After a recent trip to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil, I discovered one of the most pleasing comfort foods in the world – Pão de Queijo. It’s Brazil’s most popular snack food, and after returning back to the United States, I began my search to recreate these culinary sensations while home.
Years ago when Junea Rocha and her husband Cameron moved from Belo Horizonte, Brazil to Portland, OR, they craved the “the perfect cheese bread” they grew up loving so much and couldn’t find it anywhere. Juena called her mother in Brazil and asked for her recipe.
What makes this cheese bread different than any type in America is the tapioca flour. This type of flour made from a yuca root and is gluten free. Junea mixed in eggs, milk and fresh cheese. Since Junea couldn’t find the right Brazilian cheese, she subsituted the flavors combining cheddar and parmesan to make Brazi Bites.
Making batches in their home kitchen, and sharing them with friends, she and Cameron entered these unique bites in food and trade shows across the U.S. All their hard work paid off, especially in November, 2015 when they became a television stars sharing their enthusiasm and story on ABC’s Shark Tank. Over 9 million viewers watched this adorable couple present Brazi Bites to Mark Cuban and the gang.
After one bite, The Sharks fell in love with the product and soon their cheesy bread bites were stocked in grocery stores (Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, Sprouts, Gelsons and more).
They also became a Costco cult favorite and you can buy them at your nearest Los Angeles Costco warehouse. With this success, they started making other Brazi products including: 3 Cheese Bread bites, Garlic Asiago bites, Cinnamon Churros bites and four different types of Empanadas.
Brazi Bites are great to keep in the freezer and pop in the oven on a cookie sheet for 20 to serve warm. Enjoy them as a side dish, bite-size appetizer, or even dessert. Junea offers recipes on her website for Southwest Avocado Toast, Butternut Squash Hummus Sliders and even pumpkin cheesecake using her Brazi Bites.
Bring comforting food to your Thanksgiving and Christmas table this year. They might just become one of the most requested dishes each season.