Farofa is a typical Brazilian side dish. Its recipe can include many ingredients made with a base of manioc flour. Every family has its recipe from sauteed garlic to bananas, or maybe raisins for Christmas or lemon zest.
For many Brazilians, the dish’s crunchiness tastes like home. Perhaps this is why farofa is spreading around the world to feed immigrants who miss this special touch in every meal. Tereza Paim, a Brazilian chef from the Northeast Region, understood this expats’ craving for farofa and last month started exporting her recipes.
Her company, Tabuleiro da Chef, shipped the first pallet to an importer of Brazilian products in Miami (USA), and she is now negotiating with new buyers in the UK and Latin America. “Farofa is in the Brazilian DNA, it is a cuddle to the soul. Brazilians will teach the world to eat farofa too,” she says.
Tereza’s farofa is not the first to reach international markets. Her products, however, add a new premium approach to the dish. She buys the manioc flour from local Northeast family farming systems, talking to the farmers directly to get the best ingredients for the correct crunchiness and flavor. And she is very proud of that: “It is not processed food. Our onions are real: diced and sauteed. There are no preservatives or monosodium glutamate.”
The export path
Tereza took a long journey to reach the first international buyer. Exporting can be challenging when it comes to small and medium-sized companies. That is why she got in touch with the Agro.BR program, a Brazilian initiative that helps rural entrepreneurs reach international standards for food exports.
The chef had the help of consultant Roberto Vianna when she had to make the necessary adjustments for exporting. Vianna is a specialist in foreign trade and bets on what he calls the “nostalgia market” to insert farofa on international shelves.
“The nostalgia market is a good start for the international expansion of Tabuleiro da Chef. The company offers a differentiated product with regional aspects and improved packaging for the most demanding markets,” he adds.
With Agro.BR, Tereza had access to training, personalized consulting, a portfolio in five languages, research, and business rounds. She is one of many participants committed to a multidisciplinary project that supports farmers aiming at global trade.
The solution was designed by the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA) with the support of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil).
At agrobr.org, international buyers can learn about Brazilian producers that are ready to export quality and diversity. The platform allows importers to reach local companies directly. It includes a virtual showcase with more than 500 products in many sectors.