By Sarah Brown, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It’s that time of year where Christmas is just on the horizon which can only mean one thing: Christmas gift shopping. Rio has some wonderful boutique stores and fairs that are perfect for buying unique and interesting gifts.
For a chocolate gift with a difference, Chocolate Q in Ipanema sells dreamy chocolates that are free from artificial flavors and made with only cocoa mass, cocoa butter and a tiny bit of sugar. What makes them a truly one-of-a-kind gift is that the shapes were designed by the late Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer. Coming well-presented in sophisticated gift boxes, they make a great present for those that love chocolate and anything Brazilian.
Maria Oiticica in Leblon stocks biojewellery that is made using seeds, wood fibers and nuts from the Amazon rainforest. All the pieces this boutique stocks are ethically and sustainably sourced, causing no harm to the natural habitat. The result is a one-of-a-kind, beautiful pieces that range from necklaces to earrings. They are a perfect accessory to add to a simple outfit or to really make a going-out dress stand out.
For those looking for a gift for someone who is house-proud could consider going to Poeira in Leblon that stocks modern furniture including international brands and their own designs. The pieces are modern and quirky from focal-point tables to decorative lamps.
To buy a truly different gift, check out Imaginarium that stocks everything from doorstops and salt and pepper shakers, to cocktail makers and pencil cases. The design is fresh and modern, and there is something there for even the most awkward person to buy for.
For an extensive range of imported and national beers that will satisfy any palette, Bier en Cultuur fills a specific niche for beer-lovers. Based in Ipanema, the store fills its small space with over two hundred different types of beer, perfect for gathering a few varieties together to make a gift-box of specialist beers. Their informal service has removed the need for a menu, preferring the old-school ask-at-the-counter way to get personalized treatment.
Rio de Janeiro’s markets are wide-ranging and budget-browser friendly, making them a perfect go-to spot for extensive Christmas shopping. The hippie market in Ipanema is held every Sunday at General Osorio in Ipanema, stocked with stalls of casual clothes, hand-made jewelry and Rio-themed pieces of art. There is also a stall that sells Bahian foods as a pit-stop for a deep-fried snack or sweet dessert. The fair begins at 7AM and closes around 7PM.
Jars of preserved chilies, Bahian women ornaments, hammocks, various types of cachaça and more northeastern pieces line the tighty packed corridors in feira de são cristóvão. The huge market runs non-stop all weekend with music and generous portions of typically Brazilian food set in a lively, casual environment. It’s an easy place to spend an enjoyable day getting to know the Brazilian northeast culture and pick up some unique Christmas gifts.
Christmas shopping in Rio de Janeiro is an experience to visit pokey boutiques, culture-rich markets and local businesses that give the city its charming character and wonderful diversity.