A taste of history
After an incredible passage southwards through the Amazon, we arrived in Bahia. In doing so, we had retraced the steps of the very first to settle here.
Over 500 years ago, Salvador became Brazil’s first capital city, a brave new world where African and European culture, art, and gastronomy landed upon the shores to inspire a vibrant culture. A bridge between Brazil and Europe, from here the roots of the modern Brazil would grow far and wide.
The Portuguese that stayed would lay the foundations of cities, markets, and trade ports. Salvador quickly became a vital link between the old and new worlds, and a wildly ecletic cuisine reflects this.
We soon discovered that this diversity can be found throughout a gastronomic heritage rich with Afro-European influences, where journeys that began far overseas can still be tasted on every street corner. If only those pioneers would share our appreciaton for a food culture that tells their story… Flavours from around the world, unique local ingredients, and a passion handed down from generation to generation.
Exploring the city, we could see how time has shaped Salvador, at every turn we felt a unique sense of place. Architecture, art, and creativity infuse the streets, with 17th, 18th, and 19th century styles flavouring the experience with more than just a pinch of history. Brazil, its people and ancestry, are represented here unlike any other place.
We became fascinated, lost in its wonders.
However, we had come too far to lose sight of our mission! Our Salvador food journey began with the recommendation of an old friend to Mariquita. Long considered the best and most authentic Bahian restaurant, we were able to reflect on how the different cultural influences have guided local cuisine over the years.
No dish expresses this better than Acarajé, a street food that officially became part of Brazil’s cultural heritage in 2017. Still sold by the "baianas", Bahian women dressed in traditional white attire, Acarajé is culturally and historically significant, serving as both a source of income and a traditional offering to the Afro-Brazilian deity Iansã.
This experience was part of the wildly vibrant street food culture that inspired our new menu, a fitting tribute to the passion and energy of the street vendors of Bahia.
But of course, our journey could not be completed before we had explored local artisan and craft shops, our usual great odyssey!
Here we searched for further creative inspiration that will help us to recreate our time here, representing everyone we met and everything we saw in this most beautiful city.
The spirit of Bahia had inspired us!
Sad as we were to be leaving, we dove into the Salvador’s warm waters in the hopes that the memories would never wash away…