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From samba beats to tropical cocktails, summer is all about Brazil, the hottest party trend of 2008. Just leave the thong and roller blades at home
Synonymous with stunning beaches, flip-flops and tiny swimwear, the word ‘Brazil’ seems inextricably linked with summertime. Every February, Rio de Janeiro hosts the flamboyant Rio Carnival, the biggest, wildest summer party on the planet. While the British might not benefit from the same tropical climes, we certainly share the love of a good summer bash, and this season, from music to food and drinks, the Brazilian theme is hot.
The Brasil Sensational cultural festival and the London Bossa Nova festival (tel: 020 7309 1000), 6 July, celebrating 50 years of Brazilian music, are coming up this summer. ‘London really embraces other cultures,’ says Archie Carmichael, promotions director for Bossa Brasil. ‘And with a Brazilian event, there are all the associations with the Carnival. It gives people a taste of a lifestyle that’s totally different from their own.’
Of course, the soul of any Brazilian party is its soundtrack, and music and dance are typically exuberant. ‘We are always keen to introduce a Brazilian influence into our parties,’ says Stephen
Lawrence, deputy MD at The Ultimate Experience (tel: 020 7940 6060, squaremeal.co.uk/ue). ‘The colours, music, food and entertainment combine to create a
Dancing in Brazil follows the same rule as swimwear: one size fits all, whether you’re 18 or 85. But if the legendary British reserve prevents a spirited assault on the dance floor, you can always leave it to the experts. Dance troupe Oi Brasil! (tel: 020 8442 8369) recently provided entertainment at a Royal Gala Dinner at Hampton Court Palace in the form of capoeira acrobats, samba dancers and batucada drummers.
Brazilians are renowned for their beautiful bodies, and with organisers ever more attentive to the nutritional value of food at events, the Brazilian style of eating comes into its own. It’s a diet
that is famously high in protein and big on salads.
The churrasco, a multi-skewer rotisserie, barbecues a combination of meat and veggies and is available from Roastmaster (tel: 0870 758 5750). It’s a great way of catering for larger numbers, and super-healthy too.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s Caipirinha is taking on the Mojito to become the cocktail of 2008. A blend of Cachaça, sugar and limes, it’s quicker and easier to prepare than its minty Cuban cousin. ‘When we send out our menus, organisers always pick a Caipirinha,’ says Duane Shepherd, director of top event mixologists Squeeze (tel: 020 8969 6606, squaremeal.co.uk/squeeze). ‘Ten years ago, most people wouldn’t have heard of Cachaça. Now there are four or five brands available.’
London’s best ‘caipa hour’ can be found at Brazilian super-venue Guanabara (tel: 020 7242 8600) in Covent Garden, which attracts party-loving and homesick natives from across the capital
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Summer 2008.