Cutting through the leathery, dark purple skin of the passion fruit revealed a bright magenta pith surrounding a freakishly yellow-green gooey interior, slightly milky and almost fluorescent, like radiator fluid. They were hyper-tart.
The cherimoyas, by contrast, were creamy and soft, with a complex flavor reminiscent of piña colada: banana, coconut, pineapple flavors were present, but also a definite apple-pear note as well. The texture was definitely custardy (hence their other name, custard apple), occasionally also pear-like with a faint fibrous feel. Overall mellow and sweet, very easy to eat by the spoonful, except for the abundance of hard, black seeds that you could easily break a tooth on.
After tasting each individually, I decided to just mix them together. The creamy sweetness of the cherimoya tempered the hair-bristling tartness of the passion fruit. A taste of the tropics in a bowlful of local fruit -- local to San Diego, that is.
I eschewed my normal morning espresso for a pot of the black tea chai I purchased from Conscious Cookery at the market, rounding out the exotic theme. I love a good chai, and hers fits the bill: Pungently spicy with a strong clove note that tingles the palate, but not so much to overpower the flavors of anise, cardamom and black pepper. Sweetened with a little local honey and a cloud of milk, well, who needs coffee?
As spring and summer encroach on Northern California, I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for cherimoyas. I'm eager to play with this deliciously custardy fruit. I'm thinking maybe crème brulée or ice cream for starters ...