Today we were out searching for dried barberries following a query about where to find them in Walthamstow – we failed in this mission but were amazed along the way to find a shop with South American foodstuff that we didn’t think was available in the Stow.
At S & A Groceries there is a dazzling array of different food on offer – but alongside the more familair or easy to get hold of Asian, African and Arabic flavours we found South American foods. There were blocks of panela – unrefined whole cane sugar, dulce de leche – caramelised sugar and drinking chocolate too … but also this is Bocadillo de Guayaba or guava paste.
Bocadillo is prepared much like other jams or jellies. The guavas are washed, peeled, mashed into a pulp and then strained to remove seeds. The pulp is then slowly boiled for hours with panela until it has a thick consistency. It is left to cool before being cut into blocks, then each square is individually wrapped in a bijao leaf.
Bocadillo de guayaba is similar to the Spanish quince paste membrillo or Portuguese marmalada. It is a fruity, sticky, sweet reddish hard jelly paste. It’s great spread on toast, or served with cheese like Spanish Manchego or Greek Feta. It would work well as a chutney or relish with roast meat. It can also be simply eaten on its own as a fruity sweet. It is consumed abundantly in Colombia and is famously produced in the town of town of Velez.