Quinta da Boa Vista
Telephone (21) 3890 0202
As the majority of the city either sleeps or parties, dawn in a corner of Benfica, Zona Norte, becomes a hive of activity, colours, sights and smells as the CADEG market opens up to chefs, hoteliers, florists and bleary-eyed bargain hunters. The city's centre for the supply of fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers of all types direct from the farm was the successful result of a protracted battle between traders and the authorities during the 1950s. Nowadays from around 2am truckload after truckload of plants pass through to be sold off at prices not to be found anywhere else in the city.
Despite the early hour, the burly drivers, traders and florists in the middle of their working day sing, shout and joke, all surrounded by some of the most stunningly beautiful roses, violets and orchids imaginable in a vibrant scene of contrasts. For those who prefer a bit of a lie in, late-morning to mid-afternoon on Saturdays provides a totally different taste of life, with live music, buckets of ice-cold beers and some excellent salt-cod bacalhau served up. Many of the restaurants have been smartened up far beyond one might expect to find at an indoor market, and above Emporio Gourmet Show's well-stocked delicatessen are some of the most skilfully handled Portugues dishes in the city.
Plastic tables and chairs fill the corridors, the serious business of drinking getting started nice and early, and the sound of Forró fills the larger spaces at weekends, couples young and old taking to the 'dancefloor' to cut some rug. The market stores remain open until around 3pm and offer relatively cheap bulk buying, but don't expect the bargains of the 5-6am madrugada. Taking a taxi is positively essential, and the 30-minute trip will cost around R$45 from central Copacabana.