No surprise to me!

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Earlier this week I bought some attractive new apples from the Waiheke Organic Food shop, and I discovered just how wonderful they were when I tasted them. Anyone who knows me or reads my blog on a regular basis will already understand how much I love good apples, and these are sensational. They look, I think, a bit like English Discovery apples because they have the same translucent skins, but the flesh doesn’t have the stain of pink that runs through Discoveries. (The skin also reminds me of the New Zealand Cox’s Orange Pippins that I used to eat when I was growing up; as I remember they also had pretty streaks of colour. You can almost never find Cox’s apples in New Zealand any more, I think they’re all exported. And anyway it’s way too early for them now.)

You can see for yourselves from the photo how lovely these new apples are to look at. What you can’t do, sadly – unless you’re here – is taste them. They have such a fresh and lively flavour, crisp and sharp and clean. To me, it’s the flavour of summer.

They are, I’m told in the shop, called Coromandel Surprise, and they come from the Coromandel Peninsula (which is just across the water from Waiheke). I’ve never heard of them and I tried to look up that name on the internet but I can’t find it there – there’s another NZ apple called Monty’s Surprise but that ripens at the end of the apple season, and this one’s an early developer. So maybe it’s a kind of sport – a one-off tree, or a small group of trees, that some organic grower on Coromandel has found and treasured.

It’s really no surprise that an apple from Coromandel is as delicious as this, because Coromandel itself is so beautiful. I’ve been back twice to the shop and bought almost all the stock, and I’m taking some to lunch with friends tomorrow. What a delight simple food pleasures can be.

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