Near the end of my stay in Chiang Mai, Thailand I bought package of strange dried fruit slices at a market. The woman said they could be used to make delicious herbal tea. They were called Bael, or Bengal Quince, and the package cost about a buck. While the supplies lasted, I got into the routine of staying up until 4 in the morning practicing guitar and working on the computer. I’d stay hydrated during this time with a cup or two of this brewed fruit mixed with honey. They were heavenly days.
After two years of intermittent searching, I finally found the fruit again. All manner of Asian and Indian markets in various cities were explored before eBay came to the rescue. From a seller in Thailand, I purchased what turned out to be the very same package of Bael from the very same city I had bought it before. The only difference is that this time it cost $3.25 with the added $9 of registered airmail. Not a cheap drink by any means, but oh so good.
There’s nothing else that smells like this. There’s nothing that tickles my palate and bowels with such delicate and earthy citrus flavor.
Drink well, my friends. For the season of Bael is upon us (me)!