10 Great Gifts to Bring from Brazil

Many of us foreigners in the city are making, or have already secured, plans to travel to our home countries for the Brazilian winter. But what fun items do we bring for friends and family that will represent the culture we’ve been immersing ourselves in? Here are my top ten items to pass out upon arrival.

For more lists of 10 and insights into Sao Paulo, see American Exbrat in São Paulo.

1. Havaianas

havaianas

Sure, you can find some styles of Havaianas in the USA and Europe. But you are not going to get the chic and extensive options like you will at the flagship store on Oscar Freire. There you can even customize your own pair to make the souvenir extra special. I’ve brought little girls some signature shoes designed with a favorite cartoon character, but then added a little bling. Right now, the season in the States is perfect to start tromping around in these flip flops. But even if you are going to a colder climate, the brand now sells socks in a special shape to accommodate the shoes.

2. Cachaça

cachaca

You’d be surprised how few brands of cachaça are actually available in the States. So it is quite a treat to receive one or two that vary in taste. Just warn your unsuspecting friend or relative that it can go down very easily when consumed in a caipirinha, yet can be surprisingly powerful. We made a pitcher or two at a barbecue on our last trip and the attendees learned this lesson the hard way. You can find a nice wide variety at the stalls of the Mercado Municipal.

3. Moqueca Pot

moqueca

Yes, it is a bit large and heavy, though you can purchase ones much smaller than that pictured here. But you know you have empty room in your suitcase you plan to fill abroad. Give with a recipe for the fish stew and maybe someone will make you some. Even if they don’t, it looks cool in a kitchen. While we inherited the one we have, you can purchase at a restaurant supply store like Utilitá on Rua Martim Francisco.

4. Kinder Ovos

kinder ovos

Kids love these chocolate treats with a surprise inside! However, if you are traveling to the USA, hide them well in your suitcase. This candy is illegal there, yet available almost everywhere you look here.

5. Brazilian Coffee

10 Gifts

I’m not talking about a bag of Pilão from the Pão de Azuçãr. Pick up a delicious bag of beans from one of the popular cafés like Suplicy or Santo Grão. The recipient will not be disappointed. Especially when morning comes.

6. Pão de Mel

pao de mel

Ideally, you would bring the true traditional Brazilian treat to share – brigadeiros! But those can get melty and squishy during a trip (trust me, I’ve tried it out). The next best item is the pão de mel honey cakes. This dessert is also a bit fragile, but less so than the condensed milk candies.

7. Cangas

canga

While the canga is most know as beachwear or to sit on the sand in lieu of a beach towel, beneficiaries can also throw over a bedspread or chair to add some extra flair. I happen to own a stack of these, as it was a gift of choice given to me by my Brazilians when I was living in the States. In Rio there are vendors selling cangas on the beach nearly every day, but in São Paulo you can sometimes buy at the neighborhood feira or at a swimsuit store.

8. Puxa Saco

puxa saco

Simple, yet brilliant, this sack is sold at your local feira. Its purpose is to conveniently hold all the plastic sacks collected from the grocery store. I gave this as a gift to family members and now they don’t know how they lived without it for so long.

9. Soaps from Granado Pharmácias

sab_barra_superfino

Products from this historic Brazilian company come in pretty packages with lovely scents.  They even have sparkly bars of soap that little girls love. The items are also surprisingly inexpensive.

10. Brazilian Hammock

hammock

If someone has been really good, and he or she has the space, you can give a traditional Brazilian hammock. More durable than your standard string type, this makes for a very useful and relaxing present. Just be sure that where you are attaching it is extremely secure. We’ve had some mishaps in the US with ours – one involving most of a wall coming down.

About bornagainbrazilian

Having relocated from New York City to Sao Paulo, Brazil, I'm an expat attempting to broaden my horizons and adjust some of my American ways to be "born again" a Brazilian.
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30 Responses to 10 Great Gifts to Bring from Brazil

  1. Erin Halm says:

    I like your list. Did not know about the thingy for the plastic bags. I need to get one of those. If people are bringing cachaça though, they should be warned that most of the bottle seals do not survive the plane ride and they leak (maybe because of the air pressure or something??). We´ve arrived several times with the clothes in our suitcase soaked in cachaça.

    • Katie says:

      For anyone planning to travel with alcohol or any liquid, I recommend buying Wine Diapers or WineSkins. They are very inexpensive from Amazon.com.
      We constantly buy (a lot of) wine abroad, so have about 20 of these for when we travel.
      Our personal favorite is the Wine Safeguard Reusable Bottle Protector… it is reusable… so the best buy, even if more expensive.

    • I’ve never had a problem with cachaca, but I also wrap it up in a large ziplock bag and then wrap clothes around the bottles. Try that!

    • I never knew about the puxa saco (the name of which I just learned yesterday to write this) if our first empregada hadn’t made us one. It is in full constant use. We wrap our cachaca up in plastic first, for that very reason!

  2. Katie says:

    Kinder Ovos are illegal???? What??????

  3. Narwhal says:

    Right or wrong, Kinder Eggs ARE illegal in the US. Importing them can bring hefty fines.
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/26/the-kinder-egg-kerfuffle/

  4. Annabelle says:

    I would add pao de queijo mix….. always bring some of that back.

  5. Super useful. Thanks!

  6. Pingback: 5 Items for Foreigners from the Feira for Feriado | born again brazilian

  7. Rachel says:

    I always bring back Havaianas. I swear, my last trip I filled an entire suitcase with them.

  8. audrina1759 says:

    I definitely want to visit Brazil someday. Especially the capital Rio. I heard Rio is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

  9. willc88 says:

    Have you been in Sao Paulo the whole time you’ve been living in Brazil? I chose to come live in Mexico over Brazil a couple of years ago, but it’s still an idea that pops up in my head at least once a month!

    • I haven’t been to Mexico City yet. São Paulo is a fantastic city for culture and entertainment, but it is also a little chaotic. Friends who moved from Mexico City to São Paulo were disappointed in how expensive the city is now and its lack of charm. But you should definitely check it out.

  10. Tyi says:

    I want to know the best way of getting cupuacu, with its seeds so I can replant them here in Florida? I would appreciate it if someone could answer this question please

    • Hi Tyi,

      Sorry for the very late reply. I don’t know what that is, but perhaps someone else out there does. Anyone?

      • Ticiane Vasco says:

        Cupuaçu is a fruit from Amazônia. It looks like cocoa. I don’t know if it’s allowed in plains, as many kinds of fruits, but I think you can buy the seeds and try to plant them in Florida. A bit of advice: I don’t know if this is a good idea, Florida has a different climate from Amazônia, maybe the trees couldn’t grow up.

      • naomykahlo says:

        hey!

        cupuaçu is a brazilian fruit, from Nordeste of brazil. I’m not sure if you can replant this out, but you should try, cause is delicious…

        try açaí and caju too… we have the most nice fruits =)

    • Sandra Reis says:

      Cupuaçu is a common fruit on the Northern Brazil, but you can find it on some markets across the country. If you’re coming to Sao Paulo (where I live), you can find it at the “Mercadao”, but if you’re planning a trip to Manaus or Belém, I believe you’ll be able to catch some on the trees on the streets. Dunno if there’s a place that sells the seeds separately though.

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  13. Bianca says:

    I would add capim dourado jewelry. They have necklaces, earrings, bracelets, pots, trays…. Everything handmade with a natural fiber that grows only in Brazil. http://Www.ecoartebrasil.com

    Good price too…

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