In all the years of living in the Fez Medina, we've never known the proper name of the exquisitely-hued fruit that makes its appearance at this time of year. Now we've found out.
Known in Moroccan Arabic as sheshnou, the arbutus (Arbutus unede) is sold at medina stalls during November. Locals say it wards off the cold, which is just about right for this time of year. It's a mountain fruit and doesn't keep, which is why you'd never see it in a supermarket, and the season is short. There's not much you can do with it except eat it fresh, and whole, despite its prickly skin. The colour is stunning. It's sold in paper cones and punnets - a cone costs Dh3.
Pliny didn't think much of it, but Ovid liked its 'blushing fruit'. In Spain and Corsica, a wine is made from the fruit. Beware - some people think the fruit is narcotic in large quantities!