25 August 2009


Weekword this week was my choice - 'AROMA'.

Well, I knew it would probably be a difficult one, for if you've never smelt this particular aroma, you simply just can't do it justice digitally. So, what is aroma anyway? Generally considered a pleasant smell - right? Well, I've chosen to illustrate something which some consider pleasant but others consider downright revolting! If you've never had the opportunity to come close enough to one of these then you'll have to take my word for it for the time being!

Now, breathe normally, but a word of CAUTION - you should be aware that what wafts by now may not be to your liking!

Pictured here is - the DURIAN - the King of Fruits -

and its AROMA is S T R O N G !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even with its thick, spiky suit of armour you can smell this fruit from afar!

Some people simply adore it and look forward to 'the season', relishing every whiff and taste they can manage! Others have described it as being akin to over ripe cheese or smelly socks and many more would say it is distinctly disgusting, unpleasant, unbearable, pungent, putrid and it has even been likened to the smell of a civet cat .... I think you may get the gist!
Love it or loathe it, one thing is for sure - its smell lingers and because so many people object to it, the fruit is banned by law in public transport, hotels and public places in many south east asian cities!

My first experience of Durian was in Singapore some 20 years ago and whilst I understand that some people (strangely, in my opinion) can't get enough of this aroma, I'm not one of them, have never forgotten it and recognise it as something one should give a wide berth too! In the '80s, before 4 lane highways were commonplace in Malaysia, we ended a lovely trip to Malacca on a sour note by having to drive the long single carriageway (with no possibility of overtaking) back to Singapore behind a truck full of the offending fruits.

Free Emoticons

If you can get past the smell, however, then you may well become a fan of the fruit and wax lyrical about its rich creamy flavour! You could head straight for a large bite of the fresh-peeled fruit, but best perhaps to begin with something milder where the odour is less conspicuous. Durian is frequently used in cookery and transformed into all kinds of sweet treats.

In Singapore recently we stayed in the Goodwood Park Hotel, famed for its high teas and, when in season, tantalizing Durian confections. We indulged in a little Durian tartlet topped with hazelnuts and drizzled with chocolate. Looks delicious, wouldn't you agree? The aroma was unusual - really fragrant and mingled with other ingredients - exotic! So washed down with a cup of green tea it tasted pretty good. It passed the test, we awarded it 7 out of 10, but, it was really creamy and way too rich for my liking, so one was enough and I'm not sure that I'd want another, thanks!

Then, this weekend, having had the sugared taster, we really took the bull by the horns and bought some virgin peeled fruit.

Sheesh, the smell (note I use the word smell, not aroma!) in the supermarket was enough to turn your stomach Free Emoticons, but having got it home, unwrapped it at arms' length and photographed it for the album (outside - no way it was allowed in the house!), we set about tasting.....

Hmmm, well, let's just say that we won't be rushing out to buy it again. You definitely have to get over that pungent smell. So, place peg on nose and pop slice in mouth .. grimace.. First impression? Sweet, but strange - tastes a bit like it smells, so starting to feel a little uncomfortable about eating this! Then, yes, it does taste quite creamy; perhaps a little fibrous there, but a generally smooth texture. Oh, all of a sudden it's becoming rather cloying. Chew briefly, swallow quickly, grimace again. Hmm, I'm not convinced, are you? Nope, don't think I really like it at all, actually .. what do you reckon then? Head shake.. an emphatic No! Sorry, but Durian has been voted out with a resounding YUK.

We'll never be Durian Devotees and just for the record - in my humble opinion it does not have AROMA - it STINKS!!

Photo - Bangkok post

P.S. I just read that in a small village in Northern Thailand farmers are now cultivating Durians with no smell! Could this be the way forward to attracting more fans?

To see more WEEKWORD entries please visit Linda Sue,
Yoon See, Nicky, Remistuff, Anairam, Veja cecilia, Alexandra Hedberg, Sandra Dieckmann, Theresa, Aimee, Fruenswerk, L'Atelier, Asphalt and Air

I've asked Linda Sue to pick the weekword next - visit her blog All I ever wanted
to get the next word on Monday.


  1. I just don't think I'd even bother trying to like something that smelled that bad. Not when there are peaches around:)

  2. Durian was one of the featured fruits on the travel channel- said to be like stinky socks and overcooked onions...eeuuuwww there is probably a reason for it to be so repugnant- it is probably not good for you...unlike brocholli, which smells like giant poop air but the health benefits are tremendous...or so it is said. I like to eat chocolate cake and I am sure that it is beneficial- antioxidants AND the most important benefit- a reason to live!

  3. Ah, yes I know of durians. During the 90's I did a lot of travelling in Malaysia and Indonesia (- and a little in Thailand). I enjoyed the fruit - I think it's that kind of taste that will grow on you - even if I didn't like the smell very much!

    tomorrow you'll can my interpretaion of aroma

  4. am i reading a feature column in gourmet magazine? i must be, because the fragrance of the writing is so pungent i am craving for more.

    caroline, i not only learned from reading this, i was delighted by your take on the whole taste-ful matter.

    you are one fine neighbor, neighbor.


  5. I have never seen or heard of this fruit! Awesome post.

  6. what an interesting post this is, wow, you wouldn't get me going aywhere near that ...yuk...

  7. I've seen this fruit on a television show, can't remember which one though... probably on the travel channel. Very interesting!

  8. Wow you are one interesting lady!!
    I love to visit your blog!

  9. Wow! Thanks for sharing Caroline, i just love durian....He..He..My favourite but I can't take it now due to my skin problem....
    Just too bad!Wow!
    So much good sharing of Durian, I just can't resist anymore, the durian season is still on......
    I love the last image, the "heart" durian.
    It means i love durian!

    Thanks and I have a great time meeting with you in person Caroline, will be looking forward to see you again.
    I will put up my weekword shortly!

  10. This is really interesting Caroline as I've never even heard of the fruit. Worryingly I like the smell of cow manure and broccoli so maybe I would like it -not sure about old socks though!

  11. Oh Yeah, I was introduced to Durian when I visited a green market in Hollywood Florida. (every Sunday) People were waiting in line to get a smoothy from this stuff. I got a sample and didn't think the taste would ever leave my mouth.

  12. yeah i've seen this fruit before, very strong aroma... never tasted it though :)

  13. Isn't nature amazing? A beautiful armored fruit that smells like stinky socks! I think I'd rather look at it thank you very much. Your post was entertaining and enlightening as usual. Thank You Caroline!

  14. Caroline of the durian...Sure i could do week word next, is there any trick to it other than the obvious?

  15. Wow - I think I'll give that fruit a miss! In the first picture they looked quite like unripe lychees - but in the last pic one gets a better idea of the size - they actually look quite prettily heart-shaped!

  16. such a rich story about one single smell!
    such a pleasure to read.
    although i haven't tasted this fruit, you have now awakened my curiousity and i'll have to taste/smell it one day!

  17. when i lived abroad in asia - there were many a hotel where it was not allowed, absolutely forbidden, to go the market and bring one of those babies back in to eat in the comfort of your room
    the aroma would linger
    the next guests would think the cat had the party in the room
    and not just you and some spiky fruit

  18. oh I love this ...sounds fun!! how can I get involved in weekword ? I would love to submit for it :D

  19. i have opened an etsy shop, had to come and tell you.... eeeek.

  20. Ohh...fun great reading...:)))

  21. great aromatour of asia! thank you!

  22. Hi Caroline
    I see you do with other people a weekword with an illustration or photo or whatever.
    I would like to join, is this possible?
    I enjoy watching your blog!



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