Brazilian Tapioca Flans from a Berlin Sprinter.

Mariana and Peter in their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which was converted into a food truck

Mariana brings her home on the banks of the Amazon to the streets of the German capital: With her husband Peter she delights her guests with Brazilian specialties.

A piece of Brazil away from home.

Mariana is beaming: Together with her husband Peter and two other employees, she stands cheerfully in her food truck, preparing one tapioca flan after the other. Various scents of colorful and fresh ingredients such as avocado, pomegranate and banana rise from her work. It is a warm summer evening; the sun is already quite low, so that the most beautiful light of the day bathes the surroundings in warm tones. Crowds of people in colorful festival outfits stroll around the grounds, all with satisfied smiles on their faces. The festival music that comes to her from the stages underlines the summer flair. Mariana serves a warm tapioca flan over the counter. She loves to look into the happy faces of her customers and to realize that they are enthusiastic about this food, which comes from Mariana’s birthplace of Brazil. The tapioca fritters are prepared from cassava flour of the root of the same name, which can then be filled to taste either hearty or sweet. Tapioca flans are a real Brazilian specialty and have a long history. The food truck also offers another Brazilian specialty: “Açaí na Tigela”, an ice sorbet made from the açaí berry, which only grows in the Amazon region.

Mariana and Peter in front of their Tapiocaria-Food Truck

Mariana and Peter are overjoyed about the positive response of their customers.

From street food stand to their own food truck.

The Brazilian food truck of Mariana and her husband Peter has its origins in May 2014: With a simple stand in Berlin’s ‘Markthalle Neun’ – one of the town’s hottest street food locations – the two test their food creations on their customers – with tremendous success. “The unexpected rush almost became a problem. At the beginning, we were amazed to see a five-meter long queue, but when it then got even longer, we could hardly believe it. We didn’t want to keep anyone waiting,” Mariana remembers. However, this success gave them the self-confidence to consider something bigger: A food truck. “The beauty of a food truck is its flexibility and the possibility of always choosing a new location. You always see new interesting cities and take part in unforgettable events,” explains Peter. “A restaurant can’t keep up.” After some deliberation, it was a certainty that the idea would be implemented – with a Sprinter 508, which offered all the advantages of a modern van. “As nice as an old 508 is: When you’ve been on the highway for a few hours and have either yelled at each other or silenced the noise with headphones, you learn to appreciate the advantages of a modern van,” says Peter with a smile. “The renowned quality of a Mercedes-Benz prevailed over other vehicles.” In addition to the Sprinter, the couple also uses a Vito for supply journeys.

  • Mariana at work in her food truck
  • A heartily filled tapioca wrap
  • Mariana and the food truck in front of the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart

Respect for the challenge, but no fear.

A very stressful half year followed, in which the couple converted the Sprinter by themselves. However, the two are a good team: Peter’s technical skills, which he has acquired through his engineering training, complement Mariana’s, who is actually a designer. The start into their food truck business was marked by a baptism of fire: At the Carnival of Cultures in Berlin. Nevertheless, the duo also succeeded, laying the foundations for a successful food truck. Nevertheless, the initial phase was not always easy: “Of course, a project like this always involves risks. In addition, there are different concerns. But we have always lived by the motto: ‘Respect for the challenge, but no fear’ – and that worked,” Mariana recalls. In addition to street food and music festivals and other events in Germany, where the Tapiocaria food truck is booked for catering, Mariana and Peter are now also on the road in Austria and Switzerland. “Of course, things don’t always go smoothly. But especially when things do not go as expected, you notice how customers identify with us and our products. Like a blackout at a festival in Berlin, where the mood remained great despite the long wait.”

We have been a part of so many events that we would never have otherwise experienced.

A concept of genuine lust for life.

“In my opinion, our success is based on the fact that we don’t follow the latest trends, but that our concept is based on something real: on my origins in Brazil and on a real love of life,” explains Mariana. Despite some hurdles, the couple would not do it any other way. “You just can’t describe the best moment we’ve experienced in our food truck: We have been a part of so many events that we would never have otherwise experienced. We’ve have numerous encounters with customers who have been surprised, enthusiastic and grateful. And finally, we are held in high regard by so many different ways – we don’t want to miss that,” Peter describes and puts an arm around Mariana’s waist. What are they dreaming about now? “A journey through Europe, perhaps with the van, the Vito and a caravan. Something like ‘Work and Travel’ across Europe – that would be something,” says Mariana and hugs Peter back.

A customer receives a Tapioca from the food truck

The Tapiocaria-Food Truck is booked not only for festivals but also for other events such as company parties.

Peter prepares a Tapioca in his food truck

Peter is a real fan of the food from Mariana's home.

A heartily prepared tapioca wrap

Tapioca wraps are gluten-free and are prepared without oil.

Customers standing in front of the food truck

Where the Tapiocaria-Food Truck appears, it is always well frequented.

A sweetly filled tapioca flan is prepared

Tapioca flans can be filled sweet or savory.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Photos: Alexandre Kurek, Mariana Pitanga

More Links to explore: Tapiocaria, Tapiocaria @ Facebook

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