Coconut Sport or Macapuno
Coconut sport (known as macapuno in the Philippines where it is primarily produced) is the fruit of a very special, unique and rare variety of naturally occurring coconut tree that in physical appearance looks exactly like any other common tree but the different is in the contents of the fruit. The soft white gelatinous meat has a nutty taste that is usually devoid of any coconut is cooked in a sugar syrup.
Due to its rarity, with only a few trees out of thousands turning out to yield coconut sport, its price is several times more expensive than the regular fruit. However, its uses are much more specific in dessert and candy production. The novelty and rarity of coconut sport has led it to be marketed as a niche product partly to justify its higher price. A few companies are also endeavoring to grow seedlings and trees to yield this fruit so as to increase guaranteed production.
Finding pure macapuno even in the Philippines is a challenge in the midst of many manufacturers who unscrupulously sell products and claim that their products ranging from bottled stringed macapuno, candies, ice cream and pastries are pure without extenders. Though the final quality of the sweetened gelatinous delicacy may be somewhat similar even if macapuno is mixed with much cheaper coconut meat, the macapuno purist can surely make the distinction. The texture of pure macapuno is firm but not hard with a distinct nutty taste. Adding regular coconut meat either makes the product too firm or too soft depending on what was used to extend it.
Health wise, coconut sport has similar nutrients as mature coconut meat. However, its consumption is primarily for its unique flavor and texture. Its processing in a sweet syrup makes it a high-glycemic and high calorie food which diabetics and dieters may want to refrain from. However, the sweetness and creaminess also make its consumptions somewhat self regulating, a couple tablespoonfuls topped on slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream goes a long way. Healthier versions include using brown sugar or cocosugar which lowers the glycemic index though it colors the final product a bit on the brown side as compared to the white color of regular sweetened variety.