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Meet Maya Zellman of Maya’s Brigadeiro Brazilian Sweets in Sherman Oaks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maya Zellman.

Maya, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
For chef, owner, and chief sweet officer, Maya Zellman, Brigadeiro is more than just dessert. Though a native Angelino, her whole life has been filled with trips to visit her Brazilian family and special memories made even sweeter by every bite of her Aunt Marli’s Brigadeiro.

Her love for this traditional dessert grew quickly, and as soon as she could learn to stir, she was learning the family recipe and adding her own bursts of flavor. In 2013, she was invited to officiate friend’s wedding in Buzios, Brazil, Maya would take her first trip, after now 30+ trips to Brazil, with a bridal party composed of all Americans. It was on this trip she joyfully shared all of her favorite Brazilian sweets with the group. She immediately saw they had the same excited and pleasurable reactions to the desserts she knew and loved so much. This was her “aha!” moment, and when she returned to Los Angeles, Maya’s Brigadeiro was born.

Every time Maya makes a Brigadeiro, it awakens those sweet memories of her childhood and sparks her desire to share her Brazilian traditions with the vibrant culture of Los Angeles and beyond. Each Brigadeiro is made to order with lots of amor and reminds us that even the smallest things can bring the most joy.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Like most small businesses, it’s never a smooth road. Prior to starting Maya’s Brigadeiro, Maya was a touring professional dancer, choreographer as well as an arts educator. All that to say, she had ZERO business knowledge when she decided to start her company. With a lack of any capital or prior business experience, there has been, and continues to be a steep learning curve. However, with a passion and mission to share your cultural sweets with the world, you learn, you do make mistakes along the way, but you learn quickly and grow.

Maya’s Brigadeiro Brazilian Sweets – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
In a city as culturally and culinarily diverse as Los Angeles, Maya couldn’t understand how her favorite Brazilian dessert wasn’t represented, so with Maya’s Brigadeiro Brazilian Sweets, she set out to fix that.

We specialize in Brigadeiro [pronounced bree-gah-dey-roh], a traditional Brazilian sweet with a blow-your-mind texture that really sets it apart from anything you have tried before. Brigadeiro can best be described as a cross between a caramel and a truffle, but really needs to be sampled to truly understand its uniqueness. We’ve created an experience that celebrates bringing our culture to yours by always choosing the finest ingredients, creating unique flavors, and hand making every brig, just for you…with lots of amor!

Mays is most proud to bring the heart of her Brazilian culture to the city where her heart lives, Los Angeles,

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
As corny as it may sound, I define success by watching the look on people’s faces after they try my Brigadeiro. I love seeing all the fun, quirky and different reactions people have to trying something that is truly delicious and unique. Every eye that lights up, head that flips back and little happy dance that ensues reinsures me that I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Of course, financial successful is important and I am grateful that we have grown in the way we have, but you have to remember why you got into it this business in the first place. Making people as happy and excited as I am when I have my product is the absolute best. I really believe, when life is sweet, anything is possible.

Pricing:

  • Small Premium Assortment $15
  • Medium Premium Assortment $27
  • Large Premium Assortment $42
  • Brigadeiro Spread $18
  • Gift Baskets $85
  • Brigadeiro Cake Jars $19

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Photos by Lynora Valdez “1390 Photo”

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Mindy Starley

    July 30, 2018 at 18:13

    I recently had the honor of officiating the wedding of my nephew and his beautiful Brazilian bride. Her mother (who doesn’t speak a lot of english) was also in attendance. I thought it would be a fun welcome for them to have some treats to acknowledge Brazil. I bought them each a box of the Brigadero – one large enough to share. They both went wild over the treats, and it was so much fun to have many people try them. Upon my arrival at the pre-wedding party, I was told that they were “the biggest hit” and that it was so special to have a Brazilian treat! Thank you so much for these wonderful, hand-made chocolates – made us all very happy!! Love them!

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