Friday, December 30, 2011

Karmijn de Sonnaville (Karmine) **

This Dutch apple has an attractive dark orange-red blush over a muted green that blends with sandpaper-colored russet. Large lenticels are similarly russeted.

I've only got one sample, a large medium or small large, but have no idea how typical its size may may be.

Karmijn de Sonnaville is an offspring of the exceptional Cox's Orange Pippin and shares some of its qualities. The flesh is fine grained and light yellow, and the flavors are balanced but with some acidity. Some Cox-like flavors, such as orange and mango, pair with a peppery spiciness.

Compared to Cox's Karmine tastes more acid and spicy and lacks Cox's nutty qualities. It's a first-rate apple with flavors that are big, bold, and lively. More of this sort of thing, please!

David D'Angelo, who shared this with me, said that Karmine's pollinator parent is not known but is probably either Jonathan or Belle de Boskoop. I could see either one. (Orange Pippin weighs in on this question too.)

The National Fruit Collection (UK) dates Karmijn de Sonnaville to 1949 in the Netherlands but the apple was not commercialized until the early 1970s. "Karmine" is apparently an Americanism.

David has a lot of enthusiasm about this variety and it is not hard to see why. I hope it catches on enough to become regularly available around here.

Finally, an Irish orchard touts the virtues of Karmijn de Sonnaville's juice.


  1. It is a great apple indeed. I have seen Dutch authorities on the subject describe is as a Cox X Jonathan cross. That Karmine juice is excellent.

  2. Jonathan is commonly attributed as pollen parent. Belle de Boskoop cannot be, as it is triploid/pollen sterile. I love this apple, (which is also a triploid, BTW) and both the tree and fruit are typically large. I agree, the flavor when fresh is HUGE. Maybe I can get enough this season to put some in the cellar and wait until New Year Day to see how it mellows - or if...

  3. It has to be Belle de Boskoop, Jonathan tastes nothing like this apple. When it mellows it has a definite BdB aftertaste to it. Of course, right off the tree this apple is not that good. But the juice has 17.6 % brix - at least here in Mid-Michigan, and in 2013. In 2011 it was in the 16%. If I have enough quantity its going to be on my web site ( Right now I have 11 trees of it, but not bearing much yet.

  4. Hi Adam,

    The Irish orchard that makes the Karmine apple juice is not far me. I have tasted this apple juice and it is exquisite.

    Bramley being the other apple used is a English favourite. The Irish use Bramley apples in their renowned freshly baked pies that you can purchase in the local stores and supermarkets alike. In England it is most unusual to be able to purchase freshly baked desserts in supermarkets, but in Ireland Apple Pie is a staple.

    1. Bramley is famous, and yet I have never seen any here in New England.


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