Gueroba, the bitter palm heart from cerrado (tropical savanna)

One of the biggest gastronomic surprises on my trip to Mato Grosso was Gueroba, a type of bitter palm heart from cerrado.

>> Leia em Português

It was a journey of more than 16 hours by car from São Paulo to Barra do Garças To get to know the region and for one of my friends to be able to see the family that lives there.

My plan was not even to get to know regional cuisines, but with the surprises I had there, in addition to Gueroba, I started to arouse this interest.

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From this trip, my project O Mundo em Lanche (The world in Sandwiches) emerged, the idea of ​​transforming regional dishes and ingredients into affordable and delicious snacks.

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That’s because I was impressed by being inside Brazil and the gastronomic culture has changed so much.

How did I know this delicacy?

The first time I ate it was at a pastelaria (free traductuin – pastry house) that made saltenha, a Portuguese pastry with thicker dough, and the ground beef pastel (pastry) with gueroba, it was already a good feeling to feel the smoothness of the meat with the bitter palm heart of the cerrado.

Saltenha, Portuguese pastel

Then my friend’s mother made a salad with gueroba and then I could feel the bitterness more.

So what is Gueroba? This bitter palm from the cerrado

First, this bitter palm heart from the cerrado has many names: Guariroba, Gueiroba, Gariroba, Gairoba, Palmito-amargoso, Catolé, Coco-Babão, Pati-amargoso, Coco-amargoso, coconut-amargoso, it has more nicknames than I do.

From the names you can be sure of its greatest characteristic: being bitter!

I like it because it balances with life, I’m already very sweet.


The term Guariroba, the main name, comes from the Tupi gwarai-rob, which means, guess what? guess what? the bitter individual.

It is a palm tree with specific techniques

showing the farm in the cerrado

The palm tree has large leaves up to three meters long and blooms in bunches from spring to autumn.

And what’s left of the palm tree

This leaves the palm or terminal bud that is tiny compared to the size of the palm.

Gueroba, the Bitter Palmito from the Cerrado

This bitter palm heart from the cerrado is a delicacy that is widely used in the cerrado, in addition to the dishes I mentioned, it is also an essential ingredient for the empadão goiano (Goiás – a state in Brazil – patty), which also includes chicken, sausage, potatoes and eggs.

the palm trees, I just don’t know if they are gueroba

It must be pretty good too! I haven’t tried it yet.

Transportation of Gueroba is prohibited!

This delicious bitter palm heart from the cerrado is protected by IBAMA (The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) and cannot be industrialized, transported or stored!

There, in Barra do Garças, it is easily found with bark.

On one occasion my friend’s brother bought it and we sweated to get it peeled.

Peeling the heart of palm to get the Gueroba

Afterwards, it is immersed in water with salt and vinegar so it doesn’t oxidize, this happens very quickly.

In IBAMA’’s law, I did not find any ban on small products that sell the delicacy in natura.

Have you ever tried? What do you think?

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