Pão de queijo (literally, "cheese bread", or Brazilian cheese rolls) is made from cassava starch (polvilho) and grated cheese. A Minas Gerais State tradition, pão de queijo gradually became a national favorite. Tasty, affordable, and easy to find, it's a great snack for when you're on the go. It's also gluten-free.
Pão de queijo derives from cassava starch biscuits dating back to the eighteenth century. Although the most authentic pão de queijo recipes take Minas cheese, grated parmesan also works well - try this easy pão de queijo recipe by the About.com Guide to South American Food, made with cassava flour.
When you're traveling in Brazil, you'll come across lots of good pão de queijo, but be advised: even otherwise great bakeries might serve a rubbery cheese roll. The world's best pão de queijo could be waiting for you in a tiny bakery.
Veja Belo Horizonte, the local guide in the weekly issue of Brazilian Veja Magazine, often votes for Verdemar supermarkets as the makers of the best pão de queijo in Belo Horizonte in their listings of BH's best snack foods.
For tasty, though small pão de queijo, you can always count on Casa do Pão de Queijo, the largest franchising company in Brazil. Founded by Mário Carneiro in 1967, it started with one shop in São Paulo and an exclusive recipe by Carneiro's mother, Dona Arthêmia (featured in the company logo).
Forno de Minas, a Minas Gerais company which started as a small family business in Belo Horizonte in 1990, is a frozen pão de queijo market leader. Pão de queijo mix is also available from brands such as Yoki. Frozen rolls and mix are sold at Brazilian supermarkets and also at Brazilian food shops abroad.