Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's a Funky Fruit Tasting Party!!!

So, it was time for another Food Tasting Party and half our food tasters were partying elsewhere. Getting all of us together this summer has proven to be a challenge so we expanded our list of party-tasters to men and managed to gather four of them to join Carrie, Shelly, Patty, and I for a Funky Fruit Food Tasting.

Welcome Bob, Chris, Brian, and Brad!!!

There were all sorts of odd, beautiful, flashy, deformed, speckled, horned, and spiky fruit for our eyes to behold, which was fun, but we were there to taste some fruitage, so let's get started!
Let's begin with the star of the show, shall we? But WHO was the star of this Funky Fruit Show?

No one would argue that the Cherimoya was the runaway hit of the party - the only fruit to make it into everyone's top three.

It's velvety flesh is a delicious custardy blend of banana, pineapple, and strawberry. Mark Twain was once quoted as characterizing it as "deliciousness itself". It's said to be considered a romantic fruit that the Incas used as an aphrodisiac and fertility enhancer. I know everyone at our little soiree was feeling the love for the Cherimoya!

As you can see from the dissected photo, there is a plethora of black seeds in this fruit. Much like a seeded watermelon, you have to work for this delicacy. Everybody at the table seemed to agree it was worth the trouble.

Sounds like a "star of the show," right? Well, maybe.

But what if a tropical fruit named Durian showed up at the party by way of our special guest, Shelley? What if the moment it was removed from it's cooler, it's foul odor completely enveloped the room? An odor so repelling that it's banned in most hotels and airports in Asia. And yet, some people find the fruit to be quite fragrant. Some describe this fruit as a rich custard highly flavored with almonds and claim it to be an aphrodisiac as well. Interesting.......

This little porcupine of a fruit received lots of attention at the party. Try as we did to ignore him, his odor demanded our attention. We let him stink up the whole house - saving him for last - before we cut into him. We were all very excited to try this fruit because despite the smell, we had come to the party open-minded and ready to try some funky fruit. Shelley LOVED the Durian and liked it raw as much as she liked it in coconut milk over sticky rice. If she loved it, certainly there was a chance we would like it, right?

Believe it or not, the foul smell tripled in intensity once the first cut was made and the Durian had everyone's attention again.

Cherimoya who?

Ok, let's cut to the chase. Yuk! We all hated it. H.a.t.ed. i.t. BUT, most of us agreed to take more than one bite, because Carried noticed that with each bite, the taste got a little better, but not good enough. Chris posed the question, "The first people to eat hungry were they that they thought to eat this stinky fruit?" Many more questions followed along with much laughter and discussion.

The "leftovers" were sealed in an airtight bag and given to Shelley to take home. Despite the disrespectful things said about him, her love remained true for the Durian. ♥

So! Who was the star of the Funky Fruit Show? Well, I guess that depends on your perspective. We all gushed over the Cherimoya but we'll never be the same after meeting the Durian, so.....

Those weren't the only two fruits showcased at this party, so we'll just transition from the "stinky" fruit to the Ugli Fruit. The Ugli fruit is just that....ugly. It's appearance is a cross between an orange and a grapefruit that's lopsided, blemished, and discolored. The Ugli fruit is a perfect example of why we shouldn't judged a book by it's cover. Once his peel is easily removed, the Ugli fruit reveals his very sweet and citrus taste inside.

Bonus Feature: NO seeds.
Highly recommend this fruit - kids love it!!

And then there's the Kiwano "Horned" Melon that looks cool, sharp, and horny on the outside. We couldn't wait to cut this guy open, and as you can see, we were not disappointed - sooooo pretty! But guess what? He was all flash and not much flavor. It was like eating the most boring, drab, dull cucumber ever! He was a bit of a disappointment.

But the beautiful Asian Pear did NOT disappoint! As pretty as an apple and as sweet as a pear, this darling fruit was simply refreshing and smile-inducing. Like the apple, once you bring it home from the store it's ready to waiting around for it to ripen.

What do you think about the plums below?


They're not plums....they're called Red Velvet Apricots. Yea....Whatever!!! They look like plums, they feel like plums, they taste like plums, but they're called Red Velvet Apricots. Okay.

My favorite of the day was the Atualfo Mango which boasts a spectacular flavor that melts in your mouth. I've never been a crazed fan of the mango, but this mango could have me running for president of the Maniacs for Mangoes Club. More than half of the party goers gave this "Alfonso" mango (as Chris calls it) top three honors.

Then there was Papaya, Plantains, Coconut, Apricots, Mini-Bananas........all very good.

We did not actually taste-test the Quince, but Patty made a delightful Quince Cherry Crumble that we topped with freshly whipped cream. The quince is similar to the pear and the apple and has an acidic and bitter taste in its uncooked form, so you don't just pick and eat them. You cook them in water until they soften and become much sweeter. They are commonly used in crumbles and cobblers due to their likeness to the apple.

And then there was the canned fruit. You know it's not going to be as good as fresh chilled fruit, but you've got to try it.

The Lychee was a big hit - a pear/grape montage that's refreshing and fun - perfect for a Martini, right Bob?!?! Bob could take any fruit of the day and create a drink by adding rum, name it, to make himself a tasty drink.

Rambutan tasted like it would fit right in with fruit cocktail and many found it's flavor favorable.
The Jackfruit tasted like baby food and Chris did NOT like it. Bob thought it was grrrrreeat!!! Chris's first experience with the jackfruit was in a dish with chicken and curry and he found the lightness and sweetness of the jackfruit a perfect compliment to both chicken and curry. Turns out, he wasn't so crazy about it straight up.

If you want to know more about some of these tropical fruits click here.

Of course there was wine and lots and lots of fun conversation! We look forward to the next party....what will we taste?!?!


Carrie said...

Great re-cap Sheri! Now I have to make a run to the Market for my cherimoya!!

Patty said...

This was like experiencing the whole tasting over again. I think we have been stink-free for about one week now. When that stinky fruit is rotting, it takes on a whole new dimension, let me tell you!

Great party and great recounting!

benilhalk said...

Happy to see this unique fruit tasting party. My sister planned her kitty party at one of pretty San Francisco venues recently. Her handmade recipes were praised by everyone. Vintage crockery was quite elegant. Thinking of booking the same for my birthday also.

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