The next thing that a Lebanese foodie would do upon arrival in Beirut is check out the neighborhood fruit stalls. Found some cherimoya (ashta in Arabic or anone in French) and had to taste the fruit Mark Twain called ” the most delicious fruit known to man”. Here again, I was not disappointed. Meltingly sweet, with a flesh so tender it dissolved in the mouth, a taste of the most heavenly pear you have ever experienced…I wish you could all have one! Grown about 30 miles near Beirut, in Nahr Ibrahim ( River of Abraham), it did not travel far. Nahr Ibrahim is also known by the river of the God Adonis (God of fertility). Legend has it that he died there in the Spring and the river got tainted red with his blood, hence the reddish hue of that river. Archeological sights abound near there, going back to Phoenician times as well as Greeks, Romans and more. It is said to be the path of a pilgrimage in antiquity when people would partake in bacchanals near the source of that river in Faqra, a few miles north.
When the fruit yields to gentle pressure, it is ready. Tear a piece gently and suck the white flesh, which will instantly melt in your mouth and release a black seed; then reflect on the wonder of God’s creations as you sigh in marveled contentment.
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