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My New Food Addiction, The Brazilian “Sanduicheira” Sandwich

I’m still trying to figure out Belo Horizonte (spoiler, chances are, I won’t) so for now, let’s focus on bread.

Yes, bread.

I’m French, I like bread.

Shocking, I know.

I skip the bread if I’m eating Chinese food but otherwise, it’s always part of my dinner routine.

In Canada, I never get to buy out-of-the-oven bread—I make do with packaged English muffins or sliced Dimpflmeier Bakery loaves (this German bakery bread is available in most supermarkets in Ontario). In France, I buy my baguette every day. I discovered the delicious marraqueta in Chile and the pan francés in Argentina. I don’t mind tortillas in Mexico and Central America but “French” bread is also easy to find—try the bolillo in Mexico, for instance.

Brazil is a paradise for bread lovers as well. There are tons of options, from whole-wheat to sweet bread, from “French” bread to the pão australiano. Every city does bread differently—and of course, they have different names for their local bread, just to confuse the gringa even more. Other than that, buying bread is a simple affair. Bakeries and supermarkets bake bread several times a day and most of the time, you just help yourself, fill a paper bag, have it weighted and leave with delicious carbs for $1 or $2.

But in Cabo Frio, the bread wasn’t great. Maybe it was the local taste or maybe everybody was slacking off during Carnival—I tried different bakeries and supermarkets and twice in a row, I ended up with undercooked, doughy pão.

Damn. I was already fighting with cockroaches, the least I deserved was good bread!

And suddenly it dawned on me that maybe, I was doing the whole bread thing wrong.

I went to the kitchen. Surely enough, I found the appliance I had never paid much attention to until now—a sanduicheira. Most Airbnbs have one, along with the occasional blender. I had never bothered to try it.

I inspected it. Looked easy enough to use. There were two non-stick metal plates and two lights.

I plugged it in. Two minutes later, it looked hot enough for my sandwich.

I buttered some bread, added a slice of ham and put the sandwich on the grill, then I pressed the two plates together and closed the front clamp.

I waited a few minutes, wondering whether I could potentially burn my sandwich.

Nope. The result? The most delicious sandwich I’ve ever had and a familiar smell—Brazilians love grilled bread sandwiches, whether it’s a simple pão na chapa (buttered bread pressed on a grill or toasted on a pan) or bread with cheese and other toppings.

My kitchen smelled like a Brazilian casa de suco or a small restaurant.

And now, I’m addicted to grilled bread sandwiches. My favourite version is with tomatoes and ham. I’ve also discovered that you can grill veggies in this. I cooked grilled bell peppers in minutes the other day.

Yep, I bought my own grill for less than $10. I’ll give it away if I don’t have room at one point but for now, it fits into my backpack!

Padaria Dupão Cabo Frio, Av. Nilo Peçanha, 310 - Centro, Cabo Frio - RJ, 28907-020
Padaria Dupão Cabo Frio, Av. Nilo Peçanha, 310 – Centro, Cabo Frio – RJ, 28907-020
Boníssima Mangabeiras, Av. Afonso Pena - Cruzeiro, Belo Horizonte - MG, 30130-009
Boníssima Mangabeiras, Av. Afonso Pena – Cruzeiro, Belo Horizonte – MG, 30130-009
The sandwicheira in my Belo Horizonte Airbnb
The sandwicheira in my Belo Horizonte Airbnb
Step one, some butter
Step one, some butter
Tomatoes and ham
Tomatoes and ham
Assembling the sandwich
Assembling the sandwich
Putting the sandwich on the grill
Putting the sandwich on the grill
The result, once the sandwich pressed and grilled
The result, once the sandwich pressed and grilled
The result, once the sandwich pressed and grilled
The result, once the sandwich pressed and grilled
The result, once the sandwich pressed and grilled
The result, once the sandwich pressed and grilled
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Zhu

French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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