France doesn't seem like a top spot for exotic fruits. At least, not to me. The fruit here is really good, but it's really good cherries, peaches, plums, pears ... the usual. And then the not-so-usual: la nèfle, or loquat.
Well, it's a distant relative of the apple, so maybe it's not sooooooo exotic after all.
It turns out that there are two nèflier du Japon, or "loquat trees" growing at the lab. (So, technically, the fruit is a nèfle du Japon and not just a nèfle, which is a "medlar", but people just call them nèfle.)
In late June, these beautiful fruit appeared on them.
A colleague was kind enough to tell us what they were and that we could eat them.
They were delicious. They're juicy and tangy and they remind both me and James of a kiwi in flavor.
The flesh is the same color as the peel and surrounds four or five pips that look like super-sized apple seeds. Although you can't see it in this picture, the seeds are a pretty sort of mottled, pearly dark brown color.
I can't wait until next spring so I can eat them again. I have to say that I think that there are probably better specimens than these loquats (not to be confused with what I had been told were loquats, but are actually the very delicious wampee) because the trees aren't really cared for, they just sort of grow in the lab parking lot. Also, we picked these in late June after the fruit had been there for a while. So if you've had loquats and they looked different, maybe that's why.
This was just the first of our 'wild'-found fruit of the season.