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Savor melons are small in size, averaging twelve centimeters in diameter, and are round to slightly ovate in shape. The rind can be smooth or lightly netted and is a dusty, grey-green with darker green sutures or furrowed lines extending the length of the fruit. Underneath the hard rind, the flesh is juicy, firm, and deep orange, encasing many cream-colored, oval seeds in the center. Savor melons are aromatic with a floral scent reminiscent of ambrosia, apricots, or passion fruit, and have a sweet and mildly fruity flavor.
Savor melons are available in the early summer through fall.
Savor melons, botanically classified as Cucumis melo, are hybrid fruits that mature in approximately seventy-eight days and are members of the Cucurbitaceae family. These small fruits are a variety of charentais, which are French melons known for their fine-grained flesh, fragrant aroma, and sweet flavor. Savor melons are a rare variety that is mainly localized to fresh markets throughout Europe and North Africa, favored for its high sugar content. This variety is not grown on a large, commercial scale but is a popular specialty fruit grown in home gardens.
Savor melons are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber and also contain some calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Savor melons are preferably consumed raw as their sweet flavor and smooth texture is showcased when eaten fresh, out-of-hand. The fruits are a favorite breakfast melon in Europe, commonly served with prosciutto, and they can also be sliced into salads and chilled soups. In addition to savory dishes, Savor melons can be blended into drinks, smoothies, and cocktails or served over ice cream. Savor melons pair well with herbs such as cilantro, tarragon, basil, and mint, fennel, ginger, almonds, hazelnuts, champagne, sake, white wine, and fruits such as blackberries, apricots, grapefruit, mangoes, strawberries, and kiwi. The melons will keep up to five days when stored whole in the refrigerator. When sliced, Savor melon pieces will keep 1-2 days when stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
In Cavaillon, France, charentais melons are highly revered for their sweet flesh and have been consumed in the town for over one hundred and fifty years. The melon has become so popular that there is even a nine-ton sculpture of the fruit in the city. Each July, Cavaillon hosts many fruit-centric celebrations including a melon festival that hosts live dance performances, music, fruit merchandise, farmers markets, and a parade to encourage tourism. The festival is run by the Conférie des Chevaliers de l’Ordre du Melon, which is a brotherhood that seeks to promote the fruit and has been run since 1987. The festival also plans excursions, introducing visitors to chocolatiers, chefs, and farmers, and educates the participant on how the melon is used in different ways other than fresh eating.
Savor melons are believed to be native to France and are a hybrid variety created from the charentais melon in the late 1900s. Today the melon is still grown on a small scale in France and is also grown in select regions of North Africa and the United States.