Brazil really has it all. Larger cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo boast unique personality, culture, nightlife, epic countryside, the thousands of miles of coastline, and hearty cuisine will have you in raptures. We’ve picked here the top Brazilian dishes to try on your visit.

  1. Barbecued meat

Brazil claims to be one of South America’s barbecue champions.

In Brazil, before being grilled to pink perfection over charcoal, premium cuts such as picanha, or rump cap are seasoned with just a liberal shake of coarse salt. Home barbecues will see queijo coalho (squeaky cheese on a stick), sausages, and chicken hearts all on the grill. Meanwhile, in barbecue-style steakhouses (churrascarias), all manner of meats on skewers like pork, lamb, and wild boar will be sliced by waiters straight onto your plate.

  1. Moqueca (pronounced moo-kek-a)

Moqueca is a Brazilian-inspired seafood casserole with creamy coconut sauce, coriander garnish and plenty of sunshine spice. It is served with theatrical flourish because the hot clay pot is uncovered amid clouds of fragrant steam. Baianos (in the north-east of the country) and Capixabas (from Espírito Santo) both claim to be the origins of this dish, and both serve up equally tasty variations. In this dish, fish or/and other seafood are stewed in diced onions, coriander, and tomatoes. The Capixabas add annatto seeds to create a natural red coloring, while the Baianos make a heavier version with coconut milk, peppers, and palm oil combined with rice, pirão (a spicy fish porridge), and farofa (toasted manioc flour).

  1. Cachaça

Coming back to the 1500s, cachaça is best-known to be the fiery kick in caipirinhas (the national cocktail of Brazil). It is made from fermented sugarcane juice.

For a fresh and powerful morning, start with a Guaraná Antarctica (a fizzy, sweet, soft drink), caldo de cana (fresh sugarcane juice), or an água de coco (coconut water).