Ancient apple varieties of Piedmont

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

It seems that the cultivation of the apple tree was imported in Piedmont by the Romans, who colonized the area in around 100 B.C.
In the era of Municipalities and feudal Lords, apple tree growing was thoroughly regulated, also according to its fruits widespread popularity, ease of cultivation, conservation and transportation.
Traditional apple-growing got even more intense in the 1960s, and the local varieties were quickly replaced by foreign ones, more productive, larger, more beautiful and better suited to modern techniques, eventually leading to the almost complete disappearance of an enormous wealth of endemic species.
A more or less common feature of almost all the ancient apple varieties in Piedmont is that they can be stored for a long time, while become tastier and tastier as time goes by.
The only exception is the “Carla” apple, small, irregular, straw-yellow with pinkish streaks, which should be eaten fresh.

Among others, the “Grigia di Torriana” appears rounded, slightly flattened, yellow, rough and rusty; the “Buras” is related to the grey ones, but more similar to the “renette”; the “Runsè” is easily identifiable due to its wine-red colour and shiny skin, while today is also highly appreciated by the best chefs; then, there’s the “Gamba Fina”, with a flattened shape, dark red colour and white pulp; the “Magnana”, on the other hand, is small and red, while the “Dominici” variety is large, slightly elongated, with a bit of rough yellow skin and cream-coloured pulp.
The “Calvilla” apple is the most aristocratic: beautiful, aromatic, fragrant, but very delicate; out of 50 types of “Calville” existing at the end of the XIX century, only six have survived: they include the “Bianca d’inverno” e the “Rossa d’inverno”. Some of these apples, such as the “Grigia di Torriana” and the “Buras”, are particularly good when baked in the oven.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)



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