Over the last few days I’ve been mourning the end of the mango season. There are still a few green North Indian Chaunsa kicking about, but we’re at the fag end of the sweet Indian fruit season. But, my sadness turned to delight late this week with the discovery a melon that’s inspired poets.
The high mountain valleys of Kabul, Afghanistan, are home of the most marvelous melon I’ve ever tasted.
Slice open the netted yellow skin of the Garmla, or the Kabuli Melon, and you’ll reveal the sweet, succulent flesh of a melon that must have been made in heaven.
I never thought I would write about a melon so longingly and lovingly. A mango maybe. Melons though, for me, are usually simple thirst quenchers. They don’t set off taste sensations in my mouth that I struggle to control. This melon, the great Garmla, is in a different league. It’s elegant.
I needed to know more about this marvelous melon, but there’s nothing to be found anywhere. It’s as if it’s a big secret, only to be shared with a select few. Somehow, I was lucky enough to stumble across it.
After much searching I came across a website with a picture of a melon that resembled the one in my fridge. According to Fabrizio Foschini, author of Melons: Afghan riches at the surface level, my melon is indeed something special.
The Garmla inspired poets at the court of Mahmud of Ghazni, the ruler of the Ghaznavid Empire, around 1000 AD. I can understand why.
“It is of the colour of topaz, of musky odour, and in taste of the taste of honey; it has the hue of brocade, and it has fragrance as that of fresh aloe. When you cut it into slices, every one of them presents the appearance of the crescent: and if you do not cut it, in its entirety it is like the full moon.”, a poet at the court of Mahmud of Ghazni is said to have written.
The Garmla is not around in great numbers. Priced at around 120 INR a kilo and weighing it at anywhere between 3 – 5kg, it’s not going to be the cheapest fruit in your weekly food basket.
My lovely fruit and vegetable vendors, Gopi and Vicky, from Sai Fruits and Vegetables Shop, Khanna market, tell me that the Garmla will only be with us for a few more weeks.
So, if you want one to try one you better get down there quick.
The Garmla will soon be gone.