|Aurora Golden Gala (R) meets a yellow late-season Mutsu. (Mutsu is often sold green.)|
But I ran into some surprises at first bite.
lenticels. (They are present but you really have to look closely to see any.) It's conical and ribbed, though broad rather than tall.
Mutsu, also know as Crispin, is a big blocky cylinder with moderate ribbing. I'm used to seeing these a bit earlier in the season when they are a light spring green, but today's sample, purchased at the last Farmers Market of the year on November 26, is yellow tinted green with a light orange blush.
The blush covers a little less than half. Many of the lenticels are russeted but otherwise don't stand out much.
These are both attractive apples but flawless Aurora is really a looker.
I started in on Aurora and things got interesting right away. The tender-crisp flesh, coarse-grained and juicy and yellow, was familiar from my earlier tasting.
However, the flavors were stronger than I remembered and there was a distinct taste of cinnamon in the mix. How could I have missed that?
By contrast with Aurora, Mutsu's flavors were more assertive, a mix of citrus, vanilla, and apple cider, with faint echoes of Golden Delicious.
|Younger, greener Mutsu|
The Aurora I returned to after Mutsu might have been a different apple from the one with which I began. It was nearly tasteless, though there were some mineral notes. But at different times different faint flavors would emerge. There was something vanilla-like at one point, but deeper, almost like coffee.
Otto Friedli, who sent me the Auroras from the Auvil Fruit Company (thanks again, Otto!), told me he finds that "each Aurora has its own taste." I'm starting to get the same idea, and indeed this apple varies bite by bite.
Based on my prior tastings I confess I was prepared to find these two varieties similar (light, crisp, attenuated) but with Mutsu exhibiting more apple character. This tasting has confounded that expectation a little.
So, which it better? It's not really a fair contest, because my Mutsu was not prime. Most of the time while I was eating the Aurora I thought the Mutsu was better, and while eating Mutsu I was ready to give it to Aurora.
On reflection I'd say Aurora by a hair, mostly because of better texture. My Mutsu wasn't exactly mealy but you could tell it was going that way. (But if stored and handled right these will keep well.)
Aurora's full name is Aurora Golden Gala, but it's not a Gala, rather a Splendour x Gala cross. "Crispin" is just an alternative, anglo-friendly name for Mutsu.
And yes, I finished them both.