You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a pamplemousse from Vanuatu. It might seem like a sweeping and unverifiably big call, but I stand by it: the pamplemousse is amazing. According to Google Translate, pamplemousse is the French word for grapefruit. This is quite misleading. In my experience of grapefruit, in Australia at least, they don’t even begin to compare to the wonder that is pamplemousse.
Pamplemousse are big, the size of a Lion’s plum pudding or more. They have a bright green, super thick rind, designed to keep out all but the most tenacious pillagers – a bush knife is in order just to get the party started, and then the rind can be prised off, chunk by chunk. But the conquest is not over there. Even when you can see the gleaming pearls of juicy goodness sprouting up from a crack in its verdant armour, they are cosseted away in irregular segments, tightly banded together and very reluctant to part with their compatriots. It takes no small degree of persistence and dexterity to jimmy them out.
And then! The burst of those little bubbles of joy break forth across the tongue. Yet that first taste of pamplemousse still holds something of its full delight back – it’s slightly tart; flavoursome, but not in the sweet, showy way of a pineapple or a mango. It’s undeniably refreshing, but you’re not sure that you’re enamoured enough to bother ferreting out more. But then… the very process of mining for those succulent jewels is beguiling in its own way, a distracting and tactile occupation in which finding the last morsel can easily become a mild obsession. Each mouthful becomes more moreish and the taste you so recently considered expendable seems unquestionable – as irrelevant as pondering the flavour of air or water.
And yet, even at this point, the pamplemousse holds something back – its segments are irregular, its patterns are not perfect. It takes some effort to figure them out; to find the secret to unfurling each new part. It’s art that requires work to appreciate.
And really – isn’t that usually the best type of art, of any kind? Things that have mystery not just blatant beauty; craftsmanship whose elegance rivals the final form; charm that grows with familiarity rather than diminishing.
Things with that brand of uniqueness are my favourite kind of thing. And that’s why we’ve filled our store full of them – because afterall, you can’t always get pamplemousse.