Hortifruti – great store, brilliant adverts!

Sooooo, today is my last full day in Brazil for 2 months. Such mixed feelings – it’s going to be great to see my family and friends, start my new job, eat proper cheese and drink proper beer again (in that order). But I’m leaving Brazil! For 2 months! There are so many things I’ll miss that I’m trying not to think about it too much right now. Instead I’m throwing myself into last minute preparations

One of the things I need to do is harvest my beloved chillis and turn them into hot chilli sauce! This time round I’m going for a genuine Trinidadian hot pepper sauce recipe and I’m also going to experiment with a chilli infused oil in the style found in many of Rio’s snack bars and Pé Sujos.

Yesterday, in preparation for all this peppery-cookery, I took a trip over to my favourite food shop in Rio – Hortifruti.

If you can afford it, this place is great. I love it!


Hortifruti (sounds like ORtchee-FROOtchee) was such a revelation to me the first time wandered in. The displays of fruit and vegetables are amazing – it’s like they have some kind of beauty contest for fresh produce and only the really sexy ones get through.


A word of warning: you may get a shock when you come to pay – it is way too expensive for me to shop there regularly. All those blemish-free bananas and perfect peaches come at a price. On the whole I prefer to shop at the local street market but it’s not open every day and sometimes I just feel like treating myself.

One of the perks I particularly enjoy is their bag packing – in most places they either let you do it yourself or someone will do it in a fairly casual manner whilst talking to the cashier. But at Hortifruti I suspect they have a week-long training course – it’s really pretty amazing to watch.

Yesterday my packer took a couple of microseconds to glance over the items waiting to be scanned – the next minute her hands were a blur as she setup 5 sets of bags (each one double-bagged). Then, as the items were scanned, she would whisk each item into its designated bag, occasionally putting a delicate item to one side as she had noted that a heavier item in that category was still to come. The whole process was incredibly fast and efficient – really it was a joy to watch!

And not only do they have great produce, great variety and great bag-packers, but they also have great adverts! Check out this series of ads based on films, but starring their most excellent produce:


Scissors and carrots are (respectively) "tesoura" and "cenoura" which rhyme. So here we have "Edward Carrot-hands". Underneath it says "A story that will cut hearts and prices"




"Quiabo" is Okra, "Diabo" is Devil and that shoe is made out of okra - got it?




"Jambo" is a weird kind of apple. The line on the left is "He's back. More ripe and even better".




"Melão" is melon and is a pretty good pun on Moulin. "How can you resist the beauty of the big star of Hortifruti?"




Remember our old friend Chuchu? Here he is as Shrek, "from a land far, far away, to Hortifruti"




Remember how Rs sound like Hs? Here Rucula (Rocket to my English readers) sounds like "Hookula", not a million miles from Hulk in Portuguese.




OK, I’m sure you didn’t need me to explain the puns/wordplay, but just in case… That’s it for today. Enjoy your Friday – I’ll be packing and trying not to cry.

11 replies
    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Ha ha! Totally! I bet they would come in to work each morning and go “Guys, I thought up a great one last night. Check this out” and then they drop a sketch of ‘Melão Rouge’ on their colleagues. So funny! 🙂

  1. The Gritty Poet
    The Gritty Poet says:

    Have you considered donating a small bottle of the upcoming pimenta sauce to your local dirty foot establishment?
    This way you could have some when you’re there, and others can also experiment. Tell them to call it “Pimenta do Inglês” – it’s probably what they will end up calling it anyway ( hey, you could make a logo for it, that would be cool).
    I would be really happy about going to England, getting to enjoy all the cool stuff from over there, and returning in just 2 months ( before a sense of routine sets in) . Perfect. Oh, don’t forget to pack your torch as you may need it in case your car breaks down in the carriageway 🙂
    Boa viagem.

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Ha ha, thanks Gritty. Also, “Pimenta do Inglês” – I like it! I can see a Paul Newman style condiment empire opening up in my future.

  2. Alex
    Alex says:

    Those are so creative! I love them!

    Please don’t forget about us when you are back in the UK and write when you get the chance! Have a good time and don’t forget to pack your sunscreen (sorry, I had to.)


  3. Rose
    Rose says:

    Oi Tom,

    boa viagem e muita sorte na sua viagem!

    Quando a SAUDADE bater forte do Rio, veja esse vídeo para matar o que lhe mata:


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