Dining Out In Paraty: Banana Da Terra

Located in the heart of Paraty, is Banana da Terra, a wonderful restaurant in a house that was originally built in the 17th century. The restaurant is run by chef Ana Bueno-she used to be the Paraty community TV broadcast reporter before radically changing her profession (great move!). She brings strong reference to caiçara and regional cuisine, but with an air of modernity.

We started off with the couvert which included the usual fresh bread basket (Brazilians love their fresh bread), salmon, a soup and a shrimp puff.  It was delicious way to start the meal.

Sticking to tradition, caicara culinary is all about the extract from wilderness, harmonizing with local mother nature… Believe me, chef Ana does and excellent job as her menu offers dishes made with fresh ingredients from the region.

Like the name of the restaurant, most items include some form of banana. The dorado I had was truly amazing, I was actually disappointed when it was all gone. The fish was grilled with herbs and garlic butter with banana and leek crisp, perfection!

 


If you are looking for a restaurant with a relaxing, tasteful ambiance and incredible cuisine selection, not to mention large wine list, head to Banana da Terra in Paraty.  Next time I go,  I am saving room for dessert (looked incredible)

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Want To Splast Around In the Natural Swimming Pool of Trindade?

While in Paraty, take a 30 minute drive over to Trindade where you will explore incredible beaches with the natural beauty of the mountains surrounding you.  For the first stop on our tour we went to Praia do Cepilho, waves were 10-15 feet high!

Then we drove over to the beach near the village “Ranchos” where our journey began.  Take a guided trek through the mountains to arrive at another stunning beach. Then another trek through the mountain (the ‘trek or hiking part is actually really fun)

Finally you will arrive at Caixa d’Aço the natural swimming pool. It is pretty incredible, a beautiful enclosed completely untouched area where you can swim, snorkel or climb on the rocks.  It’s incredible!

After you have had enough splashing around its time to trek/beach your way back for lunch at VAGALUME.  Located right on the beach near village “Ranchos” it is a fantastic spot for lunch. Considering that this is a fishing village, the menu is full of many fish choices as well as some traditional Brazilian beef/chicken options, note the yuka fries are a must try!   Warning there are a lot of bees, bring bug spray and if you can, have them move your table onto the sand, its more fun, kept the bees away and when huge waves rolled in, your feet get splashed!

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Looking For An Adventurous Dining Experience in Paraty?

You really work up an appetite after swinging from ropes and splashing around the waterfalls!! So why not extend your adventurous day of experiences by heading to Villa Verde for lunch! To get there, you have to walk across Indiana Jones style rope bridge (see below)

Once you make it across get ready to be enchanted by the beautiful gardens, full of floral and fauna. The bungalow style restaurant structure allows for a perfect view from any location. The menu has a number of delectable options, we went for the fresh made pesto pasta (best I have had since I got to Brazil) and the Brazilian style ribs with banana farofa.

Enjoy your meal while listening to the waterfalls cascading in the background then take a walk around the beautiful property before heading back on the road.  A truly adventurous dining experience!

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What Is Your Favorite Flavor of Cachaca?

As part of our Paraty Tour in between splashing around in the different waterfalls we visited a few cacasha distilleries.

Fazenda Murycana (Murycana’s Farm) has one distillery of cachaça as well as a museum (Exposure of the private collection of owners with furniture, decorative pieces and weapons of the seventeenth century to the present day.) a restaurant (The coffee made ​​in sugarcane juice with wood stoves is delicious)

The old mill of Murycana, is powered by a waterwheel, which produces liquor aged in oak barrels. It is distilled under fire wood, and which created the liquor (molasses dripping aphrodisiac as they said)

The huge drums keep the spirits aged for up to 22 years. The farm offers visitors a taste of their drips however the booze is only sold in Murycana Finance. While we were there we tried 3 different types of cachaca: regular, 8 year aged (much smoother),and chocolate (which was my favorite of course).

The next distillery of cachaca we visited was Engenho D’ouro.  Here we saw the artesian process of fabrication. This plantation has a sophisticated production set up for one year aging in oak barrels or jequitiba.  The production is totally handmade as in colonial times:  From the cane plantation, until the alternative energy system that handles the production of the pure and delicious rum.

The also produce soft flavors like rum caramel mixed with molasses, Bluis with leaves of tangerine and Garbiela with molasses clove and cinnamon.  Personally, the strawberry infused was my favorite! I recommend tasting all of the flavors;)

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Waterfall Adventures in Paraty

If you go to Paraty, doing one of the waterfall tours (Paraty Tours) is a must!For $60 for the day you will get to explore, swim in and slide down some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Brazil.

The tour takes you to 3-4 waterfalls inside of the Serra da Bocaina.   Our first stop took us to  Pedra Branca’s waterfall (see above).  It was beautiful but the water was freezing!!! We hiked up to the top where there is a nice area to swim in… beautiful but more of an icey adventure…

After splashing around for a bit, we hopped back in the jeep and headed towards Tarzã waterfall. There is a mini hike to get to each waterfall and this was worth the twists and turns to get to! As you can see from the picture above, there was a rope that you can ‘Tarzan’ style swing from to enter the water!

Before reaching our final waterfall we stopped at the entrance of the Gold trail, it took slaves 40-50 days carrying gold on their backs to get across the trail.  Lots of rich history in this area.  Then it was time for our final ‘trek’ to Tobogã waterfall.

I know, you are thinking THAT LOOKS AWESOME and you’re right it is AWESOME!  It is the most famous because people can slide down the waterfall! Before sliding down our guide (who was extremely helpful) took the lead and brought us inside/ behind the top waterfall (not shown).  It was such a rush, apparently it is where slaves used to hide- only room for 2 people at a time, but it is an incredible feeling to be behind the scenes under the waterfall as it is crashing down in front of you.  Note only way to get out from under it— slide down! After sliding through that waterfall it was time to actually slide down the big waterfall- check out the video of me sliding down:

http://www.wellcomemat.com/wm_video_1/E5EA76C3B4Sliding down Tobog waterfall produced by Pamela Granoff on WellcomeMat Tweet

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Looking For A Fabulous Restaurant In Paraty?

In the historical center of Paraty (near our hotel) there is an excellent restaurant named Bartolomeu ParatyBartholomeu Paraty has a warm and charming feel to it. The menu is stacked with a variety of fresh pasta dishes (the bolognese was fantastic), a number of fish options as well as the ‘sensational Argentine Rump Stuffed with Roquefor Sal Grosso’ (shown below) unfortunately we were not the ones who ordered it so were literally salivating over someone elses meal.

There is also a very cute outdoor area in the back, candle lit and very private, however it was a chilly night so we opted to sit inside.  The ‘gateau’ for dessert was delicious, but then again it seems to be a Brazilian specialty so it is great pretty much everywhere.  Overall, a wonderful dining experience that I would happily go back to and recommend!

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Scenes of Paraty

Since the historical center of Paraty is such an adorable town I figured I would share a few scenes so you could really get a feel for it.. enjoy

The town (above), love that every door is a different color

Barril is a good spot for drinks and live music, was a very popular spot while we were there,  however skip the food- we waited over 45 mins for a salad that never came… better to go after dinner!

There are many beautiful old churches throughout the city

Since there are a number of cachaca distilleries (will cover that in a future post) there are many types and flavors of cachaca to try— the chocolate one is delicious!!

Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but the waves in Tindade were 15 feet high the day we were there!

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