When did I first fall in love with passion fruit? Perhaps aptly enough it was on my first holiday to Bali, the charismatically and appropriately named, ‘Island of the Gods’ nearly twenty years ago. Until then, I had overlooked its deceptively discouraging exterior, completely unaware of the exotic taste and fragrance within.
What I didn’t know all those years ago was how many different varieties of passion fruit there are (over 500!). Here in Asia we are lucky. In Singapore we are able to buy the mottled reddish light skinned variety that are imported from Indonesia. The skin is much thicker and lighter than the Australian and Taiwanese varieties on sale in Hong Kong.
Whichever are available, you will find subtle differences of taste even amongst passion fruit of the same variety but that is part of the pleasure and differentiates eating fresh from processed foods. Don’t shun the wrinkly ones that are found in English supermarkets either as they are reputed to be the sweeter ones.
One of the positive things about avoiding gluten is that it encourages us to think carefully about food choices. Also, eating fresh fruits and vegetables is something of a relief, not least as it frees us from the tyranny of label reading.
One of the best ways we have found of enjoying passion fruit, apart from as part of a fruit salad (as in the superb brunch menu offering at Oolaa in Hong Kong) is mixed with a vanilla yoghurt. La Fermier makes an interesting one that shuns the ubiquitous plastic casing of some of its siblings to inhabit little pottery jars that have variously been duck egg blue, Christmas red and, most recently, black.
The combination of the contents of a passion fruit with one of these yoghurts is a simple treat but one that never fails to evoke for me truly magical days on the beach as the sky turned shades of yellow through to deepest orange as the sun went down over Ganesh’s own island.