Mango Dreaming

Crist’s visit to small farms as part of our work on a new project serves as a reminder of the amazing diversity and abundance of fruits and vegetables growing in many fertile parts of this country. In Kerala it seems that any seed or stick placed into the rich soil will sprout, and even in the sandy or red clay soil of Maharashtra he found vegetables with explosive flavor.  He described the mango trees that surrounded the farm – not only was he in “mango headquarters”, as he put it – he was likely surrounded by the one of the most prized of this “king of fruit” – the Alphonso.

Note to self: visit during mango season. Continue reading

Fruit Hunters

There’s a particular fruit stall that I frequent on Thevera Road. Its wares almost literally spill out onto the street, with filled bins overflowing the boundaries of the shop interior, fruit stacked high on shelves going up the ceiling on both walls of the narrow space. The back of the shop has a few tables where people can purchase fruit drinks, but I think the majority of their sales are of the fruit themselves.

There always seems to be something new, depending on the season (or week within the season). One day I entered to find a table overflowing with small, reddish purple plums. I’d never seen what I would call “stone fruit” in India before, so I excitedly pulled out one of my cloth bags and started picking through the pile for the ripest looking specimens. When I see plums it reminds me of living in Europe—where I used the multiple varieties in my version of the classic Tarte Tatin. Before living in Paris I actually had no idea there were so many types of plums, but as summer progressed new varieties would arrive at the Marché, each with more melodic names than the last: Reine Claude, Mirabelle, Belle de Louvain… and with each addition I would remake the tarte, and the family would pronounce that each one was the “perfect” plum for the recipe, eaten of course with a spoon of crème fraîche and the guilty expression of one caught licking the plate upon completion.

Here in India I brought the bag of plums home Continue reading