Sunday, August 28, 2016


The summer harvest parade is well under way by mid August, with quality local varieties such as Williams Pride, Gingergold, and Gravenstein available fresh at farmers market.

So there was some irony in finding Diva in supermarkets last week, off the boat (and out of storage) from the spring harvest in New Zealand.

Diva apple

Medium sized and slightly squat, Diva has ribbing that is noticeable but not extreme. These have a red blush that is streaky rather than saturated, with all of the blush generally attenuated to hint at the yellow-green beneath.

This unblushed color teeters between yellow and green: a pastel yellow for the most part, but a little greener and more saturated in the stem well. It sits firm in my hand.

Since this is a modern apple, crisp and sweet almost go without saying. But is Diva also part of the cutting-edge trend towards flavor?

The fruit is pleasantly crisp and juicy, with medium-coarse-grained light yellow flesh. It is pleasant and sweet, though not cloying, with some vanilla and a hint of table grapes along with the cane sugar. A a measure of astringency adds to its charm.

These flavors, like the colors on the peel, are a little washed out. The overall effect is crisp and delicate, but not terribly memorable.

It turns out that Diva originated in Quebec and is half McIntosh. It's a northern scab-resistant variety created "for cider and ice cider production," though it is quite edible.

Diva is not without interest, and may make superlative ciders, but especially this time of year there is nothing to recommend it over the local fruit.


  1. Interesting. I haven't yet had a Diva and wouldn't turn one down, but it is ironic when fresh local apples are available. Sadly, I haven't yet had Williams Pride, Gingergold, or Gravenstein either. I've gotta get out more!

    Do you know if "ice cider" is what we would call sweet cider in the US?

    According to an August 2009 article in HortScience, this variety has been around since the early 70's. Also notable in its lineage is Golden Delicious and Grimes Golden.

    1. I feel Diva shares some qualities with Brock, a Mac x Golden Delicious cross. Crisp and flavorful, but lacking the vinous notes that characterize McIntosh and so much of the family.

    2. Hi there. I wanted to post in response that I recently got back from Quebec (near Quebec City) and had samples of some really nice ciders at a "ciderie". This place I visited: in the town of St-Nicolas claims to be the creator of iced cider. Worth a visit if in the province. Aside, I noticed that Adam you don't have a review of Kidd's Orange Red. I have some grafts that took this spring and have heard good things. Do you have any experience with it? I live in Southern Ontario (Canada). So I suppose the conditions would be similar to the US NorthEast. Thanks!

    3. @Paul, thank you. I do not know much about ice cider, but I associate it with Quebec. So you may have the straight story!

      I have heard of Kidds but never had the pleasure. (So, I may ask you for some samples in a few years!) A Cox's x Delicious cross is an interesting idea. May yours flourish.

      @Steve, ice cider is not sweet cider. It's analogous to ice wine. I've never had any.

    4. You are exactly right Adam. It is more viscous as the apple's flavours and sugars are condensed. Like ice wine, but with that recognizable cider kick.
      Adam, would love to send some samples. All the best


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