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Brazilian places

Brazilian slice: top rump at Picanha Brazil. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)View Caption Hide Caption

Brazilian slice: top rump at Picanha Brazil. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)

Brazil is closer than you think. You don’t have to fly to Rio for a taste of Carioca cooking.

BRAZIL IN BOCA: Three places for a taste of Brazil

Casa do Pao Brazilian Bakery

Casa do Pao is a weekend hot spot for fresh pastries. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post)Owned and operated by the Arruda family for 11 years, this bakery is well known for its freshly baked loaves of pao Frances. But Gabriel Arruda, whose family owns the place, suggests a few must-have bites:

The coxinha (or little chicken drumstick). “It’s the most popular thing here, ” he says. It’s a teardrop-shaped chicken croquette that’s filled with shredded chicken and cream cheese, then fried.

The flan. “It’s out of this world, ” he says. It’s made in a Bundt pan and it’s rich with heavy cream and cream cheese.

The pao de queijo (cheese bread). Magically, it’s gluten-free. It’s made with yuca instead of wheat flour, says Arruda.

Buffet prep: Guilherme Oliveira slices beef at Picanha. (Meghan McCarthy/ The Palm Beach Post) (House of Bread): 22829 N. State Road 7 (just south of Palmetto Park Road), Boca Raton; 561-852-8390

Picanha Brazil Restaurant

Perched on a corner of the plaza, this casual restaurant sets out a sumptuous buffet daily, complete with traditionally grilled meats, a large variety of salads, sides, entrées and desserts. You pay just under 9 bucks a pound for your buffet selections. Word of warning: It’s easy to load your plate here. It will weigh more than a pound before you know it.

Don’t miss: the array of Brazilian candies available for sale at the cashier on the way out.

Picanha Brazil Restaurant: 22797 N. State Road 7, Boca Raton; 561-488-5737

Boca Brazil Supermarket

Amid the selection of Brazilian canned goods, Brazilian tapioca, coffees, teas, juices and candies, you just may find a bin of jilo, a small green, eggplant-like fruit. You’ll also find house-made Brazilian sausage and charque (dried, salted beef) and other specialties.

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