Sweet Cheese Balls.

In the World of Puds, it’s not often you come across something completely different. But right now, in the corner of the Oxford Covered Market, such a thing is being sold at 40 pence a go.

It’s name? The Bolita.

We were drawn to the stall, Casa Das Bolitas, by the incredible smell: a homely aroma like fresh-baked cheese straws. Only these things weren’t pastry – oh no.

If you’ve led a less sheltered life than I have – or even visited South America – you may be a few steps ahead of me here. For the rest of you, I shall explain: Bolitas are dough balls, made with eggs, milk, cheddar and cassava flour. Gluten free, and hailing from Minas Gerais in Brazil, their website describes them as ‘the most popular Brazilian snack.’ After I’d taken a couple of sniffs, I could well believe it.

Now, before you try and stop me here, yes, I am aware that this is a pudding blog, and that so far I’ve just been going on about cheese. Well, hold your horses, Ogglers. I was just warming up.

You see, although all Bolitas are cheesy, not all Bolitas are savoury.

Mind-blowing, isn’t it?

Cheddar? Plus sugar? It hasn’t always gone well for me as a combo, I admit (that cheesecake from Terre a Terre being a major downer in my history – not to mention the weird Malaysian pancake). Still, I’m not one to poo-poo things I haven’t tried. So when the Man bought a Guava Bolita, I had to have a go.

OK, OK. Fine. I didn’t know it would be cheesy, otherwise I might have steered clear. Jeez! Still, ignorance is bliss, so I hogged down that guava ball sharpish.

Thank goodness I did – turns out it was lovely. The texture won me over more than anything: very hot, very soft, with a big blob of sweet pink jam in the middle. Mmm, guava… I wish I had more guava in my life. So fruity! So gooey! So sweet!

Better still, the balls had been baked, not fried, so that sickly drip of grease I was expecting never came. Imagine a doughnut without the oil, or a just-cooked bun with a delicate crust – that’s the kind of texture I mean. Beautiful.

I wasn’t overjoyed about the cheese though (I think I would have preferred it without), but the Man would hear nothing against it. He liked the salty-sweetness. Besides, my aversion can’t have been that strong: as soon as the first Bolita was finished, I begged him to buy one with chocolate inside. I needed to sink my teeth into that hot fresh dough – regardless of the cheddar – and although we agreed that it wasn’t as good as the guava, it went down just as quickly.

If they’d had any Fudge Bolitas on show, no doubt we’d have tried one too. As it was, the display was mysteriously empty. Someone, it seems, has developed a taste for the things. As the website warns, Bolitas are ‘seriously addictive.’

No wonder they sell them in packs of twenty.


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