Happy Cherimoya!

I was excited to see this article about soursop in yesterday’s Toronto Star. Reading about the exotic fruit brought back memories of eating its “cousin,” cherimoya, for the first time in 2006.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were in Chile, and suddenly cherimoya – which I’d never heard of – was ubiquitous. We enjoyed cherimoya yogourt at breakfast and cherimoya ice-cream in the afternoon, but my favourite was a simple dessert: fresh cherimoya mixed with orange juice and sugar. In Chile, they call it “Chirimoya Alegre” – Spanish for “Happy Cherimoya!” I love the name. It sounds like a holiday greeting!

The Star article says that cherimoyas, better known in English as custard apples, have flat petals, but the ones we tasted in Chile were bumpy-skinned with no petals at all. Cherimoya isn’t a pretty fruit, but its creamy texture and flavour – with hints of banana, pineapple and coconut – more than compensate.

I’ve only seen it in mainstream Toronto grocery stores a couple of times – once a few years ago at Loblaws, and more recently at Metro. I ate it plain – no sugar, no orange juice – but it was still a “happy” cherimoya for me.