Flavoursome Fruit This Week – wk 51’18, Christmas

The Christmas Fruit App: The Good Fruit Guide has finally managed to release an app to make life much easier while shopping. Designed by Simon Hoskins of Fauda Ltd, it’s free on Apple and Android app stores, so give it a try: not to be missed!

This week’s ‘Pick of the Week’ on the app will help you buy for an impressive, flavoursome fruit choice for the Christmas festivities: enough to catch the taste-buds of the most fervently disinterested guest.


  • Grapes: Lovely varieties from the southern hemisphere;
  • Lychee: The Christmas treat;
  • Mandarins: Clemenules and Clemenvilla from Spain;
  • Cherries: Indulgence from Chile and South Africa;
  • Apples: Impressive varieties, e.g. Braeburn, Rubens, Smitten, Cox;
  • Pears: Tasty Comice, Concorde, Qtee and Xenia;
  • Persimmon: Rojo Brilliante and Sharonfruit: great when softened;
  • Oranges: Navels from Spain or early Tarocco from Sicily.

Grapes: The new South African and Namibian seasons are just starting with early varieties, which will be fresh and tasty, possibly with some early tang. However, the best later varieties from Peru and Brazil should guarantee Christmas eating quality, whether for sweetness, texture or flavour. Try the following examples and buy enough for the table and for a TV show snack:

Green grapes: Cotton Candy, Arra 15, Sugar Crisp and Sweet Globe;

Red grapes: Mayabelle, Sweet Celebration;

Black grapes: Sable (also now from South Africa), Vitoria, Candy Dreams.

Lychee: If ever there was a time to splash out on lychee, it’s at Christmas. These wonderfully flavoursome fruit are in peak season from South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar, and should be in most larger stores. Get a bowl full!

Mandarins: No Christmas table or stocking should be without clementines and the main Spanish and Moroccan variety Clemenules, is perfect for easy-peeling and lovely sweetness that will appeal to everyone. For the more discerning palate, try the delicious Clemenvilla (usually sold as a tangerine), which is more satisfying with its dense, sweet and flavoursome flesh, though slightly more difficult to peel. For something really different, try Chinese mini mandarins, Nanfengmiju (in M&S).

Cherries: All stores are selling cherries from Chile, and often South Africa as well. What better treat, perhaps alongside a bowl of lychee?

Apples: With a choice of so many apple varieties, it is perhaps the time to try something different compared to the regular dessert apples in every store. Here is a guide to some exceptional alternatives by retailer:

Asda often has Rubens, Empire, Honeycrisp and Egremont Russet;

M&S also stocks Egremont Russet, and have Smitten, Amelia and Rockit, possibly Envy, among others;

Morrisons has Smitten;

Sainsbury’s usually has Zari and Kanzi, while Rubens and Egremont Russet can often be found;

Tesco regularly has Kanzi, Rubens and Egremont Russet, sometimes Cameo and Empire;

Waitrose has a good range of English apples, usually including Opal, Envy and Egremont Russet.

Pears: There are some lovely pears available, which will grace any Christmas fruit bowl, such as Comice and Rocha, the easiest ‘quality’ pears to find, and crisp or soft Concorde, Abaté Fétèl, Qtee and Xenia.

Persimmon: A lovely, sweet and colourful fruit, perhaps more suitable in a prepared platter or fruit salad at Christmas: you can’t go wrong with Spanish Rojo Brilliante, particularly if you let them soften a bit at room temperature before eating.

Oranges: Spanish Navel oranges (Navelina, Navellate and Lane Late) should be in great shape. Superior even than Navels are the first Sicilian blood oranges in M&S, Tarocco Nucella: most sublime when at their best.

Grapefruit: It may be old fashioned to view grapefruit as the ideal dieting fruit, but there is no doubt that they make a great start to the day, particularly after festive excess. There are excellent grapefruit from Israel in all main stores and sweet Florida Pink in some (often Morrisons & Waitrose). Alternatively, try sweet Sweetie from Israel, a pomelo x grapefruit cross, in Sainsbury’s and M&S.

Peaches and Nectarines: South African peaches and nectarines are in mid-season and in most supermarkets: quality is good but let them soften gently in your fruit bowl to bring on some succulence.

Berries: Raspberries from Spain and blueberries from the southern hemisphere are flavoursome, great quality and not outrageously expensive. Strawberries are mainly from Jordan and Egypt, often with uninspiring flavour as fresh fruit, but some new varieties are improving. Add any or all of these to a large creamy Pavlova with a few power-packed Physalis berries, and you can’t fail to impress!

Mangoes: All stores are selling either Palmer, Keitt or Kent from Brazil. None really stand-out as fabulous, but Palmer generally has more flavour.

Plums: Dense, firm Angelino continues to be the main plum available (from Spain, Italy), though fresh South African early varieties will start to appear to offer succulence and flavour once more.

20th December, 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. Ratings and 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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