Let me start by saying that le melon (pronounced meh-lon) is similar to cantaloupe. In France this fruit is smaller, more compact and concentrated version of cantaloupe. It juicy, sweet and very refreshing during the hot, humid, heavy heated days of French summer.
Melon is easy to serve: slice open, remove seeds, serve. But you can do more than serve it au naturel. While sweet and juicy, it can be accompanied with either sweet or savory additions. Here are a few most common ways to serve it in France. Mind you the French serve this fruit as a first course, not as an accompaniment to the main course like sometimes seen on the American dinner table.
Also, you don’t really see melon for breakfast (again very American). Sometimes you find some sliced up in a fruit salad for dessert, but honestly, I wouldn’t say that you’d find a lot of it in the fruit salad (probably that leftover slice or two that no one could manage at lunchtime. If you believe that even possible!)
Serving in an alcohol like Porto Wine, any sweet cooked wine is a common variant on this first course French dish. While red port is most common, I’ve also tried it with Pineau or cook white wine. Try as well with a sweet, white wine like Sauternes or Montbazillac if you can find any on hand.
Heavy, strong red wine is a new twist for serving this fruit with an alcohol. I sampled this version just recently with our English friends. A lovely, lighter version than with port. I suggest a strong and heady red like a Cabernet sauvignon.
Another serving option is to serve it with ham. Namely prosciutto, or thinly sliced European ham. Wrap around melon slice, skewer with toothpick and serve at dinner parties.
A final serving suggestion is with griotte cherries: cherries in kirsch or brandy. Nice combo.
Since cantaloupe is larger than melon, I’ve diced up my melon squares, tossed with liquor of choice and served in a large salad bowl.
Of course melon can be served other ways. This is just a starting point. To finish, I must say that everyone likes melon. No, I haven’t run a world-wide survey but I’ve been serving it for years; I’ve been eating it at dinner parties for years and never once have I heard anyone (any age) say, “Oh du melon.. bruek!” (Oh Gosh, melon…Yuck!)
No, the usual response is, ‘Yippy!’ (from kids) and adults, “Ah, I’ve been craving that! It’s so light a refreshing”.
Note, that melon is light in consistency and calories, carbs and calories. It’s a great food to eat that will make you smile without weighing you down.
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