THE STORY OF PÃO DE QUEIJO

Pão de queijo (pronounced pow-ge-kay-ju in Portuguese) or Brazilian cheese bread, is a small, golden baked cheese dough balls with a crunchy crust, a light, fluffy centre and a slightly tart flavour. They are similar to French gougère but are naturally gluten free and a very popular snack in Brazil. At almost every Brazilian gathering you’ll find pão de queijo on the table.

Its culinary roots can almost certainly be traced back to the landlocked state of Minas Gerais in south-east Brazil. It’s thought that the indigenous Guaraní peoples pounded native cassava, otherwise known as yuca or manioc, to make basic bread long before the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500. When the colonisers settled in Minas, bringing with them African slaves – the colonial capital Ouro Preto was at the heart of the Brazilian gold rush – they discovered that the land wasn’t suitable for cultivating grains like wheat, and turned to this hardy, starchy tuber.

FINEST INGREDIENTS

Its culinary roots can almost certainly be traced back to the landlocked state of Minas Gerais in south-east Brazil. It’s thought that the indigenous Guaraní peoples pounded native cassava, otherwise known as yuca or manioc, to make basic bread long before the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500. When the colonisers settled in Minas, bringing with them African slaves – the colonial capital Ouro Preto was at the heart of the Brazilian gold rush – they discovered that the land wasn’t suitable for cultivating grains like wheat, and turned to this hardy, starchy

Like bitter almonds, cassava root contains cyanide and rendering it edible was a laborious process; it had to be peeled, finely grated, soaked in water and dried. This left behind a residue of powdery tapioca starch that the slaves, desperate to boost their paltry diet, would scrape out of the bowls and roll into small balls of dough before baking

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