yesterday was national apple day, which means we are now well into british apple season. there were many varieties at the marylebone farmers market, all glistening in the persistent and irritatingly chilly rain. and later, when i ducked into la fromagerie, i discovered box upon box of antique apples from brogdale, home of the national fruit collection. i may have bought too many apples.
the bramleys that no one here buys as an eating apple are firm and crunchy, very very tart—i like the slightly floral aroma of the rose-flushed ones that have been exposed to a lot of sun. very fresh, they are infinitely superior to granny smith. there was also a single box of blenheim orange, an old variety with a spectacularly rich, spicy, winey, high-acid flavour and crunchy-crisp bright white flesh. there is also more flavour variation through each individual fruit than i've noticed in any other apple. the crown gold is a type of jonagold (itself a cross of golden delicious and jonathan) on which the internet is mostly silent—the flavour is mild with moderate acidity but with a refreshing tinge of tannin not often found in the sweeter table apples and the texture is brilliant, lightly crisp and snappy. the grower claims that this is an apple with a long harvest period and which keeps well. one can hope but only time will tell. and i can report favourably about the flavour and texture of the new hybrid crimson crisp apple developed at purdue. not only is it a lurid and saturated crimson as advertised, its crispness is robust (unlike the friable crispness of a fuji or the noncommittal crispness of a red delicious) and the flavour intense and deep.
often what is called progress turns out to be merely a movement in some odd and ultimately fruitless direction; sometimes, it is an apple.