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Our Real Latin America Expert

Barbara Zanotelli Rodrigues
Barbara Zanotelli Rodrigues - Former Travel Expert

With Brazilian parents, Barbara has a passion for all things Latin American.

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If you’re spending Christmas in Brazil, why not celebrate it like a local. Marketing Assistant, Barbara, shares her top 5 ways to enjoy a traditional Brazilian Christmas:

1. Beach on Christmas Day

Nothing is more Brazilian than catching some rays at the beach on Christmas morning. Being the summer season, most families gather along a small picnic, a large consumption of beer or caipirinha, newly received toys and head out to soak up some sun to enjoy the tropical beaches. Some beaches such as Copacabana Beach have Christmas themed sand castles and decorations to entertain all.

2. Midnight Mass

Given that the majority of the population are Christian, families gather to either attend or watch the ‘Missa do Galo’ streamed live from the Vatican. Many, families with small children in particular, prefer to watch the mass conducted by the Pope.

3. Midnight Christmas Dinner

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The biggest differentiation from western countries is that Christmas dinner is enjoyed at midnight or on return from mass, which is where it gathers its name ‘Missa do Galo’. A feast is prepared with roast meat (beef, pork etc), turkey, farofa (toasted manioc flour mixed with chicken or turkey giblets, salpicao (chicken and vegetable mayonnaise salad with crispy potato on top), rice with vegetables and salad. The left over from the midnight dinner is then served again on Christmas day – unsurprisingly it tastes even better second time around! Many restaurants are now offering the traditional midnight dinner or lunch serving the traditional dishes.

4. Rabanadas

Rabanada

A must for Christmas Day is to enjoy some rabanadas. Similar to a French toast, the rabanada is fried bread covered in cinnamon or syrup of honey, port and cinnamon. As early on as November, rabanadas can be found in some cafés, so if spotted make sure to have try it.

5. Nativity Scene

In every household, in various sizes or forms a nativity scene known as ‘Presépio’ is found. With a variety to buy, from tiny crystal ornaments or hand carved wooden pieces, a ‘Presépio’ is the perfect gift to bring for a friend or family member. We received ours from my grandmother many years ago and it continues to be a treasured gift.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

Meet the team