One of the best things to do in Medellin is the Exotic Fruit Tour. Every foodie, especially of the vegan variety, should take this tour!
The Medellin Exotic Fruit tour is a two and a half hour tasting extravaganza at the Minorista Farmers Market. It includes a tour of the grandiose and lively bazaar and a tasting of exotic fruits found in Colombia, most of which I’ve never seen anywhere else in the world.
Jennifer, our energetic Colombian guide, whose passion for fruit became obvious before we even set foot inside the market, led our tour. She enthusiastically guided us from stall to stall picking out the ripest of each fruit we would be tasting. She provided us with a plethora of information ranging from facts about the origins of the fruit, to stories of how locals used them in daily life, to nutritional information about each.
The fruits ranged greatly in characteristics. With textures that included chalky and dry, to wet and slippery, and even cottony.
Flavors were all over the spectrum and included salty, to sugary sweet, tangy, and sour. Odors included everything from floral to stinky feet.
Fruits We Tried on the Exotic Fruit Tour
Medellin Exotic Fruit Tour Highlights
After touring the many levels and sections of the lively and vibrant Minorista Farmers Market, and tasting sixteen of Colombia’s best exotic fruits we sat down with Jennifer to enjoy a fresh glass of Guayaba juice. She asked us to choose our favorite fruit of the day. An impossible question since there were so many varieties that appealed to my different senses.
Nevertheless, I there were a few that stood out.
A powerhouse fruit with 16 vitamins and nutrients, including three times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C in 100 grams! It is juicy, sweet, slightly sour, and delicious.
Pitahya (Dragon Fruit)
This fruit is in the same family as the Dragon Fruit you find in Asia. This variety is sweeter, more juicy, and every bit as enjoyable. After the tour, I bought them every time I saw them in Colombia.
You need a hammer to get to the the dry and stringy flesh inside these pods. Warning, don’t expect to be rewarded with a sweet scent but rather the strong smell of stinky feet hits you. This makes me think the first people to start eating this fruit were probably desperately hungry. Once you get past the smell the fruit has a mildly sweet flavor. It’s also a nutrient packed fruit that in powdered form is an excellent addition to smoothies. The powder is high in protein, fiber, calcium, lysine, and magnesium and is sweet and nutty.
Ice Cream Bean (Inga edulis)
Another fruit that makes you work hard to get to it’s flesh, this one is a little more rewarding however. The furry meat that surrounds the slippery black seeds inside the woody pods taste very similar to vanilla ice cream. A huge treat for the traveling vegan who doesn’t have access to non-dairy ice cream!
This fruit has a soft and delicate flesh that tasted like brown sugar and has the texture of a kiwi. It’s basically a creamy and decadent dessert in fruit form.
Chontaduro (Peach Palm)
This fruit has to be boiled for about 20 minutes before eating and has the starchy texture of a potato with a slightly sweet taste. Colombians eat it with a bit of salt and honey and it’s said to have an “appetite opening effect”…meaning all bodily appetites… Luckily it was one of the first fruits we tasted on the tour.
They were Queen Victoria’s favorite fruit and in New York you’ll pay up to $40 a pound for them! Luckily in Colombia you can get your hands on the same quantity for about $2.00 and it’s a steal. This fruit is mildly sweet, juicy and absolutely delicious. Like most great things, a little work is required. You first have to remove the top, bang the side against a hard surface and tear it open to expose the sections of white flesh inside. Be careful because the outer flesh can stain your hands and at one point was even used as dye for clothing.
Tomate de Arbol (Tree Tomato)
Yes, tomatoes are fruits and in Colombia you see these everywhere. They are particularly good for juicing. The flavor is similar to a tomato but a bit sour.
The Best Part of the Medellin Exotic Fruit Tour
As I traveled throughout Colombia for two months earlier this year I saw a myriad of unfamiliar fruits everywhere. While I do consider myself adventurous, I had no idea what most of these fruits were, or even how they should be enjoyed (or opened in some cases). If it weren’t for the Medellin Exotic Fruit Tour I would have missed out on the opportunity to try many of what ended up being the most delicious fruits I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth.
Note: Several photos courtesy of Real City Tours
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