One of the things I love about fall is the arrival of many seldom-seen varieties of apples and pears. Although our region is not necessarily known as an apple-growing region, Will and I want to plant a couple of apple trees but we have heard mixed reports on their viability in our area. My friend Carla of Austin Urban Gardens has found apples at local farmers’ markets but I believe they come from outside the area.
I often have a hard time talking Will into eating fruit. It was not until we spent two weeks in Brazil eating fresh fruit for breakfast every day that he started to change his tune. So, in the spirit of what CuisineXplorers is all about, I proposed a “fall apple tasting” so he could see the difference in texture and flavor on a variety of apples, thinking that his previous experiences with the often mealy, wax-coated Red Delicious ubiquitous in our area grocery stores may have contributed to his distaste for the fruit.
I picked three varieties at Central Market: Pink Pearl, Zestar, and Ribstom Pippin. Will’s contribution was Honey Crisp. I cut them in half to make slices for the tasting and was super surprised with the difference in their interior appearance:
I also picked a couple of cheeses, a five-year Unikaas Gouda and a fine Stilton from Tuxford & Tebutt, to enjoy alongside. Here are my notes from the tasting:
Pink Pearl: crisp, very tart, stunning bright pink color inside. salty Stilton balances the tartness. Outstanding and fun!
Zestar: incredibly floral, jasmine and honeysuckle; soft texture, sweet. Great with the Stilton!
Honey crisp: juicy, medium crisp, sweet-tart flavor, a match for the nutty Gouda.
Ribstom Pippin: mealiest, sweetest, very appley flavor. Would probably be best baked, or roasted whole for a side dish like mom makes. Best with the Gruyere.
I also had the chance to make a super quick trip to NYC last weekend, and as is my costume, I visited the Union Square Greenmarket first thing Saturday. I brought back some beautiful sheep’s cheese from 3-Corner Field Farm named Shushan Snow, a mini-loaf of Finnish Ruis bread, and some fresh apples. Empire, the State’s Apple, was developed at Cornell University in the 1940s. It is a sweet apple with a crisp texture and bright white flesh. I also got a Mutsu, aka Crispin, a relative of the Golden Delicious. It is considered a versatile dual-purpose apple, sharp but still pleasant to eat fresh and popular for baking both in pies and by themselves. These treats from the Northeast made for a fine fall supper on Saturday night. And I am happy to report that my Fall Apple tasting was a success in converting Will to an apple eater.