Jan 15, 2012

Catemaco Chagalapoli

The Chagalapoli are in bloom, and I am looking forward to jelly tasting sessions.

The fruit is vaguely related to mistletoe and is unique to Central America and endemic in Los Tuxtlas. Its latin name is ardisia compressa, and even Wikipedia does not know what it is. Originally I was told it was a wild grape vine, until I discovered I had a 10 foot tree of it growing on my sidewalk, and now in containers on my roof.

The fruit is about the size of a pinky fingernail, and begins with a nice claret color going to a lush burgundy and finishing almost like a blueberry. It has a seed. The fruit itself is on the bitter-sour/sweet side and is a popular homemade local lemonade, or better, chagalapolimade. It is also used to flavor atoles, which are basically liquefied tortillas. My preference is chagalapoli mermelade which used to be available in a now defunct gift shop on the Malécon and soon, for me and select friends, from the loving hands of my Popoluca.

Late February to May is harvest season, and the fruit stalls around the central market will be offering the fruit. 

And would you believe, I do not have a photo, among my 5000, of the damn tree? Check back, tomorrow.

Flowering Chagalapoli
It is incredible how I cater to my undeserving readership at 5:30 in the morning in a torrential rain