Maria Izabel

People - Paraty


I would always 'fight with the shoes' and would always lose them". Maria Izabel Gibrail Costa, is famous in Paraty for only walking barefoot. She likes to feel free to plunge waterfalls in the city. "I am a woman of feet on the ground and head in the clouds", she says.

Born in 1950, the country woman is also famous for producing artisanal cachaça (the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil) at Santo Antônio Ranch, where she lives by the sea, 8 km from downtown Paraty.

"I keep the alembic since 1994, but only two years later started producing cachaça. Earlier it was very experimental. I tested the production and registered the brand only in 2000, then started producing small amounts". Maria Izabel takes care of all production steps, from the sugarcane plantation to the bottling of the beverage, with pauses to receive her six daughters and eight grandchildren.

Every cane used is planted on slopes, which increases the concentration of sugar, and by the sea, a factor that traditionally explains the differential of Paraty's cachaças.

The harvest is manual. The small and disputed production - about 7,000 liters per year - is made with techniques learned from her ancestors: "I make it much like they would. I guess I'm the only one in the region who still prepares the yeast itself".

Before dedicating herself to making cachaça, Maria Izabel did a bit of everything: "I sewed, made bread, had an ornamental plants nursery, sold bananas, used my boat to offer sightseeing tours". As versatile as authentic, the barefoot woman finds it odd to be known as a "legendary figure" in the city: "I just live life.

One thing that might explain it all is that I always fought to be who I am, for my ideals. I did not follow models on how a girl should behave and fought to prevent others' opinions from interfering in my principles"."

General Information

Address: Santo Antonio Farm, Corumbê
Phone: (+55 24) 99999-9908
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Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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