There are so many amazing and bizarre tropical fruits in Latin America. And almost as many weird and wonderful Latin American Bloggers.
Anyone who knows me knows that I basically live for fruit. I am not sure if it was my childhood in the fruit bounty that is Washington state, my teenage years in the dreaded Southern California with its Citrus explosion or my adult years in the Bay Area with it’s plethora of fresh berries and stone fruits. I have seldom met a fruit I did not like. (although i am sure some have secretly disliked me- I saw them staring) My wife calls me a bear for my love of berries.
So one of my favorite things about living in El Salvador and traveling around Latin America is getting to try all sorts of great new fruits. And Latin America is absolutely thick with them. I do not have to make up a special mission to try them all because that is always my life mission. I will do almost anything to get fruit.
In our four months of living here we have been able to try quite a few kick-ass tropical fruits. What follows is:
the sordid tales of those fruit experiences.
And when I started thinking about crazy-ass tropical fruits my illogical second thought was about all the equally crazy-pants travel and expat bloggers who are just as nuts as we are. So this is my “WTF is he talking about this doesn’t make any sense he must be crazy” exploration of tropical fruits in Latin America matched up with their respective travel or expat blog nuts. Sort of a homage to our home state of California affectionately known as the “land of fruits and nuts.”
It won’t be brilliant. But it will be tasty. And I will take tasty over brilliant any day.
The Top 6 sexiest tropical fruits (and blogger nuts)
Nispero is in my opinion the fruit of the Gods. I have become quite adept at picking the right nispero fruits at the local mercados. They don’t sell them in the super markets cause they are too damned tasty and ordinary people would freak out. It is a VERY unassuming fruit that does not waste its precious tasty juice on outward signs of fruit based glory. It is an unappealing darkish brown color that seems to tell you in cop speak “Nothing to eat here.” The skin is a rough, papery, finger-disturbingly unpleasant experience. it is slightly mushy and overly yielding when ripe. It’s very appearance, skin and color serve to shun any signs of appealing to the masses. All the better to eat you my dear!
But then if you make it past it’s rough and gruff outer shell inside you will find the most amazing combination of flavors.
No one who has not tried it believes me when I tell them that the really good, ripe ones taste EXACTLY like:
“Sweet apple pie with cinnamon, caramel and ice cream with a finish of butterscotch and Zacapa rum poached pears”
They do. I wont bother describing the fruit on the inside cause if you are willing to get past it’s outward appearances and taste it’s glorious fruit flavors “WHO THE F@#k cares what it looks like!?”
So the travel or expat blogger that reminds me the most of Nispero is Matt at Nomadic Matt. He is like crazy apple pie a la mode and he is way too complex. His site is jam packed with travel and living flavor. Seriously, he is awesome and inspiring too.
2) Anona (cherimoya)
This fruit is delicious. No seriously, delicious. Yeah it looks alien and weird but it is freaking delicious. The best way to describe this fruits flavor is to talk about all the other foods it tastes like.There are two types common here in El Salvador the creamy white inside with more of a pine-cone skin and the raspberry creamy one with a slightly smoother skin.
The creamy white “Custard Apple”:
“Creme brule custard topped with vanilla ice cream, fresh banana, yellow apple and a spritz of lime zest.”
The pink fleshed one “Bulls Heart”
“Like Raspberry Cream sorbet, baked bananas, hints of sweet pineapple, a touch of cloudberries”
The problem most people have with the Anona/Cherimoya is that her in the tropics they are ripe and sweet and ready to eat when tey have a few BIG cracks cause the sweet fruit is exploding out. That makes them look nasty and makes them hard to transport. So you must go to roadsied stands or mercados to get them. it’s worth it.
So the travel or expat blogger that reminds me the most of Anona isa tie:
between Marinas awesome site Travel Experta where you can get every delicious Latin America travel experience you could ever want. Marina is doing things right and charting a new course. Visit her site and you won’t want to leave, expect to travel here.
and Bacon is Magic this site is crazy. Like insane in the membrane crazy. Have you been there? why are not already clicking on the link? Eat it.
3) Maracuya – Passionfruit
There are a LOT of different Maracuya here in Central America. The island type with the purple spotted skin is not as common. The most common ones are the yellow lemon sized ones that are freakishly tart/sweet. They are NOT an approachable fruit. They have a tough outward skin that takes a sharp knife to cut through, they need to be all wrinkled up to be ready to eat so they look un-sexy. And there is not really any real fruit to eat. They are like a pomegranate, except you eat the seeds with the juice/fruit.
The normal yellow Maracuya:
“Mouth-puckeringly tart with a Crazy floral, citrus, winey sweetness that explodes in the opposite direction, acidic, bright and zingy with intense florals and sweetness.”
These crazy Micro-Maracuya I call Limo’s: (about 1″ across)
“What a lime wishes it was in bright explosive tartness, a sparkling sweetness that barely restrains the amazing tartness and lime notes.”
So the travel or expat blogger that reminds me of Maracuya is Caz Makepeace at Mojito Mother. She is crazy zesty, zingy and bright. Her blog is all of that and more.
and second the travel or expat blogger that reminds me of Maracuya is Lisa at Chickybus. She is refreshingly, brightly sweet tart and keeps you rolling and rocking like the Chicken buses of lore.
4) Arrayan (myrtle Fruit)
NOT a fruit that I have enjoyed fresh yet. This is a very tropical fruit with zany levels of bright citrus notes. It is a small round greenish/yellow ball that is somewhat like a Guayaba but ALL bright tart citrus. But holy moly this fruit is amazing in ice cream, drinks, popsicles etc.
“Ba-bam! Citrus and green apple with lime, lemon and red grapefruit, mixed with a bit of grape skin”
So the travel or expat blogger that reminds me the most of Arrayan is The Hoggas F-ed up site Chicken Chunk. Whatever you THINK it will taste like when you go there is NOT what you get when you open it up. She is certifiably insane. I love it.
Yeah I know! You say you totally know what bananas taste like already. NO YOU DON’T! Here in Central America bananas grow natively. So until you have picked a fresh banana from the tree in your backyard you do not know the real taste of bananas.
Fresh tropical bananas picked ripe:
“Tastes like a banana. The way you imagine bananas taste, like the best banana flavored ice cream x2 in sweetness.”
So the travel or expat blogger that reminds me the most of tropical bananas is Todd’s Wanderings travel site. yeah it LOOKS like a normal travel site and it even SAYS it’s a travel site. But it is so much more than that. Taste it, you’ll like it.
6) Pineapple – Pina
The pineapples here are incredible. I always liked pineapples back in the states. But I did not go out of my way to buy them. Even at the grocery stores here they are better but not mind-blowing. Then I bought pineapples at a street stand.
I was hooked.
The flavor of a fresh tropical pineapple picked ripe:
“An explosion of sweet decadence bathed in everything pineappley, deep sryupy sweet, like butterscotch and honey”
So the travel or expat blogger that reminds me the most of Pineapple is Camels and Chocolate a travel/life site that chronicles the adventures of two crazy people who travel way too much. They are cool cats doing cool things but still pretty sweet. go there now.
I hope that all our travel and expat friends we referenced here don’t get too pissed off that we basically called them a bunch of weird tropical fruits.