#EatRioLoves – Things to love about Rio

#EatRioLoves? What’s that all about? Well I’ll get to that in a moment, but first of all: Hello readers! I just took at look at the blog section of the Eat Rio site and realised that I hadn’t written any posts for a loooong time – it’s high time for an update.

The downturn in international travel was a total nightmare for my little company, but looking on the bright side, it gave me time to stop, take a step back and reassess a few things. There was time to think about how my team and I could make Eat Rio bigger and better when tourism got going again; time to plan other projects that might be interesting/rewarding; time to hang out with my puppy:

This is Muffy. She was part of an abandoned litter that was rescued from a favela. She has a collection of different ear configurations that she employs to make herself look even cuter (the ‘one up, one down’ is one of her favourites). You can see more of Muffy on Instagram under the tag #MuffyEatsRio.


Things to love about Rio

During the downtime, when I wasn’t reeling from the sheer cuteness of my little canine friend, I also found myself thinking about Rio: what does this city mean to me? What made me want to live here? And after 11 years in the Cidade Maravilhosa, what are the things that I still really love about this place?

There are plenty of things I liked about Rio from the get-go: the dramatic mountains; the beautiful forest located right there in the middle of city; the punchy caipirinhas seemingly available on every street corner; lazy, sunny days boozing on the beach.

But other loves came later, either because I  didn’t know about them at first or because it took me a while to really tune in and appreciate them: nursing a well-earned hangover with a freshly crushed caldo de cana (com limão) at the Sunday feira; Brazilian music – from Pixinguinha and Nelson Cavaquinho to Nação Zumbi and BaianaSystem; the bars and botecos of Tijuca; exploring the narrow alleyways of Feira de São Cristóvão; rice and really good beans, topped with deliciously clumpy farofa de ovo and a fiery drizzle of malagueta chilli oil.

As I pondered my Rio ‘love list’, it dawned on me that we have been highlighting many of these things on our food tours for years. As food-focused experiences, the tours are naturally chock full of culinary delights, recommendations and recipes, but we also try to give our guests a broader, deeper understanding of what makes this city special. How applause on the beach might be to show appreciation for a beautiful sunset or a communal effort to reunite a lost child with his/her parent; how Cariocas who get a seat on an overcrowded bus will hold the bags of those forced to stand; we recommend hikes and samba clubs, books, films and composers.



So I thought it might be a nice exercise in positivity to make a list of all the things I love about Rio and then write about each one in turn. Perhaps even make some short videos to show some of them in person. On top of that, I thought that as well as making me feel all warm and fuzzy about the place I choose to call home, it could also double as a way of promoting some of the unsung heroes/highlights of Rio to new arrivals.

I’ll link all the content together with the #EatRioLoves hashtag so it’ll be easy to find when you’re researching your next outing or just fancy basking in a little Rio-positivity (I’ll be posting #EatRioLoves content here on the blog, but also on Instagram and Facebook).

Of course, life in Rio is not all cerveja gelada and torresmo crocante. All cities have their problems, and Rio is no different. But for this series of posts, I choose to focus on the good stuff!



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4 replies
  1. Alex
    Alex says:

    Looking forward to reading more on this Tom – it’s sometimes all too easy to get caught up in negativity, and taking a step back, and taking stock of what makes somewhere a place you can fall in love with is important for our souls!

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Thanks Alex! That’s exactly where I was coming from here – it seems like there’s so much focus on Rio’s negatives (whether you’re looking at international news articles or grumpy people moaning in the various Facebook groups). Of course there are downsides and frustrations (and I like a whinge as next as the next person!), but taking time to recognise the good things about our surroundings can be a nice reminder that life isn’t all doom and gloom. And I also really appreciate the fact that, from the start, I had someone who knew the place point out and explain so many of Rio’s charms. Lots of people come here for a short period and don’t have that benefit :)

  2. Nicky
    Nicky says:

    Looking forward to returning to Rio next month and exploring more of the culinary delights! I’m particularly looking forward to being reunited with cachaça if I’m honest…! I’ll look out for your recommendations.

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Yum! Cachaça took me a good long time to get into, but I’m glad I kept at it. Will you be going to Paraty as well as Rio? There are some great alambiques in the area.


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