Bahia - history, nature and fantastic beaches

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Bahia is located in the north-eastern part of the country on the Atlantic coast. Geographically it comprises the Atlantic forest or “mata atlântica”; the “recôncavo” region radiating from the Bay (the largest in Brazil) – site of sugar and tobacco cultivation; and the “planalto”, which includes the fabled “sertão” region of the far interior. The state has the longest coastline in Brazil.

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Bahia sea side resorts and pousadas

Bahia has some of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. The more touristy resorts are generally north of the capital São Salvador. The best sea side hotels, pousadas and resorts directly on the beach of the South of Bahia can be found in Boipeba, on the Peninsula of Maraú, in the famous village of Trancoso and in the far south of Bahia in Caraíva.

Gastronomy in Bahia

The colonizers began to bring in African slaves to Salvador, capital of Bahia, to work on the sugar-cane plantations. They immediately started using palm oil, coconut, dried shrimps and other African food that would come to characterize the local cuisine.
Each region clearly has its own characteristics which are relics from the past and geographical condition and that determine the typical daily dishes and the special ones for holidays, such as Saints' Day in Bahia, the festival of Kings, the Lent days and all the rest.
The feijoada (bean stew) which originated in Rio de Janeiro, is considered by many to be the most typical of Brazilian dishes, becoming the inspiration for poems such as "Feijoada à minha moda" ("My style of feijoada") by Vinícius de Morais. It is often served to visitors, who enjoy the pot of black beans in thick sauce, cooked with an abundance of fresh meat and charcuterie. The beans are usually served separately on one dish and the meat on another, accompanied by finely sliced kale, quick-fried with a little oil and garlic, cassava flour or "farofa" (flour mixed with butter), and slices of fresh orange. Everyone can choose how they want to eat it but no one must start without a caipirinha, Brazil's famous national drink made from "cachaça" (sugar-cane brandy), lemon and sugar.
The tradition of eating late suppers or huge afternoon teas no longer survives, but in the interior there is still the custom of eating manioc-based “mingau” which is a typically Brazilian dish, a mixture of native and Portuguese tradition or perhaps just Brazilian after all.
Runny meal, lukewarm meal, served in a mug, sweet but not too sweet, and with a pinch of salt. Or else "fubá" (flour mixed with butter) topped with a pat of butter and with cubes of cheese inside leaving a long string trailing with every mouthful. Or for something more substantial there are oats and milk, sweet maize starch with milk or maize starch and sugar served in a little cup with powdered cinnamon.

Culture in Bahia

As the chief focus of the early Brazilian slave trade, Bahia is considered to possess the greatest and most distinctive African imprint, in terms of culture and customs. These include the Yoruba-derived religious system of Candomblé, the martial art of capoeira, African-derived music such as samba, afoxé, and axé – and a cuisine with strong links to western Africa. Bahia is the birthplace of many noted artists, writers and musicians; among the noted musical figures born in the state are Dorival Caymmi; João Gilberto; Gilberto Gil, the country's Minister of Culture; Caetano Veloso and his sister Maria Bethânia; Gal Costa; Luis Caldas; Sara Jane; Daniela Mercury; Ivete Sangalo; Carlinhos Brown and Margareth Menezes. During the 19th century, one of Brazil's greatest poets, the Bahian abolitionist and playwright Castro Alves, a native of the recôncavo city of Cachoeira, penned his most famous poem, Navio Negreiro, about slavery. The poem is considered a masterpiece of Brazilian Romanticism and a central anti-slavery text.
Other notable Bahian writers include Gregório de Matos, who wrote during the 17th century and was one of the first Brazilian writers, and Fr. Antonio Vieira, who during the colonial period was one of many authors who contributed to the expansion of the Portuguese language throughout the Brazilian territory.
The major fiction writer of the 20th Century, Jorge Amado, was born in the southeastern Bahian city of Itabuna. His major novels include Gabriela, Cinnamon and Cloves; Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands; and Tieta, the Goat Girl, all of which were converted into internationally renowned films.

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