Bundaberg Botanic Gardens
Peanut butter trees and miracle berries are just the beginning.
Bundaberg, on Australia’s Queensland coast, is perhaps best known for its eponymous rum distillery. But the city’s botanical gardens can help sate another part of the palate, with the fruits that grow there boasting an impressive and unusual range of flavors. Take a walk, get some fresh air, and pluck freely from the offerings all around. Nothing is off-limits.
A clear, albeit seasonal, highlight of the gardens’ offerings is the fabled peanut butter tree, or Bunchosia glandulifera. During the Australian winter (June–August), these trees produce reddish-orange fruit that tastes and smells like peanut butter, and even has a similar texture. The fruit, of course, bears no relationship to the actual contents of peanut butter, but Australians do use it as a jam for similar effect.
Other garden residents include the fruit of the rainforest plum tree, the prickly and citrusy soursop fruit, the bulburin nut, and the panama berry—whose taste has been likened to “fairy floss,” otherwise known as cotton candy. Even if you choose not to partake, these rare fruits can be rather impressive in purely aesthetic terms as well: Look out for the bulbous, pink New Guinea lau lau and shiny grumichama cherries.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try a little experiment. While “miracle fruit” berries (originally from West Africa) are not necessarily known for their own special flavor, they contain a protein known as miraculin that makes sour foods taste sweet. See for yourself: Take a few of them home, eat them, bite into a lemon or something equally acidic, and taste the science.
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