1. Start your day on the other side of the world
In some ways the southern states of Brazil bear closer resemblance to Europe than they do to their neighbours up north. Visit Gramado or Novo Hamburgo two hours out of the city and you’ll think you’ve been transplanted in Germany. Be sure to sample the decadent breakfast spreads the towns are famous for.
2. Veer towards the vino
Brazil isn't known for it's wine, but the winemakers around the region of Bento Gonçalves and the "Valley of the Vineyards" have been kicking goals at wine shows lately. Hire a car or join a tour and head two hours north of the city to wine country, taking in the gorgeous countryside along the way.
3. Beef up
Porto Alegre is the capital of the ‘churrasco’ barbecue that Brazil is world-famous for. It’s part of the ‘gaúcho’ cowboy culture that began among the cattle herders on the plains of Rio Grande do Sul. The ‘picanha’, or rump cap, is the star of the show, but there’s plenty of options (as long as you’re not a vegetarian). Try it cooked the traditional way with whole carcasses staked in the ground around an outdoor fire.
4. Take your tea to go
Walking around Porto Alegre you’ll notice people everywhere sipping from strange wooden gourds. They’re drinking chimarrão - a stimulating green tea that comes in many different varieties. Get yourself down to the public market in the city centre to pick up a kit and ask the shopkeeper for a lesson in how to prepare it.
5. And have a lark in the park
It feels like the entire population of Porto Alegre congregates in Parque Farroupilha ou A Redenção on a Sunday, enjoying the sunshine with family and friends and sipping chimarrão. Once you’ve got your tea-making down pat, join in the fun.
6. Where to eat
Churrascaria Galpão Crioulo (Rua Otávio Francisco Caruso da Rocha, s/n - Centro Histórico)
This is Brazil! airs Fridays at 7.30pm on SBS ONE.