Guest post by Drew Sullivan of Mantaraya Colombia Travel Blog
When it comes to lubricating a dry throat, freshly squeezed fruit juice is as good as it gets. The sweet, natural, aromatic flavors of fresh fruit trample over that of soft drinks. Sadly in the western world, freshly squeezed fruit juice is practically a delicacy and you can expect to pay far more for it than its infinitely inferior artificial counterpart.
Before I moved to Bogotá Colombia my fruit juice field consisted of apple, orange, watermelon, lemon, pineapple, mango and maybe a few others. I may have been a fresh fruit juice fanatic, but I was an imposter; utterly ignorant to the depth of the fresh fruit juice world. It was like I listened to one album of Miles Davis and called myself a Jazz aficionado. Colombia opened my eyes. It took me to nectar nirvana and now I’ll never go back.
You see in Colombia, freshly squeezed fruit juice doesn’t discriminate. It’s enjoyed equally by people of all socio-economic levels. At lunchtime it’s often a free accompaniment to the meal. Glass, after glass, after glass, of heavenly sweet freshly squeezed fruit juice. In the street you can buy half a liter for a dollar. Or a fruit juice ice block for 30 cents. And that’s just the beginning…
Colombia has over 150 different types of commercial fruits. Yes that 0 is meant to be there. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY. That is why I say that apple, orange, watermelon, lemon, these are the Miles Davis of fruit juice; merely the tip of the old iceberg.
Ever heard of Lulo? Guanabana? Maracuya? Feijoa? Zapote? These are no doubt what Colombians would call the Joe Arroyo of Salsa. But to me, they’re as exotic as a curly haired Caribbean woman with coconuts for clothes. Damn, I could drink them by the bucket load.
Unlike in the West, Colombian fruit juice is not actually freshly squeezed but rather freshly blended, with water (or milk) and often a little sugar. This results in a much larger swig from your fig and it surprisingly doesn’t produce a watery taste.
Colombian fruit is an unchartered, mouth-watering and healthy world begging to be discovered. Being the most biodiverse country on the planet for its size, Colombia has an unfathomable diversity of ecosystems, each with their own flora and fauna and collection of fruits. Indeed, some fruits can only be found in one particular valley in one specific region of the country. No one has ever documented every fruit that grows in Colombia and I doubt that anyone ever will. But for now, I’ve got 150 on the cards which I can’t wait to start blending!
About the Author: Drew Sullivan arrived in Colombia after riding his motorcycle 20,000kms solo around South America. He now lives in Bogotá and works as a travel writer for Mantaraya Travel, a leading travel company offering tours to Colombia. You can find more of Drew’s stories and videos on Colombia at http://www.mantarayatravel.com/blog and follow him on facebook and twitter @mantarayatravel.