After leaving Punta del Diablo, Uruguay, we took five buses and traveled almost 24 hours before reaching Florianópolis, Brazil. Over the course of three short days we had a chance to visit some of the island’s 42 beaches, sand surf, drink lots of Brazilian caipirinhas and participate in some of the carnival street parties. We had no problem finding vegan food near our hostel in Barra da Lagoa. We ate at a few restaurants but the highlight was the abundance of local fruit.
It seems like every restaurant in Florianópolis has a blender, juicer and shelf full of fresh fruit just waiting to be blended up. They’re all equipped to make sucos or vitaminas, what we know as smoothies. We were surprised to discover we could get smoothies during our stop over at the Porto Alegre bus terminal. It had been hours since we’d eaten anything other than crackers or nuts. It was great to get some fruit in our bellies. John had freshly pressed orange juice and I had an orange, banana and pineapple smoothie.
Açaí berry is very popular here. It’s an antioxidant-rich fruit that grows on açaí palm trees in the Amazon rain forest of Brazil. It’s very expensive in Canada but extremely cheap when you get it locally. Açaí na Tigela is a common breakfast combination of frozen açaí blended with banana, topped with granola and fresh banana slices. It usually costs $4.50 Brazilian reals ($2.40 USD). For some reason, I waited until my last day in Florianópolis before trying it. It was love at first bite! I’ll be looking for more in Rio de Janeiro. I also had a chance to try an açaí smoothie and sorbet. There are lots of açaí products at convenience stores too. I can’t wait to try some more.
Passion fruit is another popular Brazilian fruit. One day while ordering drinks at the beach, I was encouraged to try a passion fruit smoothie. I’d never had one before and asked for it to be made without sugar. Apparently this was a strange request. It was very tart but I still liked it. While visiting the beach, I’d also recommend trying fresh coconut water and boiled corn with salt.
I love avocados. I usually eat at least one a day on a sandwich or in a salad. In Florianópolis, we found avocados that were so big we couldn’t even come close to eating a whole one over the course of the day. They were as big as my hand and at least three times the size of avocados sold in Canada. Their skin is light green, not dark green or black. I would never have known they were avocados without some local help.
I’ve had guava and papaya before but had another chance to try local varieties while visiting Florianópolis. Don’t believe people who tell you it’s not a good idea to eat too much fruit. When visiting places like Brazil, eat all you can! It’s cheap too. There are places where you can buy any fruit for $1 Brazilian real ($0.50 USD) per kilogram.