Tapioca-based cheese bread balls are popular in Brazil. But the bite-sized treats are now being made at a new shop in Central Fresno.
Zana Frownfelter of Fresno said, "I like it. It's really good. I've used it already at my book club when they came over."
Store owner Flavia Takahashi-Flores explained, "It's called P*DE*Q and it's short for pao de quejo. I grew up eating pao de quejo in Brazil. We eat them every day for breakfast. I miss them a lot when I came here."
That was 13 years ago. Flavia started making them for friends who encouraged her to sell them.
The Fresno Food Expo served as the launching pad for P*DE*Q. Positive reaction to the cheesy bread prompted Takahashi-Flores to open a store across from Fresno High School.
Flavia said the expo helped accelerate her business plan which she crafted while getting her master's degree at the Craig Business School at Fresno State. "I needed to have my own manufacturing that I could guarantee that the product was gluten-free."
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin was one of the many food expo visitors who wondered "Where can we buy these?"
The mayor said she is a big fan. "Well P*DE*Qs are incredible. Apparently they are something the rest of the world enjoys and we in the western market haven't been introduced to them yet."
You can also bake your own P*DE*Qs. They're available at the shop as well as the Sierra Nut House in North Fresno. Flavia hopes large retailers also add pao de quejo.
Takahashi-Flores knows she's taking a big business risk but feels it is one worth taking.