The Most Popular Desserts and Sweets in Paraguay
Paraguayans are definitely not the most dessert-obsessed people on this planet, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy a treat from time to time. Traditional Paraguayan desserts are made with local fruits such as papayas and guavas, as well as molasses, a by-product of refined sugarcane.
1. Torta de Miel Negra (Paraguayan Molasses Cake)
Paraguay is a prolific sugarcane producer and when you refine sugar, you end up with a lot of by-products, otherwise known as miel negra or molasses. A traditional dessert that takes advantage of the abundance of molasses is a sweet bread known as torta de miel negra.
This is a delicious cake which is not overly sweet and has a firm yet spongy texture. It is traditionally served with mate, a South American caffeine-infused drink.
2. Budín de Pan (Bread Pudding Cake)
Old bread is recycled into a sweet treat in this very easy to make and inexpensive cake. Eggs are beaten with milk, and a touch of lemon essence/rind or vanilla is added along with a healthy scoop of sugar.
The bread is added to soak up the mixture. A bundt pan is prepared with a caramel glaze in the bottom. The bread and milk mixture (often liquified first in a blender) is then added to the pan and baked in a tatkua or oven.
This is very popular homemade dessert in Paraguay, especially at Christmas.
3. Dulce de Mamón
Papayas, locally known as mamónes, grow pretty much everywhere in Paraguay. Locals harvest the green, unripe fruit, cut it into slices, and marinate them in sugar and lemon to conserve them for sweet treats. It is typically served with caramel.
4. Pasta Frola
Another prolific fruit in Paraguay is the guayaba (guava). A delicious guava jam is made by boiling down the fruit and removing its seeds, which is then used for the pasta frola.
Pasta frola is a pie with a thick crust, more like a sweet bread. It is also a popular pie in neighboring Argentina and Uruguay, though the recipe might have slight variations.
The crust is coated with guava jam, topped with a lattice crust, and baked for a sweet yet healthy cake treat.
5. Kaguyjy (Mazamorra)
Mazamorra, known locally as kaguyjy, is one of the most traditional desserts of Paraguay. It is made with corn (the native locro variety) and sugar and sometimes honey or milk. Orange peel and vanilla extract are also sometimes added for extra flavor.
As it is very easy to prepare with easily available ingredients, kaguyjy became very popular in Paraguay in the second half of the 19th century when the Paraguayan War led to a scarcity of food.
6. Ka’i Ladrillo
This is a very popular candy made with peanuts and molasses, cut into small cubes that look like small bricks. This is where its name comes from as ladrillo is Spanish for brick.
7. Kamby Arró (Arroz con Leche)
Arroz con leche (rice pudding) is a highly popular dessert in South America and Paraguay is no exception. Locally it is known as kamby arro. The recipe is very simple and similar to that used in other Latin American countries. Cinnamon or vanilla are sometimes added for extra flavor.
Kivevé is a semi-sweet squash and cornmeal purée that is popular in parts of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. It can be served as a side-dish to steaks and roasts or enjoyed as a dessert.
It’s made with a local variety of pumpkin, a local type of cornmeal, fresh cheese, and sugar. While a humble dish, it is incredibly delicious.
This is a unique bittersweet Paraguayan dessert that will delight your palate. It is prepared from sour orange peels boiled in cane syrup.
10. Mbaipy He-é (Sweet Polenta)
This is a humble but popular Paraguayan corn-based dessert sweetened with sugar or molasses. It is the perfect treat after a light dinner.
Related: Most Popular Foods in Paraguay
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Hi, I am a writer who grew up in Paraguay but now lives in the US. I am now working on a book about Paraguayan food, but tailored toward the descendants of the Paraguayan diaspora. Those who wish to reconnect or get to know the traditional Paraguayan foods. I am particularly interested in tips and hacks to adopt the traditional dishes to busy lives in the U.S. If you have some tips or would just like to chat about this project, please contact me