Brazil, a country with the largest population of Afro descendants outside of Africa, has lots to do to fuel your curiosity. This Latin American nation offers a vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture which tourists can explore and learn more about. 

Of course while in Rio or Salvador, relaxing at the beach, visiting traditional tourist sites,  and partying are a must. But, eating great Afro-Brazilian sweets can also be a delicious experience, due to the abundance of coconut, corn and of course, sugar. But make no mistake, each sweet treat has its own unique flavor, and the all are very different from each other. 

Heading to Brazil? Here are five Afro-Brazilian sweets that will melt in your mouth while you are there.

1. Quindim

Credit: São Paulo State Government

The Quindim is an intensely yellow custard that combines egg yolks, sugar, butter, shredded coconut and coconut milk. This delicious recipe was created by northeastern Afro-Brazilian cookers in the 17h century, during slavery.

Today, Quindim is one of the most popular desserts in the country, often consumed at birthday parties and weddings.  Quindim means ‘my love’ in the Kimbundu language.

2. Pamonha

Credit: São Paulo State Government

The pamonha is a delicious recipe made with grated sweet corn wrapped in corn husk. It’s an Afro-Indigenous recipe created in the Midwest region of Brazil. Pamonha can be found all over the country and this is one of the best sweets for corn lovers.

Traditionally, pamonha is served with black coffee, but it can be served at any time— hot, warm or cold. Pamonha means ‘sticky’ in Tupi-Guarani language, a language that was spoken by the majority of native Brazilians for centuries.

3. Coconut Couscous

The coconut couscous, also known as coconut milk couscous, is a variation of the North African couscous, a dish brought to Brazil by Portuguese colonizers.

In Brazil, Afro-Brazilians created their own couscous,  implementing coconut porridge, cow milk, butter and sugar. This couscous is usually served for breakfast, as dessert or as a snack.

4. Cocada

Credit: Bahia State Government

The cocada, sold in fairs and street tents, is considered one of the most popular Afro-Brazilian sweets.

Made with only coconut and sugar, this sweet treat was developed by African enslaved people in Brazil, and it became very popular all over the country, mainly in the Northeast region.

5. Mugunzá

Credit: Minas Gerais State Government

Mungunzá is a sweet that combines white corn, coconut porridge, coconut milk, cinnamon, white or brown sugar.

Invented by Afro-Brazilians from the state of Bahia, its origins resemble a famous dish from the Cape Verde islands, West Africa. The African trademark on the munguzá is evident and undeniable. This is because the mukunza is seen as a ritual food in the Jeje-Nagô culture, present in the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé.

Mu’kunza in the Kimbundu language, means ‘boiled corn.’