Wednesday, February 23, 2011
On Monday, as we were heading out to the Library and Mike's Men's Lunch, we stopped for a minute to chat to our neighbour across the street. Now, you have to understand, our grasp of the Spanish language, to our chagrin, is still somewhat minimal, but we do seem to have developed a rapport with the folks in the hood, even if our 'chats' involve a lot of hand waving and gestures. (Do not ever challenge us to an evening of charades by the way, as we are becoming pros!!!)
He had just come from the market and had a bag of the usual stuff, potatoes, peppers, cheese, but he also had something we had never seen before, which of course we had to ask about. It looked sort of like a mango, with a skin, like a very serious minded kiwi with an attitude. Next thing we knew, it, whatever it was, was split in two pieces and we were invited to a sample - and it was a treat "to die for". I'm not sure how to describe the taste, but we were enthralled, and wanted more. He wanted to give his fruit to us, but we just couldn't take it from him, as much as we wanted to, as it was so good.
However, on the way home, after my shift at the Library and dinner out, we stopped off to pick up a few necessities from Alfredo, who owns the tienda on the corner and mentioned the 'mystery fruit". He knew exactly what we were talking out and said he would have some for us the next morning. And he did. And they are amazing. A very different taste, one that takes some getting used to, but very very good.
Alfredo also told us that he likes his mamey (pronounced mah-may) blended with a touch of brandy and leche (milk), which I haven't tried yet. It does sound like a pretty darned good way to get your essential nutrients! OK, the brandy isn't essential!
And now here's the lesson, for those who are interested:
The mamey sapote (Pouteria sapota) is a species of tree native to southern Mexico. Today, the tree is cultivated not only in Mexico, but also in Central America, the Caribbean, and South Florida for its fruit, which is commonly eaten in many Latin American countries. Mamey sapote is a large and highly ornamental evergreen tree that can reach a height of 15 to 45 meters (60 to 140 feet) at maturity. The fruit is about 10 to 25 cm (4 to 10 inches) long and 8 to 12 cm (3 to 5 inches) wide and has orange flesh. Personally I think the fruit is closer to red in colour.
The fruit is eaten raw out of hand or made into milkshakes, smoothies, ice cream and fruit bars. They don't mention Alfredo's recipe! The fruit's flavor is variously described as a combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, and maraschino cherries with the texture of an avocado. Which could be why I was having trouble describing it. Some consider the fruit to be an aphrodisiac. No comment on this one!!
End of lesson. I wonder how we ever survived without Google?