CULTURE CLUB • August 2018
What to eat, how to dress, plus a run-down of her secret holiday spots – São Paulo-based writer Paula Roschel gives the inside track on how to pass as a local in Brazil
Brazil is an enormous country, so it’s difficult to say any one look sums up our style. In Rio the lifestyle is pretty care-free: cariocas (natives of Rio) work out, play sport and have incredible bodies. Their fashion reflects this with flowing dresses, lightweight shirts and flip-flops. In São Paulo people are more formal, more minimalist and there’s a growing camp that opts for edgier brands.
Brazilians are very sociable – dinner is when we catch up with friends – and there are various popular options in São Paulo. Two-Michelin-starred Tuju (pictured) in the fashionable Vila Madalena neighbourhood serves a stand-out wagyu rib of beef with manioc (cassava) and brazil nut. In Rio, try Restaurante Térèze in Hotel Santa Teresa Rio MGallery by Sofitel for local dishes, earthy décor and calming views of Guanabara Bay.
Called padocas, our bakeries are the place to get um pingado – a white coffee – together with a pão de queijo, a chewy, delicious ball of baked cheesy bread. These moreish snacks are perfect fuel for a day of sightseeing.
On Sundays in São Paulo, many people head to the area around Avenida Paulista. All within walking distance of each other, you can visit MASP (the São Paulo Museum of Art), Japan House and Casa das Rosas cultural centre, where you’ll find a lovely basement café.
To achieve a real escape from the everyday, head to the north Atlantic coast and the sand dunes of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. The sprawling desert landscape and rainwater lakes will take your breath away. Another secluded spot is the volcanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Recife, a protected marine park where you can swim with sea turtles, dolphins, reef sharks and sting rays in the cobalt waters.
This national park, in the central state of Minas Gerais, offers a spectacular route for road trips. The food is wonderful (try the cheese and pastries), as is the natural beauty, and make sure to visit the city of Capitólio, where the towering Canyons de Furnas will give you vertigo, but the views and seclusion are worth it.
We talk a lot, greet people with hugs and kisses, and have a wonderful capacity to laugh at ourselves. I’d say our sense of humour is one of our best assets.