Surprise numero uno was the overwhelming influence the Italians have had there. By there, I mean the heart of Brazil’s wine community, located in the Rio Grande do Sul and particularly in Bento Goncalves. The Wine Capital of Brazil!
How does this Italian background manifest itself? Well, the typical meal of the region seems to start with Agnolotti en Brodo and generally includes polenta and some sort of roasted chicken or pig dish. The food is really, really good! And that’s coming from someone raised on Agnolotti en Brodo. Okay, tortellini, but close enough.
Surprise number two? I spoke more Italian than Portuguese while in Brazil, which in a way is not surprising since I don’t speak Portuguese. The surprising part is that people continue to speak Italian in the region and it’s fairly widespread, particularly once you get out of the city and into the valleys that surround Bento Goncalves.