A Brazilian Institution: Fresh Bread Every 20 Minutes

A Brazilian Institution: Fresh Bread Every 20 Minutes

    Brazil’s bakeries aren’t charging for fresh bread hot out of the oven.
    The government has fixed
    the price of the pãozinho at 10 cents
    each. Since
    padarias do not make any money on the
    pãezinhos, they
    have diversified and started selling many other things. They have
    become the hangout for
    young executives in the morning.


    Monica Trentini


    Padarias are Brazilian bakeries. Most
    padarias have Portuguese roots and produce the notorious
    pãozinho, which has yet to be re-created successfully in the US.
    Padarias bake and sell
    pãezinhos throughout the day—fresh ones should be
    available by the basketful almost every 20 minutes. Some even wait so they can walk out of the
    padaria with a warm bag of
    pãezinhos, and rightfully so. There is nothing quite like a fresh
    pãozinho eaten with your eggs and
    café com leite in the morning or
    with butter and honey in the afternoon or early evening, when you want a little something to tide you over.

    Don’t throw those cold, even stale
    pãezinhos away. Cut into rounds, they make great toast or French toast, and
    cubed, crumbled or grated, bread crumbs. In a pinch, I went to my
    padaria on Thanksgiving, and was given a big bag of stale
    bread for stuffing. They wouldn’t even charge me.*

    They aren’t charging for the nice hot out of the oven stuff either. The government has fixed the price of the
    pãozinho so it is accessible to everyone, making it the cheapest thing you can buy at the
    padaria (about 30 centavos—10 cents each).
    Padarias do not make any money on the
    pãezinhos, hence the latest trend:
    padarias have diversified and started selling
    many other things.

    If you enjoy going to the beach on the Litoral Norte of São Paulo, you know what I mean. If you go into a
    padaria on the way, you can grocery shop. You can find everything short of a
    picanha (top sirloin cap) there. Of course, the prices
    are higher, and they have an interesting way of selling you your condiments—first, you have to ask the man behind the
    counter for them. Next, he bags everything and hands you the bags with a hand-written slip listing all your groceries and cold cuts.

    Then, you proceed to the cash register, where you hand the guy in the box your slip and pay for that and anything
    you happened to pick up throughout the store, including the paddle ball set he has sitting in the window of his cubicle, or
    miniature rhino, if you happened to be so crazy as to bring your 3 year old shopping. The line could be long, so take advantage of
    Brazilian laws and go to the front if you are elderly, carrying a child or pregnant.

    Even if you decide to stay put in São Paulo, you can still choose to spend your money at the closest
    padaria. On Sundays, my padaria roasts chickens and ribs outside, and they sell out
    (frango assado and costelas). If I think ahead, I can order
    a chicken pie or a palmito (heart of palm) pie from the
    padaria on Friday and have it for our Sunday lunch. I had a party
    and ordered small breads and bread sticks from the
    padaria by the kilo. They also make cold cut trays and meter
    sandwiches for parties. (tábua de frios
    and sanduíche de metro)

    Many Brazilians are opting to eat breakfast at the
    padaria. It is the hangout for young executives in the morning, so
    if you are looking, you might want to try meeting the man of your dreams over a cup of coffee and a nice hot
    pãozinho. Ask people in your neighborhood or at your workplace about the
    padarias. If you find a good one, you will be almost as
    happy as you would finding that certain someone.

    *Another great hint is that some
    padarias will bake your turkey or
    pernil (ham) for you. Their ovens are on all day,
    so why not make a little extra money? If you would like yours baked for the holidays, make sure to talk to the people at
    the padaria in advance.


    Monica O’Day Trentini was born in the US but raised in Brazil. She attended American Schools and eventually went
    to The University of Virginia, where she graduated with a Master’s in Teaching. She married a Brazilian and moved to São
    Paulo. She left teaching to raise her children and started a business making and selling home-made cookie dough and baked
    cookies to people. She delivers cookies in São Paulo, but orders have come from as far as Arizona! She currently has her articles
    published at www.gringoes.com and in The Flash, a printed newsletter for The International Newcomers’ Club in São Paulo.
    Monica’s e-mail is cookiedoughtogo@yahoo.com, and she welcomes your responses to her articles, as well as your cookie orders.

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