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Apr 16

Brownie do Luiz

Brownie-do-Luiz

Sweet, sweet temptation…

 

I waited across the street from the small shop in Laranjeiras and watched. In just 20 minutes I saw more than a dozen people enter with cash and leave moments later, hurriedly tucking tins or small foil envelopes into their bags and pockets. The clients were content for another day now that they had their fix.

This dangerously addictive substance, known as veneno da lata (literally ‘poison in a tin’, but meaning something closer to ‘good stuff in a tin’), is sweeping across the city of Rio and it has been winning over thousands of fans. But who is responsible for this and what should be done about it? The trail leads back to a guy called Luiz Quinderé, and it all started when he was just 15.

Luiz

Go on – try one!

 

Back in 2005, a young Luiz was offered a ‘new kind of cake’ by his friend Miranda. This cake was a particularly delicious brownie with a good crunchy crust and a perfectly soft centre. Luiz loved the brownies so much that he learned the recipe himself and before long he was taking his them to football games as a half-time snack. His friends soon noticed these chocolate treats and soon after he had handed a few out, the demand began to grow.

Before long, this entrepreneurial adolescent decided to start selling his wares. He baked the brownies in his parents’ kitchen and made his deliveries by skateboard!

Years passed, Luiz went to university and studied in England, but when he returned, the business continued to grow. Friends helped package the brownies in silver wrappers and the signature tins and everything they made flew off the shelves. In 2012, Luiz moved his production operation to a factory in São Conrado, but demand grew at such a rate that within a year he moved to an even larger factory and opened his shop in Laranjeiras.

Brownie-do-Luiz-loja

The Brownie do Luiz shop in Laranjeiras.

 

Today, Luiz has a whole range of brownie products and sells more than a thousand brownies per day in over 50 establishments across the city. He has an on-line store as part of the Brownie do Luiz website and over 22,000 likes on his Facebook page.

brownie-is-the-new-bolo

A selection of classic brownies sandwiching fillings such as white chocolate, lime, docle de leite and Nutella. The full text on the back board reads “Brownie is the new bolo [cake]“.

 

A lot of people (including me) complain about the painful bureaucracy involved in starting up and running a small business in Brazil, but Luiz’s story is a perfect illustration of the thing that gives me hope: if you have a great idea that captures people’s imagination, if you have a quality product (and believe me, those brownies are amazing) and if you have the entrepreneurial spirit to get things moving, you can be hugely successful here. Despite the slow-down in the growth of Brazil’s economy in recent years, Rio is still a city of opportunity.

 

Brownie-do-Luiz

The Brownie do Luiz selection pack. A week’s supply for some, a day’s supply for those who are ready for rehab…

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7 comments

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  1. Christopher Wright

    I love entreprenurial stories that make me lick my lips!

    Damm i love brownies that have a hard crust and a soft centre – a surprisingly difficult combination to find.

    1. tomlemes

      I’m with you on both counts there – I only discovered these brownies recently and I have to say I’m developing a bit of a problem! ;) I also bought one for Mrs Eat Rio on my way home a few days ago and found myself saying “I’ll take this back to Mrs Eat Rio, that will earn me some brownie p…” – I stopped when I realised what I was about to say. Surely that isn’t the origin of the phrase? Oh, apparently not…

  2. The Gritty Poet

    “A lot of people (including me) complain about the painful bureaucracy involved in starting up and running a small business in Brazil, but Luiz’s story is a perfect illustration of the thing that gives me hope: if you have a great idea that captures people’s imagination, if you have a quality product (and believe me, those brownies are amazing) and if you have the entrepreneurial spirit to get things moving, you can be hugely successful here.”

    Perhaps, yet it is still a hassle – not to mention immoral – that along the way you also have to sustain a bunch of bureaucrats and their made up jobs which not only burden taxpayers but also get in the way of people like Luiz.

    “When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – You may know that your society is doomed.” — Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”.

  3. Rachel's Rantings in Rio

    I have had some of his goodness. I must say, as an American, they passed the brownie test for sure!

    1. tomlemes

      Now that’s the highest test! :) I remember being introduced to brownies by a Canadian family who lived next door when I was 5 and it was like an amazing, sweet revelation! You North Americans really know what you’re doing when it comes to those tasty chocolate bites!

  4. Brae

    Ha! Canadians like to put some plant products in their brownies as well…

    1. tomlemes

      So that’s why I liked them so much! :D

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