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I admit it. I like being treated like royalty. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen at our new favorite grocery store: HortiFruti (horchee-froochee).

HortiFruti opened nearby a few months ago, and has maintained its level of service and quality of produce, despite expectations that both would lag after the initial blush of newness.

We drive up to the store, stopping at the valet stand in front of the store, and leave the car for them to park (always a good idea, considering how narrow the parking spaces are), and walk up the ramp into a world of wonderful color, aromas of fresh fruit and produce, and people actually walking the floor to see if they can help you find something.

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The fruit is my favorite, second only to the organic coco water, which I love! Grapes, melons, oranges, limes, mangos, papayas, bananas of all kinds, persimmons, atamoyas, kiwis, and on and on. And the prices are excellent, especially on the specials.

The produce is gorgeous and mostly organic, and they have a refrigerated section with dozens of yogurt and prepared vegetable products, a deli, and a wine section. The bread isn’t the best or the freshest, but we have a padaria (bakery) just up the street, so that’s not vital.

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I also delight in the broad aisles and low counters and shelves; much nicer than the canyons we find at the other grocery stores.

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The lines aren’t long most of the time, not like they are at Mambo (another great grocery store within walking distance) or Carrefore, and the cashiers aren’t cursed with Tyrannosaurus Rex arms as they are at Carrefore.

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Once you check out, a bagger will take your cart down the ramp and follow the valet to your car, depositing the groceries before the car is driven up to you. We typically tip both the bagger and the valet, but consider the R$7 ($3.50) money well spent. The valets now know our car, and we’re in their system, so they always greet Ser Tom as an old friend, and open my door for me. It’s nice to be royal once in a while!

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