Brazilian Romeo and Juliet
Romeu e Julieta obviously gets its name from the Shakespeare play. This dessert which is widespread in Brazil consists of cheese and guava paste. The cheese that is used is kind of a dense cheese called queijo minas or queijo mineiro. It is from the region of Minas Gerais, the second most populated region in Brazil.
Romeu e Julieta: a Brazilian dessert consisting of guava paste and white cheese. Romeu e Julieta in its most basic form is one of the most traditional desserts and the simplest to prepare in the Brazilian culinary repertoire. It consists of a fairly thick slice of fresh white cheese (in Brazil, mostly often queijo minas from the state of Minas Gerais) and an equally thick slice of a fruit paste made from guava (goiaba) called goiabada. Gioabada is merely pulped fresh guava, water and sugar cooked down to a consistency halfway between a fruit butter, like apple butter, and fruit leather. It has a uniform but slightly gritty texture, due to the texture of the guava fruit itself and is quite sweet. The dish plays off the sweetness of the fruit combined with the saltiness of the cheese. Most Brazilians will cut a small piece of cheese and a small piece of goiabada then combine them on the fork in a single bite.
Goiabada dates back to the early days of Portuguese colonization of Brazil as a way to preserve fresh fruit, and under refrigeration it has a very long shelf life. Cheese, of course, also keeps well. That’s why when Brazilian cooks don’t have the time or inclination to prepare a fancy or elaborate dessert they often fall back on Romeu e Julieta – the ingredients are likely to be in the fridge already, and all it takes to prepare the dessert is to slice the cheese and the goiabada then plate them.