Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Guava Jam and Other Delights

This week I'm on a fruit spread-and-cheese kick.

It started with me inheriting a pack of Wasa Multigrain Crispbread from my neighbor, which we both agreed was basically nothing more than edible - albeit good for you - cardboard. So I thought I should use what's left of my Fig and Orange Spread by eating it with the crackers.

Seriously, guys, the Fig and Orange Spread is the bomb - alone with the crispbread, the soft-and-crispy textures are just out of this world, and the flavor of the spread is so indescribably rich that it goes beyond sweet. It's a pity that this stuff is so darned expensive in the store... it's the kind of spread that just elevates practically anything and everything.

The only problem I have, however, is pairing the fig spread with cheese - which is my own problem, because I end up purchasing the Kraft Extra Sharp Cheddar when I should be springing for aged gouda or goat cheese. Yeah, I know, I ought to live a little (remember, I used to be the person who lived on pate and Brie as a college freshman) but my priorities just aren't the same this time around. Anyhow, every time I pair the fig spread with the cheddar it's the opposite of a taste sensation - the tartness of the cheese always competes with the bittersweetness of the figs - so it was more of a letdown when I put them both on the crispbread.

Now, to compensate for my loss of the fig spread (and in keeping with the broke student theme) I bought a jar of Hawaiian Sun Guava Jam, which was on sale at Foodland. (Technically, it's the Hawaiian Sun Lite Guava Jam, with reduced sugar, but I digress.) So for dinner I paired the guava jam with the cheddar, sliced extra thin with a tiny sharp knife, on top of the multigrain bread.

Again, the bread did nothing for the flavor, although the texture remained pretty crisp. The sharpness of the cheese was still pretty tart. And yet... the contrast of the creamy cheese and the stiff cracker ended up putting the focus back on the guava jam, which turned out to be especially decadent. As much as I used to hate anything related to spreadable guava (it used to get under my skin when Lady's Choice in the Philippines had peanut butter with guava jelly stripes), this combination of guava jam and cheese was pretty unbelievable. I understand that the combination isn't exactly original, but... still, it was so decadent that I almost passed up on dessert.

(Speaking of dessert: Dried apricots + Chips Ahoy = yum. No, I am serious. If you'd told me this combination worked wonders ten years ago, I would've thought you were way, way too high.)

For sure I'm going to have this combo again for breakfast tomorrow - maybe skip the cheese and go with the guava jam alone first - and if I ever run out of the crispbread I'm going to see if I could invest in a better-quality loaf of whole grain bread, or at least a good sourdough. But it's making me think about other combinations, too. (Guava jam and... Brie? Edam? Manchego? Feta? Pepper Jack? PARMIGIANO REGGIANO!?) At any rate it shouldn't hurt to be this adventurous, right?


Sione said...

Man, this jam goes so well in tarts or jam rolls! Yum-o. The pairing it with cheese sounds really good, though... Now, I feel like I've got to give it a go!

meimei said...

I read about the guava-and-cheese combo in another website - it sounds like a Brazilian thing, but I doubt that they use guava paste instead of guava jam. It's a Mediterranean concept, though, going back to the use of paste made with quince or figs with cheese courses.

I think the guava jam works with the sharp cheddar (add ham or turkey and a hearty whole wheat bread, and you're good to go) but I think it would be sensational with a cheese that's not too sweet. I also tried the jam with plain Philly Cream Cheese, which is actually pretty good with toast (and not bad for breakfast).