Mãní founder Monika Batista grew up eating pão de queijo for breakfast as her family with deep roots in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where this treat originated, would not have it any other way. Her aunts, nuns responsible for the meals provided at a local convent, always managed to send some fresh dough which would be easily turned into small rolls and baked to a golden color. Over the years Monika learned the authentic recipe passed on from her aunts and delighted her friends at home with freshly baked pão de queijo almost daily, to a point where they nicknamed her house the “Casa do Pão de Queijo”, literally “The House of the Cheese Bread”.
Mãní collaborators who had never heard of pão de queijo until they were lucky enough to taste one of Monika’s creations were convinced from their first bite that this delectable treat was so good that other Americans would love it too. Their background in food product development and sales and marketing gave them the idea to share this great tasting and easy to like food with snack lovers around the country, but it had to be introduced in its original and authentic recipe.
Mãní was born from this expertise and this vision. Although we toyed with the idea of naming the product “Nun’s Buns” it soon became obvious that Monika’s aunts’ contribution should remain only their secret recipe. We named it after the princess from the Amazon from which the manioc root gets its name (mani-oca meaning literally the house of Mãní). Mãní, according to an ancient Amazon legend is considered the Mother of the Manioc.
We have perfected our original recipe through consultation with The Department of Food Technology at the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (Federal University of Viçosa), a premier Brazilian research institute in Minas Gerais. The pão de queijo being a national institution and a symbol of the state of Minas Gerais, UFV has put considerable resources in the research for better quality and production which we at Mãní Snacks take full advantage of.
Mãní is mixed and quick-frozen in small batches at our San Francisco Bay Area facility. We bake a small part of every batch to guarantee the quality of our products before they are frozen and ready for shipping.
Our package design was inspired by the leaves of the cassava root plant. While the roots are used for cassava flour Its closely related relative plant is the Variegated Tapioca,which has a much more tropical look and is usually a focal point of many exotic evergreen gardens with its large green leaves that look like overgrown maple leaves with the centers filled with a creamy yellow color that is absolutely stunning.The Cassava is a major tropical tuber found throughout the tropics and is popular all over the world.