Charantais are delicious orange-fleshed melons and are a great favourite in France. The skin is usually noticably ribbed, but there are smoother variants of the fruit. The Charantais is often regarded as the connoisseurs melon due to it’s depth of flavour, sweetness and aroma. There is nothing quite like a good Charantais for flavour, but they are not the easiest melons to produce, so tend to have limited distribution and can be more expensive than other types. For growers, in comparison with the more common melons, yield per hectare is lower, it is more difficult to acheive the correct internal quality, the fruit is more delicate to handle and
shelf-life is less. In this case, you do have to pay more for better flavour, and it is justified!
Ripeness: A good Charantais melon always has a distinct aroma, which, if absent, is an indication of immaturity. The fruit is a little softer than more common melons, but avoid fruit that is clearly softening, especially if there are signs of brown lesions on the skin.
Names: Cucumis melo â€˜Charentaisâ€™; Charantais; French Canteloupe.
Origin: Charentais are a cantaloupe-type melon. They originated in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France.
Grown in: Due to the short shelf-life of Charantais, production for the UK needs to be relatively nearby. The fruit for the UK market comes mainly from Senegal, Morocco, Spain, Italy and France. However, attempts to extend the marketing season for the melon have lead to production in Senegal and Costa Rica with some success.
Harvest & Availability:
- April: Costa Rica
- May: Senegal
- June: Spain, Morocco
- July: Spain, France, Italy
- August: Spain, France, Italy
- September: France, Italy, Spain and UK