Tucum and Gift Brazil


Havaianas – a great holiday present (though not hugely original).


One question that comes up a lot from visitors to Rio is “What is a nice gift that I can buy here to take home?”. The usual list of suggested presents/mementos goes like this: Havaianas, cachaça, coffee. That’s it.

Well, actually of course that’s not it – there are other imaginative suggestions like pão de queijo mix (both my parents have been the lucky recipients of this Brazilian treat), hammocks (my sister) and giant bird-head masks (my friends):


My friends back in London putting their bird-head masks into action.


All of these gift ideas (with the possible exception of the bird-head masks) are pretty good, but if you’ve been to Brazil before, then you’ll probably have bought all of these already (again, not the bird-heads).

So where can you go if you’re looking for something a little more creative and original? Well, there’s a very nice shop that I discovered recently right here in Santa Teresa: Tucum.


Tucum in Santa Teresa.


Tucum’s motto is Arte Indígena – Design Sustentável (Indigenous Art – Sustainable Design) which pretty well sums them up. They are a collective of indigenous groups, researchers, designers and artists that have come together to support sustainable Brazilian arts and crafts and build a supply chain that can benefit indigenous communities.


Colourful bracelets made by the Kayapó people.


They stock a wide range of arts and crafts items, ranging from bracelets, necklaces and other items of jewellery through to baskets, hammocks and works of art.


Carvings by the Mehinako people from the state of Mato Grosso.


Not all the items they stock are made by indigenous people. Sustainability is a big part of their ethos and so they’re happy to support projects like Óculos Zerezes. This rather charming video tells you all you need to know:



So, while I’m definitely not knocking Havaianas as a great gift to cram into your suitcase, perhaps through Tucum you’ll find something more memorable and certainly more original.

If you’re not lucky enough to be in Rio, but are interested in buying products that have been responsibly sourced from Brazilian artisans, take a look at Gift Brazil.



Gift Brazil was set up by Angelica Mari, a Brazilian technology journalist and crafter, because of a common problem she encountered when entertaining business guests:

Every time Angelica [showed] business and leisure visitors around Brazil, there was always a last-minute, rushed request to find interesting gifts that they could take home to friends and family. But those visitors would invariably resort to the gifts of t-shirts and decorative items that often bear the clichéd toucans, parrots, the famous Rio tourist spots…but the worst thing of all is that those items are, quite frequently, made in countries other than Brazil.


Gift Brazil take a similarly responsible, supportive attitude to their collective of artists and what’s more, they deliver internationally. A good deal for you and a good deal for the artists!



Tucum is located at Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno, 100, Santa Teresa (Map).

Gift BrazilFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.


10 replies
  1. The Gritty Poet
    The Gritty Poet says:

    Yeah, I’m a big fan of politically incorrect regifting, or just getting rid of unwanted things by way of “look what I brought you back from ____”. Hence the sombrero/ typical Brazilian countryside hat I gave to European relatives ( which I received thanks to a friend’s recent Mexico trip – what part of bring me peppers did he not understand I wonder). I also got rid of a visiting elderly relative’s forgotten dentures saying it was traditional mouth ornamentation after returning from a London trip :-)

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Ah yes, re-gifting – a pastime so fraught with danger that it should be designated an extreme sport. You’d better hope your friend’s next visit doesn’t coincide with a Mexican-themed costume party or you’ll be having to answer some tricky questions about what happened to that ‘awesome’ sombrero he brought you back from Cancún… 😉

  2. Jim
    Jim says:

    From the first time I discovered the gift shopping in Santa Teresa (there is another shop up there as well that has some sweet stuff) I have been sending all tourist there for a nice day, great lunch, and authentic Brazil stuff shopping. Good find!

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      I bet you’re talking about La Vereda – it’s a really sweet shop full of all kinds of nice things (clothes, ornaments, art work, etc) which are totally present-worthy without falling in the ‘tacky holiday presents’ category :)

      La Vereda

  3. The Gritty Poet
    The Gritty Poet says:

    So, off-topic, I got 6 of 8 predictions right regarding the teams that would make it to the quarter-finals – Italy and Switzerland were my miscalculations (important to remember that I made said predications when only 6 teams had secured passage to the round of 16). Yes, be impressed, it´s only normal.

    Anyway, I stand by my initial predictions regarding placement, top player, and goal scorer: 1. Germany; 2. Holland; 3.Brazil; 4. Belgium; Robben; Neymar.

    It would be cool if others were to make predictions. It isn´t as fun when you´ve got nobody to compete with (and by compete with I mean beat of course).

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Hey Gritty – well we’re left with pretty much the perfect semi-final situation aren’t we? My heart longs for a Brazil-Argentina final, but my head tells me it will be Germany and Holland fighting it out in the final. My prediction:

      1. Holland
      2. Germany
      3. Brazil
      4. Argentina

      Player of the tournament: Arjen Robben – tough guy to like, but man, he is deadly.
      Goal of the tournament: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGPZf_aF82M

  4. The Gritty Poet
    The Gritty Poet says:

    As stated in my initial prediciton regarding Brazil I don´t think she would be able to advance against Germany even when Neymar was fit, now I think it will take a miracle for the Brazilian players to displace Germany. Sucks big time that Neymar is out though, he is the best player in the world methinks. Concerning the other match Holland is far superior to Argentina, even with Rainman in good shape (Messi). Now if the Argentines were guaranteed that they´d get to look like the Dutch and be afforded the same consideration of said glorious orange and hot nation on the world stage in case of victory then perhaps they could pull it off. Anyway, even if Brazil and Argentina reach the final at the end of it all it is back to Dilma and Cristina for the both of ´em (and that really does make me feel for both populations).
    Btw you´ve been leaving us postless as of late (again, I am willing to submit a Coluna do Gritty to fill in the void and add a touch of diplomacy and brotherhood to the blog). Sleep on it :-)

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Yeah, it’s going to be a tough job for Brazil, but I think their passion and home support gives them a chance. Sometimes losing your ‘best’ player can galvanise the rest of the team – who knows?

      Regarding paucity of posts, it’s been a very busy few weeks, but you did see my post from last Friday right? Hopefully there’ll be another one along soon. Things will be back to normal after the World Cup (well, after our 2 week holiday to Mexico which starts just after the World Cup!). :)


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