Sunday, September 19, 2010

Apple Tasting

Here's a re-post of last year's Apple Tasting for those of you joining the party a little late! There's not much time left for apple picking this year, so check out what apples WE loved best and then taste-test your own!


If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what would twelve apples do?

We were about to find out at our seventh Food Tasting Party because we found ourselves 12 different kinds of apples and we bought them all to taste test! BUT, before we started tasting individual apples, we decided we should most definitely have dessert first. Can you think of a better way to start a party than sitting down to a beautiful, luscious, mouth-watering dessert? No? Well then, we're sorry you missed this party!

Check out the fabulously warm cinnamon bread topped with apple ice cream, buttery caramel sauce, and Honeycrisp Apple bites that was served as an introduction AND tribute to the all-time favorite fruit - the Apple.

In case you're was DEE. VINE!

And the recipe will come in time - after we do a little creative tweaking.....

So! As the ladies licked their plates clean and poured themselves a fresh glass of white wine, we started cutting into Apple number one - the Golden Delicious. As the Big D. was passed around, many were surprised by the great flavor of this yellow delight, because many of us had childhood memories of it being a little on the mushy side with a much milder flavor. We were pleasantly surprised by the first apple of the day, so we were off to a great start!

But then there was the Ginger Gold apple and he didn't really impress anyone, so we won't even waste time talking about him - too many apples, too little time, so we're moving on....

What's the phrase, "Beauty that's only skin deep."? Sadly, that would apply to our most widely grown apple in the world, the Red Delicious - no genetic relation to the Golden Delicious by the way. Miss Red Delicious was hands down, the prettiest of all the apples at the party, with her shiny, crimson exterior, but it only took one bite of this beauty queen to realize that she's just another pretty apple - not sweet, not juicy, not tart, not refreshing - just blah. Sadly, just as we all remembered her to be.

But then, there was the McIntosh Apple. I can personally say that the moment this apple touched my lips, memories of growing up amidst a small apple orchard and our family making gallons and gallons and gallons of apple cider came rushing back. It tasted just like cider. It had a refreshingly tart tint to it, which we all enjoyed as it brought a nostalgic smile to our faces, but in the end, it's tartness was too much punch to make the coveted top three.

The Red Cortland, a relative of the McIntosh, was a pleasant apple also, but once again, it's flavor was not enticing enough to sneak into the top three.

A relative of the Red Delicious, but oh so more pleasing to the palate was the Fuji, which was discovered in Japan in the 1930's. Fuji is always a good idea for your one-apple-a-day and we all enjoyed the flavor from Japan, but only Carrie actually gave it top three honors.

And then there's the most seemingly popular apple, the Gala, which when quizzed, nearly everyone admitted that Gala was the one apple they purchased most on a week to week basis. This hybrid of the Golden D. developed in New Zealand in the 1930's is simply a great apple. Unfortunately, the one we were serving at this party was a little soft and mealy, which is completely uncharacteristic of the Gala, so even though this single apple failed to shine at this particular moment, we all agreed that in our hearts, we knew that as a 'breed' of apple, the Gala was still one of the best.

But then, for the surprise sleeper of the party, an American apple developed in the 1940's - a cross between the Golden D. and Jonathan apple - came the Jonagold. This apple surprised everyone and the consensus was, "Now, that tastes like an apple." and Patty said she could actually taste the Waldorf Salad with each bite she took. This might be the apple you've been overlooking for all these years that's just begging for a taste test. Being that it made the top three of the majority of our apple eaters, we think it's worth a taste.

The baby of the group, the Honeycrisp apple took top three honors for nearly all of us. It was only just introduced in the 90's, but has become wildly popular in that short time simply because it is a fabulous apple. It's crisp, firm, sweet, clean, little tart, and it's most widely known for it's pear-drop flavor. This is a real winner of an apple!

The Braeburn out of New Zealand had a nice solid flavor, but I do believe it struggled to follow in Mr. Honeycrisp's footsteps. Karen, however, found the mild nature of the Braeburn to be more appealing than the ever-popular Honeycrisp. In fact, she awarded the Braeburn top three honors and snubbed the Honeycrisp altogether. Karen also found a new favorite apple of the day for herself in the Golden Delicious. It really impressed her - so much so that she placed it in her top three beside the Braeburn and Pink Lady, which we'll introduce shortly.

And who can forget the apple discovered by chance in the middle of Australia in the mid 19th century by a Grandma named Marie Smith? That's right, we're talking about the tart and sassy Granny Smith Apple. Only Jen and I chose this apple to be part of our top three, but in our hearts, it's a winner all the way. I think when it comes to the Granny, you either love her or you don't.

Speaking of Granny Smith, there is no apple better suited to be draped in caramel for the beloved sweet delight of a Caramel Apple than the Granny. We proved this theory by taste testing it. We melted some caramel with a sprinkle of cinnamon and covered two different apples with it. We then dipped the caramel apple in melted Callebaut white chocolate and sprinkled it with toasted chopped pecans. One apple used was the Granny, seen below, and the other was the hugely popular Honeycrisp apple.

Hands down, without a doubt, and no question about it, the Granny Smith apple stole the show. The tartness of Miss Smith paired with the melt-in-your-mouth caramel and the creamy rich high quality white chocolate was a home-run. The mildness of the Honeycrisp got lost in the caramel, but more tragic than that, the rich caramel flavor was muted by the lack of contrast.

Lesson learned? Granny Smith apples are the only apple that should be wearing caramel. It is what they were born to do!

And let's not forget the Pink Lady apple that's tangy and sweet, very refreshing, and a little crunchy too. She is the proud daughter of the Golden D. and Lady Williams and she took top honors amongst half of the apple eaters.

Since we are a cheese loving group, we also served three new cheeses to munch on between our apple bites. We found these three new cheesy finds at Whole Foods and they were as follows: Manchego, a very popular sheep's cheese in Spain, that mimicked a perfect Parmesan, but left a most desirable aftertaste of creamed butter....yum! Amadeus, an Austrian cheese, whose texture is similar to Havarti and it's taste is similar to Gouda. And "Yes" this cheese was named after the one and only Wolgang Amadeus Mozart. And last but not least, we chose a New Zealand Cheddar for it's piquant flavors and hint of cream. Yes, they were loved by all of us, and No, there wasn't a single crumb left on the plate....

Wine has been making an appearance at our last few parties, and this one was no different. The wonderful cheese lady at Whole Foods helped choose the perfect white wines to compliment our apples and cheese. They were Yard Dog, a wonderful wine out of Australia and

Gazela, a simple, delicate, but crisp white sipping porch wine. Check them out.

What's next?


That's right! Teri is very excited to introduce us to the wonderful and diverse world of squash, and as Carrie so eloquently put it, "We're going to go with Open Mouths and Open Minds!"

So, until then...taste-test some apples of your own and discover some new favorites, because after all, variety IS the spice of life!


Post a Comment