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The Land of Peanut Butter Fruit and Butterscotch Avocados

Have frequent flier miles burning a hole in your pocket and need new ideas for where to go? Check out our weekly Have Miles Will Travel column to discover strange, wonderful and unique destinations around the world. 

So far in this series, we’ve featured marble caves, fluorescent tears, and onsens full of capybaras. This week, we’re shifting gears toward tastier wonders: the magical produce in Peru. What can be so exciting about fruits and vegetables? If you’ve been to the more fertile regions of the world, you know that even mangoes and bananas taste better there than they do in the grocery store. But this South American country is also home to some truly interesting fruits and vegetables like the Ice Cream Bean and Butterscotch Fruit. Here’s what you can sample after you’ve done Macchu Picchu and the Nazca Lines.

Image Source: Shutterstock/Ildi Papp

The Ice Cream Bean

This foot-long South American bean contains pulp that looks like cotton candy and tastes like ice cream. Simply open the pod and pop it in your mouth. They grow wild and well in Peru (and Ecuador and Colombia) which means you can find them all over. Many farmers plant them for timber or as shade trees.

Where can you find them? Many stores sell ice cream beans fresh off of the tree or mixed into ice cream, chocolate or coffee. If you want to eat one of these large beans (some of these pods grow as long as six feet) right off of the Inga trees they grow on, it pays to ask around (they’re also known as cuaniquil or guaba fruit) the Andes valley (near Cusco, for example) where they grow wild. You’re bound to be pointed in the direction of a location where they grow abundantly.

Image: Shutterstock/Ildi Papp

Butterscotch Avocadoes

Although whole lúcumas look just like avocadoes, they’re unrelated to the toast staple. Cut it open and you’ll reveal un avocado like fruit that is the color of butterscotch. It also tastes like butterscotch (or, more precisely, a mix of caramel butterscotch and sweet potato). It’s also locally heralded as a superfood. Look for it in health shops, cafes or restaurants. It’s most commonly found in stores as a natural powder or in lúcuma-flavored ice cream, milkshakes, juices, smoothies or in pastries.

Shutterstock/Jobz Fotografia

Peanut Butter Fruit

While butterscotch avocadoes taste closer to a mix of butterscotch and sweet potato, these grape-tomato sized fruits taste and smell exactly like peanut butter right out of the jar (with enough of a touch of berry flavor that you could call them Peanut Butter & Jelly fruit). They even have the texture of creamy peanut butter when they’re ripe. Speaking of “ripe,” peanut butter fruit is best when eaten straight off of the tree, so this is a fruit that you really should have in its home country. Peanut butter fruit trees grow in the summer and fall in Peru, so that’s the best time to have this snack. If you can’t get peanut butter fruit right off of the trees, you can also find this fruit flavoring local milkshakes, cakes, muffins, and jams.


Custard Apples

Custard apples, also known as cherimoya fruit, don’t exactly taste like custard. But, cut open these odd-looking “apples” and you will find a custard-like flesh inside that tastes like every tropical flavor combined. Most people taste banana, coconut, strawberry, and mango. Others get pineapple and papaya too. Most people agree that this is one of nature’s best creations, including Mark Twain who once called it “the most delicious fruit known to man.” It’s also one of the healthiest fruits in Peru and is chock full of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants.
Want to know more about Peru? Check out the FlyerTalk forum on this delightful South American country and find out important information like how early you need to check in at Lima airport,  how much you can expect to pay for a taxi in Cusco, or the best way to spend a six-hour layover.
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