A country as diverse as Canada, Brazil was originally colonized by Portugal, but due to immigration over the last five centuries, Brazilian cuisine is largely influenced by Portuguese, Spanish, Middle Eastern, and Japanese cuisine. Unsurprisingly then, custards, flans, and mousses are Brazilian dessert staples. But at Pampa, Chef Joao creates his menu around nostalgia and authenticity. Because each region in Brazil has different culinary traditions, we focus on family traditions, which also adds a personal touch to Pampa’s menu. When Joao looks back upon his childhood, oranges (both aroma and flavour) predominate: orange tarts, orange custards, orange jams. As a young boy at his grandmother’s, Joao ate orange custard in a wine sauce and those memories and connections to home inform the dessert menus he creates. Each new dessert menu features fresh ingredients inspired by Brazil – think chocolate, passion fruit, mango, Acai, meringues, pecans, papaya, coconut, tapioca, and cinnamon.
Continually testing, testing, testing, Joao builds upon traditional and family recipes, always working to improve and to tailor Pampa’s desserts to the Canadian palate. For example, in Brazil, they love sugar like they love the sun, so desserts tend to be quite sweet – too sweet for most Canadians. To accommodate our guests’ preferences, we adjust sweetness and work to bring out the best flavours in each dish. As Joao develops and experiments with new dessert menus, he begins with research. For traditional dishes, he googles, reads Brazilian cookbooks, and talks to family and friends to tweak and create a recipe that’s traditionally inspired but uniquely Pampa. Needless to say, our Pampa family enjoys all the sampling and feedback as Joao plays with ingredients to perfect his dessert menu. Our new dessert menu features light and refreshing dishes to cleanse your palate and perfectly complement our Brazilian barbecue: chocolate mousse, manjar de coco, papaya and cassis liqueur, passion fruit mousse, sagu, and Pampa cake.
Our chocolate mousse beautifully blends Belgian, Portuguese, and Brazilian ingredients beginning with the unparalleled Callebaut chocolate that forms the heart of this delectable mousse. The rich chocolate mousse sits atop a thin slice of pão de ló cake, an historical Portuguese sponge cake from the 15th Century, and it all rests in a orange and star anise reduction which unites the dish with Asian influences.
The Manjar de Coco is based on a traditional, Brazilian summer pudding made from milk and coconut meat; this custard is light and refreshing and topped with a stewed mango sauce to give it more dimension and enhance its tropical flavour. In Brazil, locals eat papaya fresh with yogurt or honey as a breakfast or they make the classic, cream dessert, Papaya & Cassis Liqueur. Another light dessert, this dish blends papaya with vanilla bean ice cream and Crème de Cassis liqueur (a sweet, dark red, blackcurrant liqueur). A Brazilian dessert made of tapioca pearls, Sagu is made by cooking the pearls in red wine and spices and serving with a creamy custard. In this dessert, the pearls become slightly chewy because the pearls absorb the wine. Served chilled, this dessert’s wine and spices are similar to a deliciously textured, cool, mulled wine. Last is our Pampa cake which beautifully layers chocolate and passion fruit mousses and then envelopes them in a velvety, chocolate ganache.