If you’ve been following my posts, or if you’ve been introduced to me even at a very superficial level, you most certainly know of my flavor fascination with apples. They are truly my favorite. The crunch, the crisp, the moisture, the sweet tang.
Those characteristics are part of what makes apples so amazing – other than the well known fact that just one a day will inevitably keep the doctor away!
Honestly, though, the superb flavor and texture of thousands of varieties of apples are ever appealing…with the exception of a few derelict medleys.
The mealy texture of a Red Delicious apple will never ever call to anyone in the night. There are a surprising number of folks who dispel the tart flavor of the Granny Smith. I really do not care for the overzealous and candy sweetness of the Fuji, nor am I drawn to the excessive nectary creaminess of the Golden Delicious.
In fact, I make an effort to avoid both the Fuji and the Golden Delicious varieties. Never to they cross my lips nor do they make their way into my basket…until today…almost.
The Golden Delicious is a close relative to the lesser known Opal Apple. Actually, the Opal is almost like an offspring to the Golden daddy. That said, I am fully confident in my nose for the apple AND in my taste – very clear on the fact that I am not a fan of this ilk of the fruit. The pressure was on today, though. The pressure to taste, to adore, to devour with love the Opal Apple – the pressure to submit to the oh so overused adage, “It will change your life.” The pressure became so intense, a fresh slice of the variety was forced into my fingers – and then past my lips! The result…a glorified Golden – “grand-daddy” – we’ll at least give it that much credit.
I do love apples, but I also KNOW my apples and I know what’s best!
In researching the Opal (all apples deserve the courtesy of a bit of historical examination), I came across this lovely and quite entertaining article. I so admire the author’s creativity in prose, his descriptive tone, and, most importantly, his clear characterization of the Honeycrisp. I have a relationship with the Honeycrisp, different from any other. It’s not my favorite flavor, by any means, but the sentimental value of this specimen makes me smile from the tips of my toes to the crown of my head and from the inside out.
“Over the past 15 years, we have all watched the University of Minnesota-developed Honeycrisp apple go from a great apple with very limited supply to an unbelievable phenomenon that has changed the apple industry forever.
When you bite into a Honeycrisp, it slaps you across the face. It is an instant rush of flavor that is almost unnatural. Stingingly sweet like a piece of hard candy, this has been my favorite apple for years and it is probably the same for many of you. I was almost to the point where I didn’t think it was possible to create a better apple. Or is it?
Two years ago Lunds and Byerly’s introduced a new apple to the Twin Cities that has made me rethink apple flavor entirely. The Opal apple is a newer variety discovered in Europe in 1999 as a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Topaz. With firm flesh and a bright yellow color with a hint of orange, the Opal is resistant to oxidation and has limited bruising. That means they are less likely to turn brown when sliced and when you buy a big bag full, they can withstand a few bumps in the fruit drawer.
Is it sweet? Yes. Is it tart? Slightly. But these attributes are different from the sweet and tart we are used to. Instead of trying to out- sweet or out-tart the Honeycrisp, the Opal gives your taste buds a little more respect.
At first bite, the crunchy flesh yields a sweetness that is warm and almost buttery. Instead of the Honeycrisp “slap in the face,” the Opal has open arms, inviting you back for bite after bite. It finishes with a slightly tart tang that leaves your palate clean and refreshed.
I am not highlighting these differences to suggest that the Honeycrisp flavor profile is undesirable; there are certain times when we crave that big bold flavor. My point is the Opal offers something that we don’t necessarily get from the Honeycrisp. It offers subtlety and flavor nuance that have put this new apple near the top of my list.”
My Honeycrip – my smile.