For most normal people, eating your five-a-day is a chore. Apart from vegetarians, who know nothing of how much more exciting a steak is than a salad, most of us accept fruit and veg as an evil necessity. We don’t really want to eat them, but neither do we want scurvy. And so we continue to tolerate each other, trapped in a loveless husk of an unappetising marriage. This is a foodie relationship in need of some serious counselling.
Fortunately for everyone who feels that they may be falling out of love with fruit, there is a delicious therapist on hand to help you work through your dietary difficulties. Enter the black sapote, also known by the much more exciting name of chocolate pudding fruit.
From the outside, you could be forgiven for thinking that the black sapote is full of the same bland nutrition and bitter disappointment of other, lesser members of the fruit family. With a dark green skin and pulpy stem stuck to the top, it almost looks like a weird cross between an apple and a pepper. Once you dig below the surface, it becomes all too clear that this is a fruit like no other.
The dark, creamy flesh is utterly unique in that has a smell, texture and taste identical to a batch of cold chocolate pudding. Found across Latin America, from Mexico, to the Caribbean, to Columbia, the black sapote has been a traditional ingredient in regional cooking for generations - prized for its distinctive flavour. Finally, the prayers of reluctant fruit eaters appear to have been answered.
Upon discovering that there’s a fruit that tastes like pudding, the next natural question is of course, “is it healthy?” The answer, even more welcomingly, is yes. Black sapote fruits typically contain nearly four times the amount of vitamin C contained in an orange and are also full of other essential nutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamin A. This fruit is the gift that keeps on giving.
Unsurprisingly, there are literally hundreds of traditional recipes that incorporate this wonder-ingredient. Black sapote breads and puddings are a common occurrences across the fruit’s range, as its natural strength and heft helps it stand up well to cooking. Increasingly, people are also beginning to experiment with black sapote smoothies and milkshakes, as a healthy replacement for chocolate.
The fruit’s incredible flexibility has helped it to build a dedicated following far beyond its natural habitat. Today, there are black sapote cultivars working in Florida, Australia and the Philippines, though many say that these fruits lack the charm of truly wild sapote. Nonetheless, as the fruit’s international reputation continues to grow, more and more farmers are looking to get in on the act.
The sapote industry is still in its relative infancy. The infrastructure is nowhere near as established as other, more popular fruits, and so it may still be difficult to get hold of one yourself. But, if you do manage to find one, we guarantee that it’s a recipe for a fruit salad you will never forget.