Quace was a vine that preferred hilly terrain with plenty of sunlight and water. It would grow to cover most horizontal surfaces that it could easily reach. The leaves were broad with irregularly serrated edges and sprouted in clusters that shaded the fruit.
The fruit of the quace started out as a bulb with a light pink hue riddled with veins of a light green color. As it matured, the fruit formed a squat melon around the central stem that was noticeably segmented[note 1] as it turned completely green with slightly darker green veins. Mature fruit ranged in diameter from the size of a large human's palm to head-sized, but rarely grew more than six inches (fifteen centimeters) tall.
In times of drought, the leaves curled inward and turned yellow while the fruit shrunk and turned brown or dark purple. But quace was a hardy plant and both leaves and fruit would quickly return to health if water again became available before the plant died.
Cutting the fruit open revealed a thick, waxy rind that was quite tough and inedible surrounding a soft, green flesh with the consistency of jelly. If crushed, a quace produced a good amount of syrup. Quace flesh could be eaten raw and was thirst-quenching, with a taste like sharp cheese with a sweet finish.
In addition to being eaten raw, the edible flesh could be fried (usually still attached to the rind, which was then discarded), or pickled to preserve it from spoiling. Quace absorbed the flavor of whatever oil and spices were used in frying. Pickled quace could be flavored in myriad ways, from sweet, to salty, to smoky, to savory.
In the hills around Delzimmer, quace was plentiful when in season and many poor folk and some children took handcarts and wheelbarrows outside the city and returned within an hour or two with a full load of fruit. A brace of sixteen quace was called a "qrey" and typically sold for a copper piece. Half that amount was known as a "qro".
Many people (about a third to a fourth of the adult population) in Delzimmer, particularly the elderly, had one or more secret recipes for cooking or pickling quace with unique flavors, from minty sweet to smoked eel and everything in between. They would prepare these and sell them out of a window in their dwelling or to street vendors to resell elsewhere.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 47–48. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Ed Greenwood (2002-04-17). Part #39: Delzemaeran Delicacies, Part 1. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2017-06-24.