Homemade Latin American Desserts in Fairfax City

Homemade Latin American Desserts in Fairfax City

Guava Artisanal Latin Bakery has become a customer favorite.

Vanessa Rosario and Ivan Cordero inside their bakery.

Vanessa Rosario and Ivan Cordero inside their bakery.

Before opening Guava Artisanal Latin Bakery in Fairfax City, husband and wife Ivan Cordero and Vanessa Rosario ran a bakery out of their Springfield home for eight years. But, said Cordero, “We always dreamed of having a brick-and-mortar location where people could come in and find our treats.”

And that’s exactly what’s happening at their bakeshop at 3230 Old Pickett Road. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Customers may walk in or order in advance at https://guavabakeryva.com.

Both born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Cordero moved to the U.S. in 2009, and Rosario, in 2011, when they got married. And now, they’re sharing their heritage with others through their pastries and various styles of coffee.

“We specialize in Latin flavors and make all types of desserts,” said Cordero. “Our mission is to bring people’s tastebuds back to their hometowns, wherever they’re from in Latin America. And for everyone else, it’s to introduce nontraditional desserts to the U.S.”

These include, for example, brigadeiro cake – a chocolate cake with a chocolate-truffle filling; coconut tres leches cake and the bakery’s signature dessert, Dominican cake. It’s a vanilla cake with fillings such as dulce de leche, pineapple, guava or yellow pastry cream, and topped with Italian-meringue frosting.

Ready to cut the ribbon are (from left) Osiris Mera, Tara Borwey (Fairfax City Economic Development), Catherine Read, Haylee Hall, Vanessa Rosario, Ivan Cordero, Aaron Martinelli and Mackenzie Vreeland. Guava staff members are in orange T-shirts. 


“Also popular is our flan de queso, which is a flan made with cream cheese in the batter to make it thicker and creamier,” said Cordero. “And customers also like our nontypical cheesecakes in flavors of dulce de leche, passionfruit, café [coffee] con leche, and guava.”

The bakery also caters for hotels, as well as individuals, for weddings and other special celebrations. Two days’ notice is needed, either via the website or by calling 703-342-6896.

Cordero says more and more customers are choosing Guava as their place to go because of its large selection of coffees and baked goods. “Everything is made in- house and baked fresh daily using ingredients from Latin America. We get chocolate from the Dominican Republic and dulce de leche from Argentina. And although our coffee is roasted locally, it’s imported from Guatemala.”

After finding their new location to rent, Cordero said he and his wife struggled with all the red tape involved in getting a new business ready for prime time. But once they opened their doors, he said, “We received so much love from the community. Then people learned about us through word of mouth and great customer reviews on social media. Business has been amazing, and we’ve gotten a warm welcome. It’s been a wonderful experience so far.”

Besides being Guava’s co-owner, Rosario is also the main baker and loves what she does. “There’s a satisfaction in knowing that the customers are enjoying our treats,” she explained. And once her and her husband’s dream of having a bakeshop became a reality, said Rosario, “Sometimes, it was like a ‘pinch-me’ moment. So it feels especially good to be open here and see customers coming in.”

They’ve also built a loyal base of repeat customers, such as Kiara Diaz. “I like that they’re a small business and they’re delicate with the decorations on their desserts. They even put bows on their boxes, so they care about the small details.”

As for her favorite baked goods there, Diaz said, “I’m from the Dominican Republic, too, and I’m especially a fan of the coconut-rum tres leches cake and the mini flan. I like the Amarena cherry on top of both of them, and both desserts have really good flavors. I’d definitely recommend this bakery to other people because all their desserts are tasty, and the ingredients are really good quality – which is important to me.”

Meanwhile, Roxanna Vazquez is a big fan of Guava’s Dominican cake. “I like the Italian meringue on top, and the cake is very moist and a perfect consistency, with a pineapple or guava filling,” she said. “I also love the pecan tart. It has a lot of nuts, and the filling has a hint of bourbon that gives it a great flavor. And the passionfruit cheesecake is the perfect mix between tangy and sweet.”

At the bakery’s official ribbon cutting, Fairfax Mayor Catherine Read said, “I appreciate that, after doing their home-based business for years, Vanessa and Ivan chose Fairfax City to open their storefront. And they did that because we’re good at incubating new small businesses in our City.”

Following her, Rosario said, “The support of the City of Fairfax and the [Greater Fairfax] Chamber of Commerce has been great.” She also thanked their family and friends in attendance, saying, “This means a lot.” Then, linking her arm in her husband’s, she told everyone, “We are a team, and we hope you’ll stop by.”

Speaking last, Cordero also expressed gratitude for the guidance provided by Fairfax City Economic Development. Saying his sentiments were on behalf of everyone associated with the bakery, he said, “It’s an honor for us to be here. We chose Fairfax City for our first brick-and-mortar because we’ve seen so many places grow here. 

“It’s hard for any small business to open its doors, but it’s always amazing to feel that you have support from your local government. So on behalf of the team, thank you. We’re looking forward to being part of Fairfax City and this community for many years to come.”