Product of the month: litchi

Litchi – a symbol of love

What does the name litchi sound like for you? Slightly sticky and unappetising? Admittedly, the fruit look less than tempting once they’ve been peeled and canned: no stone, a jelly-like consistency and tooth-jarringly sweet. If you want experience the true magic of the litchi you need to eat them fresh and in their original state. This handy little fruit is roughly the size of a walnut and has a wonderful pinkish-red rind with funny little bumps which is very easy to remove – it’s a bit like peeling a hardboiled egg. Underneath the skin you’ll find a translucent sphere that shimmers like a juicy jewel. This little blob of tastiness has an appealing rose scent and a wonderfully sweet, refreshing flavour. The almond-sized stone at the centre is inedible.

In its native southern China, the litchi is revered as a symbol of love and joy. It was also considered so precious in ancient times that some rulers ordered their subjects to pay their taxes in litchis. Still feeling slightly ambivalent about the name? Then why not try pronouncing it the Chinese way: lee chee! There! That sounds more poetic and a lot more tempting, doesn’t it?