Piñata apples

Amy has been a confirmed apple-eater since joining Weight Watchers some years ago. Eating up to three apples daily — about 20 minutes before each meal — is one of the tricks that has helped her lose 120 pounds all told.

As a result of consuming apples so regularly, Amy has developed definite preferences regarding which apples are suitable for eating out of hand, or from baggies of neat wedges. She has shocked some people — well, really just Buzz Kilman — with her contempt for the classic Red Delicious apple, an outwardly attractive variety that’s mealy and poorly-flavored inside.

Amy has been branded an apple snob.

This is an epithet she wears as a badge of honor. She proudly seeks out Pink Lady™ apples at Woodman’s, pays extra for Honeycrisps when they’re in season, drives out to Brightonwoods Orchard frequently each fall — and tells people about all of it. She’s not afraid of the persecution that comes with such evangelism. Hell, I’ve seen her cheer for the Chicago White Sox at Milwaukee County Stadium.

Knowing all this, Mary emailed the other day with news of a new apple — the Piñata® apple — which she declared “the best apple” after discovering it at Jewel. Her only complaint was that “they are huge,” but she said that “otherwise it is the best apple.”

Mary is very innocent about it, but she clearly enjoys shaking things up.

Needless to say, finding Piñata apples instantly became Amy’s new mission in life, and it took her a little searching, but last night she came home with a bag from Sendik’s. Sendik’s has fantastic food, but it’s not exactly your go-to bargain grocer when you’re an income-challenged couple with a house payment to make.

Amy assured me that the Piñata apples were no more expensive than her usual Pink Lady type.

And so our 24-hour test period began. Amy brought some Piñatas to work, and I took the specimen photo above, then compared this new Piñata against the Pink Lady myself. I like apples fine, but I don’t eat them every day, so I tried to muster as much attention as I could.

The two varieties are quite similar. Both apples are what the press kit (PDF file) describes as “stripy red over an orange” (or even yellow) background — but where the Pink Lady is slightly oblong, more like a lemon, the Piñata is closer to the traditional apple shape. Both apples are nice and firm without being hard, and both have a mild but complex flavor.

My initial impression of the Piñata was that its texture is almost creamy. Its flesh is the color of vanilla ice cream, and even smoother than the Pink Lady. Its flavor is milder than the Pink Lady — it is slightly less tart, and slightly less sweet. The Pink Lady is just a bit jucier, just a bit stickier, and has a little extra zing.

Amy detected a hint of ginger in the Piñata, and in fact the press kit does mention a “unique tropical twist.” It also describes how this variety was developed in Dresden-
Pillnitz, Germany, as “Pinova” and “Sonata,” and eventually brought to eastern Washington state and renamed by Stemilt Growers of Wenatchee. They also say Piñatas are good apples for cooking, but we’ll investigate that some other afternoon.

Apparently these babies are shipped from mid-October to January, so I supposed we shouldn’t get too attached to them. Nevertheless, Amy agrees that she now has a Top Three of apples, in no special order: Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Piñata.

We will detail Amy’s biases regarding licorice, candy corn, and malted eggs at some future date.

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