Monday, October 31, 2016

These Sweetangos are not.

In 2012 I found some illegal local Sweetangos for sale here in Massachusetts. Illegal because the license for this hot new variety is strictly controlled, to the point where no one in New England is allowed to grow them.

Although the bootlegged versions were substantially different from the licit ones in appearance and flavor profile, I was more than half convinced.

Local apple said to be Sweetango
Local "Sweetango"
True Sweetango apple
True Sweetango
Sweetango seems to be so variable based on growing conditions and handling. I hadn't yet had a good one, either.

Also the apple was pretty tasty in its own right, and so (I reasoned) why fake a Sweetango connection when you could patent, develop, and market the apple yourself?

But today I not only refute the Sweetango claim. I unmask this apple's true identity.

It is Snow Sweet.
Local apple said to be Sweetango
Local "Sweetango"
True Snow Sweet
From my Snow Sweet tasting:

Snow Sweet's moderately crisp medium-coarse white flesh is tender and bears sweet mild flavors, fruity and, especially, floral. The flavors are not strong, but there is something a little lush in the background, not quite caramel.

From my "Bootleg Sweetango" review:

The flesh is medium-coarse off-white, nicely crisp and quite juicy. It breaks off into great satisfying chunks.

Right off the bat there is a very interesting malt-sugar note and a kind of creamy caramel quality (think cream soda without the vanilla).

Not exactly the same, but close. In retrospect the local apple (the "Sweetango") was the fresher and better one (e.g., better texture), though I did not know what I had at the time.

Back story: A few weeks ago, I spoke with a woman at an orchard that was selling this apple as Sweetango. She told me the owner had gotten the trees before the license restrictions were in effect, under the name Snow Sweet.

According to this account, Snow Sweet was a mere trial name and the orchard had Sweetango through a kind of licensing loophole.

That is not how licensing works, and moreover Sweetango's variety name is Minneiska. Also, I had sampled Snow Sweet in 2013.

Snow Sweet comes from the same Minnesota breeding program that has given us Sweetango (and also Honeycrisp). That may be the source of some confusion.

I believe I've solved this particular mystery.

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