What does an apple taste like?

October 20th, 2010

I ask this seriously. Can you describe the flavour of an apple beyond, well….. apple?

I’ve tried now, as part of fruit tastings, to describe the flavour of apples and it is extremely difficult. I can describe the overall taste of an apple – its juiciness, sweetness, crispness and crunch. Beyond describing the skin as tasting a bit like plant leaves I have nothing to offer.

If you walked into a green grocers and each apple had a list of descriptors from floral to caramel, from citrus to savoury, then you might be a bit surprised. Curious, but probably extremely skeptical. Some of us might be encouraged by this to try different apples, to play along with the new fun game and see what we tasted. I’d wager most people would write the vendor off as pretentious or just borderline insane. Apples taste like apples.

I’m not saying we should stop describing coffee – and I’m not saying that coffee isn’t more complex than an apple when it comes to flavours (though cider tasters/apple-focused flavorists may disagree). I just think it is worth remembering, from time to time, just how alien the idea of a flavour descriptor can be.

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