I love the tropics, and apart from the weather, the fruit is one of the things I love the most. Mangoes, mangosteen, papaya, durian, rambutan. Even the names are exotic and exciting. Surely it’s only in the tropics that somebody would think to call a fruit “passion”.
Possibly after the way eating it in the tropics makes you feel.
Imagine sitting on the veranda overlooking the Coral Sea (yet another evocative name) in lush tropical heat with fans whirring languidly overhead, and cutting into a dark purple ball to release the tangy odour and suck out the bright yellow flesh and dark seeds of a passionfruit. Or eating a mango with the thick, luscious nectar dripping down your fingers, waiting to be licked off.
That’s how you eat a mango, and there’s nothing like it! Forget standing over a sink, or cutting it up and eating it with a fork. You miss out on the best part that way: Licking your fingers – and even your arms if it drips far enough.
And durian. While most people hate it, likening its smell to wet, sweaty sandshoes, I love it for exactly that. Not because it reminds me of sweaty running shoes, but because the lusciousness of the smell reminds me of tropical rainforests. And if you can get past the smell the fruit is divine!
But not all tropical fruits have that depth of flavour.
When I was in Darwin last year I came across a fruit I hadn’t seen before. Called Dragon Fruit, it was one of the most beautiful looking fruits I had ever seen. Outside it’s a bright pink/red with small green leaves or petals hugging it like a rose. Cut it open and there’s a band of bright pink surrounding a creamy fruit dotted with small black seeds (or maybe it’s just part of the fruit, I don’t really know). Almost too good to eat. But surprisingly, it’s bland and almost tasteless, rather like the star fruit.
On the other hand, not all fruits full of flavour are beautiful on the outside. Like the aforementioned durian. It looks a bit like a large, prickly – something or other that you’d probably kick out of the way if you saw it on the ground. Ditto a coconut, and jackfruit.
And I’m sure there’s a moral lesson, or two, in there somewhere.
But right now I’ve made myself hungry. I’m going to go and eat a mango, with a glass of champagne, and sit on the veranda in the sun dreaming of tropical paradise.