Bettina Orrico writes about the one of the most anticipated celebrations in Bahia, about an ingredient that symbolizes the local cuisine

Author: Letícia Rocha

My memories from Easter do not come from childhood. They are memories of a grown-up Bettina but that would have the same joy and anticipation so typical of childhood whenever I realized this time of the year was close.


While the whole country looks forward to this date I must say that there is another frenzy around it in Bahia: on Good Friday, we also have the Festa do Dendê, or the Palm Oil Festival! 


This is a long-awaited date for us. Around that time of the year, families spend hours around the stove and then around the table, celebrating ‘palm oil food’. It is a lot of fun! It has caruru, efó, cow tongue, vatapá, milk beans, hauçá rice and moqueca – this is a must!


Another mandatory tradition is the acarajé, but we don’t do it at home – it is too much work –, we buy from the baianas that are famous for their acarajés, sold in their specialized tents.


There are no palm oil sweets, but there are sweet options in this party too, with the divine tart, made of shortcrust pastry with melted guava, a delicacy that came out of the oven golden, crunchy, and as its name says, divine. 


On Easter Sunday, families make a special lunch that can have cod preparations, but it is not something traditional. It is more common to serve xinxim de galinha (chicken ragout), meat dishes and even barbecue. For dessert, we open the chocolate Easter eggs ”.