ISLAMABAD - From the pristine beaches of Brazil to the hills of Islamabad, Marriott hotel Islamabad brought the flavours of Brazilian cuisine to savour the crème de la crème taste buds. From soups to salads and curry to BBQ, it was a mouthful night out. “Brazil’s diverse cuisine and vibrant food culture  has a wide selection of flavourful dishes including Small Bites, Street Food, Fish & Seafood and Meat & Poultry on  Fire & Grill to offer. It is no less than a bonanza of gastronomy,” adds Chef Kiki Ferrari who had especially flown from Brazil for this food fiesta.

Brazil is famous for its BBQ grilled meat known as Churracaria. The meat is cooked on skewers and once it is ready, the chef-cum-meat waiter called a “passador” comes to the tables to offer the guests the tasty morsels. The chef makes his appearance every so often, with meat on skewer and carving knife in hand to slice off as much meat as diners wish to have. The guests can choose their favourite meat options and type of cut - rare, medium or well-done, and as much as they wish.

Chef Kiki has kept himself busy while at Marriott Islamabad tasting and infusing Pakistani spices and cooking techniques. “I have fallen in love with Pakistani style BBQ and instead of cereals and eggs I am having kebabs and chicken Tikka for breakfast,” informs the young chef.

The ambassador of Brazil in Islamabad Claudio Raja Gabaglia Lins was speaking very highly of the chef as well. “He is only 36 years old and is one of the most famous chefs of not only Brazil but South America,” said the ambassador. Brazilian cuisine also carries a strong influence of European, Latin, African and even Asian cuisine. So apart from being a diversified cultural populated country, the gastronomic scene in Brazil goes to an extended length.

“I have lived and worked in different regions of Brazil and gained hands on experience with different culinary chefs. I am always interested to try and infuse different cultures and regional specialties into my cooking that I learnt from the mix of natives,” the chef adds proudly with a smile.

The BBQ grills on the offer were Buffalo wings, Quails with roasted potatoes, Lamb of rack and Beef roast with brazilin sauce called Chaumi Chairo. The lamb cooked for more than six hours was succulent and an instant hit. However, the Brazilian herbs and seasoning which the chef used to marinade the beef and the lamb was not as strong as Pakistani taste buds are used to.

The chef insisted to take a small portion of wild rice cooked with black bean as a side order it is always done in Brazil.

Coxinhas is an evening snack, which the Brazilians are in love with. Every household eats Coxinhas quite frequently.

The meaty crispy fried heart shaped balls are stuffed with shredded chicken, cream cheese and wrapped in dough before being put into a hot boiling oil pan. Coxinhas is crusty from outside but once the fissure is made, the flavours of seasoning and creamy chicken overpower the pellet. It is hard to stop after one or two coxinhas as that is why the staff at Marriott seems to be replenishing the container after every 15 minutes. Moqueca is a Brazilian seafood dish which has been into existence for the last 300 years as per Chef Kiki’s claim. “It is a stew which is cooked slowly and requires an army of ingredients and herbs. Onions, cilantro, bananas, garlic and many more mixed in a broth with coconut milk. Originally, it is made with shrimps but now to try out a different take, some Brazilians use fish as well. It depends on how you like it,” tells the chef. Moqueca is cooked in a terracotta clay pot with palm oil.

Other items included Brazilian Cold Style Cold Meat, Mixed Seafood Salads, Amazonian Whole Fish and Creamy Polenta to take away the night.

–The writer is a freelance contributor