Growers say the Cotton Candy grape is totally natural.
We normally expect our grapes to be grape-flavored, but we might need to start watching out for grapes that taste like candy corn or strawberries in a few years. Some new varieties of flavored grapes might be coming to the shelves soon thanks to a group of plant breeders in California who recently decided that “grape” was a good flavor for soda and bubble gum, but a boring flavor for actual grapes, so they crossbred some “Frankengrapes” that apparently taste exactly like pink cotton candy.
The producers say the new grape is entirely natural, despite tasting like one of the least natural of candies. According to The Daily Mail, California’s The Grapery achieved their candy-flavored grapes by using hand-pollination to naturally cross two species of grapes, a thick-skinned Concord-like grape with the normal green seedless we see in grocery stores. The resulting grape variety looks exactly like a standard green seedless grape, but once in the mouth it tastes just like cotton candy, according to Culver City chef Spencer Gray.
“When it pops in your mouth, the first impression is a rush of cotton candy flavor,” he said, describing them as extremely sweet with hints of vanilla. “It’s like there’s nothing to stop the sweetness. It just lingers on your tongue.”
Horticulturist David Cain originally set out with the goal of making a grape that would retain its flavor longer on grocery store shelves.
“A lot of fruit becomes tasteless by the time somebody buys it,” he said. “We want to change that.”
The candy-tasting grapes have about 12 percent more sugar than regular grapes, but still less than raisins. They sell for $6 per pound and The Grapery has no intention of stopping with grapes that taste like cotton candy. Grapery CEO Jim Beagle even said they are currently testing some grapes that taste like grape soda, as well as gummy bears, Skittles, and mango.
I recently bought a small amount of the Cotton Candy Grapes at my local Health Food store because curiosity got the best of me. I ate a few and I can say they absolutely do taste like "cotton candy", or at least remind me of cotton candy. They're not labeled organic, and not enough research has been done to determine if these Cotton Candy Grapes are healthy or not. Personally, I'm going to wait until I know more about this 'natural' grape before I buy them again.
I would love to hear from all of you about what your take is on this cross-bred grape! Please comment on the link below and let me know if you've tasted them yet!