Charentais au Porto

Alcohol in a melon. No, this isn’t about anything as pedestrian as Watermelon with Vodka. The Charentais melon deserves something more refined.

Charentais Melon

Charentais melon

Ever since Annie read “Melons for the Passionate Grower” by Amy Goldman, she was enthralled by the beauty of the Charentais. She even tried to grow it in our yard last year. We got one disappointing, measly fruit. It was so sad looking, we didn’t even eat it.

Charentais are true canteloupes from France, with smooth, pale green skin and darker green ribs. They’re not very big, as melons go. You can palm a nice-sized one easily – just right for two people to share. Charentais have a deep orange flesh and complex flavor. They have a reputation as the best tasting melon around.

We were at Whole Foods in Cupertino, looking for steel cut oats (that’s another post…) and finding Bubbies Mochi Ice Cream (thanks for the tip, Allen!). In the produce section, Annie found organic Charentais on sale and bought one home.

Top Cut Off a Charentais Melon

Charentais melon top cut

The inside of the melon is pretty much solid flesh, with only a small center section where the seeds reside.

Halved Charentais Melon

Charentais melon cut through

Annie scooped out the seeds and sectioned one of the halves. We each took a piece, bit into it, and looked at each other.

The melon didn’t have us raving. It was kinda blah, really. In fact, I would have preferred a canteloupe to this (and I don’t like canteloupe very much). The flavor was subtly sweet, with almost a bitter note at the end. We were puzzled and more than slightly disappointed.

Then Annie remembered a picture in the Amy Goldman “Melons” book of a Charentais melon with port wine inside the hollowed-out seed section. Amy writes:

“Charentais and Porto were meant for each other. Because port is sweeter and more viscous than Charentais, it accentuates the melon’s fruit acid and delicacy.”

So we decided to give it a try. We happened to have a bottle of Tawny Port from Messina Hof Winery in Texas. I poured about an ounce of port into the melon.

Charentais au Porto – Charentais Melon with Port

Charentais au Porto - Charentais melon with Port

Ah, now that is better! Amazingly, the port did make the fruit taste sweeter and more like a melon. Annie cut the rest of her half of the Charentais into chunks and dropped them in the pool of port. We eagerly devoured them up, then scooped the remaining flesh from the sides of the melon bowl until there was nothing left except an empty rind.

What’s your favorite melon? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!

Aloha, Nate

12 thoughts on “Charentais au Porto”

  1. >Ahh, we have a nice melon in Greece, similar to that, which is oblong, like a rugby ball. It was mostly cultivated around the town of Argios, so it is called “argos-melon”. It is not that common any more and quite expensive but next time I find some I will definitely try it with port!

  2. >Beautiful photos of the melon – I was surprised to see so little rind. I love the use of port to enhance the melon flavor but then again, I love port!

    p.s. You’ve now got me craving Bubbies. Shame on you! 😉 We’re planning to head over to Stanford Shopping Center to try out the Sprinkles cupcakes which opened there this week. I can hardly wait to try them.

  3. >My gosh, that’s way better than sipping port from a glass. You might say it’s even “green.” After all, no glass to wash afterwards. Just devour the “container” instead.

  4. >@Foodjunkie – …our ouzo? OPA!

    @Allen – Are they as good as Sugar Butter Flour?

    @Manger La Ville – thanks!

    @Carolyn – heheh. The rind and seeds even went into the compost bin so nothing was wasted. Only thing is I have to drive all the way out to Cupertino to get another one.

  5. >Actually a really good Charentais melon should be able to stand alone. The port trick is for melons that are not so hot.

  6. >Man, you got inline comments done and working. I have sucky blogger classics since I have a FTP blog. I tried Bloggerbuster hack but it didn’t work!

    I am going to migrate to wordpress, started working on it and see if it will work for me. I don’t want to lose all my search engine traffic.

  7. >@Alejandra – now we know what to do with not-so-special melons 🙂

    @Anonymous – I know, that’s why we were so disappointed when we took that first bite.

    @Bee – Hacking Blogger is fun but I’m with you on moving to WordPress.

  8. >The port sounds wonderful with the melon. I’m not very fond of melon (especially cantaloupe types) but the charentais I’ve had are so much better without the cloying sweetness.

  9. >I love chanterais melons! All the So Cal farmers markets had a bounty of them this year, I feel so lucky to have splurged.
    You guys, your photographs are just beautiful! Is this all from your new camera? I love it!

  10. >@Maggie – I wish I could try a real charentais now.

    @WoRC – Thanks! yeah, all our pics after the Hawaii vacation were taken on the XT.

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