Saturday, February 24, 2007

Durian As I Know It

Durian is a fruit that I have grown up with. Unlike most people, it is an acquired taste for them. They find the scent of this fruit offensive - sometimes to a fault of saying that it smells like shit. For us who adores the scent as much as the actual fruit, durian is heaven-sent.

Durian is in season during the months of September where the prices per kilo drops to as low as P30.00 ($0.70)! You will find vendors of this popular fruit in any street in Davao City. Actually, you would know that you are already in the city of Davao because the distinct scent of the fruit will engulf you upon your arrival at the airport. There's nothing like the durian that we can have in Davao. Its not comparable to the ones we buy over here in Asian stores, the likes which are imported from Thailand. The native Durian of Davao has a texture that silky is but not overwhelmingly rich unlike other varities. My family and I could not get enough of this fruit. It goes well with Coke or brewed coffee. The flavor fills the palate better when mixed with some caffeine. Durian ice cream, Durian fresh milk, Durian cake, Durian candy, name it, they have it in Davao. There is even a fusion of coffee and Durian called Durian frappuccino in a known coffeehouse in Davao called Blu Gre Cafe. Its one of its kind. I say its a must try for any coffee afficionado.

Im writing this because I feel a little nostalgic today. I remember my parents bringing home a bunch of durian for each of us four siblings. A whole durian for each of us. Its like christmas everytime. My dad taught me how to open the fruit. There is a little science to cracking it open. Unlike most fruits that you can just strike open with a big knife, durian requires you to follow a vertical grain. It cant be readily seen so you have to look for it. And once you have cracked it open, the rest comes easy. You can just separate the segments with yout bare hands although you still have to be careful with those sharp edges.

I can write a million things about my experience with Durian. But this is it for now. Sadly, the durian that we get at Ranch 99 is a frozen one. The whole fruit is being frozen when its transported from Thailand so when its thawed, the exterior becomes soggy and even the pulp inside gets mushy. You dont even need a sharp knife to open it. What I do is just put the pulp in a plastic container and freeze them a little. The texture gets a little better and then I dig in with my bare hands. And my craving gets compensated - a little.
Durian reminds me of home. It gives me a good dose of endorphine rush, of good memories of the family being together. It reminds me of anecdotes about the fruit and people, reminds me of the good 'ol times with friends having fun and sharing a wonderful time.
Oh, and my husband, he loves Durian! His first encounter with it was also in Davao. But he had it with his favorite Macadamia White Wine from Hawaii. He said it was soooo good. And I believe him because he is the one who picks up Durian whenever we go get groceries. He loves the idea that the fruit is aphrodisiac. Although we dont really need it, we enjoy Durian just because it really good.

(T-B: Hubby Luis at a fruit stand in Davao and Holding a cup of the famous fusion of Durian and coffee of Blu Gre Cafe)