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The Charentais is a petite-sized melon with a smooth, hard, pistachio-grey colored skin and distinct green ribbing. Its flesh is deep orange, dense, smooth and sweet similar to that of a cantaloupe. When ripe it is highly fragrant with tropical fruit and floral notes. Its delicious flavor and powerful aroma must be appreciated at its height of maturity as it has a delicate and short shelf-life.
Charentais melons are available during the summer months. Mexico exports Charentais melons during the winter months.
Charentais melons, also known as French cantaloupes are a highly valued yet low production farmers market variety of cantaloupe that are too delicate for commercial shipping. A member of the Cucurbitaceae family the Charentais melon is a true French cantaloupe variety botanically known as Cucumis melo cantalupensis and falls under the muskmelon genus.
The Charentais melon can be used in fresh or raw preparations, both sweet and savory. It is not found to be suited well for cooking. Fresh Chanterais melon can be used as a breakfast fruit and as a salad ingredient. It makes a great addition to both drinks and desserts. Chanterais pairs well with feta and goat cheeses, almonds and hazelnuts, mint, citrus, port, muscat and cured pork. May be used as a substitute in recipes where cantaloupe is called for. Once ripe keep refrigerated until ready to use, always wrap cut melons in plastic to prolong their shelf life.
The Charentais originated in the 1920's in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France. It was developed as a refined cantaloupe, free of natural and highly occurring warts of its parent varieties. Though the Charentais originated in France much of the Charentais melons consumed in France are now imported from North Africa. There is limited production of Charentais melons in the United States.
Recipes that include Charentais Melon. One is easiest, three is harder.
|The Cook's Atelier||Charentais Melon Salad|
|Food 52||Charentais Melon with Spiced Quinoa, Yogurt, and Pistachio|
|The Bounty Hunter||French Melon Sorbet|
|Stresscake||Soup Glacee of Cavaillon Melon|
|My Cooking Hut||Cantaloupe Gazpacho|
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