After a fabulous flight with Airfrance to Rio de Janeiro. The JRE starts on tour journey kicked off. In a good hotel on Copacabana the rest of the team met. With around 40 professional chefs and gourmet lovers we embarked on a journey of taste and adventure throughout South America. The first port of call is Rio de Janeiro. On the first day we had 2 restaurants on the program. Sightseeing included the sugarloaf mountain famous from the James Bond film. The panaramic views are majestic and one great discovery was the cocktail master we met onthe beach next to the Sugar loaf mountain. We enjoyed several of the best mixed Capairina creations to be found in Rio! Fruit, acidity balanced to create a lively drink that was a pleasure for the senses.
Fogo de Chão Botafogo
This authentic brazilian steak and bbq house offers ina buffet setting a wonderful experience for meat lovers. The pork, beef and lamb arevery nice and cooked to your liking. As the gauchos come by yourtablethey slice the meat and serve it to you. In this setting you can try out different cuts and types of sausages. The salads and condiments are fresh and well made. I liked the freshness of the produce. The wine list is good. The reds we enjoyed were all served too warm howeverthe bottles were in good condition. Glassware was standard. Better glasware would enhancethe experience. Service was adequate. This location lacks aright "polish" if you want a piece of meat cooked well with nice condaments this is the place to go and yes you can get a decent glass of wine as well. Realtasting score: 83/100
This the first "star" on the tour and expections are high. The restaurant is located in a nice area of Rio. We were greeted by the team and the first impression was very good. We were offered for the apéro a good glass of "Chandon" Cuvée Prestige non vontage champagne. Made with a blend of pinot noir (65%), chardonnay(35%). The sparkling wine made with a lot of sunshine and limited minerality. The chardonnay is dominiant for this wine creation and provides lightnotes of toast, green apple and tropical fruit. The acidity guides you with limited precision guidance. The bubble structure was extremely light and was not completeley present. The pairing with the beef croquettes was sublime. The green apple and light acidity played well with the roux of the croquettes and bite size structure. Well paired! The fresh salad bites with pine nuts and dressing were precise and fresh. The shrimp crackers with radice fabulous. This was an excellent start of the evening. The main menu of the evening was a four course meal with a egg coconut yam creation with dried meats. This was creative and nice as an amuse bouche not a a starter. The second course was localfish with a sour cream papaya auce. The fish was light overcooked. The skin was a little sloppy and the fish was underseasoned. Well presented but lacked the rafinesse of expected of a restaurant like "Lasai". The next course was a piece of porkbelly with a lackered crust. This pork was ok seasoned but very overcooked that made the bite structure chalky this course was a complete waste of good potential. Who does not like porkbelly? Finally desert was milk icecream and local "cake" the icecream lacked a final seasoning and a touch of salt to raise the flavor profile. I believe this resturant has a lot more potential. The menu offered did not reflect the talent in the kitchen. Quality slipped. Nontheless I se a potential realtastingscore of 90/100 when you go ala carte. However this a pure speculation. Based on last night and considering the reputation and hype 79/100. The start of the evening saved the night and the friendly service.
More about the wines later and other fabulous locations. The start was not as good as wished but stay tuned as some key names and destinations. This is so exciting after this dining experience we went to the samba drome to enjoy the carnaval. And this was simply magic. Excellent dancing and fabulous party time. What a day looking forward to the gastronomic adventure that awaits tomorrow.