The Brazilian coast has over 7,000 kilometers. The seaside represents an internationally recognized tropical culture, with beaches, fish, and great seafood. What the world is beginning to discover, however, is that this tropical agriculture is also in the hinterlands. Young farmers keep the freshwater fish tradition alive, adding technology and innovation to reach more consumers in Brazil and internationally.
Vinicius Gabriel, commercial director of Casa do Peixe, in Mato Grosso is one of these farmers. With his brother, he takes care of the business that started with his grandfather with an unpretentious insight: “He had dams for the cattle to drink water and decided to put in some fish. When he saw it, it became my family’s business”, says Vinicius, a 28-year-old administrator.
Today, Casa do Peixe is a company with three farms that take care of the entire process from breeding to processing for sale. The production of freshwater fish such as Tambaqui and Pintado is sold in several states in the country and is ready to reach international markets as well.
“They are fish that represent Brazil. The Tambaqui is very well-known in the Amazon basin and is in the taste of the people of Mato Grosso. Here we cultivate it in 500 hectares of waterlines”, explains Vinicius.
The freshwater fish in Brazilian culture
Vinicius was born in Mato Grosso, one of the states inside the Pantanal area. The region has one of the world’s largest tropical wetland areas and the world’s largest flooded grasslands. Fishes are part of their culture and can be found not only in their rivers but also in touristic monuments, recreational fishing, and, obviously, on their plates.
In the Pantanal area, it is common to see restaurants along the rivers offering all-you-can-eat menus including fried fish. During the Holy Week, families from Mato Grosso gather to eat roasted fish. Fried Tambaqui ribs are popular in bars, and there are recipes for the side cuts and the belly as well.
Altogether, Casa do Peixe sells 13 different types of Tambaqui products, with 6 different cuts. “Our company wants to make this process more convenient for the final consumer, including individual portions and boneless cuts”, says Vinicius.