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Cotton Candy Grapes


Doofa
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My daughter and granddaughter introduced me to "Cotton Candy Grapes" They do actually taste of cotton candy or candy floss. Even skinned they taste of the same which makes me think that it is a happy coincidence. Is this true, or are they flavoured in some way? There is no coating on the grape.

This is from the UK and is a new one on me. I look forward to learning the answer. Thanks, Mark.

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My first thought on seeing Cotton Candy grapes at the market was - YUCK!  I don't want to eat cotton-y grapes!  In fact, the texture is not cotton-y at all.  As the article @Yiannos linked to describes, they taste very sweet and have distinct flavor profile, similar to cotton candy and without much acid or sour flavor.  

I applaud the efforts to introduce or re-introduce more flavorful grapes to our markets since most of commonly available grocery store grapes are pretty tasteless.  Personally, I prefer the varieties that have a bit more tartness, like the Thomcord (a seedless hybrid between the Thompson seedless and the seeded Concord grape.  I like the pronounced grape-y flavor of them but so far, I only see them at my local farmers markets, while the Cotton Candy variety seems to be at all the grocery stores these days.

I'm afraid the buying public has been trained to expect sweet, but otherwise flavorless grapes.  At least the Cotton Candy grapes have a bit more flavor.

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I'm all for introducing more flavor in our food. I love the muscadines I'm able to get now, but not for much longer. I also love Concords when I can get them, skins and all.

 

I am not sure from the description, that I'd personally be a fan of the cotton candy variety, but more power to any grape breeder who is trying to bring more flavor to the table without resulting to introducing e-coli bacteria genes and such shenanigans.

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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No need to fear buying the cotton candy grapes.  They're interesting; I think they've bred a grape whose juice is low acid but high in esters (and somewhat different esters) - sugar fairly normal.  Kids love the flavor profile, but my reaction is the same as y'all's... I like the tart complexity of Concords.  Cotton candy grapes are more in line with strawberries, and like them taste better drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

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The Cotton Candy grapes were "invented" here. As the article pointed out, they're expensive as heck. You can't even buy them in the grocery stores here. You have to go to local specialty shops (some shops are even non-grocery) in town to buy them.

I'm not saying this from the point of view of the Fox in Aesop's "Sour Grapes" morality fable as I've never tasted them, But green grapes are sweet to begin with and now you're making them taste like Cotton Candy? Really? What's next...potatoes that taste more "potatoe-y"? ¬¬

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Well, a splendid response folks. I have told my kids and grandkids what I've learned here and as usual I'm regarded as "a bit odd" which I suppose is normal for me. Thanks all

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I'm not doubting they're tasty but "more sweet, less sour" takes them right out of the range of what I like in a grape.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I grabbed one out of a bag at Whole Foods last week because I was curious, they do taste like cotton candy. The grape I had was pretty soft, don't know if that is typical. They def appeal to kids, but I won't be purchasing them, not a flavor profile I am looking for. I'll eat candy when I want that.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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7 hours ago, Toliver said:

I'm not saying this from the point of view of the Fox in Aesop's "Sour Grapes" morality fable as I've never tasted them, But green grapes are sweet to begin with and now you're making them taste like Cotton Candy? Really? What's next...potatoes that taste more "potatoe-y"? ¬¬

 

Cotton candy grapes aren't really sweeter than regular green grapes; they're about the same.  The unusual thing they've done (besides taming the acid) is to ramp up the esters... which, if you're not familiar with them, are highly aromatic "magic bullet" compounds responsible for the characteristic smells of fruits like bananas, lemons, and strawberries.  Because the pure chemicals (or simple combinations thereof) strongly evoke pineapples, cinnamon, or what have you, these are the most successful artificial flavors.... they're what's in your lollipops, snow cone syrups, etc.  THAT'S what cotton candy grapes taste like... with the acid turned way down, they taste much more strongly of esters - and different esters (or at least way different proportions of the same esters) than you get in normal grapes.

 

I'd have to pick up another bag and see if I can parse out some of the flavor components... but I'm not Mister Master Sommelier, eh... "notes of blackcurrant, ripe citrus, and jasmine"... not... to me it just tastes like artificially flavored candy.  An interesting result, but not something I'm willing to pay the big bucks they sell for.

 

Now, if they were able to breed durian-flavored grapes... THEN you might be talking!

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I've not tried these grapes.  I've never seen them.  But I picked up on the thought that they would appeal to children.  Why is this?  I believe it was in Taste by Barb Stuckey that I read children prefer much more sour foods than adults do.  A finding not lost on the processed food industry.  But I would assume from reading the posts here that these cotton candy grapes would be less sour than a typical table grape, not more so.

 

For myself I wondered how they would be carbonated.

 

I'll keep an eye out in the store.

 

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7 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I've not tried these grapes.  I've never seen them.  But I picked up on the thought that they would appeal to children.  Why is this?  I believe it was in Taste by Barb Stuckey that I read children prefer much more sour foods than adults do.  A finding not lost on the processed food industry.  But I would assume from reading the posts here that these cotton candy grapes would be less sour than a typical table grape, not more so.

 

I just observe, out there in the real world, my children scarfing down the candy grapes with much gusto and yummery, leaving me to work out the whys and wheretofors.

 

As babies, up through the toddler stage, my kids both went for crazy sour foods... I remember when my 1YO son went to the oyster bar, he'd pick up lemon wedges out of the bucket, bite them, make a face, and bite some more (meanwhile his 5YO sister would be polishing off 3 dozen oysters... definitely NOT a typical kid appetite!)  Somewhere between 3-4YO this preference for sourness turned way down in favor of the sweet tooth.  As of now (ages 6 and 10), when we make lemonade, they'll take the juice concentration at the same level I do, but prefer it a little more dilute... and want about twice as much sugar in their lemonade as I do.  I'd say they've grown out of the sour phase.

 

7 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

For myself I wondered how they would be carbonated.

 

I wondered the same thing after that little exchange.  Better, I'd imagine, as tarter from the added carbonic acid... and the kids would DEFINITELY love that.

 

If you've got some real balsamic vinegar, try a drop on a cotton candy grape.  The balsamico's got everything the grape is missing.  I'd have to experiment with cheese pairings... maybe some extra aged gouda, with the nuttiness and the bitterness.  Maybe some stilton on a cracker.  Not parmigiano I would think.

 

If you sliced the cotton candy grapes, they'd probably be good as a garnish on a sorbet or a granita, with a sprig of mint... or hell, maybe with some thai basil; the grapes could probably stand up to it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I mistook the price that was posted as the cost for the pre-packaged bags, not a per pound price.  I should have known better, but it was expensive enough that it seemed quite plausible.  It wasn't until I got to the register that I realized my mistake and just how big/heavy those bags were.

 

FWIW, the first time I had them they came with a picnic lunch and they were rather warm.  They definitely tasted like cotton candy.  The ones I bought only faintly hinted cotton candy, but I later wondered if that might have been because I was eating them straight out of the fridge.  I am OK with leaving that mystery for someone else to solve though.  I didn't like them nearly enough to justify their cost.

 

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2 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

But grapes don't get stuck in your hair.

 

They couldn't be much worse than the last batch of grapes I bought which were big and beautiful but as tasteless as cardboard.

 

 

 

Try roasting them w salt and pepper. Perhaps halved

 

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