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I’m in love with the tree tomato.  Really in love with it. It was my first greeting from Ecuador, as it was the first thing I tasted that was new to me. It told me that I had arrived in a foreign country.

We were at breakfast at the Turi Quindi Guest House in the Los Chillos Valley, just southeast of Quito and about 40 minutes from the new Quito Airport. Since we had to go back to the airport in the morning to catch our flight to Coca (see earlier post about our travel to Sacha Lodge), it didn’t make sense to make the long and arduous journey into Quito. The new airport had only been open a month, but there are no hotels nearby nor is the new main highway to the airport anywhere near completion.

Needless to say, not just visitors, but Ecuadorians are also peeved about it.

Yet, I’m not sure I would have gotten a lovely breakfast like I did at the the Turi Quindi Guest house had we gone into Quito. This family-run guest house has beautiful grounds and a wonderful breakfast. The grandmother makes breakfast and serves your eggs any way you’d like. I didn’t know Spanish for “scrambled,” but a simple wacky hand gesture of crazy whipping in circles got the point across.

But it was the juice that caught my attention. Steve and I couldn’t figure out what it was. We were guessing and then popped in one of the sons, Jose Andres, who pointed out that it was tree tomato, or Tamarillo.

It was like a tomato juice but sweeter.

Juan-Andres holds up a tree tomato, also known as a Tamarillo

Jose-Andres holds up a tree tomato, also known as a Tamarillo

Tree Tomato Juice

Tree Tomato Juice

Later on during our trip, I would have tree tomato juice again (at Sacha Lodge), have it as a dessert (Tandayapa Lodge) where the cook had baked it in cinnamon and some sugary syrup (sigh), and as a salsa on top of baked chicken at a hotel in Quito.

Oh tree tomato, I love you.

And I miss you terribly.

Tree Tomatoes at Otavalo Market

Tree Tomatoes at Otavalo Market