FreshPlaza.com, Specialtyproduce.com, Food.com (Feb. 27, 2013) — Azura, a grower based in Perignan, France and with operations in Morocco, is in preparation for the arrival of the first Charentais melons of the season.
The melons are grown in Dakhla, Morocco, and their availability usually runs from mid to late-February through mid-May. Their annual production hovers around 3,900 tons, and they grow that on nearly 40 acres.
“We’re using a fruit grader that monitors the sugar level, ripeness and quality of each melon,” said Lavail. “Because we invested in this scanner, we think customers will be even more pleased with our melons this year.”
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.
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 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 Poitou-Charentes region of western France, circa 1920.
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.