Eugenia uniflora L
IT IS NOT HARD TO FIND leafy Brazil cherry trees in backyards and orchards from north to south of Brazil. In spring and summer, when the tree begins to bear fruit, the branches are filled with tiny pumpkin-like berries in shades ranging from green to dark red, depending on ripeness, up to purple or almost black. Consumed fresh or reduced to a pulp, it is used in juices, jams, preserves and syrups. Native to Brazil, this fruit has been fascinating foreign visitors since colonization times. In Açúcar (Sugar), Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freyre writes that in the mid-nineteenth century, the British vice-consul in Bahia and Paraiba praised the fruit flavor in his letters: “sour and slightly bitter, it is very pleasant to the taste”. He also states that custards, jams, pies and compotes were made with the fruit at the time. He even gives his recipe, later in the book, for a “cachaça” prepared in his house in Recife: a “pitangada”, combining the berries with cachaça, violet or rose liqueur, and cinnamon.