Lifestyle Fashion

Check out innovative creations India’s culinary scene embraces the seasonal fruit

Although we’re a few months out of the Christmas season, a few of its festive treats still linger around. And one of them is the Goan sweet ‘guava cheese’. In Goa, this halwa-like, translucent, red-hued sweet is made from the pulp of slightly overripe guavas, sugar, red food colouring and some shortening agent. This sweet, which is part of the state’s colonial Portuguese legacy, is also found in South America, where it is known multifariously as bocadillo in Colombia, and perad or goiabada in Brazil. Now, hitching a ride onto to this seasonal fruit trend bandwagon are several restaurants, bars and chefs across India who are pulling out all the stops to highlight the fragrant guava in myriad ways.

From Pop-ups to Sit-downs

At her recent seven-course pop-up dinner called Butter Fingers held at Magazine St. Kitchen, Mumbai, Chef Taiyaba Ali showcased the guava in a most interesting manner. She did this with a Pink Guava Sorbet as a mid-course palate cleanser, the idea of which was born out of nostalgia. “I channelled the memory of my grandmother making amrood kachalu for the children in the evenings. Kachalu was roughly a fruit chaat where the guavas were thinly chopped and macerated in black pepper, black salt and sugar,” reminisces Ali.

Featuring on the new menu of Napoli by Shatranj—one of Mumbai’s most iconic Italian restaurants—is not one, but two items that pay obeisance to guava. The Verdi’s Verde cocktail is homage to the renowned Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, while combining the Peruvian alcohol pisco with guava, chili and rose to create a symphony of flavours that mirror Verdi’s passion and creativity. On the food menu, the cheesecake a la guava al forno—created by Chef Mahfuz Shaikh—has both a guava sauce topping as well as guava sorbet soil that is sprinkled around it. “The idea was to work with local produce like the lovely pink guava and incorporate it into the most popular dessert which almost every restaurant makes—the cheesecake,” says Shaikh.

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