The cobblestone streets in the historic center of Paraty are slippery. You really need to pay attention where you walk but still I can’t help getting distracted by the white buildings with their colourful doors and windows. Downtown Paraty is a traffic free zone . The city has been able to maintain most of its historic buildings and much of the architecture of the city has not changed for over 250 years. It got its name from the Guaianas people who used to live here and means “river of fish”.
A horse drawn carriage passes by carrying a Brazilian family, probably visiting for the weekend from Sao Paolo. The young man driving the carriage gives a half hearted tour as his thin brown horse tries to manoeuvre the uneven cobblestones with this heavy load. Across the street a small store selling paintings and various items made out of straw has a steady stream of tourists going in and out. Another horse comes by carrying supplies for a restaurant nearby.
We spot Café Pingado as we walk along, and take the tall table near the window and watch the world of Paraty go by. Everyone knows each other by name and locals say hello to most of the people they pass. The sky is grey and the clouds low. It isn’t raining yet but it feels like it already has been. Between the bad weather and the low season for tourists the streets are pretty quiet.
I had the choice of several hot chocolates here at Café Pingado. For that reason, and for its open and warm décor, I instantly took a liking to this place and we came back several times during our 3 day stay in Paraty. I settled on the Submarino. I have good memories of drinking submarinos across Argentina but this one I enjoyed more. I was presented with a small cup filled with hot frothy milk. Inside was a still intact bar of Hershey chocolate. I tasted it before it melted and it wasn’t sweet as you would imagine but more bitter and dark. It melted quickly into my cinnamon flavoured milk.
Verdict: A must when visiting Paraty (which is also a must if visiting Brazil). Sitting here enjoying my hot chocolate and watching life on the cobblestone streets of Paraty is something I won’t soon forget. Café Pingado, Rua Dr. Samuel Costa 11, Paraty