Join Culinary Backstreets

Sign up with email


Already a member? Log in.

Log in to Culinary Backstreets

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

On Christmas Eve, Brazilians sit down to a meticulously prepared (or, in city-slicker Rio, pre-ordered) ceia de Natal. That ceia, or supper, will likely include a turkey and farofa, but a few sweet staples make the Brazilian ceia more than Thanksgiving 2.0 for a gringo. Among our favorites:

This sweet bread is originally from Milan, but it’s ubiquitous on the streets of Rio in summery December. It’s lightly sweetened and invites nibbling, as the fluffy loaf can be pulled apart in bite-sized pieces. The most typical and popular version is made by Bauducco with raisins and candied fruit, but homemade, exotic and couture versions abound. The pricey Kopenhagen chocolatier sells cherry brandy and chocolate mousse panettones, whereas the famous Argentina alfajor brand Havana sells a panettone with doce de leite. We once saw a bakery selling savory panettones (in this case, with bacalhau, or salt cod), but we do not endorse this.

Nova São Luiz's rabanada, photo by Nadia SussmanLike Brazilian French toast, except with no syrup, this sweet is instead coated in a generous layer of cinnamon and sugar and keeps far better than its syrupy counterparts do, meaning it can be stored and gobbled in a moment of gula (gluttony). Wilder versions can be found with mango sauce, red wine or queijo coalho (salty white cheese) and coconut. Not to be confused with rabada (oxtail).

Arroz com passas de uva
Dried fruits – and raisins in particular – are a Brazilian Christmas favorite (see panettone, above), so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they would show up in rice. A variety of extras have made guest appearances in this dish, such as ham, apples, cashews and even bacon.

Variations on rabanada can be found at the following locations, and Casa do Pão and Nova São Luiz offer panettone as well.

Export as KML for Google Earth/Google MapsOpen standalone map in fullscreen modeCreate QR code image for standalone map in fullscreen modeExport as GeoJSONExport as GeoRSSExport as ARML for Wikitude Augmented-Reality browser

loading map - please wait...

: -22.932197, -43.181983
: -22.934445, -43.180696
: -22.932207, -43.178985
: -22.934012, -43.182659

Panettone at Nova São Luiz, photo by Nadia SussmanBotero
Address: Rua das Laranjeiras 90, Laranjeiras
Telephone: +55 21 3235 6314
Hours: Mon.-Fri. noon-3pm (lunch); Tues.-Sat. 6pm-1am (dinner); Sun. 1pm-7:30pm
Casa do Pão
Address: Rua São Salvador 87, Laranjeiras
Telephone: +55 21 2558 6786
Hours: 6am-7pm (call to check for special holiday hours)
Nova São Luiz
Address: Rua Ministro Tavares de Lira 93, Flamengo
Telephone: +55 21 2557 8718
Hours: 5:30am-10pm
Address: Rua Ipiranga 54, Laranjeiras
Telephone: +55 21 2556 9398
Hours: Mon.-Sun. 11:30am-1am
Nadia Sussman

Related stories

June 5, 2017

Central de Cacao: Chocolate City

By J. Alejandro
Mexico City -- Entering Central de Cacao, one might think it any other café in the hip neighborhood of Roma Sur. Sitting upon stools, customers hunch over their laptops, sipping from steaming mugs. A wide, beautiful geometric design hangs on the high wall behind the counter. To the left of the entryway, colorful products for sale…
Visit unforgettable Rio botequim, on our gastropub crawl.
June 1, 2017

Kalango: Northeast Vibes

By Juarez Becoza
Rio -- The calango is a tiny lizard commonly found in the hottest, driest and poorest parts of Brazil’s Northeastern countryside, and in popular culture, the calango is also a symbol of hunger. Someone who eats calango is driven to do so because he has nothing else to eat. Thankfully, at Kalango there’s plenty to eat.…
May 31, 2017

Athens’ Suburban Gem: Eating and Drinking in Maroussi

By Johanna Dimopoulos
Athens -- As you approach Maroussi by train, it is difficult to imagine that 100 years ago it was full of mansions with lush gardens – some still standing today – olive orchards and vineyards. Situated 13 km north of Athens, Maroussi (AKA Amarousion) was the home of Spyros Louis, the first athlete to win…