Flavoursome Fruit This Easter – wk 13’18, March-April

From Winter to Spring, what a difference a couple of weeks has made! This Easter week also sees a welcome shift in the offer of tasty fruit, with British strawberries, Spanish blueberries, South African pears and satsumas, and the Asian mangoes all making an appearance, if you know where to look!


  • Strawberries: Malling Centenary and Driscoll Lusa from UK;
  • Grapes: Sable, Joybells, Muscat Beauty;
  • Plums: African Delight from South Africa;
  • Mandarins: Nadorcott and Orri;
  • Oranges: Spanish Navels and Sicilian Tarocco;
  • Pears: South African Williams, Packham’s, Qtee and Cheeky.

Strawberries: All strawberries are essentially from Spain and UK at the moment. The UK season (from glasshouses) is just building momentum with the fruit selling at a slight premium. The varieties are good, though, with Malling Centenary and Driscoll Lusa offering some flavour and sweetness. All the cheaper options are Spanish, but there are some with a better chance of satisfaction such as Viva Isabella and Driscoll Marquis.

Mandarins: Nadorcott, Tangold and Orri (often sold as a Tangerine) are still in great shape, with the former in all stores. Ortanique is in Tesco, a sweet, sometimes quite tangy Tangor mandarin, which is visually beautiful but tough to peel. Another tough to peel, thin-skinned, but very tasty mandarin on sale is Mor from Morocco (in Sainsbury’s as a Tangerine).

South African satsumas are always the first sign of the new southern hemisphere citrus season, and M&S always seems to be the first retailer to stock them: tangy, juicy and soft in complete contrast to late Mediterranean varieties, in store now.

Oranges: Sicilian Tarocco continues as the best blood orange, being fine tasting, sweet and juicy. Otherwise, Spanish Navels such as Lane Late, are also wonderfully sweet and satisfying oranges.

Grapes: South African grapes are mainly the red varieties Crimson, Joybells, Scarlotta and Allison, and black Sable and Melody. Most white grapes now come from Chile (mainly Sugraone) and India (Thompson Seedless) with the odd sample of Autumn Crisp from South Africa. Sable and Muscat Beauty from Chile are also available.

The quality of grapes is good from all sources, but for real flavour, Muscat Beauty and Sable are the best bet (or try snack-packs of Brazilian Vittoria in Morrisons).

Pears: The new South African season is becoming properly established with the soft varieties, Green Williams (aka Williams Bon Cretian) and Packham’s Triumph, and new crisp varieties, Qtee and Cheeky (try M&S or Waitrose). These add much needed interest to the northern hemisphere Conference and Rocha, which have been dominating shelf-space for the last few weeks.

Plums: The end is nigh for the southern hemisphere plum season as the late varieties dominate. The dense, crisp Angelino will continue for some weeks from both Chile and South Africa, but there are still good stocks of African Pride on sale: a sweet plum with some good succulence for a late variety.

Peaches and Nectarines: Another sign of seasonal change are the first Mediterranean peaches, Florida Prince from Egypt. These should be light and sweet in contrast to the distinctly dense end-of-season South African and Chilean varieties.

Blueberries: Chilean blueberries are still widespread in many stores, but new Spanish and Moroccan fruit will be more reliable, though perhaps with a bit of a tang at times.

Mango: Following months of Kent from Peru, there is change afoot with Peruvian and Brazilian Keitt on sale in some stores. This is a similar type to Kent, though could be slightly more succulent. Much more exciting is the arrival of the first Asian mangoes: Nam Dok Mae from Thailand, spotted in M&S. At this stage, due to price, it’s more for mango fanatics, but is a sign of promise – the Indian season is not far off!

Avocados:  As ever, the main choice is Hass, but there is a subtle shift in sourcing taking place: Chilean fruit is all but finished; Spain, Israel and Mexico provide much of the supply, but Columbia seems to be taking over as the key country of origin in supermarkets. However, Peruvian Fuerte, the main green-skin variety, is the first sign of the summer sourcing to come (seen in Sainsbury’s).

Papaya: Always available, papaya from Jamaica (variety Solo) and Brazil (variety Golden) are generally very flavoursome, particularly with a squeeze of lime. When buying twin packs, there is often one that is ready to eat and one that is less ripe, which should be left in the fruit bowl for 2-3 days to colour-up a bit.

Kumquats: It’s been a long time since kumquats have made a regular appearance in supermarkets, but Sainsbury’s are now stocking them from Spain (probably in bigger stores).

30th March, 2018


©Good Fruit Guide 2018. Information and data published on www.goodfruitguide.co.uk must not be reproduced or copied without permission of the editor. Recommendations on fruit varieties and types with the very best taste are personal to the editor of Good Fruit Guide, and do not attempt to be exhaustive or supported by verifiable consumer research.  The highlighting of fruit with the very best taste in the opinion of the editor is not intended as a judgement on the taste of varieties and types of fruit not mentioned.

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