The Central Market of Belo Horizonte is renowned in Brazil and on a global scale, recognised as one of the best and most diverse markets in the world. It accommodates around 400 shops and stalls that sell anything from fresh vegetables and organic fruits, meat and dairy products, spices and herbs to sweets, cachaca, religious items, handicrafts and even live animals. Fuel up at the informal restaurants and ask for liver with jiló – it’s a local specialty. If liver is not your thing, then try the slow-cooked pork knuckle or wait until Saturday to try a traditional feijoada.
It’s hard to contain your excitement upon entering Rio de Janeiro’s largest fair. The market is a dizzying explosion of all things that come from the northeast of Brazil including plenty of Bahian products – look out for the typical Bahian ornaments of curvaceous women. The 600 stalls offer a range of food such as herbs, spices, cachaca (distilled sugar cane), dried meats, cheese and the regional bottles of melted butter used to pour over meals. After satisfying your senses at the fair’s hundreds of stalls, head to any one of the informal restaurants to fill up on rice, beans, chips and meat cooked the northeastern way and served up in huge portions. Enjoy the live forró (a music typical from the northeast) and join in with the impromptu dancing and singing.