Flavors of ‘Pantanal’: soap opera gives birth to regional cuisine – Paladar

Dira Paes, Filó in the plot, actually cooks in many scenes – to the delight of the team. Photo: João Miguel Jr.

One of the most iconic scenes from wetland, a novel by Bruno Luperi shown by Rede Globo and a remake of the 1990 work by Benedito Ruy Barbosa, Luperi’s grandfather, was carried out by the prankster Eugênio (Almir Sater) and the farmhand Trindade (Gabriel Sater). Father and son in real life, both performed a beautiful duel of guitars, which had as a backdrop a Pantanal-style barbecue held on the farm of José Leôncio (Marcos Palmeira). “I was thrilled to see this scene. Barbecue, music and living around the fire is something that happens a lot in the Pantanal”, comments the chef and researcher from Mato Grosso do Sul, Paulo Machado, who is the author of the book Pantanal cuisine: entourage of flavorspublished by the publisher Bei.

+ RECIPE: See how to make chipa at home

Among breathtaking landscapes, legends such as the woman who turns into a jaguar and the old man who turns into an anaconda, Pantanal recipes appear before the eyes and whet the appetite of viewers of the nine o’clock soap opera. Starting with the barbecue itself, which is present in some scenes of wetland.Everything starts with a rectangular hole that is opened in the earth. Instead of charcoal, logs of angico wood are burned there, which give the meat a smoky flavor – the great differential of the swamp barbecue. And, on top, there is a wooden structure, which serves to support the meat skewers, also made of wood.

Entourage pasta, which is part of the crooked break, a meal to give energy to the pedestrians.

Entourage pasta, which is part of the crooked break, a meal to give energy to the pedestrians. Photo: Higor Maranho

In fact, meat is the main protagonist of pantanal kitchen and appears in different forms in the local recipe. During the entourage, in which the peons drive the cattle through the farms in the region, they take with them non-perishable inputs such as dried meat, rice, beans, pasta and a fat, which serve as the basis of substantial recipes such as cart rice and entourage noodles – in some scenes of the novel it is possible to see the peons Tibério (Guito) and Tadeu (José Loreto) with a plate in one hand, a spoon in the other, devouring these recipes.

“These dishes are part of the crooked break. That’s what the peons eat around four-thirty in the morning, to give them energy to handle the work in the countryside”, says Mirica Vianna, the soap’s art producer. Along with the plot direction team, she traveled to the Pantanal in January of last year in search of locations and references to recreate some of the scenarios of the soap opera inside Globo Studios, in Rio de Janeiro – only the external scenes are recorded in loco.

+ RECIPE: See how to make Carreteiro rice at home

Undoubtedly, the kitchens at the headquarters of the farms of José Leôncio (Marcos Palmeira) and Tenório (Murilo Benício) received special attention from the soap opera’s art team. And what is prepared there was inspired by his research with the cooks of the Pantanal farms. “In the scenes around the table, we always put chipa, a kind of drier cheese bread in the shape of a horseshoe, in addition to the Paraguayan soup, which is a salted corn cake, which are two typical dishes of the region”, he explains. her, referring to recipes that are influenced by Bolivia and Paraguay, which border Mato Grosso do Sul.

Chipa, one of the icons of Pantanal cuisine.

Chipa, one of the icons of Pantanal cuisine. Photo: Luna Garcia

Another detail of the scenes are the ceramics made by the Terena indigenous community, native to the region, with a reddish hue and white drawings, which appear during the meal scenes. “The meals prepared at the tapera de Juma (Alanis Guillen), very simple preparations with few ingredients, were inspired by Terena cuisine”, explains the soap producer.

Most of the scenes of actress Dira Paes, who plays the character Filó in the soap opera, are in the kitchen. A full-fledged cook in real life, Dira puts her hands full in the scenes and shares some of these moments on her social networks. “As she has a wood stove and oven in the setting, she often cooks for real”, says Mirica. On stage, Dira has already prepared carreteiro rice, cake, sausage farofa with eggs, savory pies and even cheesecake with guava paste – all devoured by the team afterwards.

“During the recordings, the aroma of the food surrounds everyone and brings a veracity to the scenes”, believes the actress. She even arranges with Leticia Galm, who is Mirica’s assistant, which dishes she can prepare in certain scenes. “Food brings action to Filó, Dira’s character, who is a woman for whom life is on that farm, it is to feed that man she loves so much, her son and everyone who lives in that environment. Undoubtedly, it is one of the ways she uses to show affection”, analyzes Mirica.

Tereré, made with the same herb as mate, but with cold water.

Tereré, made with the same herb as mate, but with cold water. Photo: Luna Garcia

On the beverage side, tereré is one of the Pantanal icons. It is the same yerba mate as mate, only consumed with cold water in the Pantanal – all to do with the scorching climate of the region. And you can get the reinforcement of lemon drops and leaves like mint. The herb is placed inside the guampa, a cup made from the horn of the ox, which is filled with ice water. Afterwards, you can drink it with the help of a pump, a metal straw with an infuser – José Leôncio (Palmeira) and the farm workers always appear in the company of their guampa and bottle of cold water.

“We ordered a gourd with the initials JL from a local artisan, for the character of José Leôncio”, says Mirica. Actor Marcos Palmeira, who also participated in the first version of the soap opera, became so addicted to the drink that he bought a bottle just for himself and, even on his days off, walks up and down in the company of his tereré. Loreto and Guito also share this fondness for the drink.

Chef Paulo Machado having his tereré.

Chef Paulo Machado having his tereré. Photo: Luna Garcia

Immigration also left its legacy in the cuisine of the south-mato-grossense pantanal. Although the novel does not portray this side of Pantanal cuisine, the Japanese influence, more precisely from Okinawa, is also striking in the region. “The Okinawans arrived in Campo Grande (MS) in the 1970s and brought with them the soba, which today is considered the typical dish of the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul”, explains Jean Haddad, who runs the restaurant. sobaria in the capital of São Paulo.

Based on buckwheat noodles immersed in a broth, the dish gained a new version in the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul. Instead of pork, it is served with sliced ​​beef and omelet. Haddad, who hopes that the dish will be shown at some point in the soap opera. “When customers come to dinner, they ask that the television be turned on to the soap opera. It’s a success,” he says.

Machado has also felt the repercussion of the soap opera. “Not only has it helped to awaken the public’s attention to the cultural traits of the Pantanal, the relationship we have with music, with the elements of the frontier and with our cuisine, but it has been a while since I saw a soap opera that had a relationship so close to the Brazilian people”, observes the chef and researcher. It remains to be seen which dishes will still be featured in the novel, but that is the scene of the next chapters.

just like the novel

Did you feel like trying some of the dishes that appear in the soap opera? Located in the Market Place shopping mall, the gexperiencean interactive space dedicated to Globo channels and programs, also houses a bistro, where it is possible to taste some menus inspired by the network’s highly successful soap operas, such as Brazil Avenue, Way of the Indies and Chocolate with pepper. And, last month, the nine o’clock soap also gained a menu to call its own.

Prepared by chef Alex Fediczko, the menu includes pumpkin dumplings with jerky served with vinaigrette for the starter, Carreteiro rice (with jerked beef, smoked sausage, peppers, tomato, parsley and onion crisps) as the main course, in addition to of cocada de oven with almond praline and apricot jam for dessert (R$ 110, per person). “I was inspired by regional Brazilian cuisine, by the ingredients present in everyday life, in addition to the dishes that are eaten while dealing with cattle”, explains Fediczko, who is responsible for the menus of the gastronomic spaces at gexperience. The space still houses some of the costumes from Pantanal, such as the clothes of the peasant Quim (Renato Teixeira), a character from the first phase of the soap opera.

Lambari do Pantanal, from the Urus restaurant, in São Paulo.

Lambari do Pantanal, from the Urus restaurant, in São Paulo. Photo: Tadeu Brunelli

Also inspired by the flavors of the Pantanal was Italian chef Massimo Battaglini, from the recently opened Urus restaurant, which belongs to the Jamy group, from Cuiabá (MT). However, he made an expedition in the other Pantanal, that of Mato Grosso, which brings together the Cerrado, Pantanal and Amazon biomes. Battaglini and chef Victor Naddeo, who also signs the menu, were inspired by local ingredients to design the signature menu. “I was impressed with the delicacy of the Pintado, which is a freshwater fish”, says he, who presents a Pinto tartar served with fried rice paper (R$64). Another icon of the region is the piranha, which has gained a reputation for devouring some characters from the Pantanal. Instead of serving it in the form of sashimi and stew, something typical in the region, Battaglini presents a capeletti of piranha (R$ 69) – the meat serves as a filling for the dough and base for the broth. “We just don’t use the ‘smile’”, jokes the chef.

where to try?

Three addresses in the capital of São Paulo where you can find Pantanal dishes and ingredients


The restaurant under the command of Jean Haddad has as its flagship the soba, one of the icons of the cuisine of Campo Grande (MS). The chipa (R$36) and the okinawa sobá, with buckwheat pasta immersed in hot broth, served with filet mignon, omelet and chives (R$49) are some of the highlights of the menu. R. Luís Góis, 1559, Mirandópolis.


The recently opened restaurant in the capital of São Paulo, has the kitchen under the command of chefs Victor Naddeu and Italian Massimo Battaglini. Inspired by the Cerrado, Pantanal and Amazon biomes present in Mato Grosso, the menu includes suggestions such as cappelletti in brodo de piranha (R$69). Vatican Square, 321, Jardim Europa.


The multisensory space of the Globo channels houses a bistro, where you can taste various dishes inspired by soap operas. The Pantanal menu (R$110, three courses) includes suggestions prepared by chef Alex Fediczko, such as Carreteiro rice, with jerky, smoked sausage, peppers, tomato, green smell and crunchy onion. Av. Dr Chucri Zaidan, 902, Vila Cordeiro (Shopping Market Place).

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