April 4, 2007
The Fruit of Knowledge of Good and Evil
I’ve eaten it.
I just got back from an eight-day vacation in Rio de Janeiro. Having consistently been told to try every unfamiliar fruit we came across, my travelmates and I raided the fruit stands and juice shops for the new and exotic. We appreciated açaí, the crazy caloric berry goop that’s somehow acquired a reputation as a quasi-health product. We loved the omnipresence of mango and passion fruit. But the flavor that obsessed us at the juice shops was something the locals called “graviola,” which we didn’t find at any fruit stands, so we didn’t know what it looked like. At the fruit stand, we fell for a spiny, green confection called the custard-apple.
On one of our last days in Rio, we passed by a street market where all kinds of fruit were being sold. There, we discovered a fruit called the “cherimoya,” described to us as a hybrid of the graviola and the custard-apple. I bought three.
The cherimoya tastes like a glazed orgasm marinated in ecstasy. “Custard apple” is a reasonable description, although it fails to capture anything of the fruit’s divinity; it’s got a texture resembling custard, and the apple probably comes closest in taste. Fittingly, one can only eat the cherimoya in little tantalizing bites; the seeds and shape prevent you from taking a mouthful. I’m thinking God added the seeds right after He kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden for eating the thing.
If this had been what Turkish Delight tasted like, I would totally understand Edmund’s willingness to become the White Witch’s man-whore.
Brazil also brought me my first tastes of ostrich, which was yummy, albeit a tad overhyped; and piranha, which except for the minor thrill of hypothetical cannibalism was unexciting.
Disclaimer: After all this hype, three of you are going to go to Brazil and tell me you find the cherimoya too sweet. To each his own. For you, the graviola, the custard-apple, or the sugar-apple might be the devil’s fruit. I’m guessing the entire Annona genus has been forbidden by God.