The Mercado Municipal in the city of Sao Paulo in Brasil has pretty much spoiled me for any fruit for the rest of my life. I knew much of the fruit we got in Europe and North America came from South America I had, however, never tasted the fruit when it was fresh and before it was flown thousands of miles. Wow! The taste – sweet, tart, acidic or even chalky just exploded like fireworks in my mouth.
Leo, my guide with Flavia Liz, a company that does personal escorted tours of Sao Paulo, made me a happy woman when he took me to the Mercado Municapal de Sao Paulo. A well-known hotspot for gourmet and food lovers, it has more than 250 stalls that sell primarily grocery items. The stalls are piled high and heaving with fruit, vegetables, cheese, spices, wine and bacalao (salted cod).
The building was constructed in 1928 to be a market and has Art Deco influences. During the short-lived revolution of 1932, the military stored munitions here. Post-war, it reverted back to being a market and remains a foodie destination to this day.
Our guide told us that if you wanted to impress any dinner guests you get your fruit and vegetables from the Mercado Municipal. Considering all the fruit I tried was scrumptious, I have to agree with him. I tried other things too such as the expresso which was so strong I was wired for a good 10 hours afterwards and the mortadella, a sweet and tangy Italian salami, famous for being made into sandwiches in Brasil. The fruit, however, spoke to my sweet tooth (or perhaps even sang Handel’s Hallelujah chorus).
There is a mezzanine level with restaurants which gives you a bird’s eye view of the hustle and bustle below. The market deals with about 450 tons of food per day!!
From the mezzanine level, you also get a closer look at the stained glass windows created by a Russian artist famous for his work with stained glass in churches. Apropos because the market might as well be a temple to the glory of delicious food.
The Mercado Municipal de Sao Paulo is open 7 days a week. It’s free to enter but I guarantee you will walk out having bought something.