Paço Coffee Shop: Music, Art and Aroma
By Silvia Oliveira
I have never been able to enter the select religion of wines. In fact, I have a palate that is far from being adequate for any gourmet tasting. My verdicts are, generally, either “I like it”, or, “I don’t like it”. So, some time ago, I decided to give coffee a chance; a drink that adds something to our lives, that caresses us and that gives us comfort.
I am not the type that becomes addicted, nor am I one of those who goes through ever-increasing withdrawal symptom because there is no steamy little cup in sight. I am just learning to enjoy coffee without dogmatic demands. Sugar, if necessary. Accompanied by cornmeal cake? Better still.
Beyond its undeniable social function, coffee can be enjoyed anytime of the day. It is popular, grassroots, democratic. Even with the advances in sophisticated coffees and blends, each with their certificate of origin, the drink can be enjoyed by those who know nothing about the production and selection of beans or those who identify in detail the levels of acidity, aroma, body and flavour.
Be it at home, in a bar, at the office or the museum, coffee reunites, reconciles, and brings people together. Curitiba has many beautiful, friendly and prize-winning coffee shops. Coincidentally it was for a meeting with an old friend that I suggested the Paço Coffee Shop – situated on the ground floor of the Palace of Liberty, the only building in the city listed by National Heritage.
The setting is sober and sophisticated, but without being arrogant. The building has architectural elements of Art Nouveau and houses a bookshop, library and arts space. If you go in the late afternoon, you will be able to see, outside, scenic lights that light up automatically as night falls. Inside, the paintings of artists Joao Ghelfi, Joao Ortali and Anacleto Gaubaccio have been fully restored. You can even see archaeological remnants of Curitiba’s first Municipal Market in the Paço Coffee Shop’s floor, On certain days of the week, good (free) music, accompanies an espresso ristretto (R$3) – ground from the Orpheus bean, grown in the south of Minas Gerais – or even a cappuccino (R$6). To go with it, I would recommend the pumpkin and jerked beef quiche (R$6). It will be the cheapest moment of extravagance in your life. No, extravagance here has nothing to do with expensive coffee or wasted money. It is simply the extravagance of being able to sit down and enjoy a fragrant coffee, and slowly close one’s eyes with every sip you take from the cup.
Paço Coffee ShopPraça Generoso Marques, 180, Paço da Liberdade, Centro
Telephone: (41) 3234-4210
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 9pm, Saturday 10am to 6pm and Sunday 11am to 5pm.
[Photo by author.]