We’ve kicked off many a day by deciding to try out the local bakery treats. I’d been reading a lot about Pão de Queijo, a Brazilian cheese bread, and they were top of my list. But we’ve also nailed Bolinhos de Chuva, Pão de Frances, Pastéis, Coxinha, and some old woman teacake-esque thing.
Pretty much all the Pão de Queijo I’ve eaten have been amazing, though I was sold a lie. I was expecting something more along the lines of a bread ball with melted cheese inside. With Pão de Queijo however, the bread and cheese are mixed in together. So slightly shocking but still incredibly tasty. The texture is, understandably, more gooey than normal bread, but not strangely so, and the outside remains moderately crispy. I’ve made these a staple of daily snacking which is doing wonders for my belly. Normal bread rolls could take a lesson.
Bolinhos de Chuva are almost exactly like someone has collected the middle of your classical cinnamon doughnuts and resold them. The difference here is texture with these being firmer and a little rubbery. I still find them enjoyable but when they’re running up against real fresh doughnuts… these little guys are always going to come up second. Worth a try but manage your expectations.
Bread rolls are bread rolls. They don’t change a lot, but so help me I am in love with Pão de Frances. They really seem to be nothing much more than a simple white bread roll, but the combination of a slightly crunchy outside and super soft inside gets me every time. We’ve basically been living on these things now and are yet to discover something that doesn’t work with them. They’re super cheap, super delicious, and super effective.
Coxinha are an interesting little diversion. Consisting of a dough made from wheat flour and chicken broth that is wrapped around a filling, covered in crumbs or batter, and then deep fried. Most are stuffed with spiced shredded chicken though you can find any number of variations. I’m a sucker for chicken and anything deep fried which is why my cholesterol is through the roof, but these babies can really hit the spot at times.
Pastéis are also deep fried but are more like thin skinned pies (think McDonald’s apple pie) and are more commonly found with other filings. Pastéis can be filled with anything from chicken (frango), meat (carne), shrimp (camarão), cheese (queijo), and literally anything else you could think to shove into pastry and deep fry. Which for me is pretty much everything…
My biggest problem with both Pastéis and Coxinha is that they are available at any number of dirty corner deep fried food places as well as a lot of little bakeries and are easily obtained. The killer here though is that the place you’re at really, really dictates the quality of both of these. I’ve found Coxinha to be the more reliable of the two, but both vary greatly. My advice, fork over a bit more cash at the better quality places. Your tongue will thank you.
Finally, the unknown old lady teacake thing. This just sucked. I don’t even have a photo. You don’t need to know about it. I’m basically just filling up space now…