When Exactly: Monday Jan. 26 - 5:15 pm
Purchased From: Berkeley Bowl (Berkeley, CA)
Color: I don’t know, I’m colorblind.
Eaten How: Unadorned.
Its parts have nothing on the sum.
Trouble was upon me. I was in San Francisco all weekend long, leaving no time for a weekend trip to the greenmarket. I had been beaten down by disappointing storebrought fruit and was dreading buying another batch. But at the height of my despair, I received an excellent, edible gift. Big up to Berkeley produce enthusiast Jessie for providing me with a bunch of joyously unfamiliar apples this week.
A quick stop at a terrific apple almanac described the Sonya as a new cultivar, developed from the Gala and Red Delicious and known for its strong sweetness. I must say, such a description would not make me rush out and grab a Sonya off the shelf. I’m an unabashed Gala hater with a healthy distrust for the Red Delicious and I prefer nuance over sweetness. Fortunately for me, this particular apple was no ordinary Sonya.
A hearty aroma of tree sap wafted up from the apple’s surface, offering a fine introduction to bourbon-y flavors of bark and smoke. If anything, the sweetness was reigned in tightly in this fruit, which was doubly surprising given the high quantity of juice. The juices themselves did an uncanny impression of hard cider, leading me to suspect that this was not an apple, but a well-stocked bar. The dark, arresting flavors were set off by a bright, summery crunch that landed somewhere between a Honeycrisp and a Fuji. At the very last bite, a floral hint of banana was released, adding another pleasant tweak to an apple not known for personality. Pretty fascinating.
I hope to find some Sonyas back in my neck of the woods to perform some comparisons. Seems like this one was better than most. Without a doubt, it could kick the ass of either of its parents.