Given the scores of Brazilians visiting Orlando, it’s no surprise that businesses catering to this demographic have popped up all over the tourist sector. On the corner of I-Drive and Municipal Drive sits an eyesore of a strip mall, but it’s a sight for sore eyes for homesick Brasileiros. Anchored by a sizable Brazilian supermarket and a spacious cafeteria-style restaurant, the complex’s true hidden gems veer toward the sweeter side. Netto Ice Cream specializes in Brazilian gelato – a scoop of the cheese-and-guava (the most popular flavor among Brazilians) is worth the drive alone. Also worth sampling are espresso coffee, roasted coconut, dulce de leche and banana, the latter enhanced with a drizzle of guava syrup. They’re exotic, but don’t let that preclude you from trying the raisin wine, corn or plum rum flavors.
Next door sits Pão Gostoso Bakery, a bustling cake and pastry shop where expats and visitors alike can be found downing açai, cashew or fresh cane juice while chomping on assorted “salgadinhos,” or small baked goods. Of note are the traditional condensed milk and cheese breads and the scrumptious éclairs, puddings and cakes beckoning from the large glass display case. You’ll also find fried chicken sticks, empanadas and kibbeh-like meatball patties, as well as hearty sandwiches oozing creamy catupiry cheese. Though English is spoken, it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on your Portuguese.
(Netto Ice Cream, 5472 International Drive, 407-226-6880; Pão Gostoso Bakery, 5472 International Drive; 407-447-8946)