One of the things I love the most in any country is going to markets. I feel that markets represent the heart and soul of a country or city, and it offers you a glimpse into the everyday lives of the people living there.
As much as I enjoy visiting markets, I also enjoy shopping at them. Not only do I feel that I get a better understanding of where my food comes from, but I feel as though my money is going directly to the local community and not to big corporations like Walmart. This may be a far cry from the actual truth and a naive thought at that, but ultimately it makes me feel good!
Mexico was great for markets! Two of my most memorable market experiences where in San Juan Market in Mexico City which is the food meca for all foodies, and then the live animal market we visited in Oaxaca.
C and I have recently discovered a few markets here in Brasilia, and I can honestly say that I am glad that we did, as it has cut down our grocery spending by almost half! Our favourite market so far is CEASA which is located in the north of the city. Apparently, during the week it is a wholesale produce market where the restaurants and hotels buy their food from, but on Saturday’s it is open to the public and sells retail.
Not only is the produce far fresher and cheaper than what you can find in the supermarkets here, there is also a better variety that you can choose between. Although the focus seems to be on fruit and vegetables there are a few smaller artisanal stalls focusing on things like honey, cured meats and fresh cheese. Unfortunately I did not see a place that I would trust to buy meat or poultry from as none of the stalls looked very sanitary, so am still relying on Carrefour for these items (however I am keeping my eyes open for a good butcher!).
What I really like about CEASA compared to other markets we have been to in Brasilia, is that it is light and airy and it feels clean and safe. The vendors are all very personable and accommodating and have the patients to indulge me with a smile when I’m talking at them in my broken Portuguese/Spanish. Even though it is much cheaper here than in any of the other supermarkets, what I would keep an eye out for however, is being ripped off. Nobody likes to be ripped off no matter how cheap!Don’t do what I did when I picked up a handful of good looking vegetables and then got thrown back how much 5 items cost, to only become embarrassed and paid for in any way! Most of the stalls and vendors display their prices on little boards so stick to these guys, and you can even haggle a bit.
Right next to the CEASA is a nursery or flower shop that is also only open on Saturdays. I love this place and have bought a number of orchids and potted plants here, all of which are still alive today….which I am attributing solely to this market and not my gardening skills! The variety of plants here are amazing, and it is just worth to pop your head in and take a look, although I warn you now as it can be dangerous – there is no way you will leave this place empty handed!
Apparently the CEASA opens at 6am and for all you die hard food shoppers out there, this is considered the best time to go in order to get the best produce. There is no way I will be getting up at 6am on my Saturday morning, however the earlier you make it the better it is. Around 10am things start to sell out and by 11am the stores look like they are starting to shut down.
If you are living in Brasilia, or here for a holiday (ha ha ha like you would come here for a holiday!) it is worth making the effort to visit the CEASA. Once you shop here, there is no other way to shop in Brasilia!
Address: Sia Trecho 10 Lote 5 – CEP: 71.208-900