If I lived here in Trinidad permanently, perhaps this could be my regular scene-changing post: down the islands. A term used by Trinis to describe going by boat to the small islands and having what is basically a big long overnight party of swimming, eating and drinking (rum, natch). It was good fun and lead to the discovery of a fruit I’d never come across before, despite having lived in tropical countries a fair bit as a child: the star apple, or caimet as it’s known here.
Used by St. Lucian poet Derek Walcott as a symbol of the Caribbean in ‘The Star Apple Kingdom,’ it is dark purple like an aubergine (eggplant) and has a star shape when cut in half. The skin is very sticky with latex and gives off a sweet, milky juice. The seeds are coated in a jelly and this, as well as the pinkish purple flesh around them, is delicious. Subtle and sweet… mmm.
Less subtle and just as sweet is the tropical stalwart the mango. My parents’ house is surrounded by mango trees and half an hour’s picking yesterday resulted in this bounty:
Three different varieties, Julie (considered the best), Graham (good for chutney as they’re enormous) and a small, more fibrous kind that we didn’t know the name of so we dubbed it Bob. A taste test put the Julie at the top but really- they’re all good. Sweet too bad. I hope the memory of golden mangoes and purple caimets will sustain me when faced with bullet-hard green mangoes for two quid each in the supermarket in Scotland…