The one way I would get enormous happiness as a kid was by eating and enjoying fruit. Whether it was the oranges I would enjoy at a rugby match at halftime, to the bannana smoothies I would enjoy for afternoon tea after a day at school – Australians like me have always loved and enjoyed fruit. Australians are encouraged to eat and enjoy our adundance of fruit, and we do so because of our plentiful supply.
So when it came to deciding on activities to do while in Medellin it came as no surprise when I said yes to going on a Colombian fruit tasting experience. I thought of it as a fruitful experience, and being like a kid again we would be trying it in a creative space – a local artists house who had knowledge of, and experience with Colombia’s indigenous fruit.
We arrived to our hosts house with an empty stomach (as we were instructed) to enjoy the best fruit Colombia had on offer. While all of the fruit species to me were not new, there were different varieties I’d never tried before – which had some very interesting, and very different flavours to what I was used to back home. So it could really be described as an eye (and tastebud) opening experience.
So while my friends and I were talking about all of the different fruits we had on the table, and comparing the different names we had between each country (canteloupe is to Americans what rock melon is to Australians) our host was busy cutting up and preparing each fruit, and serving it up for us to enjoy. And we weren’t just left with fruit to try, there were suggested accompaniments to have with each fruit. For example some fruits went well with salt, or sugar, some with lemon or lime juice etc. There were many moments where I found my tastebuds abounding in complete shock, or amazement at the bitterness, the sweetness, or the different tastes, and even the different aftertastes of each fruit.
The saying to have a ‘bitter sweet’ moment in life is somewhat paradoxical as the former or latter cancels the other one out. in the case of the fruit tasting we had moments where we were literally begging for the salt bowl (for sweet), or sugar bowl (for bitter) to neutralise, or in some cases counteract the tastes. And this was the most interesting part of the experience – being able to try fruit on its own, and then try fruit with salt, sugar, citrus etc. Not all fruits required this however, but each fruit on its own gave a unique taste.
There are more than 50 different fruits in Colombia, and I think we must have tried only about a dozen different fruits, and that even more fruit tasting experiences could have been planned, but with limited time I guess I’ll just have to settle on trying exotic fruits in my hasty moments of exploring Colombia – whether it be from the street stall fruit sellers, or on the dessert plate in the fine dining establishments at some of the upcoming culinary experiences we have planned – buen provecho!