This year we celebrated my birthday at Bao Sheng’s Durian Farm for the third year in a row (here’s 2012 and 2013). Realizing that makes me feel kind of old. But apparently, getting older means you get to have better parties.
Bao Sheng Birthday
Fifteen durian revelers traveled from all over the world to join in a day of feasting on some of the best durian in the world. It was so much fun, a group of us decided to stay the week in the two small Bali-style huts set in the quiet of the durian forest. Except for the falling durians, which are loud.
Best. Birthday. Ever.
Scroll down for an eye feast of durian deliciousness.
I used to worry that one day I’d force open a pillowy, lightly wrinkled Red Prawn and not be overcome with excitement and the uncontrollable urge to take upteen million pictures. I mean, there’s got to be a limit on how many times a person can do the same thing.
It’s true that every so often, I don’t feel like getting on my computer and writing about durian. Or wading through those upteen photos I’ve gleefully snapped during the day’s smorgasbord.
But open a durian and not go crazy oohing and aahing amid rapid fire shutter clicks?
Just look at that unusual black spot. How could anyone resist?
This year the weather was dry. By the end of June, the grass had turned brown in places and the leaves of the trees were beginning to yellow. Even the waterfall where we usually cool off post-durian feast had dried into a pebbly sand pit.
Each durian type responded differently to the unusual weather. My favorite from last year, the supremely bitter Jackie Chan’s Wife, had turned sweet and bland this year. I would have been deeply disappointed but not for a few surprises.
I’ve spent the last few years turning down Hor Lor, one of Rob’s favorites. It’s a durian so thick, sticky and sweet it often reminds me of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
I hate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Milk chocolate and sweetened peanut butter are bad enough separate.
So I almost said a Big Fat No to Hor Lor this year, which would have been a mistake because it turned out to be one of my favorite durians. Something magical happened in the months of water shortage. Even stickier than I remembered, Hor Lor had become a golden, fleshy mass of chaotic wrinkles with a rich, dark chocolate bite. It was like eating chocolate bark embedded with almonds. Heavenly.
Just goes to show that we don’t always know ourselves as well as we think. Did the durian change, or did I?
But I’ve also started finding my confidence and my voice. You may have noticed this in how my writing style has changed in the last year or so. I finally feel like I know who I’m writing these blog posts for – I’m writing to you.
We’ve met you in person and been inspired by your passion for durian, or chatted with you on email or Facebook. Some of you are on your own durian adventures, or are experimenting with growing durians in unconventional places like Panama or the Reunion Islands somewhere near Africa. You inspire us.
It’s lovely to belong to a community of people who appreciate the slightly magical, addictive, delicious, and complicated nature of durian. Sharing with the right people is always what takes a durian from incredible to transcendental.
It was a blast to see everyone who made it to my party this year. Some I already knew, some I know now. I hope to see all of them next year.
And I hope to see you too. Durian Seng, the owner of Bao Sheng’s, had so much fun opening and eating durian with us he proposed an even bigger party for next year. He’s prepared to provide durian and accommodations for up to fifty people. That sounds like an amazing durian party!
So what do you say? Do you want to come?