By Agnes Rivera
Spirulina blue. Pitahaya fuchsia. Activated carbon black. The roster of ingredients utilized by Guru Verde crosses as many color spectrums as the raw desserts do specialized diets. Raw, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, low-carb, keto. Let’s just say this family-owned company is for non-binary tastebuds and we are in full support.
All in the family
The mastermind behind the frozen desserts of Guru Verde is Dania Garcia-Burgos, a Lima native who once had her eyes set on becoming a chef.
Though she assures that her desserts are far from anything she was taught in the gastronomy courses she took in Argentina, Dania has long been familiar with terms and phrases like ‘superfood,’ ‘gluten-free’ and ‘no sugar added.’ After all, her family runs Madre Natura, one of the pioneering health-food stores in Lima.
After completing her studies and returning to Lima, a friend from Australia lent her a raw vegan recipe book. Curious and inspired, she began experimenting with this new concept at home as a mere hobby. It wasn’t until 2021 when her family moved to the Sacred Valley that Dania began to focus on and put all her energy into creating her own raw-vegan desserts. She invested in pans, molds and quality national ingredients, allowing her creativity to flow and embracing the trial-and-error stage of recipe development.
Simultaneously, her life and business partner, Alonso Rivera, a visual artist and avid collector of absurd advertisements, designed Guru Verde’s eye-catching logo and minimalist packaging. Alonso and their young son, Teo, are dedicated taste-testers of Guru Verde products (their shared favorite being the mandala-shaped choco-vanilla sandwich).
From the name and colors to the overall concept and marketing, Alonso and Dania have rooted one another to maintain their personal essence in the company.
The perfect formula
“I have a pretty good sense of what flavors will go best together, but the most challenging part about creating these recipes is reaching the perfect texture. So often with vegan products, the texture is off,” says Dania. “And, so, understandably, people may assume that all vegan food values ingredients and ‘being vegan’ over texture and taste.”
“People need to give vegan desserts another shot though because Dania has it figured out,” champions Alonso.
Currently, the Guru Verde menu of raw-vegan treats includes multiple varieties of personal-sized cakes (think petit fours) including: chocolate; chocolate-peanut; mint-chocolate; strawberry-lavender-vanilla; mango-maracuya; lime-coconut; chocolate-vanilla; blueberry-banana and carrot cake. There are also two versions of chocolate bars— peanut (basically a vegan Snickers) and strawberry— as well as a choco-beet truffle. All are naturally sweetened with dates from Ica, Peru.
Dania strives to use as many national products as possible. For example, she uses cashews in the filling and Brazil nuts in the cake crust as opposed to almonds, which Peru doesn’t produce. Concentrated powders of exotic fruits cultivated in Peru, such as pitahaya and raspberry, add vibrant yet completely natural colors to the desserts. The all-natural mix of fruits and nuts results in a power-packed energy bomb that is incredibly tasty and pleasing in texture.
How to indulge, the Guru Verde way
Guru Verde runs on an innovative concept of offering boxes of frozen treats so that the health-inclined can always have a delicious and satiating treat on hand. Boxed orders can contain as many individual cakes or bars as you desire and in an assortment of selected flavors.
“Instead of going out and buying a random bag of cookies from the bodega, you can satisfy your cravings by reaching into the freezer and indulging in a treat that will fill you up and give you energy. Plus, the cakes will stay good in your freezer for about two months.”
Dania advises that the treats be taken out of the freezer and rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes or in the fridge for an hour before eating. As a result, the texture becomes soft like a cheesecake, allowing a spoon to easily dig into the thick treat.
Dania, who considers the strawberry-lavender one of her favorites, recommends the pure chocolate or chocolate-peanut flavors for vegan dessert virgins. Seemingly more kid-friendly, the bars are a hit with their son, Teo, who happily takes his strawberry-chocolate or chocolate-peanut bar as a snack to his school.
The entrepreneur, who is not a vegan herself but is vegetarian (“We love pizza too much to become vegan,” jokes Alonso), leaves us with a reminder that anyone can enjoy these chilly treats.
“It’s not just vegans that seek out Guru Verde. They are for anyone who wants to indulge in something healthy and completely natural.”
So, next time you have a sweet tooth, listen to the Guru and avoid the sugar crash.
Where to find Guru Verde
Visit Guru Verde at their locale on Av. Mariscal Castilla 640 (located inside Cuchara Llena restaurant).