An island is an exotic paradise, full of colorful birds and outlandish, endemic plants and fruits. Among the fruits the locals cherish, we should count Madeira’s Cherimoyas. Let’s see what this is all about!
The Cherimoya – also called Anona by the locals and known colloquially as “custard apple” – is a sweet and healthy fruit. It grows especially in Northern Africa (and come to think of it, Madeira Island lies some 2000 km from Africa, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean). But back to the cherimoya: it is about the size of an apple, heart-shaped and very rich in C vitamin. The outside is green and hard, not edible. The inside in white and sweet, with a specific “tutti frutti” taste (imagine a combination of banana, papaya, mango and pineapple). Mark Twain actually dubbed it “the most delicious fruit known to man”.
The fruit is not only sweet, but also healthy. Apart from the large amount of C vitamin, it also contains A vitamin, potassium, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and iron. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants. Their effect is particularly beneficial for the nervous system, the muscular system, it reduces cholesterol, hypertension and cardiovascular problems and it controls the level of blood sugar. Nutritionists also recommend it in anemias and to fight stress.
Every March, Madeira celebrates this miraculous fruit – which is also part of the local agriculture – at the Festa da Anona, the Cherimoya Festival. It takes part mainly in Faial, Santana. This is a campy and merry party in the open air, where you get the chance to sample the sweet fruit, along with other local products, drink some Madeira wine and have fun listening to music and staying outdoors on the island.