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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Editor's Choice: Obrigadeiro

Since receiving a box of brigadeiros (pronounced bree-ga-day-rows), made by Minnesota-based candy company Obrigadeiro, I’ve been asking myself the same question: “How did I spend a month in South America without trying these Brazilian confections?” I have no idea — too much Argentine wine, perhaps? Or maybe I was blindsided by the ceviche, ahi de gallina and empanadas that called to me from restaurant menus. But had I known about the existence of these truffle-like candies during my trip, I probably wouldn’t have returned home.

Obrigadeiro is attempting to bring the candy, popular in Brazil, Portugal, Spain and Chile, to mass appeal in the U.S. The brigadieros are shaped and packaged just like truffles and come rolled in coconut, cocoa powder, nuts, sprinkles and more. The candy traces its history back to 1945, when Brazilian women’s rights groups made and sold the confections in an effort to promote suffrage.

One bite of the rich, chewy brigadeiro, and I knew I was done for. Don’t let the truffle-like exterior fool you: The brigadeiro has a soft, supple center. After savoring the traditional fudge, I couldn’t help but try another, against the better advice of my waistline. The second was a creamy, dulce de leche–filled morsel rolled in pecan bits. I’m normally not a fan of anything with dulce de leche, but I found myself pleasantly surprised with its sweet, caramel-like taste.

While not much can replace a fudgy, liqueur-infused truffle in my book, the brigadeiros are a refreshing and exotic change of pace. A box of brigadeiros puts a fun spin on the perfect hostess or holiday gift. And if I ever find myself roaming South America again, my trip won’t be complete without a brigadeiro or three.