I found several fresh mamey fruits at a market on Mission Street this week! Mamey is a tree that grows in Southern Mexico and the Caribbean, and it is a popular ingredient for drinks called licuados, often drank for breakfast. As you can see from the photo, the name of the fruit is some times written as "Mamey Sapote", and the names are used interchangeably. To my understanding, the sapote (or zapote, as it is known in Mexico) is a different fruit altogether. Zapotes come in different hues and varieties (zapote negro, zapote blanco, chico zapote) and are round, as opposed to the elongated egg shape of the mamey. Mamey's flesh is always brick red, and it has a black shiny pit.
In Mexico, the word "mamey" is also slang for "sucker". Maybe it is the shape of this fruit that produces such picaresque associations, or the common conception that mamey is a powerful aprhodisiac. The taste of mamey is difficult to describe. The flavor resembles a combination of papaya, sweet potatoes and a hint of cocoa. To make a rich and creamy licuado de mamey you'll need to choose ripe fruits, similar in texture to ripe avocadoes. This vegan version makes two servings:
- One large, ripe mamey fruit
- Four cups of vanilla soy milk
- One cup of crushed ice
- Powdered cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg (optional)
Process all the ingredients in a blender. You may need to mix in small batches. Pour in a pitcher and chill for a few minutes. Serve in individual glasses and dust with cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg, or a combination of all. You can also add a sweetener of your choice, but I find the mamey is often sweet enough. Enjoy!