Guava Takes Foodies On A ‘Travel Through Taste’ To Latin America

Food & Drink

Aromatic and pungent, the succulent fuchsia of her flesh when she is ready to be enjoyed, clad in variations of lime green, bright yellow and white tones, reminiscent of the vivid colors of the region from which she hails. She is indisputably sweet yet tangy and doesn’t shy away from a little spice in her life… after all. She is known to be a little salty at times— depending on who she is with.

Cool down. I was just taking you for a little trip to visit my friend. They call her Guava. We heard you might be looking for a little adventure.

According to flavor company, Fona, cravings in 2022 have been driven by a need for exploration beyond the “repetitive cycles” that were experienced throughout the pandemic, so it is no wonder that 66 per cent of consumers say they are eating a greater variety of ‘unconventional’ foods today than before the pandemic, with guava taking the top spot as the most trending flavor in the “exotic” category.

Fona had consumers rate a list of exotic fruit on a scale of 1 to 5, among them: guava, dragon fruit, papaya, star fruit, prickly pear, tamarind, lychee, plantain, yuzu and avocado. Guava achieved the highest score of all.

Flavorchem refers to the new trend as “Travel Through Taste” and says that many of the fastest growing international flavors on menus will come from sauces, seasonings, appetizers and beverages that have the power to transport a dish from humble beginnings to a lavish and flavorful feast.

And with its high levels of pectin, guava is ideal for making thick jams, sauces and jellies that can be used in both sweet and savory combinations.

Look at what happens when that tangy fruitiness hits the guava-glazed pork chops perfected by Chef Vitelio Reyes, Venezuelan-born executive chef at Amazonico in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square in the UK, or Colombian Chef, Juan Manuel Barrientos’ guava barbecue ribs at Elcielo in Washington D.C. And of course there’s that Guava Mimosa, made with fresh guava juice, a hint of pear and sweetened with honey and sparkling rosé from @gardeninthekitchen on Instagram.

Celebrity Chef Wilo Benet surely knows what he’s doing when he combines the tangy-sweet flavor of guava with his special seasonings to create a Cheese Souffle with Spiced Guava Sauce, a reminder of the salty-sweet flavors that are so prevalent in his Puerto Rican homeland.

Fona says that consumers are searching for food inspiration, looking to social media in earnest, with the hashtag #exoticfruit registering 194,000 posts on Instagram and 175.6 million views on TikTok and the hashtag #guava registering 634,142 posts on Instagram.

The once-sedentary COVID-recluse has now become the globe-trotting #guava seeking foodie.

Perhaps they’ll find what they’re looking for in Brazil…

“In Brazil, the refreshing and aromatic guava fruit is usually integrated within desserts and sweet preparations,” says Cris Manuchakian, Food Curator and Public Relations Executive.

“It is paired with cheese in Romeo and Juliet— a simple combination but perfect in taste with a variety of versions.”

In Latin America, guava or goiabada (guava jelly or paste) is often paired with fresh cheese, as in pastelitos de guayaba y queso (puff pastry pocket with guava paste and cream cheese) that is so loved in Cuba.

The joy of putting two contrasting flavors together to see how they play— sweet with salty or delightfully hot— flirting with your tastebuds as you reach for the next mouthful. This will surely be your experience with the Bagnet (pork belly) with guava and purple onion pickles served at a Caso de Porco, in São Paulo, Brazil.

“Brazilian guava has also really emerged in fine dining, in richer and more creative preparations, that allow one to experience different textures and flavors of the fruit,” explains Manuchakian. “One great example is Michelin Star Restaurant, Evvai, from São Paulo. Chef Luiz Filipe Sousa brought the fruit to Evvai’s new tasting menu in a cold salad with tomatoes, cucumber, guanciale, guava, native Brazilian oysters and edible gold leaves; a very balanced combination and rich in flavors.”

And we haven’t even gotten to dessert yet.

According to market research firm, Datassential, guavas are trending on dessert menus, up 45% in the last four years.

Datassential recommends that restaurants should mix in exotic fruits alongside more commonly known fruits, as in Chef Vitelio Reyes’ Enguayabado– a decadent Guava cheesecake with citrus biscuit and a hibiscus ginger flower sorbet.

Fona refers to this type of combination as an “Approachable Adventure.”

And while Latin and Spanish Caribbean guava dishes take foodies on a “Travel Through Taste” through bright, spicy, sour, sweet and spirited flavors, they also serve a functional role.

According to Flavorman’s “2021 Flavor Trends” report, featuring “Flavors That Function” consumers are looking for products that offer more than just taste.

Rich in Vitamin C, with four times the Vitamin C power of oranges, guavas help to fight infections and free radicals and boost the immune system. They contain lycopene and antioxidants, are rich in manganese and folate, and have as much potassium as a banana.

So, with 24% growth in guava flavored new products from 2019-2020, consumers are well suited to go on this bright, flavorful— and healthy— adventure.

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