Great article on FT.com about adventurous São Paulo restaurant peeps finding and using unusual/new ingredients sourced from all over the region (from rainforests to rivers).
The article centres on Helena Rizzo, head chef at Maní restaurant in São Paulo’s and lists some very interesting ingredients:
X – a type of banana which contains thick black seeds, has a mottled skin and tastes like vanilla found in the rainforest of Serra da Bocaina national park in Rio de Janeiro state.
Jambu – a “pungent herb” that makes your mouth numb…
Tucupi – yellow sauce derived from the cassava root
Pirarucu – a giant Amazonian fish
Baru – the nut of a savannah tree
Grumixama – “a cherry-like fruit which comes from the parts of the northeast with Atlantic forest”
Vitória régia (Victoria amazonica) – Helena Rizzo has been experimenting with the flower of this giant water lily (found throughout South America)