Carta de Nicaragua 14: Guinep, Mamón and me

Team Marple-Poirot

Team Marple-Poirot
Although the duo claimed to have retired from duties following the incident with the FedEx messenger in Managua, they secretly continued a very important mission: the search for a missing fruit. Their brief was vague: a round, green fruit, squidgy on the inside and colour of the flesh unknown, a stone in the centre, tastes really nice!

The perils of eye-witness testimony
When I was a little girl, seven maybe eight years – maybe older, someone came back from Jamaica – or perhaps it was only Brixton Market – with a bag of tropical food. There was one item in particular that was so delicious it was the stuff that dreams are made of. Its name was Guinep.

Mission: missing fruit; location: unknown

All I remembered about Guinep was that it was roundish with a green skin that opened to reveal  a  juicy, fleshy substance with a stone in the middle.  For years I dreamed of Guinep. I’d ask Mrs S if the local Caribbean market stalls were selling it. “No.” She’d reply.

Beware imposters in hairy clothing
I bought some lychees once, thinking that this was the fruit but they weren’t a patch on the mysterious Guinep. Too squidgy. Too sweet. Not quite right. I began to appreciate Goldilocks’ dilemma during Porridgegate.

A potential Guinep but far from the real deal

Seek – but will you find?
Years ago I wanted to buy Public Enemy’s single, Don’t Believe the Hype, on vinyl. I was told “No chance, it’s been deleted.” Something told me I’d find it. I searched for a few days and found a copy on vinyl in a record shop in Leeds. I dreamed on about finding Guinep.

Nancites: taste – nice, size – about right, consistency – too much like puree

Deep down I felt sure that we’d be reunited. Nicaragua 2011 and 2012: every time I saw a new fruit I wondered if it would be my Guinep. I met Tamarindo, Guineo, Jocote and Nancite but not Guinep. Mere impressionists.

Beware the trader bearing strange fruits?
And time goes by. Summer draws to a close and winter, the rainy season, returns. On a bus passing through Chontales, heading towards Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, a trader appeared selling small green spheres on twigs. “What are they?” I asked. “Mamones,” came the reply, “you won’t like them.” But my mouth watered with recognition. “Remember me?” The fruit teased. I handed over my 5 pesos and hello, Guinep! Reunited. And it feels so good.

Separated at birth: Mamón and Guinep

The Scooby Doo Reveal
Mamones and Guineps are one and the same! Furthermore, the  hairy-looking ‘imposters’ are known  in Nicaragua as Chinese Mamones. Lychees. Chinese Gunieps. And if it wasn’t for my pesky taste-buds…

To be continued …


About lyndacuba

"Who am I? Why am I here? You're asking, I'm asking. Tired of all the moaning around me, tired of waiting for something to happen, I decided that I couldn't just let life pass me by. It occurred to me that if I could help a single person, that act could change the outcome of an entire community for the better. I want to matter. I want to make a difference. I've chosen Nicaragua." That was 2011 - this is 2017.
This entry was posted in Food and cooking, Nicaragua, Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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