On a recent trip to Brazil we stopped for lunch at the idyllic Bar Cepilho, right on the beach near Trindade (three or four hours south of Rio).

bar cepilho brazil

A truly staggering salad

We had a truly staggering salad – and on the table there was an old cachaça bottle, filled with fat cloves of garlic, topped up with olive oil. Vinaigrette wasn’t an option – the idea was to pour (for heaven’s sake don’t ‘drizzle’) the powerfully pungent oil over the myriad ingredients laid out below, grind salt and pepper over, also generously, and pile in.

I rather like this idea – and it’s not just a good dressing alternative – it’s also good for dressing cooked shredded greens; or spinach; or adding to stir fries.


Recipe for Brazilian garlic oil


To fill a half bottle


  • About four garlic bulbs
  • Olive oil to fill


  1. Sterilise the bottle you’re going to use (follow this link for how to do this)
  2. Divide the bulbs – split up the garlic cloves.
  3. Cut off the bottom of each clove, and with a sharp pointed knife lift off the peel
  4. Put the cloves, whole, into the bottle
  5. Fill with olive oil
  6. It’ll be ready to use in a week or so and it will keep three or four months, not in the fridge


large bottle of cachaca stuffed full of fat cloves of garlic

large bottle of cachaca stuffed full of fat cloves of garlic