Thursday, August 27, 2009

Latin American fruits in (gasp!) Santiago de Chile. Del caribe opens juice shop in Providencia.

At the risk of being auto-referente (self-centered, which is not the same as egoísta, which is really more about being selfish, and yes, there is a difference), I would like to guide your reading eyes to this nifty story I wrote for Bootsnall about fifteen latin american fruits to surprise your palate (who wrote that headline, I wonder? The fact that I don't know is a sure sign that oy, I've got too much going on right now). Anyway, Latin American fruits! Go! Read!

And what inspired me to write this article? Years of near-vegetarianism, with a promise to myself that if something came across my plate (or in my glass) that I "could" eat (issues of whether I probably could eat meat aside) or drink, I would do so. Which brought me to the dreaded tomate de arbol, on many, many occasions.

I don't say it in this article, but tomate de arbol (or as I like to call it, the dreaded tomate de arbol) is one of only two fruit/plant based foods I've ever tasted that made me want to die. (The other is mozuku, a japanese seaweed dish I recently found out the name of through Pele Omori's recent article on So, tomate de arbol. I don't want to ruin it for you, so I'll just say it tastes rusty to me, and let you do the rest of the taste adventures for yourselves. And I will also tell you that I've had it raw and cooked, with sugar and without and in all of its various juice forms. I almost wept when I saw that they had it growing outside of my host family's house in Cuenca, Ecuador.

And, all of this would be terribly unfair if I didn't do a plug for a place I found by happenstance the other day, which sells all kinds of tropical fruit juices, whipped up before your very eyes from frozen pulp, with as much sugar or sweetener as you like (or don't), and with water for luka (1,000 pesos, around 85 cents) or mil trecientos (1,300 pesos, you do the math) with milk. Half a liter is a lot of juice, people!

It's called Del Caribe, and it's just a little juice joint for carry-away. They have my all-time favorite fruit, Lulo (naranjilla in Ecuador), and a bunch of others, including the dreaded tomate de árbol. pineapple, blackberry, mango, curuba (what's that?) guava, passionfruit and soursop, too. You can buy a kilo of frozen fruit pulp to take home for 3,500 pesos, which they say makes 5 liters.

Datos:, Antonio Bellet and Providencia. While I give the juices a thumbs' up, I do not take any responsiblity for the overuse of really bad flash animation, nor for the image of the colliding decapitated fruit that then appears to bleed into a glass on the website. Don't say I didn't warn you.

As far as I know, this is the only place in Santiago to get this variety of fruit juices, and while it runs afoul of the whole "drink local" thing, so did the ginger-mango sour I had one night out with Chris when he was in town, and he didn't judge me, so you shouldn't either.

Anyone want to go out for a juice? We could walk over to the sculpture garden in Pedro de Valdivia norte to enjoy it, but by then we'd probably have drunk it all, sadly.


HereBeDragons said...

I would LOVE to go out for a juice with you...if only I wasn't in North America.

Annje said...

I spent some time in Guayaquil and drank the dreaded "tomate del arbol" juice quite a few times... it is certainly to be dreaded... I didn't want to die, but it is not my favorite juice. (I'll have to check out your article a little later)

Annje said...

Hi. Me again. read the article. have more comments.

The look of maracuya was a surprise, that is one of my all-time favorite juices.

I like the flavor of chirimoya, but there is something about the texture I amn ot crazy about... sort of fish-textured?

I don't like tropical papaya--tastes like soap--but I LOVE the papaya in Chile--that was a big surprise to my palate.

ok, I think I'm done.

Eileen said...

@ herebedragons, well, you never know, we could end up in the same hemisphere some time! Sign me up for a juice (which I actually don't usually like, but if it's lulo all bets are off).

@ Annje, so glad to know I'm not alone. All the Ecuadoreans were incredulous. You must have had it cooked, here: try it raw! Last time it was tart, now it's sweet! The fruit wasn't ripe enough, try this one. Disasters, all of them. I even did a high-altitude trek near Volcan Antesana and the porters brought with them... that's right, for postre! Tomate de arbol. It's my nemefruit.

I didn't include the singularly Chilean lúcuma, which I bet your husband misses terribly. I adore it, but it's too unique to lump together with all those other fruits! Here's a tale of lúcuma for you:

Margaret said...

As as wine taster, I always get a kick out of the aromas and flavors people pick up from different countries. I've tasted with people from Perú and Cuba who come up with entire lists of fruits I've never even heard of!
I think my favorite first-tried-in-Chile fruit is the caqui (persimmon)... super ripe with a bit of plain yogurt... yum!

Michelle said...

nemfruit!!!!! Lichee nuts, for sure!

mmmm... lulo!!!

Michelle said...

nemfruit!!!!! Lichee nuts, for sure!

mmmm... lulo!!!

Carmen Gerea said...

Oh!!! I'll try this soon. Wanna change the next week coffee with this ?! :)

Bystander said...

The wonderfully named pouteria obovata lucuma, or just lúcuma to you and I, is widely grown and used in Perú as well as Chile and was first spotted by Europeans in Ecuador. You also find it in Colombia.

Sharon said...

We can go!!! I know a certain someone who loves fruit (and everything sweet) with a passion.

Brittany Davis said...

I got to your blog from Emily's. Thanks for this recommendation. I tried it out yesterday-so tasty! This could be dangerous since its right across the street;-)

Eileen said...

Welcome aboard, Brittany! Which fruit did you get? I'd like to try the one I'd never heard of before, but you never know when tragedy might hit, like when I got mamao in Brazil, and it turned out to be papaya (not my favorite, though it's no tomate de arbol).

Sharon, that sounds great, though we still have our pizza "date" pending. We could do both, but it's a bit of a hike to get from one to the other. Though there is that bus that goes down P. de V!