When Exactly: Wednesday Jan. 28 - 5:45 pm
Purchased From: Berkeley Bowl (Berkeley, CA)
Color: I don’t know, I’m colorblind.
Eaten How: Unadorned.
Truth in advertising.
I find new cultivars fascinating. It’s strange to me that someone invented something that grows in the ground (even though this practice is thousands and thousands of years old). But it’s even stranger to be able to trace the fruit’s creation back to a certain individual, or stranger still, a certain company. With today’s modern agricultural technologies, it’s possible and sensical for horticulturists to track and assay a new apple’s development in minute detail, leading to descriptions that are amazingly accurate, such as this one from the Piñata’s official site (click on “the experience” button after the fancy splash). Check out how perfectly their note on appearance aligns with my apple photo. Such accuracy would be impossible with an older cultivar that has been altered through centuries of cultivation across different climates and growing conditions. Perhaps Piñatas will vary widely in texture and taste at some point, but this apple (along with my pre-blog experiences with the fruit) is an indicator that the apple’s creators have complete control of their product for now. A slightly scary thought, but fascinating.
The Stemilt site promised a “tropical twist,” a flavor profile that’s tough for an apple to pull off gracefully. I picked up a pre-bite aroma of dark plum and Banana Runt that had me worried about overripened Winter Banana flavors, which are surely tropical but unpleasant.
Unfortunately, the pre-bite aroma made good on its promise. The Runty aroma mingled with flavors of pink cotton candy, cherry Starburst and Robitussin. There was fake-tasting sugar all over the place, but thankfully, none of the flavors were too powerful on their own. As for texture, there was a light, loose crunch that I’d place a bit below a Fuji. It was somewhat Gala-like; not a favorable comparison in my book, but for texture alone, there are worse things out there.
There is a way to do tropical flavors justice in an apple. Indeed, a Winter Banana operating at peak performance levels can pull off nice dark-fruit flavors that evoke some tropical action. But this Piñata took it too far, imitating the flavors of tropical fruit candy instead of tropical fruit. It didn’t defy the description provided by its creators, but it defied me. IT DEFIED ME!!! AHHH!! Huh?