Miel Negra Miel negra or miel de cana is a dark, sweet syrup made by boiling down cane juice. Its rich deep flavor, similar to that of molasses, makes it a popular dessert when paired with cheese, bananas, or peanuts.
Queso Paraguay Queso Paraguay, present in almost all other dishes, is part of Paraguay’s dessert offerings as well. A hunk of squeaky fresh cheese is often paired with a generous helping of miel negra or dulce de guayaba. This is best when the cheese is fresh.
Dulces Paraguayans take advantage of the overabundance of fruits by turning many into jams and sweets ranging from spreadable to solid sliceable jellies. Popular flavors include guava (guayaba), papaya (mamon), and, oddly enough, sweet potato (batata). These are eaten plain or paired with queso Paraguay.
Budin de pan Similar in taste to flan but with a more of a custardy texture, budm de pan is an all-time favorite dessert. Chunks of soft bread soaked in milk are blended with eggs and sugar, placed in a jello-mold pan with caramelized sugar (almibar) at the bottom, and cooked in a baine marie. The result is a dish that is deep brown on top, creamy yellow on the bottom, and delicious throughout.
Andai Butternut squash, known as andai in Guarani, is used to make two popular desserts. For andai kambu pieces of squash are boiled in milk along with cinnamon and cloves. It is served warm or cold. Kiveve is prepared by cooking pureed squash with milk, fried onions, and a bit of corn flour, resulting in a creamy squash and corn porridge.
Yerba mate Based Beverages
Yerba mate (ilex paraguaiensis) is consumed in massive quantities throughout Paraguay in a variety of forms. Visitors who have passed through Argentina and Uruguay will recognize the traditional mate with hot water. Terere, yerba served with cold water, is unique to Paraguay. A variety of medicinal plants (yuyos in Spanish and poja nana in Guarani) are typically added to the water for both mate and terere. Paraguayans also drink mate cocido, another hot mate drink vaguely reminiscent of chai.
Sidebar: Though it has always been an industrialized product, there are families in the countryside that continue to harvest and process their own yerba mate.