Monday, December 2, 2013

A humble apology to the Granadilla

When I was writing my South American Fruit Guide I made some rash and disparaging comments about the Granadilla. I now see how hurtful my words were and, although it causes me great embarrassment to read back my ignorant statements, I am going to republish them. This public humiliation is part of my penance.

Granadilla fruit from Ecuador
How wrong I was

"Granadilla – another popular local fruit. Although the taste isn't so unpleasant as the tree tomato the texture is another story. To eat Granadilla you top it like a hard-boiled egg and slurp and suck its sloppy, seedy innards. I was reminded of that scene in the Temple of Doom where they serve chilled monkey brains to an hysterical Kate Capshaw.
Tasting notes: chilled monkey brains" 
Tom Rayner, EcuAdore: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of South American Fruit

These words I wrote October 7, 2013. I don't recognise myself.

So what was my road to Damascus moment?

It all began on Los Frailes beach, a paradise beyond paradise where I sat in the sun listening to the gentle lapping of the waves (while unwittingly toasting my skin to an eye-popping, nuclear pink - I'll look forward to that melanoma later). There are no snack bars on this remote beach so Lucy had prepared a fruity picnic. The choice in the fruit shop in Puerto Lopez was disappointingly restrictive so somehow the granadilla found a place in the shopping basket - this despite my vows never to eat the 'monkey brain fruit' again.

To cut a long story short, it was love at second slurp. What had once tasted like simian cerebrum was now a parade of sloppy deliciousness marching across my palate. If I was speaking in Spanish I'd call it ricissimo. How narrow-minded I'd been. How quick to judge. In short, a prize fool.

You see, the granadilla isn't a powerful puncher like the maracuya or the taxo. It's a subtle perfume that almost dissolves on the tongue. The experience of eating granadilla is not dissimilar to swallowing oysters in Cancale, Brittany. Of course the flavours are polar opposites; but there's something about the subtlety of taste and the way the juices break over the tongue like a high-tide and trickle, without chewing, down the throat. It is floral and delicate. Eating granadilla is like lying in a summer meadow where you breathe the scents and flavours of summer through the nostrils - the fool's parsley, cowslip and buttercups. It is like a bone-dry chardonnay with its aromas hidden in the very heart of darkness. To understand the grandilla you need to arm the machete and hack your way through the dense jungle to discover its secrets. 

The granadilla is a prince among fruit. I'm completely addicted; I'm eating at least three a day. If I'm lucky I can pick up five for a dollar from a roadside fruit-seller. I've become expert at peeling away the firm skin, piercing its woody jumper inner-lining and sucking out the sloppy seeds. 

Granadilla, I owe you a sincere and unreserved apology. 


  1. Glad to hear you've discovered the joy of this luscious little may look like frog's spawn...but it's well worth the risk.

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