My first meal in Brazil, always.

We have finally landed in Brazil.

Rio 2016 Me

And, as I always do at the first entry point in my native country, I went straight for the food.

My first meal in Brazil always includes pão de queijo, or cheesebread, and a Brazilian soda called Guaraná.

My wife, who is American, loves both. So much so that my parents always have a bag of pão de queijo in hand when they go pick us up at the airport.


Pão de queijo is a type of bread that Brazilians eat as a snack. It’s made of tapioca flower, eggs, milk and cheese.

Its creation is attributed to African slaves and dates back to the 1700s during Brazil’s gold rush. At that time, people migrated from the northeast of Brazil to the southeastern state of Minas Gerais as they searched for gold. This massive migration of slave owners and slaves to the southeast was followed by an increase in the production of basic foods.

Bread was one of them.

Guarana and Pao de Queijo1Wheat, however, didn’t grow well in the hot areas of Brazil. Slaves had to improvise when cooking for slave owners. Instead of using plain flour to make bread, they used tapioca flour.

In a state that was a great dairy producer, the tapioca bread later received an extra touch.

With cheese and milk added to the mix, pão de queijo was born.

(If you are interested in how a country’s food says a lot about its culture, make sure to watch this video with Dr. Angela Bratton, associate professor of anthropology, explaining the topic)


Guaraná is to Brazil what Coca-Cola is to the U.S. So it’s fair to call Guaraná Brazil’s non-alcoholic drink.

The soda is made from a red berry from the Amazon Rainforest. My wife says it tastes like Ginger Ale, but better.

One place you can taste this Brazilian beverage is at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. Keep in mind, though, that most Brazilians I know would say Guaraná Antarctica is better than Coca-Cola’s Guaraná Kuat.

If you travel around Brazil, you will also find other types of Guaraná sodas—similar to what happened with Coca-Cola in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Guaraná Antarctica still tastes the best to me.

So if you are new to Brazil, make sure you try the famous pão de queijo and Guaraná.

Be sure to check out Brennan Meagher’s blog for her take on our Rio experience.

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Written by
Arthur Takahashi

Arthur Takahashi is Digital Media Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706–446–5128 or

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man smiling Written by Arthur Takahashi

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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