I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write back to you. I see a thousand things a day that I want to show you, but the photo memory on my phone is usually full so I can only take mental pictures. : ) I went to my neighborhood farmers’ market on Friday (in honor of Friday Lunches, of course) and took pics of the most curious things I could find! As you can imagine, there are tons of exotic fruits in Colombia but there are also some vegetables that can only be found here in the Andes mountain range.
There’s something called a “tree tomato” (tomate de árbol) that looks like a strangely elongated tomato, but they treat it like a fruit and make juice out of it. I wouldn’t say that it has an amazing flavor on its own, but it’s interestingly acidic and ever so slightly sweet. They come in a bunch of different colors, like the reddish purple below.
Tomate de árbol
I bought these red things at the market, and have yet to figure out what they are. They look like mini red potatoes but taste like radish.
Speaking of roots, these parsnip-looking things are amazing for mashing with salted butter, milk, Parmesan cheese and a hint of freshly-ground black pepper. I serve it with boeuf bourgignon and braised short rib.
Just a happy bunch of fruits/vegetables thrown together for no reason: pineapple, acorn squash and limes.
Piña, calabaza y limón
THESE are the mother of all tart fruits: lulo and curuba. Curuba is like a banana-shaped passion fruit, and lulo has a fuzzy skin like a peach but a more citrus-like interior. In the coastal region of Colombia they make a drink called “lulada”, which has chunks of the fruit and a fair amount of sugar. It’s very tangy!! I think these would make the best caipirinhas ever.
Lulos y curubas
Some freshly-popped peas, bright red tomatoes (unusual for Colombia, actually, so I bought way too many out of sheer excitement) and fashion magazines. Hmm.
Arvejas, tomates y revistas de moda
Finally, the most unexpected thing of all: head cheese (bottom right, amidst a jumble of random groceries, eggs and artisanal guava jelly)! Since I didn’t even like the head cheese at Le Chateaubriand, I figured that this wouldn’t float my boat so I didn’t try it …but I was impressed that it’s enough of a staple that they have it at a tiny farmers’ market.
Queso de cabeza
I wish you were here to try all these things with me, Shaheen!! I’ll send you photos of the Rio market when I’m there next week!