To celebrate the introduction of Apples and pears this season I was invited to an evening party hosted by Adventures in Fruit.
The event was held, coincidentally, at the Apples and Pears bar in E1, London. On arrival I was greeted with complimentary cocktails and drinks (absolutely gorgeous if not a tad strong!) and many welcoming faces.
Attending the event were journalists, nutritionists, growers, authors, bloggers, chefs and many other wonderful beings that I was so lucky to have made acquaintances with! (As well as some apple bobbing!) The guest speaker was Andrew Webb, award-winning food journalist and writer who has appeared on several radio stations and TV channels. In addition to Andrew, we were entertained by the lovely Susie Woodbridge, a singer and songwriter from London.
Apples and pears are the most versatile of ingredients that can be used in almost any dish, sweet or savoury, hot or cold! (I will be posting recipe ideas soon) I realised that we almost take these fruits for granted, when we should be celebrating their uses! Andrew spoke about the quality of British apples – the lack of extreme temperatures and adequate rainfall actually allows our apples & pears to develop their full flavour potential through slow growth. The innovation of fruit is phenomal. I never knew there were so many varieties! Although we still keep our traditional favourites, Granny Smith, Braeburn etc there are new and exciting ones starting to make an entrance. We were introduced to seven different varieties:
The ‘Papple’ (My absolute favourite!) Extremely juicy hybrid fruit that will launch in M&S next week! – Imagine biting into a watermelon but the skin is like a pear, yet crunches like an apple..such wizardry!
Piqua Reo – open textured, juicy and no need to ripen! This was developed by a New Zealand company that supplies M&S. “Very much a new fruit” Andrew explains. With a shelf life up to 6 months! (My second favourite)
Amelia Apple – A distinct yellow colour, citrus flavour with a mighty crunch. Though there is a beautiful yet upsetting story behind this apple. Named after Amelia Bassat, a young girl who sadly lost her battle with cancer at age 11. She was a daughter of an M&Sstore manager who went on to win a competition of naming this new variety. Some of the profits of this apple will be going to Great Ormand street hospital.
Others included, Coxs, Golden Delicious, Delbatd Estivale, Concorde pears and Di Color pears.
After speaking with the growers I soon learnt how passionate they are about harvesting the ‘perfect pick’ for ensuring the consumers are delighted with the best quality fruit. (And they sure are!) It is clear that M&S are keen to invest in our British heritage by maximising the availability of British fruit.
Once asked by Andrew what should we expect in 5 years time the growers replied ‘excitement and delivery, to challenge people’s conceptions.’ In that case let the Adventures in Fruit begin!