Romeu e Julieta is probably one of the simplest recipes to come out of Brazil. It basically consists of layering guava paste and cheese. But the contrast between salty and sweet can be a bit of shock to the unprepared American palette.
Romeu e Julieta uses guava paste (locally known as goiabada) and a variety of salty cheese known as queijo minas. Alternatively, you can use a less salty variety of cheese to tone down the contrast. This Brazilian recipe is very simple and is perfect if you’re looking to treat your guests with a new taste.
In this article, we will discuss this unique recipe in detail. We will also discuss the individual ingredients, sharing the recipe for making your own guava paste. Let us begin.
The Obscure Brazilian Treat of Romeu E Julieta
Romeu e Julieta is an interesting recipe, to say the least. The name, as you might have already guessed, is the Portuguese name for Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.
The combination of salty and sweet that this recipe offers can be quite a surprise for Americans. But Brazilians can’t seem to get enough of it. The Brazilian sweet dish is also served in cake form and even as a pizza!
And once you taste it a few times, you will start to understand because the union of flavors and textures grows on you.
Romeu e Julieta is typically served as an appetizer, but it is also a popular dessert. The traditional Brazilian recipe consists of a variety of cheese known as queijo minas (native to the Minas Gerais) region in Brazil. This is coupled with ‘goiabada,’ which is the Portuguese name for guava paste.
When stacked together, the two ingredients blend together perfectly to create a unique flavor, unlike anything else. You will want more of it.
That’s enough of the description. Let us now look at how you can make Romeu e Julieta at your own home for your family or friends. The recipe that we are about to share below will serve 10 people and can be served either as a snack or a dessert.
- White cheese (1 block)
- Guava paste (1 block)
As you might have already noticed, the ingredients for this recipe are pretty straight forward. Regarding your selection of white cheese, we recommend you get a less salty variety of cheese like Queso Blanco. The traditional Brazilian recipe uses a saltier variety of cheese, but the contrast between the salty cheese and the sweet guava can be a bit of a shock to foreign palettes.
As for the guava paste, you can get one at any Latino or Asian grocery store.
- Cut even square slices of the cheese and the guava paste. Make the slices as thin as you can. And make sure they are even, as an uneven cut can ruin the combination.
- Layer 3 slices of cheese and 2 slices of guava paste, in an alternating pattern, per toothpick.
- Once prepared, you can put them in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes. Then serve them chill. (Alternatively, you can also directly serve them at room temperature.)
And there you have it!
It doesn’t get simpler than this. Romeu e Julietas are best served as appetizers and snacks. While some of your guests may find the contrast between salty and sweet a bit shocking at first, rest assured that the taste will grow on them. So make sure you have enough prepared.
The Guava Paste and the Cheese
Guava paste is a popular ingredient in Latino cuisine. In Brazil, it is called goiabada (Portugese). It is a preserve that is prepared using guava and sugar. It is sold in a block form, with a consistency of a thick jelly. This makes it quite easy to slice.
If you can’t get a hold of guava paste in your local store (or, if you’re feeling a little adventurous), you can make some yourself. The process is quite simple.
What You’ll Need
- Guava (2 lbs or 0.91 kg)
- Rinse the guavas thoroughly and cut off the tops and the bottoms. Then peel them.
- Cut the guavas in half. Scoop out the insides and put them in a bowl. Put the guava shells in a different bowl.
- In the bowl with the scooped out guava insides, add about a cup of water. Leave it aside to soak.
- Now put the guava shells in a saucepan and add another cup of water to it. Let the water boil and then turn the heat down, allowing the mix to shimmer. You may put a lit on the saucepan to speed up the process. What you’re looking for is for the guava shells to turn soft.
- Keep stirring the mix every now and then to prevent anything from sticking or burning. Once the shells have turned soft and creamy, take the saucepan off the heat and put it aside.
- Take the bowl with the guava insides and water and then strain it. The water has probably turned a bit gelatinous by now. Press on the solids in the strainer so that everything but the guava seeds passes through.
- Stir this gelatinous mix gently and add it to the saucepan containing the cooked guava shells. Mix them well.
- Put this mix in a blender and grind it till it turns into a fine puree.
- Put this puree back into a saucepan and add an equal amount of sugar. (If you’ve got 2 cups of puree, add two cups of sugar to it.)
- Turn the heat back on and then cook the mix for about 20 minutes till you get a thick paste.
- Line a container with wax paper and then pour the paste over it. Spread the paste evenly.
- Let the paste dry in a cool and dry place for about 24 hours. (Warning: Don’t put it in a refrigerator).
And voila, you have made your own guava paste!
Choosing the Right Cheese
The cheese is a whole different story. The traditional Brazilian recipe uses a variety of soft, white and salty cheese known as queijo minas. This is a special type of cheese native to Brazil, and is prepared in the region of Minas Gerais.
Not only is this variety of cheese difficult to get a hold of in the United States, but the salty taste also might not appeal to the typical American palette, especially when contrasted with the sweet taste of the guava paste. So instead, you may choose a variety of Mexican cheese.
Alternatively, you can coat the guava paste with a layer of cheese cream to tone down the contrast between the salty and the sweet.
Romeu e Julieta could be the perfect snack/appetizer for your gathering. The recipe is simple, and the preparation takes less than 15 minutes. And the contrast between the salty taste of the cheese and the sweet taste of the guava paste is bound to surprise the American palettes of your guests. But rest assured, the taste will grow on them.
Traditionally, the recipe asks for a variety of salty cheese known as queijo minas. If that is hard to get by where you live, you can choose a variety of Mexican white cheese like the Queso Fresco (or Queso Blanco, if you want to tone down the contrast).
Once you taste Romeu e Julieta, it will come as no surprise that the combination of ingredients is a marriage made in heaven!
For more delicious foods from Brazil, check out 19 Best Brazilian Foods You Have To Try Right Away!
- Atlas Obscura: Romeu e Julieta
- Global Table Adventure: Brazilian Romeo and Juliet | Romeu e Julieta
- Curious Cuisiniere: Romeu e Julieta (Brazilian Romeo and Juliet)
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