Monday, July 14, 2008

Fazenda Vale Verde

One of the most popular and well known brands of cachaça (sugar cane liquor - quite famous in Brasil) in our region is Vale Verde. It is made at Fazenda Vale Verde just about 45 minutes from us. Besides making cachaça there, it is also an ecological park. We have heard lots of good things about the place, so on Saturday Eric and I decided to venture out that way to check it out.

It was the perfect day to be out in the country! The temperature was right around 80 degrees F, and the bright blue sky hardly had a cloud in it! (Have I mentioned how much I love winter time in Belo Horizonte?)

While there, we decided to take a ride on the zip-line. Neither one of us had done that since we were kids - it was just as much fun as we remembered!

They give tours of the cachaça making facilities. They were actively making it while we were there, so we got to see it all in action. The wind was carrying the smell of fermenting sugar cane all over the property. It reminded me of the smell of cane syrup cooking - it was fabulous! Of course, the tasting room made it plenty obvious it isn't syrup they are cookin', but I'm not exactly complaining! ;)

It is amazing how much they are able to make with such a small amount of equipment. You are looking at all of the distilling equipment in the picture above. It's sort of like moonshine, I suppose. Only, um, less illegal.

I didn't realize how long they age the Vale Verde Cachaça either. It is aged in barrels for 3 years (or more, depending on which type it is.)

They have a large collection of orchids and birds in the ecological park. Many of the birds species that they are breeding and studying are threatened.

Love birds, hehehe

The picture above was one of my favorites from the day. Shadows rock!

Now, I'm not usually one to ask God questions, but I'm telling you, stare at an ostrich long enough and you too will be left asking, "WHY?" (I think it also makes a strong case against evolution - I can't think of a single logical evolutional reason why an ostrich would be like ostriches are. I mean, seriously!)

Notice the swan paddle boats behind me in this next picture. Eric and I couldn't stop quoting Adam Sandler from Billy Madison ("Hello, swaaaan." "What are you looking at swaaan?").

We were big fans of the gnomes that guarded the entrance to the new children's area.

And here is a typical Minas Gerais landscape view on our drive back to BH from Vale Verde.

Vale Verde is a great place to spend a beautiful day. The admission fee was just R$10 (US$6.25) per person. They had a fabulous lunch buffet too. (It was R$23 for all you can eat, which is a little high when compared to other similiar style restaurants, but the food was the best I've ever had at a self-service restaurant!)


Justin said...

That is one busty gnome.

Marcelo - said...

Emily, I enjoy a lot to read your blog. I have one question for you. A friend of mine here in Iowa wants to learn Portuguese. What books/materials would you recommend? Which ones do you on your Portuguese classes? Thanks a lot, Marcelo.