The Guava Man
Publication: The Times Of India Bangalore; Date: Mar 27, 2010; Section: Bangalore Times; Page: 38
DTP checks out Noel D’Souza’s home-made guava cheese
PIALI DASGUPTA, Cooke Town
How long can I look at the pretty girls from my balcony and count the types of birds on the tree near my house?” asks the good-humoured Noel D’Souza, who’s known for his delectable guava cheese in his locality. Noel realized the main foe of retired life is lack of occupation, which leads to all kinds of ailments. Not one to lead an inactive lifestyle, Noel started cultivating his hobby of making guava cheese. It’s been a good 15-20 years since he started making it. And he’s been selling it for the last 10 years out of his home.
The 78-year-old says, “I make guava cheese every day for two hours. The recipe has been passed down from two generations and modified a bit to suit modern tastes. I make 1.5 kilos of guava cheese a day and sell it for Rs 300 per kilo (the minimum order is 200 gms).” Eaten mostly as a dessert, it also goes well with cheese slices. “I don’t put in any additives, but just some sugar and a little ghee. I blend white and red guavas in a 1:4 proportion, which makes it unique,” says Michelle Gafoor’s father. But this hobby isn’t easy. “On Monday or Tuesday, I get 10 kilos of guavas.
It takes a whole day to make the pulp for the guava cheese and refrigerate it. Although I make it in the microwave, it’s a lot of effort. And the wife could complain if you leave the containers sticky. During Christmas, I make it in larger volumes,” states Noel. The best part about his guava cheese is that it can be left outside for two months without refrigeration. “I have been having it from childhood.
It’s widely eaten in Mexico, Spain, East India, Goa and Mangalore. The Coorgs also love it — they buy a lot from me during their weddings — as well as NRIs, who don’t get it abroad. But 25-30 per cent of whatever I make goes to family members and whoever comes home,” smiles Noel. Although it’s quite a lucrative occupation, Noel doesn’t care much about the money. “I can’t walk much anymore and I feel breathless. Standing and stirring the pulp is a form physical and mental exercise to me,” he explains. Noel has also penned the cookbook The Amateur Cook’s Companion 16 years ago, which sold abroad and in Bangalore.
Note: Noel is the 15th child of PG and Rose D'Souza