The Best Fruit for Christmas 2023

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without some delicious, eye-catching fruit in the fruit bowl, and, as it happens, there are plenty of wonderful fruit available in December and several that can be a treat for the Christmas table. Below are my suggestions of the best varieties for taste that are available in UK supermarkets.

Happy Christmas from the Good Fruit Guide.

In My Fruit Bowl, I Would Buy:

  • Lychee: Beautiful Mauritius from Southern Africa
  • Clementines: Clemenules from Spain
  • Grapes: Sable, Melody, Sweet Celebration, Cotton Candy, Sugar Crisp, Sweet Globe
  • Blueberries & Raspberries
  • Persimmons: Spanish Rojo Brilliante
  • Apples: Smitten, Envy, Kanzi
  • Pears: Concorde, Comice
  • Mangoes: Ataulfo from Brazil

APPLE Update:

Apple quality is excellent, and all stores have the usual standard range of Gala, Braeburn, Jazz, etc, with a good choice from UK growers. In bigger stores, look out for some for the lovely newer varieties:  Envy and Smitten are usually available in M&S and Waitrose, with the latter also in Morrisons; Kanzi is usually in larger Sainsbury’s stores.


Apricots are back on the shelves and are all now from South Africa. They can be variable, but should be at their peak and perfectly acceptable, if allowed to soften properly.


Fuerte, the green-skin variety, is often in Tesco and Waitrose from Spain. Otherwise, Hass is mainly from South America, though some from Israel and Spain will be on sale.


Large-berried, sweet Driscoll Victoria and Midnight are from various European sources and South Africa. The more traditional types, mainly Tupi, are from Mexico and Guatemala.


Quality should be excellent from Peru and Chile, while South African fruit can be a bit variable in texture by this stage of the season.

CHERRY Update:

Cherries quality should be reliable from the fresh seasons of South Africa, Chile and Argentina.

FIG Update:

Figs are not easy to find, though should be available in larger stores: mainly Toro Sentado from Peru or Autumn Honey from Israel.

GRAPE Update:

With the Namibian and South African seasons starting, and Brazil and Peru still continuing, there is a great choice of good quality grapes in all stores.

Candy Dreams, Sable and Vitoria are the best black grapes from flavour, while Melody is an excellent sweet black variety. The majority of black grapes are Midnight Beauty which is a pleasantly sweet, crisp variety

Of red grapes, Candy Snaps, is lovely for flavour, with Sweet Celebration and Starlight being the pick of the sweet ‘n crisp choice.

The flavoursome green variety, Cotton Candy should be easy to find, and Sweet Globe and Sugar Crisp are excellent as a crisp, plump varieties.

Namibian and South African green grapes will become widespread. These are mainly Early Sweet and Prime, both with a slight acidity to balance the sweetness.


The best grapefruit are now from Israel, though many stores sell Turkish or Spanish Star Ruby, which are slightly more bitter. The sublime Florida Pink is also available in many larger stores.

Chinese Pomelo may be fun to try for the Christmas breakfast: spend some time working out how to remove the peel to access these tasty fruit!

KIWI Update:

All green Hayward kiwifruit on sale are from Italy. The sweeter yellow kiwifruit are mostly Sungold or Jintao also from Italy.

LEMON Update:

All lemons sold in supermarkets are variety Primofiori from Spain.

LYCHEE Update:

In my view, the perfect Christmas fruit, lychee are normally widely sold in December from Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa: such a wonderful, luxurious fruit. Variety: Mauritius.


Clemenules, Clemenvilla, and Tacle are all fantastic mandarin varieties in great condition: another perfect, sweet fruit for Christmas to challenge the chocolate box. Tacle is a particular beauty as a hybrid mandarin derived from the blood orange, Tarocco, but Clemenules is the standard clementine which is at its best and just lovely. Try Clemenvilla (often sold as a tangerine) for a firmer fruit with deeper flavour, though tougher skin.

MANGO Update:

Brazilian Keitt and Kent dominate sales at the moment: decent, but unexciting. Brazilian Palmer is a better bet as it has a discernible flavour as well as sweetness.

If you are lucky, you may be able to find Brazilian Ataulfo, which will be particularly tasty as the season draws to an end. It is often available in M&S, Waitrose and Costco, as well as up-market food retailers.

MELON Update:

Brazilian Ivory Gaya and Piel de Sapo are probably the most interesting melons on sale: find them in most supermarkets. Otherwise, standard melons Yellow Honeydew and Galia are available and should have decent flavour (all are from Brazil).

ORANGE Update:

The early Navel orange from Spain, Navelina, has been predominant and is good to eat as its season diminishes. It will be replaced by the deeper flavoured Washington Navel as December unfolds, as well as the Navelate, both of which are wonderful eating oranges. For juicing, look out for Salustiana.


All peaches and nectarines are from South Africa. Eating quality can be excellent but is often variable: all dependent on good timing of harvest. It’s best to buy the ripe n’ ready to eat packs.

PEAR Update:

December is generally one of the best months for pears, all from UK and Europe. Comice is a sumptuous example of a soft pear, best peeled and sliced, with sweet, flavoursome, juicy flesh (Sweet Sensation is a blushed version). Other varieties of note include Concorde and Rocha, and of course, the old favourite, Conference. QTee, Migo, Piqa Reo and Early Desire may also worth trying for something different.


One of the cheapest and easiest fruit in peak condition is the Spanish persimmon, Rojo Brilliante, available in all stores: very sweet and tasty, best eaten when softening, but it is perfectly acceptable when still hard. Try to avoid packs with yellow rather than orange fruit as these are less mature.

PLUM Update:

Fresh South African plums, mostly African Rose, are now available. These will need to be left to soften in the fruit bowl, and will be sweet, tangy and juicy, a world away from old season Angelino from Spain and Italy, which can now be left behind. Expect many good varieties to come over the next month or two.


Excellent quality raspberries from South Africa, Morocco, Portugal and Spain are on sale in all stores: perfect as a TV snack and much healthier than all those chocolates!


Owari satsumas will stay on sale until Christmas, and although the best are over, they are still an enjoyably tangy/sweet fruit.


This is not the best time for strawberries, which are mainly from Egypt, Morocco and Jordan. Some supermarkets may have improved varieties, such as Driscoll Marquis, which probably has the best chance of flavour and sweetness.

©Good Fruit Guide 2023. 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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