Visit Brazil in the Garden at Chicago Botanical Garden – Explore the robust colors and textures of Brazilian modern landscape architect, Roberto Burle Marx.
Vibrant colors. Gorgeous tropical landscape. Brazilian designer. Beautiful artwork. Equals a glorious walk through “Brazil in the Garden” on the grounds of the pristine and expansive Chicago Botanical Garden in Glencoe, Illinois.
We know that design comes in many formats. In this case, we are talking about modern aesthetics that Roberto Burle Marx, famed Brazilian modernist landscape architect and artist, inspired. Perhaps he is best known for his plan for the boardwalk along Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach, which continues his modern design using stone pavers. The architectural plans for this design can be seen in the exhibit.
As you explore the gardens and water features, you will see and FEEL what it must be like to be immersed in the Brazilian landscape. Rich colors of purple and orange surrounded by tropical plants of all sizes and shapes. Created to honor Roberto Burle Marx, who died in 1994, guests are invited to walk the gloriously color-filled gardens where they can learn about Brazilian flowers, unique topiary like towers, hanging gardens and plants native to Brazil.
One of Roberto’s design choices was to create vertical designs.
In addition to the seeing the impact he had on the landscape, the Chicago Botanical Garden also showcases his beautiful tapestries and artwork. True to form, they are rich in color and modern in design as well.
Having never been to the CBG before, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about their vegetable and herb garden and the impact that it has on the community. With 4 acres of edible gardening located on an island on the grounds, the food is sold through local farmers’ markets in the city’s food deserts. Known as Windy City Harvest, the money from the sales helps to support the horticulture gardens. Some examples of what are grown include fennel seeds, swiss chard, amaranth seed (for baking), corn, sugar cane and fish pepper (medium hot pepper).
It wouldn’t be complete without me sharing a fabulous food experience we had while on our tour. Chef Mike offered a personal cooking class to highlight Brazilian food for us. He prepared three dishes that I highly recommend you make for your friends and family. Through September 10, local Chefs will also be coming in to showcase other Brazilian recipes for guests to sample.
1//4 cup parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place all ingredients in a blender, except the olive oil, and turn on high. Slowly drizzle in the oil. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Pao de Quejo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)
4 cups tapioca flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs
1 teaspoons salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle.
Put the tapioca flour in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment
Combine the milk, water, oil and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Once the milk mixture boils, pour it over the flour. turn the mixer on low and mix well. The texture will be quite sticky.
With the mixer stills on, add the eggs, one at a time.
Once the eggs are incorporated, add the cheese a little t a time until fully incorporated.
The dough is supposed to be soft and sticky. However, if you are worried it is too liquidy, you can add a little more tapioca flour. Just don’t over do it otherwise your cheese bread will be tough and not too gooey.
To shape the balls, wet your hands with cold water and using a spoon, scoop some of the dough to shape balls that are a little smaller than golf sized.
Place the balls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Bake for 15.20 minutes or until they are golden and puffed.
10 egg yolks
6.75 ounces cream
1 ounce coconut flavoring
8 ounces sugar – plus more for pans
1 teaspoon vanilla
3.6 ounces shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 230 degrees
Grease the ramekins with non stick spray and line with granulated sugar
Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl
Portion out into 6 ramekins
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Unmold when warm.
The concept of Brazil in the Garden came about following a trip to Florida made by the Director of Plant Collections, Andrew Bunting. After seeing Brazilian gardens designed by Roberto Burle Marx, he envisioned bringing it to Chicago. As he and his team worked to strategize how to do a project like this, they studied Burle Marx’s style as well as working with the Brazilian Consulate to make sure that they were represented accurately.
The exhibit continues until October 15. I can not begin to tell you how beautiful this experience is in words or photographs. The flowers and plants vibrance and textures, height, placement and scent are simply something you must see in person. For more information on the Brazil in the Garden exhibition and Chicago Botanical Gardens, please visit here.