The water in my watering can was frozen solid earlier this week. I know it may seem an odd day to announce the arrival of tropical fruits to Central Markets, but a tropical fest starts today. (It runs March 6 to 19.) And while you may be familiar with the wrinkled orb of passion fruit, the spiky exterior of rambutan, and even the shape of star fruit, I would bet you’ll find at least half a dozen tropical fruits from the 50 they’re bringing in that you haven’t seen, heard of, or tried.
Here are highlights from the list:
Five varieties of mangos, four varieties of pineapple, three varieties of dragon fruit, cherimoya and sapote, soursop and coconut, mangosteen and tamarillo, prickly pear and lychee, jack fruit and banana leaves, sugar cane and bread fruit. (I have vivid memories of Samoan meals that featured a whole roasted pig, glass noodles, and pieces of steamed, super-starchy bread fruit.)
I have a friend whose hallmark hostessing habit is to offer a whole platter of tropical fruits and coffee as dessert after a fancy meal–a fail-proof conversation starter. And for all the talk of jackfruit being the new pulled pork, this is your chance to give it a try. It’s a time to explore and experiment and stretch your horizons a little.
I’m also pretty excited about the passion fruit Bundt cake, New Zealand langoustines, and wines from Tasmania and Mallorca in an event that will have the tropics laced through all departments, including seafood from Hawaii and other tropical waters. Not that any of this will thaw my ice-blasted plants. But it’s a nice, sunny vision on a cold week.