Ask anyone in Antigua Guatemala where the best avocados are grown and they will reply with uncharacteristic unanimity: Parramos Guatemala. In fact, when Yolkobsens told our Antigueno friends that we had just gotten off the chicken bus from Parramos Guatemala, they asked us with razor point reflex if we had snagged any avocados.
The next question was whether we had purchased any of the black turtle beans, which also come from the volcanic-ash blessed soil near this agricultural pueblo, located just 20 minutes or so, as the chicken bus flies, northwest of Antigua Guatemala. Answer was: !Por supuesto! Of course! More about the beans, considered the best in Guatemala by Antiguenos, in another post. We have them soaking as I write. Now, back to the avocados.
To those who go about life thinking all avocados are the same, you may as well stop reading now. To those of you who know and love this verdant fruit in all its varieties, the following is a discourse on the Parramos Guatemala avocado, in a compare-and-contrast offering.
First of all, their appearance is very different from the pear-shaped Hass variety well-known to North Americans. That’s true as well for most of the others found on trees and marketplaces everywhere in Guatemala. It’s skin is very thick and its shape is quite round and punctuated with an extremely devout stem, almost always still attached. And, they are sort of ugly, actually. Yes, they’re dark lawn green, but their hide is as bumpy and scarred as a weathered guitar case.
Second, the taste is like no other avocado. Their ripe interior has a slightly creamier appearance than others we’re familiar with. Now, here’s the trick to preparing and eating them. The darkest meat of the fruit is near the skin and this avocado almost has a watery membrane there. If you are making guacamole, for example, do not use the watery membrane part. It dilutes the taste of the rest of the fruit when mashed and mixed. If you don’t believe me, open one up and taste the more yellow fruit nearer the seed. It has a nutty and earthy flavor somewhat like the Hass type, but with a unique taste of its own. I was disappointed the first time I used them for guacamole and found the distinct taste didn’t register. Subsequent experiments have been more celebrated.
Normally, I would add a generous splash of lime juice to the mix, but took the advice of many Antiguenos and used the juice from the naranja agria. This is what we would call a Seville Orange. A somewhat bitter orange, it’s the kind used to make marmalades and such. The juice of the naranja agria mixes with the pulp of the avocado and caresses the ingredients together rather than jolting them with an acidic blast.
And finally, it’s really hard to beat the price. We’re used to paying more than $2 CDN each for avocados in Toronto supermarkets. We paid 1 quetzal each for these little prizes, about 12 cents. So for 48 cents, we had enough avocados to make guacamole for a four-person cocktail spree. That left us with more jingle in the pocket for premium tequila and margarita fixings. Can’t beat that with a stick!