The best chickoos are grown in the coastal town of Dahanu
Recently I finished a book named Dahanu Road by Anosh Irani. The book magically reveals the history of relationship between the landowning Irani clan and once dweller of the forest and dispossessed Warlis.
As most people know the best chickoo in India grows in the coastal town of Dahanu, which is 85 kms from Mumbai. Ever since the thermal power plant came up in Dahanu in the late sixties chickoo yields have come down and is no more that sweet as it was before. In recent years sun-dried chickoo has become an industry here and is exported too.
Chickko was brought to India by the Portuguese in 1500s and since then Dahanu has grown chickoo, the orchards most of them owned by the Irani’s and few Muslims.
Writes Anosh about this fruit, “Sapota. Sapodilla. In other words, the chickoo. Brown in colour. It looked like a potato with a shape so round it reminded Zairos of a woman’s bottom. When he bit into it there was sweetness that made him want more before he has even finished eating what was in his mouth.
“The wily chickoo had travelled far and wide. Born in Mexico, it found its way to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh (it was a third world fruit), Venezuela, Thailand, Vietnam , Indonesia, Malaysia and even Brazil and the West Indies. This fruit liked ts sunshine and tanned women. It had no patience for snow.
“Apart from sapota and sapodilla, it had a bevy of names. In Sri Lanka it went by the name wata-mi: sawo in Indonesia, lamoot in Thailand, nispero in Venezuela, naseberry in the West Indies, sapoti in Brazil, and Zairo’s favourite, sugardilly, in the Bahamas.”