Preserving the memory of a trip is easy these days when you can take a plethora of photos on your cell phone’s camera. But sometimes a more substantial souvenir is called for, outside of the typical t-shirt. Check out the Culture Trip’s guide to taking home a meaningful souvenir from Salvador, Bahia.
These bracelets or ribbons are ubiquitous throughout Bahia today, and come in many colors which signify different wishes or blessings for the wearer. For example, orange is usually worn to invoke joy and enthusiasm, whereas white signifies inner peace and wisdom. They are worn on the wrist, made into keychains, used on hats and in many other forms to bring good luck. The Bahia bands are available throughout Salvador in many shops, and they are often placed on church gates as a symbol of faith. They often have “Lembrança do Senhor do Bonfim da Bahia” written on them, meaning “A Souvenir of the Lord of Good Ends of Bahia.”
The traditional lace making techniques brought to Brazil by the Portuguese are still alive today in certain locations throughout the country. The northeast of Brazil is well known for its intricate lace making, and Salvador offers plenty of places to peruse and purchase this handicraft. The lacemakers, or rendeiras in Portuguese, create lace doilies, tablecloths and clothing through a hand weaving method. For a traditional lace souvenir that has a modern twist, consider a lace beach cover up to take home.
Divino de Espirito Santo
The divinity of the Holy Spirit sounds like an outdated religious relic to take home, but actually these dove symbols are tasteful and come in a variety of designs. Some dove carvings are set against simple wooden backings, while others are paired with a rainbow of colors. They are meant to be placed over a doorway to bring protection and peace. They come in many sizes from small enough to be an ornament to large and ostentatious. There are many artisans that make these wooden dove carvings and they can be purchased throughout souvenir shops in Salvador.
After experiencing this delicious fish stew, find your favorite moqueca recipe and pick up a specialized pot to make the dish at home. These are rather heavy souvenirs, but they come in various sizes, so a smaller dish might work best for those tight on suitcase space and weight. The pot can be used to make a variety of dishes and will last a lifetime.
Brazil is easily the world’s largest producer of coffee, so finding a bean that suits your tastes should be easy with the options here. Brazil produces and farms the largest number of beans and also makes a wide variety of coffee, from mass produced to specialty coffee. To make sure you’re getting high quality grinds, head to a specialty coffee shop, as the grocery stores often don’t carry the best beans. If you can, buy the coffee in whole beans and then grind them right before use to make sure you get the freshest flavor.
Small statues of a Bahiana woman resting in the window sill with a longing look is just one of the ceramic treasures that travelers can bring home from Bahia. Handmade ceramics are a specialty of Brazil and Bahia in particular, so consider scooping up décor, pots and bowls with Brazilian designs to make the memories last.
Pão de mel
This delicious Brazilian pastry is an easy win in the souvenir category. Pão de mel, or honey bread, is the perfect pair for a cup of coffee and the treat is sometimes made extra sweet when filled with doce de leite and covered in chocolate. Pão de mel often comes individually wrapped, so feel free to stock up and bring some home to share with friends. The cakes usually preserve well, though it’s always best to take them in your carry on, assuming you can resist eating them all on the flight home.
Music is an integral part of the Brazilian culture, whether it’s a pulsing samba song or a simple capoeira beat. The traditional instruments of capoeira — the berimbau, the pandeiro and the atabaque — are a wonderful way to remember Brazil. Since these instruments can be a bit large to travel with, you can purchase a smaller size for ease of transport, then create your own capoeira circle, or roda, at home.
For the ultimate reminder of how relaxing a day in Brazil can be, pick up a hammock, or rede, to take home. The quality of the hammocks in Salvador and throughout the country are quite good and you can get a decent price. They come in tons of colors and some have extra details like lace or fringe on the sides. Whatever style you choose it is sure to be a good reminder of those relaxing days in Salvador.
The Brazilian beach sarong, or canga as it is said in Portuguese, is an essential item in the country. The canga is an inexpensive item to purchase as a souvenir in Brazil. It’s simply a thin, lightweight cloth used in place of a beach towel but also serves as a cover-up for the ladies, and they are sold throughout Salvador’s beaches and shops. There are nearly an infinite number of patterns and colors, so find one that suits your taste and pick one up for a friend, too.