The second in an occasional series of posts over the next few weeks about Brazilian food and ingredients we discovered during our visit.
When my friend Peter told me he was moving from Rhode Island to Brazil, I understood why he was going.
He'd fallen in love with a wonderful woman from Belo Horizonte. (Some day, he'll tell you the story.)
I didn't know anything about where he was going, but I should have known that Peter, a professional chef, would land in a part of the world famous as much for its distinctive cuisine as for coffee, diamonds, and colonial architecture.
Located in the mountainous region of southeast Brazil, the state of Minas Gerais produces some of the country's finest farmhouse cheese, beef and cachaça, the fire-water alcohol used to make America's new favorite cocktail, the caipirinha.
So, when Epaminondas Pires de Miranda ("Nondas"), owner of Cachaça Velha Serrana, invited us to tour the distillery where he produces artisanal, organic cachaça, we set off for Serro, where we would meet at a gas station and follow his truck to the farm.