Natoora Guest Post: Melons of Mantova

When temperatures start to rise, few things are as satisfying and refreshing as a couple of slices of melon. A summer classic, to develop their true taste melons need to ripen under the hot sun. This is why you will never see us stocking them in any other season. Melon We source our melons exclusively from Zerbinati, a renowned grower of pumpkins, (winter) and melons (summer) based in Sermide, near Mantova, in northern Italy. The Zerbinati family are renowned not only for the superb quality of their produce, but also for the attention to detail that results in a truly remarkable level of consistency. Half of the melons are removed at an early stage to enable those left on the plant to receive enough nutrients and give them the space to grow to their optimum size, whilst developing their full flavour. They are then allowed to ripen naturally on the plant, without any forcing, extra-watering or intervention, resulting in the sweetest, most complex and most flavoursome melons we have ever tasted. Zerbinati seals each melon with a dot of red wax – a distinctive feature, but whose actual purpose is to prevent further ripening after harvesting thus preserving flavour and freshness Mantova Salad We source a variety called Sun Sweet, which is grown from the end of May to late September, and has a distinctive rough skin, a bright orange flesh and an intense sweetness. The most classic way to enjoy it is with cured hams such as prosciutto di Langhirano; however it is also great with smoked guanciale, or with the refined nutty flavour of culatello. Melons and Parma 2 Of course, it’s delicious In salads – and not just fruit salads. Melon combines well with salty cheeses such as feta or shaved ricotta salata, mixed crunchy cucumber, fresh onions and herbs. Melons and Parma It is also fantastic blended into a delicious lassi, in cocktails, turned into a fresh sorbet, or simply topped with some delicate honey and a scoop of yoghurt ice cream. Enjoy! Valeria from Natoora

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