The Magnet 72: Exploring the Delicious Fruits of Madeira — A Tasting Adventure
Anona, monstera deliciosa, maracuja, and more
In the North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco, lies the island archipelago of Madeira, an autonomous zone of Portugal. Two hundred fifty thousand people live on Madeira’s largest island, which is 34 miles long and 14 miles wide. Due to its lush vegetation, the island is often referred to as the “floating garden of the Atlantic.” There is little change in weather throughout the year, and it almost feels like springtime all year round.
During a month-long visit to the island of Madeira with Carla, I had the opportunity to try some of the island’s unique and flavorful fruits. In the previous issue, I wrote about trying a tomate-inglês. This time, I’ll write about a few other fruits I’ve tried while staying here. I ranked them in order of my least favorite to most favorite.
Out of all the fruits that I tried, the quince was my least favorite. It’s not a rare fruit and is available in many parts of the world, but I’ve never eaten one before, so I thought I should try it. Quinces are native to the Middle East and related to apples and pears. The one I tried was tough and mouth-puckeringly astringent. I later learned that quinces aren’t meant to be eaten raw. This website describes quinces as “so high in tannins if they are eaten raw you’ll feel like you’re choking.” I didn’t feel like I was choking when I had a bite, but I wouldn't say I liked the experience. If I ever buy one again, I’ll cook it first.
Score (out of 10): 2
5. Apple pear
I’ve eaten apple pears (also called Asian pears) many times. When they’re crisp, I love them. The one I tried was dry, mushy, and mealy. One bite was more than enough. Maybe I got a bad one, but I’m not interested in trying another. Blech.