Exotic Tropical Fruits
Last week, Heather and I finished our travels through Central America and officially entered the South American continent, landing in Cartagena, Colombia. This old walled city instantly enchanted us with its colonial charm and brightly colored architecture. Just as dazzling as the vividly painted buildings, though, were the exotic tropical fruits being sold on nearly every street corner. Fruits of all shapes, sizes, and colors can be found, available in delicious fruit salads or blended with water or milk into fresh juices. More than 150 different types of commercially grown fruit are produced in Colombia, many of which can only be found in the country - these are some of our favorites.
Maracuya (Passion Fruit)
While passion fruit flavored juices can be found fairly easily in the US, it pales in comparison to the common usage and consumption here. The fruit is often blended into mixed drinks, made into jams, stuffed into pastries, and used to flavor ice cream. It can even be eaten raw with a spoon and a dash of sugar. The unique tropical flavor is a combination of sweet and sour, something like mango mixed with star fruit.
This was one of the many fruits we had never heard of before and is quite likely only available in Colombia and Ecuador (where it is known as naranjilla or “small orange”). To us it looks something like an orange tomato. Here, it is very popular in the form of a sour, frothy, green-colored juice. The taste is a bit reminiscent of limes, though it is definitely one of a kind and high on the pucker-factor.
Mora (Andean Blackberry)
Roaming through the grocery store in Cartagena for the first time was like a crash-course in Colombian fruits. Heather spotted a dark berry called mora and decided to try it juiced with water. She has since become addicted to this slightly sour drink, which tastes something like a cross between cranberries and blackberries.
Like passion fruit, guava is a very popular and common fruit in Colombia. It is available, like almost every other fruit, as a juice, but is also often found in jams, doughnuts, pastries, and other desserts. From what we’ve seen it appears as popular a filling here as grape or strawberry jelly is in the US. This classic tropical flavor is sweet and something like a tangy apple.
We continue to explore the huge list of unique tropical fruits here in Colombia. In addition to the ones listed, we still have a long list to sample such as nispero, zapote, tomate de arbol, and curuba. It’s fun and healthy discovering a country like this through its delicious fruits.
Have you tried any interesting or exotic fruits?
Calorie Count co-founder Erik Fantasia and his girlfriend, Heather Curtis, are currently traveling through South America as part of a trip around the world. You can follow their adventures online with Facebook and their blog.