Minas Gerais is the only place where you can buy cheese bread with cheese. And what’s that? A cheese bread cut in half filled with melted Minas Gerais cheese! It’s mouthwatering, isn’t it?
In Minas Gerais, get ready to try cheese in many forms. There’s even cheese ice cream! In Brazil, the most famous are produced in the region of Serra da Canastra, but the whole state of Minas Gerais produces cheese, including the historical cities.
In Belo Horizonte, a good place to shop for cheese is Mercado Central, but, in other cities, there are cheese shops and outdoor markets where you’ll find this item at accessible prices. So leave some room in your bag to take a whole piece* home, because you’ll miss Minas Gerais cheese after your trip ends.
*Make sure to check your country’s food regulations.
2 - Cachaça
Brazil is the largest producer of sugarcane in the world, and cachaça is made from this plant. Many rural estates in Minas Gerais have their own distilleries, making the state a reference in the production of the beverage.
Minas Gerais cachaça usually goes down smooth and easy, then it warms up your chest. You can have it neat or it can be used to make several drinks, like caipirinha, and foods. Pork meat, which is widely consumed in Minas Gerais, is even more delicious when marinated in cachaça.
3 - Dulce de leche
Dulce de leche from Minas Gerais competes with the varieties made in Argentina and Uruguay in terms of creaminess and flavor. It’s almost impossible not to take a jar home, and you can find it everywhere: from grocery stores to supermarkets, from highway stops to the airport.
And you probably know by now that in Minas Gerais they eat dulce de leche with cheese!
4 - Handicrafts
In Minas Gerais, you can find some of the most beautiful handicrafts in Brazil, developed using different techniques and raw materials. Wood, iron, soapstone; furniture pieces, religious figurines, décor objects, flatware, and custom jewelry.
The artisans usually work with their doors open and you can see the manufacturing process, talk to them, buy, buy, and buy some more, at very accessible prices.
If you’re taking a road trip, keep an eye out for roadside shops.
5 - Coffee
Brazilian coffee is famous all over the world, especially for being full-bodied and strong. And Minas Gerais is the largest coffee producer in the country, because it’s surrounded by mountains where the climate favors its cultivation.
To go with cheese bread or cream cookies, there’s nothing better than a good, freshly brewed cup of coffee. Most places serve freshly filtered coffee, a quintessential Minas Gerais beverage, but you can also find cafés that use more elaborate techniques.
Oh, and you can find coffee beans or powder at the grocery stores to take home, together with all the other things on this list.