When the world is crazy and messy and we don’t know what to expect there is a place where we always feel safe. And that is home.
No matter if you are not quite sure about where home is located anymore – this is getting more and more difficult for a bunch of people I know, including myself, to define where it is placed. Regardless, we all tend to agree that home is that space where care, warmness, joy and friends embrace you.
It is where you feel good.
After being away from my native Brazil for 2 years, nights around a dining table with homemade food and drinks (and a good playlist on Spotify) used to be the best way to travel me back to that tender feeling of belonging and safety.
But living abroad has also brought me wonderful things. Firstly, I got even more acquainted with cooking. With no help around, I really had to dig into ingredients and pans if I were to have decent food on a daily basis.
Secondly, working in the spirits business, I’ve had the privilege of learning quite a bit about cocktails and hospitality, which soon became a passion.
Bringing these two together and adding a bit of fun and party, which are very much part of my personality, I came up with the idea of sharing these things with other people in an experience called Casa de Janaína.
I love meeting people and when you have good food, good drinks, nice music and interesting people you can only create joy, fun and positive energy. And these are probably one of the most valuable outcomes that one can create in life nowadays.
With all in mind, the right occasion came with Cooknst. My festive Brazilian dinner, which had been so popular in birthdays in the family, seemed perfect for a cold night in November.
I have to say that I am not a sweet tooth and desserts are not my specialty so that was the tricky part. In order to stick to the tropical theme, I decided to cook pineapple with spices, aged cachaça and a bit of vanilla and demerara sugar. The result was tender pieces of pineapple with a tasty syrup, which were served warm with vanilla ice cream. To my surprise my guests just adored it – I´d even say it was the highlight of the night.
A rich feijoada (the Brazilian black beans stew with sausage and pork) served with rice, farofa and greens. Fried cassava and market pastries served with pimenta biquinho as starters and cachaça drinks with my favorite cachaça to make everything easier to go down.
I was very lucky and Michele, Coco and Chon were the most amazing people I could have in my first Casa de Janaína experience. From China and Indonesia, they knew nothing about Brazilian food or drinks. They were sincerely interested in learning more about it and seemed to enjoy every single moment of the experience. We chatted, we laughed, we ate and drunk happily.
For me and Rodrigo – my dear husband who meticulously helped me with everything he could – the experience did not end on that night. We woke up the next morning transformed by what had happened. We couldn´t stop thinking about how food, drink and genuine interest in people and other cultures can create such a peaceful and enjoyable moment.
Ultimately, that made us realize that we can all create a more peaceful world around a table. This experience was so inspiring that we felt compelled to design others challenging ourselves in different ways. From Brazil to other places and cultures that interest us, we have researched a lot and can´t wait to host more Casas de Janaína and spread the vibe.
Pics: Chotiphol Anantasainont & Daniela Paiva