A Taste Bud Parade in Sao Paulo
Like a grown-up version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, the central market in Sao Paulo had me feeling like Charlie from the moment I walked through the old metal gate.
A foodie at heart and taster by trade, I couldn’t fight the childish smile that took over my face.
Cured meats, cheeses, and olives were all within reach, as spices that stung the nostrils filled big barrels and pre-wrapped baggies. An endless supply of exotic fruits and vegetables piled high and I made it my responsibility to try them all.
The strawberries tasted like strawberries, the snozberries tasted like snozberries!
Okay, I couldn’t find the snozberries, but there were plenty of Caju, Ata, Granadilla, and Jabuticaba, to keep my curious taste buds occupied for hours.
The trick is to only try one or two fruits at each stand or else the vendors will put more pressure on you to buy.
With a stomach half-full of mysterious morsels, it was time to tackle the thing I came for. The thing I came to Sao Paulo for… the all-mighty mortadella sandwich!
Many years ago, before this life of travel, I was watching my favorite travel show from my home in Upstate New York, when I saw the host eat one of these incredible sandwiches this very place.
The meat was stacked ridiculously high with an abundance of melted cheese on a fresh French roll.
I told myself, one day, I’m going to Brazil and devour one of those meaty beasts myself.
That day was today, and that sandwich was everything I hoped for and more.
The combination of the greasy, salty meat with the thick cheddar and soft, yet crunchy bread was worthy of a few tears of joy. Teamed up with an ice-cold beer and I think a party literally started in my mouth.
Completely full and absolutely satisfied, I searched the nearby stalls for a gang of Oompa Loompas to wheel me out. Unfortunately I was on my own, so I pulled myself up and headed towards the nearest exit.
It was time to go find a park to relax, digest and think about my self-control issues.
If Willie’s factory were at all like the Central Market in Sao Paulo, I wouldn’t have lasted an hour.