Just in time for the World Cup, Brazilian Acaraje debuts in Denver

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"As excitement builds over the World Cup 2014 hosted by Brazil this summer -- and with the Olympics taking place in Brazil in 2016 -- there's more and more interest among Coloradans in Brazilian culture and food," insists Jessica Dries, who, along with her husband Edglas Prado, recently launched Brazilian Acarajé, a mobile food endeavor that, she says, "brings traditional Brazilian street food to Denver."

See also: Ten food trucks to follow in Denver this summer

Brazilian acarajé, explains Dries, "is a street food indigenous to the Brazilian region of Bahia," the northeastern, coastal Brazilian state where Prado is from. The fried, gluten-free, black-eyed pea fritter sandwiches slicked with dende oil -- red palm oil -- are stuffed with sauteed shrimp and onions, seasoned with traditional Bahian spices and garnished with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro and "vatapa," a coconut milk paste combined with peanuts and cashews. Dries and Prado also offer vegetarian and chicken options.

"We perfected our recipe with chefs in Brazil last year, and we brought back unique ingredients that are key to making the perfect acarajé sandwich," says Dries, adding that last fall, she and her husband were one of ten start-ups to participate in a twelve-week small business boot camp developed by Rocky Mountain Micro Finance Institute (RMMFI), a local non-profit organization that provides training and micro-financing to community entrepreneurs. "Our business took off in the spring of this year with booths at the South Denver Beer Festival, the Five Points Jazz Festival, the Brewgrass festival on South Pearl and the Carbondale Mountain Fair," notes Dries.

"We really believe it's a unique and exciting new cuisine for Colorado," she adds. You can follow their whereabouts on their webpage, but upcoming appearances include the Horseshoe Market (4345 West 46th Avenue) on July 12; the Carbondale Mountain Fair, July 25 through 27; and Colorado Brazil Fest, which takes place August 2 and 3, in Boulder.

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