Belo Horizonte. This morning I went down to the Mercado Central. The market is quite well known, with products ranging from birds to cachaça to artisan handcrafts.
First stop — cheese. Here is a photo of a cheese stand worker wearing a Chapeu de Cangaceiro. Cangaços were nomadic bandits that rebelled against wealthy landowners and nobility in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in northeastern Brazil. The most famous Cangaceiro was Lampião. This hat became standard garb of the Cangaceiros and is now a symbol of the Northeast. A great film about the Cangaceiros is the Brazilian Classic Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol by Glauber Rocha (The English title is Black God White Devil.)
And then on to the butcher…
Carne de Sol from Montes Claros
Carne de Sol is sun-dried meat. This tradition of preserving is derived from the necessity of preserving meat in the arid lands on the northeast where refrigeration was more than a luxury. Montes Claros, in the northeast of Minas Gerais, has a strong tradition in its Carne de Sol. The name is a little misleading, since the meat is usually not dried directly in sunlight, but rather in dessication boxes that allow for gradual drying through ventilation. The meat is often fried with yucca and used in cooking as a substitute for ground beef.
Paio is smoked Portuguese pork sausage usually seasoned with black pepper and garlic. It is a main ingredient in feijoada.