One of Latin America’s best culinary concoctions is pasta de guayaba, or guava paste. Made from the aromatic and seed-filled guava fruit, this paste is almost as good as candy and incredibly versatile. The Sleep Inn blogging team has a few recommendations for happy guava paste-eating as a great leisure-time activity.

On their own, guavas can be difficult to eat. Their flesh is peach-colored and sweet, but it surrounds a core of pulpy seeds that some people find unnerving. When most people eat guavas right off the tree, they either swallow the seeds whole or spit them out, often making for messy eating. Another drawback to the guava is its attractiveness to worms. Any fruit that lands on the ground almost immediately becomes a home for worms, making tree-climbing a near-requirement for the enjoyment of the fresh fruit.

Guava paste solves all of these problems. Made by cooking the guava flesh with some sugar, the paste has no seeds and, of course, no worms. It’s also conveniently available in every grocery store. In Costa Rica, the paste often comes in flat rectangular “bars,” perfect for slicing and eating plain. However, several interesting combinations can enliven the basic guava paste.

Some people layer squares of guava paste and cheese, spearing both with a toothpick. Queso fresco, the mild Costa Rican cheese, is an ideal cheese accompaniment to guava paste. The layered mouthful is a charming combination of sweetness and mild creaminess, and it makes a perfect hors d’oeuvre.

Other people enliven their guava paste-cheese combination with a cocktail onion. The addition of the onion provides a tangy and crunchy counterpart to the fruit and cheese.

Guava paste is so mild and sweet that it also pairs nicely with very spicy flavors. Some people like to eat it with jalapeño, a tingling treat for lovers of the classic sweet/spicy flavor combination.

Of course, guava paste can substitute for jam or jelly in any kind of sandwich or bread combination. Some cooks also use it as a glaze for ham or pork, and others use it in the place of jam in baked fruit desserts.

We recommend guava paste in all its forms, and we welcome blog readers to write and let us know about their own guava paste concoctions.

Writing and editing by Beaumont Hardy Editing.