Our post is about one of the most special stops of our Downtown and Lapa Free Tour, a historic and charming place. Colombo Bakery was built by 2 Portuguese immigrants in 1894, one of them was Manuel Lebrão, born in the Northeast of Portugal in Alto do Minho. He arrived in Rio when he was 13 years old, seeking a better life. There are many Colombo Bakeries in Rio de Janeiro, but today we are talking about the first shop – the historic, located in Downtown Rio.
Colombo Bakery Menu and Delicacies
Today, as it is a result of a relation between Brazil and Portugal, the bakery offers options of both countries. Brigadeiro, which is Brazilian most popular national sweet and Pastel de Nata, the famous Portuguese sweet. Between the savories the famous Coxinha (friend savorie usually field with chicken) and cod fishes.
Colombo Brazilian and Portuguese Savories
Behind you can see the menu, with the sweet and savory options prices.
If you want to try Colombo dishes, feel free to try one of the salons of the Bakery, there are options for every moment, the Bar do Jardim (Garden Bar) for example to the ones who are willing to go for small meals, sandwiches and snacks.
Other salons refer to Brazilians famous personalities, as Salon Olavo Bilac (a famous Brazilian writer), that besides it’s incredible decoration offers a perfect menu for quick meals
Cristovão Colombo (the sailor) salon, besides referring to the famous navigator offers an integration between Portuguese and Spanish culinary with sea food options, to pleasure the most demanding tastes.
Another salon is Espaço Memória (Memory Space) that preserves original identity and an exhibition of original crystals and crockery. The place is recommended for private meetings, as a delicious breakfast or lunch
After so many salon options and delicacies in Colombo, we have an advice to give you. Colombo breakfast is famous and mandatory in cariocas (people who are born in Rio are called cariocas) life at least once. Doesn’t matter if they work at Rio downtown, or if don’t have time during the week, and do a family union for the weekend with a wonderful breakfast, in one of the most popular places of the city.
We guarantee that this is an special experience. No wonder the bakery is always full. If you are still not convinced if you should go, have a look on the breakfast menu.
Colombo bakery also offers afternoon teas. Those events are up in scheduled days, at the second floor, in Cristovão Salon. You pay pre-fixed price for all you can eat. If you want to join one afternoon tea we recommend you to reserve in advance.
Colombo Bakery – Prices
As you probably saw on the menu, the Bakery prices are not that accessible. In fact, prices are higher than in another bakeries of Rio, but we must remind you that the value is for product quality e also for the history and beauty of the place, in other words, you also pay for the “attraction” of the Bakery. It’s up to you if it is worth or not, but to make your decision easier we decided to compare the prices
|Coxinha (shredded chicken meat, covered in dough)
|Empada (savory similar to empanada)
Colombo Bakery – history
Colombo Bakery’s history started as an small market, that were pretty common at the time, but what was more interesting to costumers were the bakeries. Most of the city commerce was sponsored by foreigners who lived in Rio, and that’s why you could listen to many different idioms on the streets.
Since Colombo opening, it is located on Gonçalves Dias Street, 32 in downtown of Rio, it has more than 100 years and it still delights who sees it. The architecture of the Bakery is of a French stile called Art Nouveau, and since it’s opening the place was fixed up four times. 1897, 1900 and 1912, the last two ones overlapped Rio’s urban revitalization made by a mayor called Pereira Passos.
The city was changing and adapting to people’s will, new values came up, integration to global economy and modernization became reality and Rio’s population started to forget the colonial times and started to seek progress. An European capital to Rio’s society, if Paris was city of light Rio could also be. It’s population increases from 270 thousands to 550 thousands at this time.
At this period, bakeries were places of sophistication and modernity, on lighted streets by gas lamps, the intense movements of downtown streets were the trace of that time.
Colombo’s interior details are really interesting e are built with art pieces from all over the world, starting by the huge crystal Belgium mirrors, brought in an ship from Antuérpia and the place where they were set in a way that you can see infinitely the interior of the Bakery
The glasses and cupboards were brought from France, the furniture and frames are made of dark Jacarandá, a typical wood of subtropical climate, known as one of the best woods in the world. If you pay attention on the tables you will see marble cover and chairs made out of straw, besides the hydraulic brickwork floor.
The waitress and employees, in its majority were immigrants that came from Portugal, as the managers believed that this would give more credibility to the business. They were give good job conditions, with possibility of being future business partners of the bakery.
At this time Rio de Janeiro and Colombo Bakery partnership was a success, point to see and be seen. It was impossible to go to Rio Downtown and not to visit the Bakery. As there were many people in the space, changes were needed to attend the public, between the ladies the talk with friends, shopping in downtown to the young public, where they would have a cold tea (mate) and tell stories.
This charming place in downtown Rio was an important meeting point of various generations of Rio’s citizens, as people used to meet at the Bakery to discuss politics, poesy, fashion and music, besides that at this moment the capital of Brazil was Rio de Janeiro.
That’s where presidents, governors, majors, writers, merchants and all of this because the capital of Brazil was fashion, in it’s high. Imagine, each president had a special chair in the second salon of the Bakery and the current president would refuse to seat at the same seat of the previous.
Curiosity – The origin of the name Brigadeiro
Still about the delicacies of Colombo, Brigadeiro is sold there and this is the main sweet that is served is children parties. It’s made of powder chocolate, condensed milk and butter.
But “brigadeiro” also means an army position. The origin of the name comes from “Brigadeiro” Eduardo Gomes (an army man) runs as president of Brazil, in 1945. He was so handsome and polite that the ladies started to get enchanted and started to prepare the sweet to help him to win the elections. Every one started to ask for BRIGADEIRO’S sweets and that’s how the fame spread.
The ladies of the campaign “VOTE FOR BRIGADEIRO, BECAUSE HE IS SINGLE AND HADSOME” (in Portuguese it rimes: vote para brigadeiro, porque ele é bonito e solteiro). In fact it was a creative idea, but unfortunately he didn’t make it. The most interesting is that the sweet is know all over Brazil, despite it is know with a different name in a few states. Tip: Colombos Brigadeiro is one of the best we have ever tried.
If you want to know more curiosities you can join our Downtown and Lapa tour, that will tell you many other stories of Rio and Brazilian history. Join us and have fun!!