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Trying exotic fruits in Brazil

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I have been in Brazil for a few months now. Originally I planned to travel around the country and see some other Latin American countries… maybe even the Galapagos Islands! However, Covid-19 decided to ruin any plans I once had, with Brazil being locked down literally a week after I arrived (and only 3 days after James did).

In the spirit of keeping the adventure alive, I decided to come up with ways that I could explore the country from inside of an AirBnB… of which there aren’t many. However, after some deliberation, one idea stuck! Trying as much random exotic fruit as I could find in the supermarket here.

Now bare in mind before reading this blog post, that I am British and therefore something which may not be exotic to you, is pretty exotic to me. So, without further ado, the review:

Cacau

The first fruit to try was Cacau. In the supermarket, I found a Cacau pod, which one of the shop assistants kindly cut open in order to check it wasn’t rotten or mouldy.

A Cacau pod

When eating the fruit, you use your fingers to pull out a white bean from the fruit. Then you put this in your mouth. I was quite surprised to find that there was a sweet, sharp flavour kind of similar to a passion fruit, but less sour. There is this sort of gelatinous-ness which surrounds the Cacau bean sitting inside, which is odd but tasty.

Once you have sucked the flavour off of the bean, you are left with a relatively hard bean which you can bite through. The flavour inside of the bean is relatively bitter, but there is a hint of dark chocolate flavour. The beans are actually used to make chocolate… although the process is relatively difficult.

The inside of a Cacau bean

Overall, I am a fan and would encourage you to try Cacau. I feel like this is the ‘Pork Rib’ of fruit, as the flavour is wonderful, but you don’t get much actual edible gelatinous fruit around the bean.

Pitaya

This is a fruit I have tried before. However the one I managed to get my hands on back in England was a different colour and a different size.

The Pitaya

I saw this Pitaya in the supermarket and it was worth R$10, so not much. The colour and appearance of the fruit is very pretty outside and in.

The way I ate this fruit was by cutting it open down the centre with a knife and by using a spoon to eat the white, soft fruit within. The flavour is similar in ways to a kiwi, but softer and with less flavour overall than a kiwi.

The inside of the Pitaya

I would say I am a fan of this fruit! Would recommend anyone who is yet to try this do so. I believe it is also called a dragon fruit in the UK and if the price is right, go ahead and pick one up!

Kinkan Oranges

This is a unique, very small orange. In the box you get about 20 of them for a fair price. I believe these oranges hail originally from Japan, but here they were in Brazil, easy to find in the local supermarket.

A Kinkan Orange

This one is pretty easy to eat. You literally wash each small orange and put it in your mouth and eat! The flavour is nice, but it feels odd to eat the crunchy skin and the taste is like a much more palatable orange peel.

I would say that this fruit is pretty nice! I am not the biggest fan of eating oranges for some reason, but if you are and you fancy a little more of a sharp, crunchy orange then this is no doubt the fruit for you.

Pinha (Sugar Apple / Custard Apple)

This one I had never seen before… but apparently it was once readily available in the UK some years ago. I personally have never seen it in a UK supermarket; but maybe I am not experienced enough in hunting for exotic fruit… oh when will I obtain my ‘fruit hunter’ scout badge 🙁

A Pinha

Similar to the Pitaya, I cut this one open with a knife. The outside is soft and spongy and the inside fruit appears to be very soft and almost like a more firm custard.

A cut open Pinha – see the black pips

I used a spoon to eat the fruit and similar to the Cacau, you don’t want to eat the pretty large pips inside, just the white, soft fruit around them. I enjoyed this fruit… it was a little sweet and to be honest tasted a lot like custard otherwise… surprise, surprise! I won’t be rushing back to the store to pick one up, but I was happy enough.

Jaboticaba

Some Jaboticaba ‘berries’

This one was my favourite of them all. The fruit looks similar to a blackcurrant, but larger. With this fruit, you wash them and surprisingly to me, you don’t eat the skin. You bite a small hole in the skin and then use your fingers to squeeze the inside of the fruit out of the hole into your mouth.

Squeezing the fruit from the Jaboticaba

The fruit inside tastes a bit like a blueberry and a passion fruit mixed together, but there is a pip inside which you don’t want to eat. I found the fruit to be very tasty and relatively fun to eat, with a little ‘ritual’ required before you can taste the beautiful fruit hidden inside of the waxy, thin but strong skin.

Jatoba

They often say that you leave the best until last… in this case that could not be further from the truth. I am unsure really if this should even be called a fruit. The shell is very hard and almost wooden to the touch.

Jatobá

I broke this open with a hammer and inside was a strange, dry, powdery but firm looking ‘fruit’. The flavour wasn’t really pleasant and it smelt strange… it turns out this fruit is affectionately nicknamed ‘Stinking Toe’; I assume due to its toe-like appearance and odd smell.

The ‘pulp’ inside of the hard shell

I couldn’t eat more than half a mouthful, as quite frankly it did not taste at all pleasant to me and was very dry and sand-like in texture. I have a feeling that there is another way to eat this… or at least I hope so, so will carry out some further investigation online!

At least now you know what to expect and how to eat or not to eat these ‘exotic’ fruits.


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