I was inspired to create this page in response to a question I was asked. "What are your thoughts on Melons?" When I looked at my answer it was really a Homage to the Charentais Melon. So I decided to write a little about this most wonderful of all fruit. The Charentais Melon, is the most wonderful fruit I have ever tasted. A fruit that I can live on in rapture and bliss. I have shared some fantastic Durian in Bali, feasted on pure jam figs in Queensland, picked perfectly ripe raspberries in England, foraged for melt-in-the-mouth persimmon in Spain; but I must hand it to the South of France and their Charentais.
I would like to put in a quote from a guy with a very lovely name:- Saint-Amant, Holy Lover. He is writing in the 17th Century about the Charentais Melon:
" This melon is firm to the centre, with few seeds like grains of gold*. It is better than the beloved apricot, better than strawberries and cream, better than the Holy pear of Tours or the sweet green fig. Even the muscat grape I love is bitterness and muck compared to this divine melon. O sweet grassy snake, crawling on a green bed. It is Apollo's masterpiece. The brothels of Rouen will be free of the pox... tobacco smokers will have white teeth... I will forget my love's favours before I forget you- O fleur de tous les fruits! O ravisant MELON! "
I can see where he is coming from.
I also remember reading another quote about the Charentais, which said words to the effect of 'Once you have tasted the Charentais it will have a spell over you forever!'
Again I can agree with this. I spent the Northern Summer of 2006 in England and delighted in many imported French Charentais, they were my staple. I have tried to grow them in South East Queensland but alas the climate does not suit their growth.
I will however attempt to grow more this year and maybe they will ripen before the rainy season, which is just too wet for their tastes.
I spent several weeks in the South of France in 2001. I was in the middle of my six months on Melon. I was also happily destined to be in the Melon Capital of France , right in the middle of Melon Season! One town, called Cavaillon, has a nine tonne statue of a Charentais Melon as you enter the town. It also has the most fruit shops per square inch, that I have ever seen. I was a melon disciple in the Holy Land. I thank my stars and my destiny for bringing me to such a place , right in the middle of my Melon diet.
There is a melon festival in this town and also a museum with a Charentais Melon exhibit. Merci Beaucoup France and your farmers for giving the World the Charentais Melon.
Words are not enough to describe the wonderful fruit that is the Charentais but I shall endeavour to describe this fruit.
The melon is relatively small and spherical in shape. The skin is smooth and a light green colour , with bands of darker green going from the stem to the bottom. Sometimes, if the melon is very ripe the skin has an orange tint. Inside the flesh is orange, with small seeds in the centre.
The aroma is so sweet and distinctive.
These Melons are picked ripe and are best eaten as soon as possible after harvesting; although they will store for a few days in a refrigerator. I really hope that you will have the good fortune to try these delightful Melons. If you do or have already tasted them, please could you leave me a comment as to your experiences, in my Guest Book.