This beautiful Chinese berry, lychee or litchi, is more often found in cocktails than in grocery stores in the Western world. Upon first glance it looks inedible, what with its seemingly tough, spiky red skin, but if curiosity wins you over, you’ll find that the skin is soft enough to puncture with your teeth (or the tip of a knife). As your pierce it juice may squirt out of it, so watch out! As you peel away the skin, you will find the underside of the skin is a bright rosy, fuchsia hue, and the litchi flesh is pearl white. The flavour is heavenly, can only be described as aromatic and floral or fragrant and perfume-like. The meat comes clean off of the pit with little trouble.
Historically, this berry was a favourite amongst Chinese Emperors and their concubines. Songs, poems and stories have been created about these wonderful little fruits. It is still exalted, although not on such a level as it was. Here in America, we can usually get lychee around late spring to mid summer, at a few grocery stores or markets. Unfortunately the season is over this year so you will all either have to try your luck at the nearest Asian market and hope for the best, or wait until next year. And when the season begins, they go fast, so make sure to get a few! I bought upwards of 10 lbs when they arrived.