"Maria's Cookbook"
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We regret we're not able to offer you a cafezinho, as Brazilian hospitality demands!
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Living the life... Traipsing around... Current iPod choices...

It is a very, very hot summer in Brazil...time for that delicious, cold favorite of ours...fruit sherbets and ice creams! Brazilian creativity knows no bounds in this department, with the abundance of tropical fruit available and a lot of imagination thrown in...

Here's a short list of some flavors spotted around Rio: tangerine with açaí; coconut water with cashews and cashew nuts; our perennial favorite soursop; lychee with ginger and lime, and even a frozen yogurt of Brazil nut with lavender...I leave you with a photo of some gorgeous lychees, since the ice cream, well, it had to be eaten very fast at the current temperatures in Rio!

What, what, asks a friend of mine...Biojewelry? Oh, yeah, all those wonderful fibers and seeds from the Amazon...Maria Oiticica is the artist...Check out her website and head out for her Shopping Leblon store in Rio to pick your Christmas presents...

Boi Bumba Miniature at Sao Luis do Maranhao Crafts MarketWhenever you travel to Brazil, please remember to get your gifts at museum stores and craft shops that help artisans around the country: Museu do Índio and Museu do Folclore in Rio are great alternatives.

Dolls at Sao Jose Market in RecifeRecife has a fabulous new crafts market in the revitalized port area downtown.

View capim dourado objects in a gorgeous catalog published by Central do Cerrado. Plus, you get to see the plant itself and the women who weave the to-die-for collection!! It's much easier to shop for the objects and jewelry now...no need to go well the way to Jalapão: in Rio you'll find them at the Feira Hippie, Gen Osório Square, Ipanema. There you have it!

You know when you're itching to go somewhere and wish all the goodies and inside scoop were packed into one site? Well, if you read Portuguese, before you pick out your bikini and comfy shoes, pay a visit to Férias Brasil.

Art lovers: Please include the extraordinary Inhotim Institute in Minas Gerais in your Brazilian itinerary! Contemporary Art installations spread around an amazingly beautiful Botanical Garden.

Looking to move to or invest in Brazil? Find Brazil real estate on VivaReal.net.

Lencois MaranhensesWell, if the New York Times didn't wake up and notice the spectacular Lençóis Maranhenses in our old favorite state of Maranhão...

Parque Nacional Serra da Capivara The most amazing place I've ever climbed up and down: Serra da Capivara in the state of Piauí. Magnificent cave paintings and other vestiges of prehistoric Brazil. Worth every drop of sweat! (And you will perspire an awful lot...) You can even shop, but not til you drop, remember!, at the wonderful Cerâmica Serra da Capivara. Check out the photographs in our book!

Penedo in AlagoasBest kept secret: this tiny colonial gem near the mouth of the São Francisco....

Long live FREVO! Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity!! Hooray for Pernambuco and all those superwomen and men frevo dancers who leap and fly through the air and do all those gorgeous steps! I am so proud of you!

Marcos Sacramento, Zé Paulo Becker and Paulo César Pinheiro create "Todo o mundo quer amar." Need we say more? No, just listen and buy...

Thanks to iTunes Store I can now listen to this marvelous, crazy CD. Thanks so much, Henrique Cazes! What a brilliant idea and so deserving of Carmen: her voice, her singing, clean it all up, add some great instrumental base and voilà! What a lovely surprise! Don't miss it!

Remember the gorgeous sounds of Rodrigo Lessa's "Das Ilhas Mestiças," dedicated to the Cabo Verde Islands? In "Cidade Mestiça" he pays an equally beautiful homage to the musical heritage of his native Rio de Janeiro, in company with the musicians in Pagode Jazz Sardinha's Club, plus samba luminaries such as Arlindo Cruz and percussionist Marcos Esguleba.

A gorgeous new space, Ameno Resedá, brings the crème de la crème of Brazilian music to you. If you're going to Rio in March, the all-star lineup includes Nó em pingo d'água, Marcos Sacramento, and João Donato!!! And great food, to boot...

Photo Courtesy: Rodrigo Lessa

Much more music...

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