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Home is not only a place we love to be but a feeling we cherish. And feelings of home are often conveyed with food. Daniela de Souza hopes to infuse her customers with the feeling and flavors of her native home when she opens Merenda Box, a Brazilian bakery in Conshohocken, in late March or April.
“It’s very much a family thing. And family time has always been about food and bringing people together. Getting to share that experience with other people is the exciting part and really what I’m doing with this new venture,” de Souza, who owns ‘feine coffee shops in Conshohocken and Skippack, told What Now Philadelphia.
Merenda Box will open at 801 East Hector St. in an 800 to 900 sq. ft. space formerly inhabited by Pete’s Deli. De Souza started baking after the bakeries she worked with closed during the pandemic. So, she decided to make her own baked goods in order to feed her customers at ‘feine. The response was so positive that she wanted a location where her savory and sweet baked goods would be front and center, while her Brazilian-inspired café drinks took the back seat.
“We are bringing the Brazilian soul to our pastries but still have some of the flavors people are used to here,” de Souza said.
At Merenda Box, you’ll find savory treats like coxinha, a fried Brazilian croquette made with flour and potato dough that’s stuffed with chicken, and sweet items like brigadeiro, a traditional Brazilian fudge truffle dessert rolled in sprinkles. You’ll also find baked goods that are better known in America, like scones. In addition to ‘feine coffee and specialty drinks, like a white chocolate guava latte, Merenda Box will also serve tropical-flavored juices like passion fruit juice and cashew fruit juice.
“I think the community was very open to trying everything we baked because everything had a story behind it. I would say here’s this corn cookie, my dad loved corn desserts and Americans love cookies, so this is marrying my two cultures. Northeast Philly has a big Brazilian community so there are a lot of bakeries there,” de Souza said. “We don’t have anything like that here. I’m trying to make it approachable to people so they find it interesting and fun to try. And they’re not just eating the same cupcakes you see everywhere. We’re offering something funky that might be outside of your comfort zone while creating flavors that are familiar, so it’s not as scary. We’ll have pictures and help with pronunciations!”
Merenda Box will be a takeout location and will take bakery orders. They plan to be open during typical bakery hours from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.