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The Cavaillon melon is spherical and slightly smaller than the standard cantaloupe, but still feels quite heavy for its size. Ripe Cavaillon melons have a pale gold skin skin with bluish-green vertical striping that runs end to end. The brilliant orange inner flesh surrounds a central seed cavity and drips with sweet syrup-like juice. The stem will begin to crack and can be easily pulled off when ripe. The Cavaillon melon has an intense floral yet tropical aroma and a very high sugar content.
Cavaillon melons are available mid-summer into the fall.
A member of the Cucurbitaceae family the Cavaillon melon is a true muskmelon variety and botanically known as Cucumis melo reticulatus. In the town where it comes from in Cavaillon, France it is still to this day celebrated with statues, paintings, annual festivals and a 9-ton melon sculpture at the entryway to the town. In fact, the fruit is protected by law through a special designation stating that a melon can only be called Cavaillon Melon if it is grown in Provence or in a part of the Durance valley, and growers must belong to the Association.
Cavaillon melons are an excellent source of beta-carotene, folic acid, potassium, vitamin C and dietary fiber.
The Cavaillon melon is most often eaten raw, either as a dessert or wrapped in prosciutto or local hams as an appetizer. Use Cavaillon melon where recipes call for muskmelon or cantaloupe. Puree Cavaillon melon and diced cucumber with ice cubes for a simple refreshing beverage. Blend Cavaillon melon, yogurt, minced ginger, mint and lime together and serve chilled as a soup. Alternate chunks of Cavaillon melon, slices of prosciutto and salty cheese such as feta or mozzarella on a skewer, then top with pesto or a basil oil. Store at room temperature until fully ripe or refrigerate to extend the shelf-life.
Cavaillon, France is regarded as the Provencal capital of the European Cantaloupe, and for which the "melon de Cavaillon" is named. From spring through late summer, Cavaillon melons are available in fresh produce markets. Author Alexandre Dumas loved the melons so much that he donated a copy of all 194 pieces of his works to the Cavaillon library, in exchange he asked his payment be 12 Cavaillion melons each year for the duration of his life.
In the 14th century, Cavaillon melon seeds were brought to Provence, France from Cantalupo, Italy. Charles VIII brought them back from the gardens of the Popes near Rome where clergymen cherished the luxury fruits. Though the melon is grown in North America, true Cavaillon melons must grow in the Provence region to receive official Cavaillon dedication.
Recipes that include Cavaillon Melon. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Stresscake||Soup Glacee of Cavaillon Melon|
|My Kitchen Treasures||Pannacotta with Coconut and Melon|
|Cusine de Provence||Chilled Melon Soup|
|Tales and Travel||Melon Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts|
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