In 1945, Edward Gomes ran for president of Brazil. He lost. He ran again in 1950, and he lost again. But he did make a lasting contribution to Brazilian culture, and that was the Brigadeiro.
The Brigadeiro is the truffle you see up there, and it is now the national sweet of Brazil. Women who supported Gomes started making and selling them to raise money for his campaign, and the truffles got wildly popular.
Grasiela Roper was raised in southern Brazil and came to the United States 12 years ago, and in 2006, she met her husband and moved to Bourne. Now she runs a business called Brigadeiro Barn. She says any kid who grew up in Brazil after the 1940s knows how to make Brigadeiros. The basic formula is simple: stir together butter, condensed milk, and cocoa powder in a pot over low heat until the mixture gets thick and smooth. Let it cool, then roll it into little balls and cover them with sprinkles or nuts or cocoa powder.
Grasiela's versions are a bit more nuanced. For starters she uses 60% cacao chips instead of cocoa powder, which she says gives the truffles a deeper, richer flavor. She also makes different varieties: tiramisu, dark chocolate, sea salty caramel. The best way to describe them, I think, is to say they taste like the center of a really moist, chewy brownie. They're delicious.
Grasiela is just getting her business off the ground. She started making Brigadeiros this winter, and she started selling them at the Plymouth Farmers' Market last week. If you have a chance to try them, do. They'll give you a little taste of Brazil—for Grasiela, a taste of home.