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Good morning dear friends! I hope you are having a lovely Monday. I apologize for not posting regularly, I am currently studying for an exam and I can’t seem to find the time to post as regularly as I would like to.

Last week, during our weekly grocery shopping, I spotted a few tropical fruits at our local supermarket. Even though they were imported from Brazil (a country that I have been fortunate to visit in a few occasions), they reminded me of Ivory Coast, where I lived from 2005 to the end of 2007, and where I met my husband.

Tropical fruits were abundant and, since they were locally grown, they were very cheap too.  There were different kinds of papayas (small, ball sized ones, and also big ones, the size of a watermelon) , different kinds of bananas (tiny ones, big ones called “banane plantain” – with which alloko was made, and regular- sized ones), pineapples (the ones from Assinie Maffia, were tiny and especially sweet) and mangoes, among many others.

Mangoes, especially the ones from the northern state of Korhogo, were  so delicious, so incredibly sweet that if you ever find them wherever you live, I encourage you to buy one for tasting purposes at least. Other fruits, such as apples and pears were also available in big cities, such as Abidjan, especially in big supermarkets, but were much more expensive. Local fruits could be bought at the local markets, where the grocer would also advice us on how to distinguish the good fruits, how to cut them, how it was best to cook them. It was there that I learnt how to dice a mango, how to chose the best avocado, and how to select a ripe pineapple.

During the two and a half years that I spent in Ivory Coast, I lived in two different cities (Daoukro and Abidjan), and travelled to many others. When I was deciding what to do with the fruits I had bought the other day, it was Abidjan that I remembered.

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When we lived there, we used to go to a bar/restaurant called Jardiland,  a beautiful place with tables in the garden, amid the luscious vegetation, Moroccan lamps hanging from the ceiling, soft music, candle-lit tables and with two cute bambies walking around the greenery and greeting guests while they ate. It was a lovely place to spend a quiet evening.

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Jardiland had a tradition I liked (if I can call it that way): whenever the food was taking too long, they would serve the customer a papaya, sliced in half, accompanied by half a lime, to sprinkle its juice over it. The bitterness of the lime complemented wonderfully the sweetness of the papaya. It was a simple, yet delicious way of waiting for the tasty food to come.

So, in honour of the end of summer, of Ivory Coast and the time we spent there, I decided to eat one of the papayas just like that, with a little bit of lime juice sprinkled over it. There is great beauty in simplicity too,  great dishes do not need to be complicated.

 

Have you ever had tropical fruits? Do you like them? What is your favourite simple dish?

Have a wonderful week!

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