Food for thought – The Quince (The fruit of love)

This next featured ingredient, the quince, is an exquisite yellow pome fruit closely related to apples and pears. But unlike its softer counterparts, it is rather sour and hard when raw, so it is mostly cooked before eating. When green, the skin of the fruit is covered with a soft fuzz, similar to a peach. Quinces are particularly fragrant, with aromas reminiscent of flowers and tropical fruit.

The quince has interesting mythical significance. Its botanical name, Cydonia oblonga, is derived from the Greek meaning ‘apple from Crete’. Biologically the quince precedes the apple, and so it is posited that ancient references to apples actually refer to the quince. For example, the fruit is often associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and fertility, as according to legend, her lover Paris presented her with a golden quince. Some even say that the apple used to seduce Eve in the Bible was also actually a reference to a quince, which further ties the fruit to temptation and seduction.

Despite its lusty connotations, quinces are actually good for you! They aid in cleansing the liver, and are also rich in properties that help the body absorb calcium and iron. While seldom eaten raw, quinces are often preserved in jams and jellies, and

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is delectable when roasted, baked or stewed. Once cooked, the flesh of the fruit turns a beautiful ruby red and the natural sweetness comes out. Quinces are delicious both in savoury and in sweet dishes, and Chef Eric has

incorporated the fruit into a beautiful flavour combination of guinea fowl sausage with quince purée, carrot and black olive oil. Enjoy!