March 11, 2016
Chanthaburi fruit festival is a fruit lover’s paradise, offering fresh-picked tropical fruits from local orchards, plus Southeast Asia’s world famous Durian; where your nose just does not believe your taste buds.
Durian loathe it or love it………
When: Annually one week in May
Where: Chanthaburi Stadium and throughout the province.
This festival has been known by a number of names over the years and was once had the lofty title of the ‘World Durian Festival’ while the Tourism Authority of Thailand now calls it the less grand name that of the Chanthaburi Fruit Festival. What-ever it is called it is normally held in May each year and held over a one week period at the Chanthaburi Stadium and at venues throughout the province.
The event celebrates of the vast amount of tropical produce grown in the orchards surrounding Chanthaburi city, which is renown as a rich agricultural region, near Thailand’s eastern border with Cambodia and produces half of Thailand’s durian crop
It’s then not surprising that the most popular fruit, of course, is the Durian, aka, the king of fruits. Loathe it of love it, (It is barred from many flights, trains, hotels and closed areas due to its pungent smell).
Durian the King of Fruits
This cultural icon of Southeast Asia is a treasured, eagerly anticipated some may term pervasive fruit. It can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). It has an outer spiny armour-like casing, to protect the inner 10 or so seeds; the size of dates, each of which is in turn covered with a thick, custardy, off-white “meat,” which is the only edible part of the fruit.
Durians have a limited season and an extremely short shelf life, and so are expensive, purchasing one is treated by its devotees as a solemn, smelly ritual: only by odor can you determine whether a durian is truly ripe. Not surprisingly for so valued a fruit, all parts of the durian tree are used in folk medicine, with the flesh itself being regarded as an aphrodisiac.
Not every-one is a fan of this acquired fruit with some even going as far as to write:
It tastes like completely rotten mushy onions – Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods
Like eating raspberry blancmange in the lavatory – Anthony Burgess, author
Its odour is best described as pig shit, turpentine and onions garnished with a dirty gym sock – Richard Sterling, food writer
Your breath will smell as if you’ve been French kissing your dead grandmother –Anthony Bourdain, chef and TV host
Whatever your thoughts on this smelly fruit, this festival allows you to try it in all its forms from chips, candy and cakes to coffee, jam and ice cream, plus you get the chance to give your taste buds a full work out on numerous other fruits grown locally.
The event also features a colourful parade where large numbers of floats are adorned with all manner of fresh produce, there are also fruit and eating contests and a beauty pageant.
As always in Thailand you can expect to be surrounded by a vast array of stalls and vendors, selling an equally vast array, of locally produced handicrafts, including jewels and gems for which the province is also renowned, including the famous Magic Rings (แหวนกล): Golden rings fixed with gemstones. The setting is usually made into various animals such as shrimp, crab, fish, Naga serpent, and can be separated into four connected rings.
This would not be Thailand if the event did not also offer a huge selection of delicious food and drinks. If you are at the festival do try the famous Pumpkin, durian, and taro crisps (ข้าวเกรียบฟักทอง ทุเรียน และเผือก): Cooked by the Pong Nam Ron Housewife Group, they are very moreish.
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