Melon du Haut-Poitou (Haut-Poitou melon)
Cultivation provides for carefully planned sowings and plantings. Melon harvesting begins the 1st of July and finishes on September 30th. During harvesting, the fruit is first selected. After that, melons are carried to the conditioning premises where they are further selected according to size. Fruits are packed in alveolar trays. Then, they are stored within 48 hours of the harvesting at a temperature of 9-13ºC. It is advisable to sell them within five days.
Appearance and Flavour
IGP Melon du Haut-Poitou is spherical in shape, with well defined segments. Its skin is warty and the surface is green. Its pulp is dark orange, juicy, tasty and sweet flavoured. It is rich in vitamins, fibre, water and mineral elements. It is also low in calories.
The production area of the IGP Melon du Haut-Poitou includes four departments: the north parth of the Vienne valley, north-east part of the Deux Sèvres, south of the Indre et Loire and the Maine et Loire, in the Poitou-Charentes, Centre and Pays de la Loire regions.
Melon was already known and highly appreciated in the Egyptian and Roman age. It was exported to France in 1495, after Charles VIII troops returned from the Italian wars. But it was in 1856 that, thanks to the intuition of a French gardener who tried sowing the melon in wide areas, melon production in Haut-Poitou started.
The IGP Melon du Haut-Poitou can be preserved for five to six days in the compartment with greater temperature of refrigerators. It has to be protected with aluminium foil in order to avoid that its strong scent is transmitted to other food in the fridge. Melon is a very tasty fruit that combines easily with other dishes, sweet or savoury. It is washed; its skin and internal seeds are removed and then cut in segments or in small balls with the corresponding tool. Melon can be consumed natural, with sugar, or salt and pepper together with slices of raw ham. It can be used for fruit salads or served with ice-cream or sweet types of wine like Port. It can also be used cooked, for fairly elaborated preparations, cut in subtle slices placed on an oval plate, seasoned with strawberry vinegar and ham.
The Haut Poitou region is characterised by land rich in clay and limestone, it is well ventilated and climate characterised by hot summers and mild winters, that allow producing firm, resistant and long-lasting melons. The IGP Melon du Haut-Poitou owes its reputation and fame to these characteristics which give to this fruit an important place in the inventory of French culinary heritage.