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The mapo: an Italian fruit

October 6, 2010

This week at the supermarket, while I was wandering in the fruit section, I found the mapo on discount for .59 euro per kilo. They looked like mandarin oranges that were still green, and I figured it wouldn’t break my bank if I bought a kilo to see if they tasted like limes, as the flesh was hinting.

After a little googling on the mapo online (and translating several pages from Italian), I found that it is a citrus fruit that is a cross between the mandarin orange and the grapefruit. The Italians use it to make a sweet liqueur called mapo mapo. So I was having high expectations of this fruit to taste like a sweet clementine like the ones we have at Chinese parties.

I really missed these fruits that we could buy really cheaply at Costco, so seizing my chance, I ripped open the netted bag and helped myself to a mapo. Peeling it like a Mandarin orange, I was quickly hit with the smell of a leather shoe store. By the time I was finished, the scent of shoe store was all over my fingers, and would linger until I waited several hours after washing my hands.

The smell of the fruit itself was not indicative of the taste (thank God!). It tasted like a yuzu fruit, except perhaps more sour. For those who have never had a yuzu fruit, think of a clementine, minus the extreme sweetness, plus a hint of sour. The taste of the fruit is much duller in the yuzu, and most definitely in the mapo. As one who liked to suck on lemons and Vitamin C tablets as a kid, I really liked this fruit, which is perfect since I will need an overload of Vitamin C this week as I am recovering from Oktoberfest.


Dai Dai


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  1. Helen permalink

    I’ve had this in Italy and love it! Can I purchase it here in Canada(Ontario) and where?

    • I’m not sure if it can be purchased in Canada since I don’t regularly visit. Haven’t seen it at all in the US, even at all kinds of ethnic stores, so not sure if it’s available in North America, period.

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