If there is one thing that grows extremely well in Abruzzo it is persimmon, known locally as cachi or in other Spanish speaking countries as kaki, and it’s a fruit that you either love or hate.
For those that haven’t tasted this “fruit of the gods” to my taste buds it’s somewhere in the middle between a very sweet date and a plum; for others it’s described as some sort of alien being with apricot and pumpkin traits. One thing to be sure, eat them only when fully ripe otherwise their astringent qualities will be something that your mouth may not forget in a hurry; you will know they are ripe by lifting them, their skin seem to feel like plump stretched water balloons.
As a lovely Christmas present from our hospitable neighbours we are frequently given some of these strange fibrous fruit that sadly only one of us really likes, but I have found the perfect the way to make these fruit that are so rich in vitamin A &C be enjoyed by both of us; cook it with savoury courses! One way is to scoop out the ripe flesh and simmer it into a sauce with a lick of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and dribble of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. Then use this as a sauce to accompany roast Abruzzo lamb for Christmas lunch; it makes the perfect accompaniment and very welcome change from blackcurrant type sauces – lighter, less dense and retaining, its bright cheery colours of the sun are great for SAD sufferers. The other alternative is to bastardise the ‘tagine’ and use Abruzzo’s ancient spelt grain (known as farro) like couscous, and for your tagine use roast chopped lamb with chunks of Persimmon, grated lemon zest, some local chickpeas, saffron, Red Sulmona Garlic and cinnamon. All locally produced and helping to support local farmers.
For ‘Growers & Greek’ lovers persimmons are part of the genus Diospyros, which means “fruit of the gods” in Greek the same evergreen family as ebony; and are in season from Autumn through to the end of Winter.