New varieties of apples are hitting the market all the time. Last year's growing season had a great crop (sorry) of new varieties which I look forward to seeing more of in the 2011 season.
I am IN LOVE with these apples. They don't ship well, apparently. At least, judging by the bruised and somewhat mangled condition of the ones I have bought so far. And the two I bought last week had a somewhat mealy texture.
But the taste is absolutely wonderful. It tastes like a Fuji without the tartness - just the wonderful almost perfume-like flavor, and a nice mellow sweetness.
It's a very pretty apple, too, as you can see from the picture above! Yellow with greenish overtones.
I tried one of these and was wholly unimpressed. Maybe I got a bad batch. It happens. The one I tried was blandly and overly sweet, with no real depth of flavor. Wikipedia says it has a "flavor reminiscent of pear" which is kind of the same thing I just said, but more polite.
This is the big hot red carpet star right now. I had some pretty great Honeycrisp apples last year, but I also had some pretty crappy ones. I suspect the huge popularity of this variety has led some growers to push Honeycrisps to market that don't deserve to be there.
At its best, this is what an apple should be like: tart and sweet and crisp and mild. At its worst it's basically a big greenish-yellow Delicious. (I have learned that the bigger the Honeycrisp, the worse the eating.)
Jazz has become one of my go-to apples this year. I have watched a lot of people pass it up at the store, which is a shame. It's true that it doesn't look as pretty as some of the other varieties - its color tends to be dull; its size, smallish. It often looks blotchy with red and yellow (although if you ask me, that's a feature, not a bug).
The Jazz is a cross between Galas and Braeburn. It's what Gala apples were like, before popularity killed them. It's tart and crisp, and I can attest that it makes a darned fine pie. If you find yourself lamenting the state of Galas today, try a Jazz!
I've read great reviews of this apple, but I haven't tracked one down yet. I have to admit I'm skeptically snobby about this one. It's a Golden Delicious cross; how great could it be, really? (I'm just bitter after a childhood of being force-fed Delicious apples.)
This is the other go-to everyday apple I have been buying. I look over the Jazz and Pacific Rose, and just pick the ones which look best at the store. If the Jazz is the new Gala, then Pacific Rose is the new Fuji.
Visually, I think Pacific Rose is one of the prettier apples on the market, with its lovely dark red color with matte pink blush.