Christmas dinner by Heloisa Bacellar

I was delighted when I received an invitation to make a Christmas Eve dinner with a Brazilian twist, since it would be a great opportunity to display a little bit of our culture in Germany.

Heloisa Bacellar

As every culture has their own traditions and Christmas is all about traditions, I started by trying to understand which dishes and ingredients are usually part of German Christmas dinners. I then proposed my own Christmas meal, incorporating hints of Brazilian cuisine.

I selected pork tenderloin as a main dish, as pork is found in Christmas dinners both in Brazil and in Germany. In Brazil, roasted pork leg is usually the centerpiece of special meals. However, being a large piece of meat, it takes a long time to cook in the oven. For this reason, I chose the pork tenderloin, which is always soft and cooks faster. The attractiveness of this dish comes from the meat, which is braided with bacon strips and accompanied by a sweet sauce inspired by Christmas traditions – in this case prepared with guava, a delicious tropical fruit. As a side dish, instead of the classical apple purée, I proposed a manioc purée. In addition to that, as always is the case in Brazil, I included some coconut-flavored rice and a crunchy farofa with Brazil and Cashew nuts.

As for dessert, I based myself on the delicious Lintzer Tart, but employing Brazil nuts in the dough and pineapple marmalade as a filing.

I hope you enjoy it! Merry Christmas!

Heloisa Bacellar

Download the recipe book

Photo: Ana Bacellar



  • 3 pork tenderloins, usually about 1.5 kg, trimmed
  • 6 sprigs basil
  • 10 sprigs parsley
  • 4 sprigs scallion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, cut in thick slices
  • 1 carrot, cut in thick slices
  • 1 lime
  • 1 ½ cup cachaça (brazilian sugarcane spirit)
  • 18 strips of bacon
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ cup guava pulp or juice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt and black pepper


At least 6 hours in advance, hold one side of each tenderloin and with a sharp knife divide it in 3 long pieces, keeping them attached on one side in order to braid it later. Season the tenderloins with salt, pepper, herbs and lime and put them in a baking pan. Spread around the onion and carrot, add cachaça, cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 and up to 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 220ºC (hot / Gas 7) for about 15 minutes.
Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board and keep the baking pan with the marinade aside.
Line the bacon stripes along the three pieces of each tenderloin and braid, putting some wooden toothpicks at the end to keep braid attached. Return them to the baking pan and drizzle everything with olive oil.
Bake it at high temperature for 10 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil, lower the heat to 160ºC (slow / Gas 3) and bake for about 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes with pan juices or a little water, until the meat is meltingly tender.
Discard aluminum foil, increase oven temperature to 220ºC (hot / Gas 7), and brown for 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer braids to serving platter, remove toothpicks and move on to the sauce.
Discard excess fat from the baking pan, add ½ cup water and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits (this is what makes gravy flavorful, only consider discarding black charred bits, because they are bitter).
Strain drippings through a sieve, pressing well, into a small saucepan, add guava juice and bring to a boil. Let sauce boil for 5 minutes, adjust salt and pepper and, if necessary, correct acidity by adding a little sugar.
Serve with the tenderloins.

Photo: Ana Bacellar



  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 cups raw white rice
  • 1 ½ cup coconut milk
  • 3 ½ cups boiling water
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • oil
  • salt


Heat a drizzle of oil in a medium pot and lightly sauté the onion.
Add rice and sauté, stirring constantly, until grains are shiny and separated.
Add water and about 2 teaspoons salt (taste the water to see if it has a savory taste). Partially cover the pan and let the rice cook, over high heat, for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and grains are almost cooked, but still firm. Add coconut milk and shredded coconut and let cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, until grains are tender, but not soggy. Transfer to a serving dish.

Photo: Ana Bacellar



  • 1 kg fresh and just peeled manioc/yuca/cassava
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt


Cut the manioc in medium pieces (about 5 cm), place in a pot, cover with water, add 1 tbsp salt and cook until tender (about 45 minutes). Drain the water and blend the cooked manioc and milk to make a very smooth purée.
Just before serving, heat purée in a pan with butter, check for seasoning and serve (don’t worry, it’s really sticky, but delicious).



  • 2 cups Brazil nuts
  • 2 cups cashew nuts
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 50 g butter
  • 4 tbsp parsley (4 sprigs)
  • salt


Lightly crush both nuts until you get a coarse powder with little pieces.
Heat butter and sauté onion. Add nuts and mix well just until lightly toasted and with a nice aroma. Add salt, parsley and transfer to a serving dish.

Photo: Ana Bacellar



  • 1 big or 2 small pineapples
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 200 g cold butter, diced
  • 1 cup Brazil nuts, coarsely ground
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • flour to dust
  • powdered sugar to sprinkle
  • 1 egg yolk, combined with 2 tablespoons water, to brush


Peel and dice the pineapple flesh. In a saucepan, bring pineapple, sugar, vanilla and lime juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically, until the fruit is tender and the texture looks like a juicy marmalade. Let cool. You can make it a week in advance and keep it in the refrigerator.
For the crust, combine sugar, flour, salt, ground cinnamon, and butter in a bowl, rub with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, and then stir in nuts, egg yolk, and lime zest, working the dough until it is smooth and does not stick to your hands (add a little water if it is too crumbly, or a little flour if it is too moist).
Set aside ⅔ of the dough for the pie shell and wrap in plastic; do the same with the remaining ⅓ of dough for the top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.
To assemble the tart, dust a work surface with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out the larger portion of dough into a circle of about 28 cm in diameter. Line the bottom and sides of a springform pan of about 22 cm in diameter with this circle and pour the pineapple marmalade inside. For the top, open the remaining ⅓ dough and cut into strips in order to form a stripped lattice or decorate as desired.
Brush with the prepared egg yolk mixture, and refrigerate for another 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (moderate / Gas 4) and bake for about 45 minutes, until crust is dark golden brown and crispy.
Let cool, remove from pan onto a shallow serving plate, and sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.

Wine recommendation


Theresa Breuer

The winemaker Theresa Breuer from the Georg Breuer winery in Rüdesheim recommends the following wines for our Christmas menu:

2017 GB Charm. Rheingau Riesling semi-dry

The Rheingau Riesling impresses with its lightness and freshness. Riesling is characterized by a pithy acidity structure… if you combine this with the GB Charm and its delicate residual sweetness, a balance is created that makes the wine dance!

GB Charm is a cuvée from the two Rheingau villages of Rüdesheim and Rauenthal and thus combines an intensive sun ripening of the southern slopes of Rüdesheim with a pithy mineral structure of the somewhat cooler locations from Rauenthal. The wine is matured in stainless steel tanks and thus captivates with a fresh fruitiness.

At a drinking temperature of about 11° the wine develops its full aroma and is a great companion to the pork dish with coconut rice.

2016 Terra Montosa . Rheingau Riesling dry

Those who like to have a little more strength in the glass should choose the steep slope Riesling “Terra Montosa”. From the up to 70° steep slopes of the Rüdesheimer Berg and the Rauenthaler Nonnenberg we create year after year a dry Riesling, which is characterized by an intensive structure without becoming broad.

Terra Montosa matures for 10 months in large old wooden barrels and still has the potential to mature in the bottle.

The wine’s aromas are characterized by ripe stone fruits and a dense mineral structure on the palate.

The wine is a powerful partner to the nuts and puree of Manioc!

2017 GB Blanc . Rüdesheim Pinot Blanc dry

Not everyone is a Riesling fan! An alternative is the dry Pinot Blanc GB Blanc, which comes from the famous Rüdesheim vineyards and has a rather floral aroma. The mild acidity makes the wine appear more gentle, but also the Pinot Blanc shines through the freshness and fine aromas of white flowers.

Due to themoderate alcohol content and the fun on the palate, it can easily happen thatthe bottle is already emptied during the meal. If there is still somethingleft, the wine is a wonderful partner to the coconut rice.


Cassia Campos and Daniela Bravin, brazilian sommelières, owner of the wine bar Sede261, Sao Paulo, Brazil recommend the followings Wines for the Christmas Dinner:

Cassia Camposand Daniela Bravin

Rouge – Elian da Ros, France, Côtes du Marmandais, cabernet franc,malbec, syrah and abouriou.

Those are fresh and delicious red wines.

Also Chat Fou 2016 – AOC Côte du Rhone  – Éric Texier  : aroma with spicies, orange pulp and plums, very elegant in mouth, fresh and mineral. very pleasant.  

Rayos uva – Olivier Rivière – RIoja – tempranillo, graciano and garnacha – With berries aroma, floral scents and a fruity aroma, flavourful, persistent in mouth, but soft and delicate. 

Why they are choosing these red wines? because although red, they are very fresh and mineral, perfect with brazilian recipes and ingredientes.