I was in Paris and poking around the famed Fauchon market. The market spreads around one entire street corner with the store divided into Wines, Cheeses, Fish, Meats, Patés etc. with each area almost it’s own store. One of the areas was fruits and vegetables. The store attendants really got upset with me for picking up a fruit identified as pitahayas and smelling it. I’m sorry. I’m just a curious American who happens to know a thing or two about fruit and I’d never seen one of these in real life before and I was overwhelmed with curiosity and desire.

I bought a few and brought them with me on my journey. I knew from my experience with many other similarly constructed fruits to leave this at room temperature and let Mother Nature finish her work. We had gone down to Tuscany and while it was not cold, cold, Winter was not gone and it took my little pitahayas almost 4 days to ripen, especially in that they are a fruit accustomed to more temperate climes. A day or two in the refrigerator would have killed them!

The pitahayas I had was a little larger than a kiwi and a little smaller than a California avocado. The outside skin was colored like a yellow papaya but shaped somewhat like an atemoya. When I cut it open it revealed a gorgeous arrangement of tiny, black sesame looking gem-like seeds and also some swirling, tiny, wavy, white lines that were shaped something like disorganized finger prints but set in partially clear, pink flesh. The aroma was pumpkinish, but its flavor was like a mix of delicate guava, kiwi and watermelon.

You just scoop out the fruit with a small, serrated knife or even a grapefruit spoon and enjoy its goodness.

I don’t know when I’ll see one again, but I’ll be on the look out.

I’m Norman Van Aken and that’s my word on food.

Copyright © by Norman Van Aken, 2001

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