1 March 2012

Feeling Fruity?

There are few things more pleasurable in life than eating ripe fruit straight from the tree. The mere site of a branch bowing with succulent fruit sparkling like arboreal jewellery, is enough to send anybody into a salivating stupor. As we creep out of the winter and into the efflorescence of spring, it’s got us feeling a little bit fruity. We’ve put together a list of the best places to eat our favourite fruits straight from the tree.

APPLE, HARCOURT VALLEY, AUSTRALIA

Harcourt Valley lies in Australia’s Victoria, one of the countries most prosperous nations when it comes to fruit yields. The apple orchards of the Harcourt Valley produce some of the most delicious apples you’ll ever eat and contribute to 100,000 plus tonnes of apples produced in Victoria every year. Varities include Royal Gala, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Cripps red (sold as Sundowner) and everybodies favourite; Cripps Pink (sold as Pink Lady). Once you’ve tasted the sweet champagne taste of a Pink Lady straight from the tree, your days buying Pink Ladies from the shop will be well and truly over.

APRICOT, ATLAS MOUNTAINS, MOROCCO

Below the snow-capped peaks, amidst the green valleys, waterfalls, flower-filled forests and meandering streams of the Atlas Mountains, you will find some of most delicious apricots in the world; appearing as tiny jewels of sun along sylvan scenic paths and gorges. The humble apricot is such an understated fruit, as much of the true sweetness that makes this fruit so delicious is lost on its way from the tree to your shopping basket. Best to cut out the middle man and chomp in straight from the branch.

FIG, SOUTH SALERNO, ITALY 

The south of Salerno is renowned for the White Fig of Cilento, whose history dates back to the 6th century B.C., when Greek colonists introduced them to the area. The pulp is soft, saccharine and amber-coloured, opposite to the violet-red pulp of the Black Ischia; a dark-blue Italian fig variety. Eaten straight from the tree these figs are a regional delicacy, also to be found on many market stalls stuffed with almonds, nuts, walnuts, fennel seeds, citrus skins or iced with chocolate, or soaked in rum at Christmas time. The Italians live somewhat of a fine romance with figs, in all their divine variety; and rightly so.

PEACH, GUANGXI PEACH ORCHARDS, YAOCHI, CHINA

In China, peaches are the stuff of legend. The Queen Mother of the West’s garden is said to have had a special orchard of longevity peaches which would ripen once every three thousand years. The Queen Mother is widely known for serving peaches to her guests, which would then make them immortal. Yaochi, in the Qingxiu mountain range, is home to a statue of the legendary Queen Mother and a glorious orchard of peach trees. In the spring, the peach trees blossom, their thin branches heavy with fat, juicy, golden fruit.

CHERRIES, KLONDYKE CHERRY FARM, SOUTH AFRICA

There is a certain winsome, make-believe quality to cherry blossom trees, and there are few more magical sights than an orchard lined with the white puffs of the cherry blossom. At the Klondyke Cherry Farm, 18km from Ceres in South Africa you can partake in a day of cherry picking in picturesque surroundings. The Cherry Farm is hidden in the valleys, surrounded by beautiful scenery which makes for a truly wonderful setting.  You can even spend the night at the farm in one the three chocolate box cottages on offer.

TAKE ME THERE

Make your fruit foraging pilgrimage dreams a reality with Black Tomato, from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco to the fig orchards of southern Italy. Visit the website for more information and booking.

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