Prickly. Heavy. "Oh, please don't let it fall on my foot." This was the thought that entered my mind the first time I held a durian. Noble as it is ugly, this expensive fruit definitely stands alone. The Durian is seen as the king of all fruits and is highly sought after in Asia as I was informed by my good Vietnamese friend.
Durians on sale in France Nathalie Girod holding her new favorite fruit
Praised for its exorbitant nutritional value, it is known to be eaten by pregnant Oriental women. High in iron, it is also rich in vitamin B-complex and vitamin C, minerals, potassium and essential amino acids. Amazingly your energy level stays at a nice constant rate with its great composition of fructose, sucrose and some cholesterol free fats. My friend swore by its nutritional benefits and ate it throughout her pregnancy.
So why is this incredible fruit banned in certain establishments in Asian countries? Apparently for its infectious smell which I did not understand until I had my first personal whiff. Amazingly, I found this aroma to be neither foul nor disgusting as most would expect. At first I thought I had left a great piece of cheese in the fridge, since I live in France, it happens often enough. For the next few days, this odor invaded my space, lingering long enough for me to judge for myself. The smell has an unusual mixture of fresh vomit mixed with a lush creaminess. A perfect melange of love or hate. For me, it was love at first smell. I just could not wait to taste it!
Finally the day came where I was told the fruit was ready to be opened and eaten. At last I was going to see and taste this intoxicating fruit. When I saw my friend arrive with a large butcher cleaver, I stepped back out of the way just to be safe from her wild swings. I couldn't believe the physical effort it took to open the armor-like shell but when it was done, all I could see were 4 to 6 buttery looking bulges cocooned in their snug shell. Without even realizing it, I scooped one of the fruit with my fingers and ate it. It was like nothing I have ever eaten before: creamy, thick, slightly stringy like a mango, smooth, sweet and addictive. I had officially joined the rest of the Durian lovers of the world.
I had recently gone to the Asian supermarket in Paris to acquire another one of these delicious fruits and much to my delight, they had just received a delivery. However, it was not as easy of a task as I had assumed it would be to pick tasty one. It is too painful and heavy to lift and squeeze with bare hands to test for its ripeness and I have no idea how to choose one by its aroma. Then this kind man wearing thick leather garden gloves came to my rescue and explained to me the basics. The armor shell should be flexible when squeezed, it should make some noise when shaken and I was told to see if there were visible lines on the outer shell then its a winner! That day I had chosen two, one to eat immediately and one to be eaten at a later date.
It is still a mystery as to why I am haunted by the Durian, maybe for its aphrodisiac claim or just simply for its compelling taste. Who knows and honestly, who cares. I just want to eat it.
Nathalie Girod was raised in a culinary environment with her international family. Her father being French and her mother being Bolivian. She grew up in the United States but traveled all over the world as a child.
Recently in her past, she played an important role in inventing a menu for a vegetarian cafe in the United States. Today Nathalie is a fashion designer based outside of Paris as well as the fashion editor for a fashion, beauty, photography and beauty blog.
Nathalie loves cooking, gardening, painting, and staying physically active. She rarely has a dull day.