The zapote costeño, known in English as the mamey sapote, is a football-shaped fruit native to Southern Mexico. Similar in size to a mango, the zapote costeño is covered in a sandpaper-like skin and bears a stringy orange flesh.
As Seth and I were walking home from our local bakery, we first spotted a half-eaten, discarded specimen of the fruit on the side of the street. A delicacy we had not yet tried! we thought, and off to the store we went. Sure enough, our local Olympica was aggressively advertising the seasonal availability of the fruit, and we were easily able to find one. Unfortunately, we just so happened to pick a bad example. Our zapote costeño‘s flesh was greenish-white upon purchase and never matured to the expected shade of pink.
On our weekend trip to 7 de Agosto, Seth and I purchased a different variety of the fruit—a rounder, acorn shaped variety. The vendor popped off the zapote’s “hat” on the spot, revealing to us that it was indeed ripe. This afternoon, we peeled it open with our hands and immediately got a whiff of sugar and winter squash. Upon further digging, we noticed that the fruit’s structure was quite similar to that of a mangostino, only in reverse. (Whereas the mangostino bears a beautiful, yet disappointedly inedible purple flesh and juicy white pods, the zapote contains soft, edible orange flesh and uneatable pods.) It tasted like a cross between an annona squamosa and a mango—a little bit grainy and a little bit sweet. Delicious, yes; but at COP$1,000 pesos apiece, I don’t imagine we will be purchasing one too often.