30 minutes east of central Sao Paulo lies a town famous for it’s feira (market). Embu das Artes straddles several hillsides, sheltering a central area that is crammed with stalls, shops, botecos, cafes and restaurants of every description. Open at the weekend, the market specialises in arts and crafts, and includes paintings, crystals, furniture, accessories, decorations, sculptures, clothes, plants, and pretty much every type of hand-crafted item you could imagine. Each idyllic street houses row upon row of gaily painted cottages and stables, perfect for displaying the local produce. There is even a small area for filhotes (pets), should you be inclined to purchase a puppy. Its pretty easy to lose 6 hours here in the blink of an eye, and considering most vendors accept credit cards, it’s even easier to lose a good chunk of your salary.
As Paderias are something of an institution within Brazil, I couldn’t leave it too much longer without mentioning the infamous Bella Paulista (Rua Haddock Lobo 354, São Paulo), The bakery to surpass all bakeries, this is the Mama Paderia of São Paulo, attracting a full crowd 24 hours a day – there was even a queue on New Year’s Day (of course it was worth the wait). Beyond the rodizio, you can enjoy a complete menu of excellent quality. However the main attraction is if course the cakes, tarts, buns, sponges, mousses, chocolates, trifles, flans, cookies and puddings. Or if you don’t have a sweet tooth, the coxinhas, croissants, pães, bolinhos, empanadas, pizzas, pasteis, and other salgadinhos. Faced with all this choice, who would have guessed that a firm favourite is the simple pão na chapa com requeijão? Toasted both sides with half a tub of requeijão, I certainly left utterly satisfied!