari fishermen, breeders of frango caipira, a typical chicken breed, and producers of geléia de mocotò, a meat jelly. The day will end with a visit to artisans who process the evergreen helichrysum flower, followed by dancing and a convivial dinner.
The next day the UNISG students will travel to Botumirim, another small rural community, to discover local products and fishing in the Rio de peixe, before lunching with a group of farmers and artisans.
Next stop will be Salinas, a town famous for its cachaça, a spirit distilled from sugar cane. Here the students will visit the cachaça museum, a farm cultivating and processing the umbu fruit, and the Cachaçaria Havana farm of Anísio Santiago.
The tour will then take in Montes Claros, a large city and seat of a municipality, important as a farming center. Here the party will visit the local market, before leaving for Januária and São João das Missões to meet and spend the day with Xacriabá indigenous people.
The next destination will be Matias Cardoso, where students will meet the local fishing community, the so-called Vazanteiros.
The party will then return to Montes Claros to visit the CAA (Centro da Agricultura Alternative do Norte de Minas), then to Belo Horizonte.
Here, again accompanied by Nella Cerino, students will visit CRESANS, a Food Safety and Sustainable Nutrition Reference Center, the Lagoinha market, CRAS, a Social Welfare Reference Center, the Viva Villa project in the Serra favela, and the city’s Restaurante popular. They will also attend a lecture on family farming and school gardens, besides having the opportunity to discover and taste an enological novelty, the new wines of Minas Gerais under the expert guidance of consultant enologist and sommelier Renato Costa. The day will end with dinner at the Villa Roberti restaurant.
The group will then travel to Ouro Preto, a splendid colonial mining town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In nearby São Bartolomeu, students will be introduced to the local confectionery tradition, and in Ouro Preto itself they will visit the Ouropretana brewery.
The UNISG group will spend the last few days of the journey in Belo Horizonte, where, among other things, they will meet the famous chef Eduardo Avelar and discover the secrets of Mineiro cooking.