Thursday, April 10, 2008
Funghi d'Oro (the Mushroom Restaurant), Orchid Farm, and Pottery Factory
Part of our Saturday travel included stops at a lovely Orchid Farm and the Luiz Salvador Pottery factory, then dinner at the amazing Funghi d'Oro mushroom restaurant and farm.
The Orchid Farm lies on the mountain, just outside of Petropolis, and just as you would guess, boasts thousands of orchids in sizes and colors that are difficult to even imagine. The warm, humid climate is perfect for cultivating orchids.
Mary K always gets an orchid plant for her verandah; on Saturday she got two and we promptly named them "Paulina" and "Katerina", nicknames for Paul and Katie. They occupy seats on the verandah bar. Sure hope Mary K keeps those orchids fertilized!!
Katerina on the left and Paulina on the right, residing on The Verandah bar
Driving on to the little town of Itaipava, just outside of Petropolis, we arrived at the Luiz Salvador pottery place. Unlike the USA, Brazil imposes very stiff import tariffs, thus it is unusual to turn over your dinner plate (or cup, silverware, linens etc) and see anything other than "Industria Brazil" or "Made in Brazil" identified as its place of origin. Everything at home says "Made in China" or Malaysia, Korea, VietNam...anyplace except the USA!
So, it is very refreshing to find most things in Brazil are actually manufactured in Brazil and therefore it is still possible to visit a small, local pottery and china manufacturer.
This factory shop will make every woman part with her money!!
Really lovely serving sets and accent pieces of tableware; lots of blue and white (Katie and Tiff's favorite), celadon, taupe and rich red hues. Pineapple, rooster, palm tree, etc motiffs. Something for everyone! Well, maybe not for the guys; there were no tools for sale:)
Katie found several tiny blue teacups that she fancied and I purchased several small plates and bowl; matching my favorite pineapple serving plate which Mary K had kindly given to me when she visited the states last year.
So after our fun shopping, we motored on over to the Funghi d'Oro, on a road less traveled for sure!! www.funghidoro.com.br
Traveling over 5 miles off the main mountain highway, down an old paver stone road (which was in incredibly good shape), up and down thru a twisting mountain lane, deep into the rain forest, where the road signs say "Caution: Jungle animal crossing" with a monkey sketch on it (no deer crossings in the rain forest!), we finally arrived at the end of a moss covered lane that belonged on the facing of a jigsaw puzzle, such was its beauty.
Here they cultivate and distribute mushrooms of many varieties, in a pleasant, green grottoe sort-of-place. There are flowing streams and ponds surrounded by flowering trees, shrubs,orchids, and abundant other flora and fauna, including a rose hedge.
Entering the dining room, you are greeted by dainty orchids growing down from the portico roof top. There are small logs with many varieties of mushrooms growing on them.
Inside, there are small wood burning fireplaces, glowing with small logs, to ward off the not-quite-yet-present evening chill in the mountains.
We were warmly greeted by the proprietor and promptly served yummy mushroom morsels marinated in olive oil and herbs with bits of warm brioche and cheese breads.
For several hours we enjoyed charming service and a most delicious and different meal! Cream of Mushroom Soup with a poached egg (you all know I did NOT eat the egg)...it was so incredibly delicious! Campbell's sure can take a lesson from these folks!
Then main courses of Frango (chicken) stuffed with mushrooms, Filet Mignon with roasted, toasted garlic cooked over wood flames and, for the more adventurous, Javelina or Wild Boar (Free range pork to Tiff:)!)
For desert, homemade Gelato--banana, cherry, chocolate, mint, mango, and more that I cannot name!
It was an evening to remember for certain; one of those special kinds of memorable meals that we are grateful for and will not soon be forgotten!
Ahead, a trip to the Jockey Club and shopping in Copacabana!
Tchau and hugs to everyone!