Brazilian fruit face-off
So, a Brazilian fruit face-off. Not an article of mine, but one which I was sent after visiting Brazil and features some funny faces being pulled during a tasting of Brazilian fruits put on for us by Prazeres da Mesa magazine and Enocultura.
I was in Brazil with a team from Decanter magazine: Sarah Kemp, publishing director, and Christelle Guibert, tastings director. The guys at Prazeres da Mesa had the brilliant idea of getting us to try fruits we were entirely unfamiliar with, and trying to liken their tastes to wines. It’s a wonderful exercise (doing it in Asia is similarly fascinating) because not only is it fun getting to know new flavours and names, but it also reminds you that wine vocabulary varies tremendously with geography because the frame of taste references changes markedly according to the local diet and environment.
So what did I learn? Firstly, never to chew Caju fruit. This innocuous looking fruit is mouth-strippingly astringent (hence my gurning face in the pictures) though the seed is more palatable – familiar to all of us as cashew. Sapoti smells like passion fruit (Sauvignon Blanc?) but inside is more like a squishy pear (Pinot Gris?). The wonderfully named Umbu looks like a greengage and is seriously acidic (Furmint?) Acerola is like a tomato but with a fruity cranberry character. Ciriguela has a flavour like honeyed pear or ripe papaya, but not the mushy texture. Maracuja looks like a brain operation gone wrong but has an intriguing combination of tangy passion fruit notes with nutty, herbal hints. White guava started off tasting of tomato and ended up like apple, while red guava immediately smelt of mint and redcurrant – the Cabernet Franc or even Carmenere of fruit.
All in all, fascinating. Not to mention nutritious…
[Peter Richards MW pulling faces in Prazeres da Mesa magazine]