Ciucarina Apple

This post is also available in: Italian

Look at this beautiful fruit basket, purchased from a Cassine gardener, in the province of Alessandria. The fruits were grown in that area, without too many boosters. Pears, juicy plums and apples mostly but there is an unusual small apple, elongated and with light green skin, partially tinged in red. It is the “Mela Ciucarina”, sometimes also called “Ciuchina”: an ancient variety from Monferrato. “Ciucarina” actually means “bell”, because when this apple is ripe, it tinkles like a bell when shaken – the space which houses the seeds gets bigger when ripe, thus the tinkling effect when the different parts of the apple collide.

Rustic and healthy, like several ancient fruits, “Mela Ciucarin”’ is also very fragrant, with thin skin and white pulp, sweet, and crunchy. There are two versions: the “Ciucarina Bianca” and the “Ciucarina Rossa”, respectively “white” and “red “ apples. They are harvested in September-October.

You can buy them from Azienda La Pomera, in Vignale Monferrato (0142 933378), which has built < strong>an apple orchard with 360 plants, including 49 varieties of ancient Monferrato apples; in its old barn, this farm also features an interesting Peasant Life Museum.
Alternatively, these apples are available from Azienda La Bettola, in Terruggia (tel. 0142.403254; +39.333.4441281), which also offers guided tours of its apple orchard, freshly picked fruits and cooking workshops for adults and children.

The actual apple trees are available from Vivaio Melamangio, via Case Dorato, 6 Odalengo Piccolo (Al), tel. 0141 919210 – cell. 333 560622.

This post is also available in: Italian

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