A luxury hotel in Brazil has partnered with the local community to create a unique and exciting travel experience that includes a tasty delicacy: oysters.
Brazil is a country that we all want to visit. Its allure goes beyond the golden beaches of Rio de Janeiro, the boho-chic vibe of Bahia, and the magic and grandiosity of the world’s largest rivers and rainforests. In recent years, a trove of adventurers and entrepreneurs from all over the world have made the country their home –Brazil has become the new frontier for exquisite experiences in inventive cuisine, innovative produce, and luxury experiences.
Brazilian oysters have been getting recognition since 2015, and there has been a rediscovery of this delicacy amongst local chefs. The very special flavor of the oyster here is due to the unique geographic conditions and marine life that give the oysters a one-of-a-kind flavor: succulent, iodized, and with a sought-after sweetness. Yet, there is a new breed of producers blending cultural transformation with indigenous heritage and gastronomy.
I had travelled extensively through Brazil, yet I had missed my own backyard: the state of Alagoas, a new, exclusive, luxury destination. And it would be here that I would explore freshwater farms with Kenoa Exclusive Resort. Dona Sebastian was like a picture of the Brazilian matriarch. She was sitting serenely on a bright yellow wooden chair under an almond tree – barefoot in a flower skirt paired with an electric pink t-shirt with BOWIE in big letters across the front.
A local of the Alagoas Lagoon Basin in the north of Brazil, she showed me to the canoes where she and her team fish. Entering the mangroves on foot, we had a chance to chat about her oyster farm (and Bowie, of course), but I was a little distracted by the bright blue and fire-red crabs moving sideways in surreal synchronicity, claws up.
The shimmering shine of the oyster farm caught my eye from a distance. As we approached the farm beds by boat, the large gray shells became clear as the sun hit the water. Dona set a table on top of the canoe and grabbed a few large oysters with her hands, straight from the water. As she cleaned each one, she explained her sustainable operation. Dona handed me an ice-cold bottle of champagne to wash down the oysters before cleaning another bunch of about six more to try. This time she paired the bunch with her unique red honey from special blossom bees unique to these mangroves.
It was amazing to taste such large, succulent oysters with honey, something I had never tried before. She carefully prepared one for me, drizzling it generously with the red honey. “This honey is full of healing properties,” she said. The flavor was like a red berry-infused honey but woodier, very fragrant, and paired with the less-salty oyster, it was a perfectly balanced taste: sweet and smoky natural bliss. We threw the shells back in the water, so other oysters could grow from them, keeping the cycle abundant. On our way back from the oyster farm, I saw an explosion of red in the air, wide like a firework display. “That’s Pedro,” said Dona.
Pedro, a fisherman, was throwing his net to catch prawns. Just another magical encounter in this remarkable place, where people are named after apostles and indigenous deities. It was like being on another planet, one that I had forgotten existed, but being native to Brazil, it was right in my backyard. “Ground Control to Major Tom” echoed in my mind as we cruised back through a vast network of channels in the mangroves. This time, I was a little quiet. I wanted to hold onto the moment: totally unaware of anything beyond the experience where a fisherman, a farmer, and a writer talked life and Bowie over oysters and champagne.
Cover Photo @richardhawardsoysters
All other photos: @travellikeucare
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