Monday, September 21, 2015

Epicure (Laxton's Epicure) *

The National Fruit Collection (U.K.) says that the "preferred name" of this variety is simply "Epicure," but it was given to me as Laxton's Epicure.

Either way it is an old-fashioned apple with a period name, full of interesting flavors.

This is a large apple, slightly ribbed, with distinct saturated red stripes standing in a semi-transparent wash of blush. The blush covers an otherwise spring-green peel: the red-on-green color scheme makes for some subdued shading.

Close inspection shows a scatter of widely spaced tan lenticels too, but the background is so busy that they are hard to spot.

Laxton's crunch is yielding rather than breaking, but the texture of its off-white flesh, more fine-grained than coarse, is good if a bit chewy.

The apple is very flavorful, balanced though more sweet than otherwise. It's cidery and rich with hints of flowers, spice, and a little toast.

These tastes flatter each other pleasingly. There is also a tiny bitter note buried within.

The peel is chewy and a little waxy—more textures.

This would be a good fruit choice to show that there is more than one "good" texture possible for an apple. Though the flavors are complex they are winning. There is nothing scary or off-putting other than that bitter note, which is very slight.

The Epicure is a marriage of two great heritage varieties from two sides of the Atlantic: the Victorian Cox's Orange Pippin of Britain and the American Wealthy. Breeding will out!

Epicure was created in 1909 by Laxton Brothers of Bedfordshire.

3 comments:

  1. I’ve been interested in this apple since seeing documentary called- Apples: British to the Core. The head gardener of Audley End House was interviewed. They grow 120 apple varieties and he said that Laxton’s Epicure was the “best apple ever.” Of course everyone has their own taste preferences and different growing conditions can yield much different tastes in the same cultivar. It did however get my attention and I’ve been looking for it ever since. I’ve never been able to find the apple nor the scion wood in the U.S. I’m glad to see that you have found it somewhere so that hopefully there are some in the U.S that have it which means I may yet come across it myself.

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    1. Matt, I think this is one of those varieties that flies very much under the radar. I've got to believe that someone in the Midwest grows it.

      How one finds out who that someone is, alas, seems to be a complete mystery.

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