|COMPETITION FEVER HITS BRAZIL'S FOOD-OBSESSED BARS|
Aruba, May 29, 2015 - There is a saying in Brazil for how most people like their beer to be served - estupidamente gelada (stupidly cold).
And if you have ever experienced a scorchingly hot Brazilian day, you'll know that this is actually a wise thing. You really do want your lager to be super-chilled in such climatic conditions.
While you can easily buy a cold beer from a supermarket or beach vendor, for many Brazilians their preferred port of call is still a boteco, the humble bar or pub.
Most botecos are small, family-run businesses, which, for reasons lost in the mists of time, don't actually serve draft beer. Instead the beer - always lager - typically comes in large 600ml bottles.
The idea is that friends share a bottle - or many - between them, which they drink while eating plates of pestiscos (snacks).
The pestiscos are typically something deep fried, such as breaded cod balls, or a pastel, which is a type of small pasty that also gets the hot oil treatment.
Imagine an authentic Spanish tapas bar, only with no sherry, and more use of a fryer.
With hundreds of botecos in Rio de Janeiro alone, the more ambitious ones try to boost their business by standing out from the crowd.
One way many do this is by entering an annual Brazil-wide competition to find the best botecos in the country.
Now in its 15th year, and free to enter, the Comida di Buteco contest judges bars according to four criteria - the quality of the food, the hygiene standards, the service, and crucially - the temperature of the beer.
Each boteco is judged by both a panel of judges, who visit anonymously and provide 50% of its final score, and by popular vote.
This year 45 bars in Rio entered the competition, which ran for a month until the middle of May. Each puts forward one dish upon which their food should be marked.
Botecos that take part generally enjoy a big boost in trade during the four weeks of the event, and then over the longer term if they win a prize.
Read more/ source: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32884567