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An Introduction to Minas Gerias

Minas Gerais is where our owner was born, so we thought we’d let you know a little bit about this part of Brazil…..

It’s an inland state bordering Rio de Janeiro.  It’s the fourth-largest state in Brazil and one of the most populous, second only to São Paulo.  Minas Geria is larger than France.

“Minas Gerais” means “General Mines”, so called because of the numerous mines in the state.

Minas Gerias State Flag

The flag consists of a red triangle surrounded by the words “LIBERTAS QUÆ SERA TAMEN” on a white background.

Red represents revolution and the triangle represents the Holy Trinity of Christianity. The red triangle is a symbol for the region that dates back to 1789, when there was national conspiracy to revolt against the crown that did not come to fruition.

The words around the triangle, “LIBERTAS QUÆ SERA TAMEN”, translate to “Liberty Will Be Also” but is often translated to meaning “Liberty, Although Late”.

Minas Gerais has some of Brazil’s Highest Cities

Minas Gerias’ high altitude means that many of its cities are built in high locations.  4 of the 5 highest cities in Brazil are in Minas Gerais. The highest, Campos do Jordão in São Paulo (1,620 metres or 5,315 feet).

It’s Brazil’s Bar Capital

The state capital, Belo Horizonte, is Brazil’s third-largest city (population: 1.4 million).  Known nationally as the “City of Bars”, there are about 12,000 bars (botecos) in the city.  Thats more bars per capita than any other city in the world!  A popular local tipple is Beagá.

Cachaça

Minas Gerais has dozens of cachaça distilleries that make the national spirit from the huge sugar cane plantations in the area.  One of the best cachaças in Brazil is the widely considered Vale Verde (which we stock in Vaqueiros) , which is made in Betim, Minas Gerais. Not only is a shot of Vale Verde awesome, it also mixes well with lime to make the best caipirinha.

Minas Gerias Food

As you’d expect of a country as large as Brazil, there’s lots of variations in cuisine.  Each region has its own specific specialties.  However, one thing everyone in Brazil can agree on is that Minas Gerais is home to the country’s comfort food. 

Farofa is a Brazilian staple .  It’s fried cassava flour served alongside rice and beans. You can try this at Vaqueiros.  It’s delicious.

Brazilians really know how to cook meat.  Visit any churrascaria (like Vaqueiros), the main attraction is the meat and the salad bars.

A famous dessert from the region is Doce de Leite (sweet milk) which is often handmade and tastes a bit like a soft fudge.  A number of our desserts have Done de Leite in (see picture below).

Gold Rush

When gold was discovered in Minas Gerais in the late 17th century, European settlers moved to the area.  For a time, the state was one of the wealthiest in Brazil.  New towns were built to service the mines and slaves were shipped to Minas in what became Brazil’s Gold Rush era.  It was during this time that well-known cities such as Our Preto, Mariana and Tiradentes were founded.

Minas Gérais Architecture

Minas Gerais has a number of colonial cities.  These cities are known worldwide for their baroque-style facades, gilded churches and Portuguese styles.  The most well known are Tiradentes and Miriana.  Ouro Preto has some of the most interesting-preserved architectural wonders and was the first city in Brazil to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A stones throw from Tiradentes

A stones throw from where our owner was born, Tiradentes is a historical town with picturesque streets and dozens of restaurants serving regional specialties and traditional caipirinhas made with local cachaça.  One of the main features is the Matriz de Santo Antônio church designed by Aleijadinho – one of Brazil’s most-celebrated sculptors – and decorated on the inside with hundreds of kilograms of gold.

Football

Brazil loves football, just in case you’d missed that fact.  Locals in Minas Gerais love football and it is the state’s most popular sport.  The state’s biggest teams are Atletico, Cruzeiro, America, Villa Nova, Tupi, Caldense and Ipatinga.

Minas Gerais Music

Sertanejo is a Brazilian music genre developed in the 1920s in the southeast of Brazil, especially Minas Gerais.  Known as a countryside genre, it is typically sung in duos, especially by brothers, and the lyrics are often about love and relationships.  

Art & Statues

The Namoradeira is a typical ornament from Minas Gerais, of a woman with one arm crossed in front of her and the palm of her other hand resting on her cheek as she stares wistfully into the distance.  The ornament is often found on balconies or windowsills.

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