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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

o-CNN: Brazilian Cheese Bread in Auckland, New Zealand

Mystery Bread

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Mining cooks in Brazil invented cheese bread around the 1700's. They combined cassava starch, eggs, lard/butter and hardened grated cheese chips to come up with something that resembles bread. 

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In those days the cheese bread was made by slave women. There was no wheat flour. Wheat doesn't grow in the warmth of the Brazilian North-East. The only wheat flour to be found in Brazil at the time was imported from Europe for Kings and Noblemen. The rest of the people enjoyed a tasty, cheesy morsel that today is well-known as Brazilian Cheese Bread.

While the recipe may have exists since the eighteenth century, it became popular in Brazil since the 1950s as a snack food. Now, New Zealand has its own and to our knowledge, the only producer of Brazilian Cheese Bread in the country. It is made in the traditional way Neide Durello learned to do it growing up in the Brazilian countryside a few decades ago. Marcelo, Neide's son and partner Barbara brought this know-how to New Zealand when they immigrated to the Islands arriving with a few suitcases and four children. They founded their Cheese Bread business.

It is a small company that goes by the Durello name. Initially, they rolled the bread by hand the traditional way. Now, Durello's production is mostly automated, and they boast a tiny little store in Queen Street, Auckland where they induct the downtown student population and tourists into the ways of Brazilian Cheese Bread. 

Durello's expanded product range is available in New Zealand's Supermarkets country wide. The New Zealand Food Awards recognised them as a winner in 2014. Business is booming. The phone rings off the hook with orders, and the empire is slowly growing. Kiwis like the Cheese Bread.

During our visit, Barbara mentioned that they are preparing to export products to Australia. The range grew with different flavours that suit the Kiwi palate. Bacon and garlic are new additions. They are also expanding with Chicken and Prawn Delights. Same little balls. Equally delicious.


The story by now is familiar. We encounter it often. Many of the profiles that the Two Cowboys do tell a similar story of immigrants arriving in a new country with nothing except their knowledge of their country of origin's authentic products. They have a strong commitment and will to make a new living for themselves and their family, in a new home country. With hope, drive and hard work they succeed in establishing a successful production business. 

Barbara mentioned that a big motivation for relocating to New Zealand was the country's favourable outlook and ease of launching and operating small businesses. Less regulation, lower taxation. Above all, less corruption than they faced in Brazil. 

It is the local markets that gave them their first opportunity to introduce Kiwis to Brazilian Cheese Bread. The reception was overwhelmingly positive. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Durello has energy. Barbara is busy, busy. Marcelo's passion for his products is contagious. We love the Cheese Bread and wish we could take some with us back when we head to Canada. 

One thing is a given. When we are in New Zealand, we will look up our Brazilian friends for some Durello Cheese Bread. It is the best we've had so far. Sa├║de Barbara and Marcello. We lift a Caipirinha to your continued success and will be back for more.

Hendrik van Wyk
Two Cowboys and Cheese Bread

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