In the 1950's my grandfather was moving up in the ranks
of the Brazilian Armed Forces. Post World War II,
obtaining fresh milk and sugar in Brazil was very difficult.
Despite these conditions, my grandmother friends on base
still desired to prepare desserts, and therefore, started
experimenting with substitutes. They discovered that mixing
sweetened condensed milk and chocolate produced a
delightful treat, but there was no name for these delicacies.
Simultaneously, Brazil’s presidential elections were occurring. My grandfather's good friend Eduardo Gomes was one of the presidential candidates -
he was a tall, dark & handsome Brigadier. He was very popular
with the ladies, demonstrated by his amusing slogan,
“Vote for the Brigadier who is handsome and single.”
The campaign volunteers would prepare
these little chocolate truffles to distribute to voters,
and thus, the treats were named Brigadiers
(Brigadeiro in Portuguese).
The name caught on very quickly and the little desserts
became a big hit. It was such a hit that my grandmother, my aunts and her staff would roll brigs day and night to fill orders for birthdays and celebrations on the military bases.
Over time, the recipe started evolving into fancier flavors
and more elaborate toppings to reflect celebratory
themes at children’s birthday parties, weddings,
and festive occasions.
B's Grandparents Esdras & Olivia