CLEMENTINE OUT, MANDARIN IN
when i went to my neighborhood produce vendor yesterday i was sad to be reminded that in italy the brief and tasty clementine season is over. one of my favorite things about christmas (besides the decorations, the cookies, the eating and being with family) is devouring clementines and then squirting the rind juice on candle flames. the reaction is a miniature version of firecrackers! anyways, clementines are tiny bundles of sweetness that leave their scent on your nails and hands for the entire day. but by end january the italian clementines are no longer to be found and the “mandarino tardivo”, the late blooming mandarin, takes its place. mandarins are yummy nonetheless but they have a completely different flavor. and, they have seeds! the mandarins i bought yesterday come from ciaculli, sicily and have a distinct and mature lime orange taste, not like the baby sweet clementines, but i probably shouldn’t be comparing apples and oranges...........so in need of a dose of clementines yesterday, i opted for the spanish import - which i must admit kept my taste buds happy!