Why Cotton Candy Grapes Perplex and Delight

Brooke Newberry
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We’ve befriended the hybridized pluots, the cherums, the plumcots and the tangelos, and now there’s a new hybrid stirring up gossip, rumors and…it tastes like the fair.

The Cotton Candy grape looks and feels like any other botanical genus Vitus (yep, a grape) but packs the punch of what a Jetson’s meal pill would taste like. The actual cross of grape species is being kept a trade secret by the grape’s distributor, The Grapery. The grape isn’t cloyingly sweet as perhaps expected, but definitely conjures up the mysterious fluffy pink stuff from childhood.  What many people don’t know is that the key ingredient in cotton candy is the flavor and scent of vanilla. These deceptive vine dwellers transcend that crucial vanilla flavor and offer very little tartness on the palate.

The grapes’ recent recognition has also put it under speculation as a possible GMO (Genetically-Modified Organism) food. Hybrids actually have nothing to do with GMOs – hybrid fruits are a product of the century-old practice of crossbreeding and have not been altered in a lab.

The cotton candy grape has actually been available in limited quantities since 2011. The Grapery first allotted the cotton candy grape a skimpy 2 acres with a growth expectation of 200 acres for 2014. The Grapery also cultivates other designer varieties such as “Witch Fingers,” which are perfect as a Halloween treat. The Grapery’s grape varieties are patented and then licensed out to growers.

Grapes are currently in season. Look for these carnival grapes in a store near you by clicking hereTry them frozen. Put them in your cocktails. Make this cotton candy simple syrup out of them to use in those cocktails.  Roast them with pepper, salt and olive oil, and place on top of a baguette spread with ricotta.

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