The brainchild of an entrepreneurial husband and wife team in Portland, Oregon, Brazi Bites can trace their beginnings back to the 1600s when slaves in southeast Brazil baked bits of leftover manioc (tapioca) starch. Over the years, they added milk and cheese to create the snack Pão de Queijo (cheese bread) that’s popular throughout the country.
When Brazi Bites creator Junea moved from Brazil to Oregon be with her husband, she missed the cheese snack of her homeland. She contacted her mother and asked for the family recipe, which Junea made into Brazi Bites.
Naturally gluten-free, made with all natural ingredients and ready-to-bake, these little balls of dough are kept frozen in a re-sealable pouch until you’re ready to bake them. They puff up in the oven in 20 minutes to create a cheese snack or hors d’oeuvre. At first, the strangely chewy texture is a bit off-putting (mostly because it’s unusual), but after one Brazi Bite, I found myself eating another and another.
Brazi Bites come in cheese, jalapeño, and bacon flavors. The cheese and bacon are my favorites; the jalapeño, which comes with tiny flecks of the green chili, was too hot for my taste, but people who like a fiery spice will likely enjoy them. You can eat them hot from the oven (best) or allow them to cool a bit (they become even chewier).
They make a good choice when you want an hors d’oeuvre or snack that’s a little different from the usual chips and dip. They’d go great with cold beer or even cocktails and, if you serve them at your next party, I’ll bet you’ll find trays of them disappear quickly.
The bad news? This is a small, entrepreneurial company and Brazi Bites are currently only available in better specialty markets in Portland like Zupan’s and Market of Choice. However, I predict this little company will do well with their chewy, cheesy snack. Watch for Brazi Bites in the freezer section of your grocery in the near future.