Durio Macrantha - A Durian for Disbelievers

With Mom and Dad in town, we've spent a lot more time cuddling kangaroos and searching futilely for crocodiles in every river, creek, or small body of water than eating durian. But we had one more orchard visit scheduled - and a really special one at that.

On their last day here in Australia, the four of us drove to Alan Zappala's farm near Babinda for a taste of a durian species found almost nowhere else in the world - the legendary Durio macrantha.  I had a hunch this fruit might just convince my parents that the durian wasn't just actually worth eating, but something pretty darn special.

Feast of the Senses Fruit Festival | Innisfail, Australia

The Feast of the Senses is the biggest fruit shindig on the Cassowary Coast, a rainy region just south of Cairns that is a major player in the Australian tropical fruit world. The sleepy green hills hide hundreds of rare and exotic fruits tucked in and around rolling fields of sugar cane and banana farms. We had a good hunch that there would be durian.

Mom and Dad Take Their First Bite Of Durian

 As anyone who has been following our Facebook page has probably noticed, my Mom and Dad are in town. They flew all the way from I-Promise-You've-Never-Heard-Of-It, Oregon, to hang out with us in Australia for a couple weeks and get their first taste of durian. Really I think they just wanted to see wallabies and go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, but since they're hanging with us durian is just part of the packaged deal.

Rusty's Market | Cairns, Australia

Rusty's Market is the sprawling outdoor produce market in downtown Cairns. On weekends it hums like a hive of bees under under the high roof as people jostle through the narrow aisles, stepping on each others toes to pick through pile of mangoes or stop to grab a sample of dragonfruit. It's got all the charm and chaos of any wet market in Asia, but without the intensity of odors and possibility of stepping in something squishy. The strongest odor you'll whiff is probably some hippie B.O. and, here and there, the entrancing aromatic funk that announces a durian.

When Durian Isn't Vegan, and What Every Animal Loving Durian Freak Should Know

So I'm a vegan. I fully admit I care about animal rights and health food. If it's cold out, I wear socks with my sandals - I'm that kind of vegan. Does my gleeful obsession with durian make sense now? I care a lot about where my food comes from and how it was grown. A lot. And durian troubles me. I've now spent so much time in orchards all over the world that sometimes I wonder if even my beloved fruit isn't very vegan after all.

Recipe | Durian Fudge Balls Vegan-style

My facebook feed is full of durian. But lately, my belly is not. So when vegan chef Johnny Freesh's Durian Coconut Fudge popped up, I started drooling. It looked absolutely divine, but I'm a picky eater with multiple food sensitivities and the nuts didn't work for me. So I turned to friends for help designing a nut-free, vegan durian fudge. The result: raw-mazing.

*Please remember, all photos published on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Year of the Durian and Lindsay Gasik . If you want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!