Rio Vermelho with Bahian customs and an award-winning chef
A friend introduced me to the neighbourhood of Rio Vermelho (this translates as “Red River” which comes from the Tupi Language. The name “Camarajibe” or “River of the Camarás”. Camarás are small red flowers which once grew in abundance in Salvador).
It was my first day in the city five years’ ago and I was treated to the Festa de Iemanjá, which is celebrated annually on 2nd February. Iemanjá is so popular that the Praia Rio Vermelho, where ceremonies are held to bless offerings of flowers, cakes, effigies and bottles of perfume, is packed before breakfast. This is followed by a remarkable street festival with some of Salvador’s best bands, a party that lasts long into the night. The event is famous across Brazil and is broadcast on national television, and the street parties in the evening certainly made for a fine introduction to this vibrant city’s musical and religious riches, so deeply engrained in its culture. Miraviva recommends visiting Salvador before carnival and to experience this event as a much better alternative for those looking for something very unique and memorable.
But Salvador is not resting on its ancient traditions with change and new attractions opening every year we visit the city. The Week Magazine’s excellent summary drawn from Paul Richardson’s Financial Times feature highlights Rio Vermelho’s “delightful (new) museum which is dedicated to Brazil’s leading 20th century novelist Jorge Amado. Set in his own house, it offers an insight into his communist beliefs, his fascination with Candomblé, and his obsessive hoarding of holiday souvenirs.”
A day in this area is well deserving of a good meal at the end. Miraviva will do its best to ensure that anyone visiting this barrio (“district”) will share the enjoyment I experienced when I dined at Casa de Tereza, and was introduced to the charming and acclaimed chef, Tereza Paim. Paul describes her “locale as a de facto cultural centre as well as an eating place, with art shows in the dining room and a shop selling locally handmade foods and crafts”. “Tereza”, he notes, “is a long-time Rio Vermelho resident who understands the area’s strong attraction for poets, musicians and graffiti artists”.