Promoted by the collective brand Gosto da Amazônia, the event provided an exchange of knowledge and flavors between chefs and residents of the São Raimundo community.
By Clara Machado
Between the 2nd and 9th of September, the São Raimundo community, located in the Mid- Juruá Extractive Reserve, was the center of a great meeting of Brazilian cuisine. Nine chefs were invited to visit the community in order to exchange experiences about Amazonian cuisine especially about Arapaima handled in the region. There were about 60 guests in the expedition, including chefs from São Paulo, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Manaus, who already work in their restaurants with pirarucu handled by the collective brand Gosto da Amazônia, which is the main organizer of the event. The group also had representatives from restaurants, distributors that sell handled pirarucu, journalists, funders and associations that partner with Gosto da Amazônia.
On the first day of the visit, the guests got to know the São Raimundo community, which is a reference in the management of Arapaima in the Mid-Juruá. They got to know the residents, the swiddens and the forested area of the community. On the second day, the guests were introduced to a rubber trail where the activity of latex extraction, historically performed in the region, was demonstrated.
The main moment of the event took place on this second day, when the chefs cooked dishes with Arapaima and offered a tasting moment to the community. In turn, the residents also cooked for the guests, and the large collective lunch was a moment of gastronomic exchange. According to Maria Cunha, a community resident who also helped organizing the event, “The event was super cool, an incredible exchange of experience between them and the community”.
Collective lunch promotes the exchange of knowledge between chefs from different parts of the country and residents of the São Raimundo community (Photos: Bruno Kelly | Gosto da Amazônia).
On the third day of the event, the guests visited a lake where Arapaima is handled and were able to experience fishing of one of their restaurant’s most important product: wild Arapaima. Priscila Deus, executive chef of the Pobre Juan restaurant, praised the product offered by the collective brand: “I’m delighted, I think we should raise the Gosto daAmazônia’s flag. I’ve always been very proud of buying this product, but being here is different, it’s exciting!”
Gosto da Amazônia is born of the international cooperation between the government of Brazil and the US carried out by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBIO) and the US Forest Service (USFS) with funds from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and participation of Operação Amazônia Nativa (OPAN), Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development (IDSM), Chico Mendes Memorial (MCM), Association of Rural Producers of Carauari (ASPROC), Association of Community Workers who work with Sustainable Development in the Municipality of Jutaí ( ACJ), Instituto Juruá, Brazil International Institute for Education (IEB) and Union of Bars and Restaurants of Rio de Janeiro (SINDRIO).