In Brazil we usually say that the new year just really starts after Carnival. January and February are a bit yuck. Slow, lazy… Sometimes fast, true. Always boring.
But the breakthrough does not happen on Ash Wednesday, when we normally go back to work in the middle of the day with a massive hangover thanking lords, gods, goddess and else for a short office week.
The year begins, really, on Monday post-carnival.
So today, Saturday, we are still remembering those party days, costumes, masks, friends, sense of freedom. Finding stubborn glitter sparkles hidden in beards, mixed with our daily make up…
This is exactly a week after the Carnival Extravaganza, the first Cooknst event, launching the series Mixed Sessions.
The project will take every two months combining art and food to a thematic gathering. Different ingredients to bring creative and interesting people together for a night of tastes, stories and culture.
Our #1 brought the spirit of the most traditional brazilian party of all with a bit of twist.
And this is how we welcomed our guests:
- MANDIOCA FRITA (fried cassava, yes, it deserves capital letters) topped with parmesan an parsley;
- a fresh drink with the delicate cachaça Yaguara, ginger ale and raspberries;
- and some carnival ornaments to fool around:
The night went on with two sets of songs performed by 2Blend. The hosts made a few introductions before the sound of Caco Barro’s guitar and Odila Giunta’s soulful voice.
I shared the love, emotion, confessed my nervousness (oh yes!) and enormous pleasure of hosting the first Cooknst event EVER. People meeting, talking, enjoying, exchanging, playing, expressing themselves in ‘hmmms’ and smiles… All that I envisioned was happening right there, at that night. Wow.
And this could only be possible through collaboration, through what I’ve been calling ‘foodships’. Dennison Smith, owner of this place for full of art & life, The Baldwin Gallery; Janaína Campoy, the vibrant cooking host and the elegant and warm duo 2Blend, my brilliant super woman (and superb man!) co-hosts.
Also we had the support of Viva Koko, a beautiful chocolate handmade by a girl who truly enjoys her creation and wants to spread the guilty free adventure, alongside the sophisticated cachaça brand Yaguara.
So there we were listening to a repertoire carefully tailored with traditional samba tunes as Abre Alas, Mamãe Eu Quero, Desde Que o Samba é Samba é Samba, O Rancho da Goiaba, Máscara Negra, A Estrela D’Alva elegantly performed by the duo.
Songs that took some of our guests back in time.
We paused for dinner. It was time for the star of the evening: MOQUECA. With all the spices and heat needed, dendê, this gorgeous palm tree oil that makes brazilians travel home wherever they are, peppers…
In the kitchen, at the bar, dancing around, spreading positive vibes, Jana, our cooking host which has her dear project Casa da de Janaína. She created the menu, drinks and was responsible for a certain song that opened the night – Noite dos Mascarados, by Chico Buarque.
The moqueca was followed by farofa de dendê (cassava flour with the palm tree oil), rice and a happy salad with mango.
Feel the heat.
One more set, and desert to cool down the heat that filled the room from the meal and the caipirinha: pineapple flamed in a gorgeous aged Yaguara cachaça with vanilla ice cream.
To close the night, the unexpected flavours of Viva Koko, a memory to keep in the format of an instant camera photo.
And a bit of after hours filled with spontaneous interpretations – yes, there were some requests! – by the amazing 2Blend for those late nighters like us.
See you next April. A tip:
prepare your flower power spirit.
Photo fabulous: Ju Carnelos