Quince/Guava Paste for Cheese
What's the best source for quince or guava paste? Is one better for pairing with cheese?
I have access to Mexican and Asian supermarkets, Whole Foods-type groceries, wholesalers, etc.
Hi there... the Whole Foods here in DC has a Spanish quince paste which is wonderful for spanish cheeses. Although it is called a paste, the one I have is more like a solid jam inside a small plastic box. It's especially yummy inside crepes! I have also seen guava paste in asian stores, though mostly larger ones.
Most Mexican markets carry quince paste; it's usually labeled "ate de membrillo." It is much, much less expensive than the Spanish brands at a gourmet store. Quince paste and manchego cheese (NOT the Mexican style this time) are classic; quince paste also pairs well w/other similiar cheeses.
They will also have guava paste ("ate de guayaba") at the Mexican market. It is often paired with soft, white, fresh-style cheeses in South America. I've had some amazing empanadas w/this combination, and I've seen a guava/fresh cheese "pizza" on television.
I've seen Quince at Whole Foods in the Cheese Dept. also at every specialty cheese shop whenever I've looked for it. It is a traditional and delicious Spanish condiment for cheese, especially Manchego Roncal, Mahón and Campo de Montalban. It also works well any salty or blue cheese - Valdeón for example.
Guava works well with dry and salty cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino or aged Gouda - though I've not noticed Guava jam anywhere lately. I love guava thumbprints made with gauva paste. Cookies and cheese!
I love Whole Foods and shop here regularly, but would definitely look for both guava paste and quince paste someplace else as it's much cheaper elsewhere. Ethnic markets (not necessarily just Mexican markets) typically carry both for a fraction of what Whole Foods and Trader Joe's sell both of these items for. Also, some fruit market type stores also carry these items for 1/4 of the price.