The beginnings of a more locavore approach to eating are taking hold in São Paulo, epitomised with the return of Outstanding in the Field – a series of alfresco banquets in bucolic settings that have gathered a cult following in the USA.
The banquets unite a hundred or so diners around a long table for meals that are created using produce sourced from within a few miles of the location, and cooked by notable chefs.
Outstanding in the Field made its Brazilian debut overlooking the ocean in Florianópolis in March 2012, under the banner ‘Gastronomade Brasil’ (gastronomadebrasil.com), going on to host lunches in rural idylls in São Paulo state and the wine country of Rio Grande do Sul.
In the newest wave of events, celebrated chef Roberta Sudbrack, of the eponymous Rio restaurant is cooking for guests at a fazenda 100km from Rio on 22 September – but in a radical departure from the bucolic bliss, São Paulo’s next edition will be in the downtown heart of the city, in the Mercado Municipal, on 30 September.
‘It’s going to be totally different from the other events,’ says its chef, Alex Caputo, who also cooked for the first São Paulo OITF. ‘For the first time it’s going to be in a city. But the Mercado Municipal is a reference for gastronomy in São Paulo and it houses a lot of small producers, so it’s very apt.’ The event, which costs a healthy R$360 per head, kicks off with a drinks reception followed by a tour of the market before guests head up to the market’s banqueting space for a gourmet four-course lunch.
Caputo has devised a menu that uses vegetables, herbs, lamb and duck from two farms in Valinhos, about 100km north west of the city. The fruit comes from the Sítio do Bello farm, 130km east of the city, while the cheese (ricotta and provolone) will be coming straight from the Mercadão itself – from Queijos Roni, a stand run by Roque Bruno Tadeu Peta, better known as just Roni.
Herby salad with feta and a Brazil nut praline
Endive parcels with confit duck on a bed of mushrooms
Lamb sous-vide with roasted root vegetables
A trio of cambuci panna cotta, jabuticaba cheesecake and fig compote.