Paçoca: the Famous Brazilian Peanut Candy
Whether you have met a Brazilian expat in your city or actually visited Rio last summer, you’ve certainly heard about paçoca candy — the most glorified Brazilian peanut candy there is. Paçoca can be easily found in any Brazilian store or supermarket. And it’s also much beloved by people in the Southeastern and Southern states of Brazil. But how did this beautifully delicious Brazilian sweet get its start? How often do Brazilians eat it? And how can you make your own Brazilian peanut candy? Let’s find out!
The Origins of Paçoca
It’s funny to think how different the original paçoca was compared to the popular Brazilian peanut butter candy of nowadays. Initially, paçoca was made with kassava flour and jerked beef. They mashed those ingredients together to make something compact and easy to carry for long journeys. The word paçoca actually comes from the verb ‘to mash’ or ‘to crumble’ in Tupi (a language spoken by Native Americans in Brazil) — pa’soka.
But why exactly did they need to travel such long distances? And who originally ate paçoca? That’s not entirely clear. There are many versions of the story of who originally ate paçoca: miners, explorers, and even people who transported gold. What seems to be certain is that people began to consume paçoca in imperial times — likely around the 18th century. And you can still find it in its original format with kassava flour and jerked beef today! Though it’s more common in the Northeast, and goes by the name paçoca nordestina.
Eating Brazilian Peanut Candy
Most Brazilians need no excuses to eat paçoca and will eat it in any given day. However, around June it is especially popular during events such as festas juninas and religious holidays like Easter. Another great opportunity for paçoca consumption of all kinds is during paçoca festivals. Sounds crazy? Well, it’s true! Such festivals happen yearly in cities like Bonito de Minas (MG), Pilar do Sul (SP), and Cruzeiro (SP).
Brazilian Peanut Candy Recipe
We’ve learned our share for today! All this talk of paçoca sure makes me want to have some. And since we at Rio & Learn believe learning is all about hands-on experiences, immersion, and having fun — it’s time we make our own paçoca! For that, we enlisted the help of Clara — one of our native teachers. Check it out:
– 1/2 teacup of sugar
– 1 teacup of skinless peanuts
– a pinch of salt
– preheat the oven to 180ºC (~360ºF) for 10 minutes
– wash the peanuts and let them dry on top of some paper towels for 5 minutes
– spread the peanuts around a tray and put them in the oven at 180ºC/360ºF for about 15 minutes
– blend all the ingredients together (and make sure there are no peanuts left uncrushed!)
– put the blended mixture in molds or cookie cutters and let it rest for 10 minutes
– get ready to eat some paçoca!
Paçoca, paçoca and more paçoca
Bear in mind this is only one of the various different recipes of paçoca out there. Some people like to add kassava flour to make it a little bit drier than what you saw in the video. Others like to add condensed milk and make it even sweeter than usual. All styles of making paçoca are delicious! Why not play around with it?
That’s it for today, everyone! Tell us how your Brazilian peanut candy turned out!
See you on the next Dica! Valeu!