The Chirimoya – Mark Twain’s Favorite Fruit

On our second day in Sucre, we ventured into the Mercado Central, which was quite the experience. Before leaving, we stopped at one of the stands and bought some strange-looking fruits, including the chirimoya.

Chiromoya / Cherimoya Fruit

In English, the chirimoya is known as the Custard Apple, and Mark Twain once called it the “most delicious fruit on earth”. It’s hard to disagree. Its flesh is white and tender, like that a pear, and the taste is rich, juicy and perfectly sweet, with just a hint of tanginess. Composed of 75% water, the chirimoya is high in Vitamins A and C, and good for hypertension and the nervous system.

The fruit grows on trees, primarily in the Andean highlands. Its skin is green and tough, not unlike an avocado, but covered with little raised points. Neither the skin nor the large, bean-like seeds should be consumed.

Although the market lady kept insisting that it was muy buena, I was skeptical that such an mean-looking fruit could be tasty, and was almost nervous to cut into it. “Get that knife away from me”, its spiky, rough exterior seemed to growl. “I’ll mess you up”. But we carved it in two, anyway, and scooped out its sweet, soft flesh with a spoon. Delicious.

How to cut chirimoya
Inside of cherimoya

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Allison

    I love this post! How did Mark Twain happen to eat one? I wonder if I could find one in NYC…

    1. Juergen

      I’m pretty you will run into a Chirimoya now your eyes are sharpen for it. Once you found one, cut it in half and munch away. Let us know how you liked it.

  2. Apryl

    I live in LA and sometimes find cherimoya at the farmers’ markets. To me they’ve always tasted a little bit like the long, red licorice vines I used to get at the roller rink as a kid.

  3. Fernando Ruiz Vera

    that’s an delicius fruit!
    I recommend you to try the Chuño (deshidrated potato), the lamb meat and a lot of different things that you can try only here!

  4. Erik S.

    Hey, guys! Congratulations!!! I love your posts.
    Especially, the train & chirimoya ones!!! So cool!
    Try tumbo cocktails (mimosas made of a like-marakuya but never call them like that in Bolivia; it means ‘pads’); Limas which are not the same in Bolivia.
    Also, maybe tunas (spiky cacti fruits). Marraquetas (French small baguettes); super-sized avocados, etc. Thanks for the posts, again!

  5. jan

    We grow these in North Queensland and we call them custard apples.  Presumably because of the custard like flesh.  They sure make a mess when they fall off the tree!

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