I am obsessed. For real. With a Brazilian snack called pao de queijo. This has been going on for a long time - for about 12 years now and it's all my husband's fault.
When I first met my husband, he was fresh from a long trip to Brazil and he introduced me to a lot of new Brazilian foods, my favorite of which was pao de queijo, which just translates to cheese breads. Except cheese breads doesn't exactly describe what these things are. They're like crispy, chewy little puffs of tart, cheesy wonderfulness. Made with tapioca flour instead of wheat, they're also naturally gluten free and have been that way for hundreds of years. In Brazil, they eat pao de queijo with everything and for every meal and it makes sense that they do, because these things are versatile. They go nicely with a lot of other foods and they aren't too filling that if you eat them as an appetizer that they'll ruin your appetite.
It's hard to find good cheese breads in the US. You can get a boxed mix at Brazilian grocery stores, but honestly, I don't love it because it tastes like it's made with Cheeto powder. Usually, the best cheese breads can be found in Brazilian restaurants and if you haven't been to a Brazilian restaurant, make it a priority. They take the concept of a salad bar to a whole new level. Plus, unlimited cheese breads and really yummy, salty steaks.
Recently, I discovered a new company selling frozen bags of cheese breads in Whole Foods and naturally I had to buy them to check them out. My life was changed. Oh my goodness. I had found the holy grail of pao de queijo in Brazibites.
They were super easy to make too. Just put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. They're all natural, made with wholesome, real food ingredients and no funky, artificial Cheeto powder taste at all.
The problem is, they are addictive. I can't stop eating them once I start and unfortunately, I could probably eat an entire bag. There are about 20 per bag. Yes, I counted.
Until now, I had never had flavored pao de queijo, but Brazibites come in bacon flavor and fire-roasted jalapeno flavor as well as the standard, traditional cheese. The original cheese is still my favorite, followed closely by the jalapeno, which is pretty spicy but has a good, pronounced green chili taste. The bacon is great, but it was my least favorite, surprisingly. It was pleasantly smoky and my three year old loved it. Shockingly, she also ate the jalapeno ones, even though they were definitely hot. One thing I liked about the flavored varieties is that they didn't contain big chunks of bacon or pepper. They retained the smooth, velvety texture that I like in my cheese bread. I think they should do a cheesy garlic flavor too.
We've been eating a lot of cheese breads around here lately. Apparently so have a lot of people because my Whole Foods was sold out for two weeks!
I like my Brazibites for breakfast with a big mug of coffee and they've become a weekend morning staple in our house. My daughter is just as obsessed with them as I am.
For lunch, they're good with tuna salad or lunch meats and sliced tomatoes. We found that all the flavors are particularly yummy with tomato soup.
I took a fresh basket of the jalapeno variety to a dinner party and they were extremely well received. We had them with the appetizers, but I think they'd be just as good as a dinner roll substitute.
Remember, they're naturally gluten free too, so they are perfect for people with gluten issues, just as long as they don't have dairy issues too, because remember, they ARE cheese breads after all.
I loved Brazibites so much and was so excited to have them in my Whole Foods that I wrote to the company expressing my admiration. They were generous enough to send me coupons for several free bags so that I could try all the flavors in exchange for this review.
You guys know that I don't normally do sponsored posts and things like that. This is a company with a delicious product made with real food ingredients that's easy to make and has mass appeal. They didn't come to me and ask me to write this. I wrote to them first because I liked their cheese breads so much and wanted to help support them.
Please, do yourself a favor and try Brazibites cheese breads. They can be found at various places all over the country. Click here to find your nearest location. I get mine at Whole Foods in the freezer section with the gluten free breads. They are about five dollars per bag of twenty.
You can also follow Brazibites on twitter @Brazibites or find them on Facebook. They're doing a giveaway on Facebook right now for National Celiac Month.
Let me know if you try them and what you think!