Chile Food Fruits
Nispero, Chirimoya (Custard Apple) fresh fruit from Chile
Nispero and Chirimoya were two fruits in Chile, served at my hotel breakfast buffet, that were new varieties for me. I learned more about them from the staff, then bought one of each at local markets, and took pictures. Nispero reminds me of an apricot; Chirimoya, called Custard Apple in English, is unique. In Santiago, in November, I bought fresh strawberries, each the size of a golf ball and larger, and creamy, perfectly ripe avocados that were just coming into season.
Related: Chirimoya in Mississauga Asian Grocery, Canada
Nispero (Japanese Plum, Loquat, Nispolero) Hails from Costa Rica
I bought this small fruit called 'nispero' (NEES-pair-oh) at the fruit and vegetable market in Santiago (Mercado Central).
Nispero has a sweet, mildly lemon taste. The thin, rubbery peel comes off easily, and the chambered core has a few large seeds, as you can see in the picture.
The actual edible part of nispero fruit is only about a quarter-inch thick.
I later learned that nispero (also known as Japanese plum, loquat and nispolero) is native to Costa Rica, and considered an invasive species on a number of South Pacific islands.
Custard Apples in Australia; Chirimoya the same fruit in Chile
Known in Chile as 'chirimoya' (cheery-MOY-ah) this fruit appeared in a bowl, peeled and in large chunks, at the hotel breakfast buffet.
No one at our table knew what chirmoya was, let alone the name, so we asked the staff to spell it.
Chirimoya is listed in my guidebook with the English translation as the fruit known as Custard Apple, a fruit that I knew, though one I had never tasted.
I first heard of custard apples from an Australian-born friend living in Canada.
She would get positively misty-eyed when describing how much she longed for the taste of a custard apple. This fragile-skinned fruit does not ship well, so if you get the chance to try chirimoya when you are in Chile, go for it!
Inner Chirimoya ~ Chile fruit is soft and creamy
By the time I got back to the hotel, the bright green peel of the chirimoya had begun to turn an alarming dark brown, so I decided I had better eat it before it spoiled.
The thin skin broke off in small, firm pieces, and when I had removed enough of it to get a spoon into, I used the remaining skin as a bowl.
Though the inside of the chirimoya looked really mushy, I gamely dipped in my spoon and took a bite.
The texture was not at all grainy: It was very creamy, like a lovely lemon-vanilla custard.
The seeds are smooth and firm, about the size of kidney beans, and easy enough to eat around.
Fruit and Vegetable market near Mercado Central in Santiago
Across the street from the fish market is the main vegetable market and a number of seafood restaurants.
At Donde Augusto (sign in background), we stopped for a lunch of grilled sea bass and french fried potatoes.
The restaurants are separated by low grillwork fencing, and friendly waiters stationed near the entrance gates call out the daily specials, and urge passersby to stop and eat.
More Pictures of Typical Chile Foods