La Pomme et le Clochard
This apple you see here is one of my very favorite varieties. Oh sure, it doesn’t look like much from the outside: round with slightly flattened top and bottom, its yellow uneven skin is matte with brownish freckles. Quite far from the glossy prom queens of the apple family — Gala, Granny Smith or Golden.
But slice it (I have personally been using the exact same technique since time immemorial — cutting the apple in quarters, then coring all quarters before slicing each in three moon crescents) and you will discover a white almost fluorescent flesh, glistening with moisture, juicy and sweet.
This apple bears the interesting name of Pomme Clochard (tramp apple — “tramp” being used here in the sense of vagrant or bum). Its full botanical name is Pomme Reinette Clochard, which is even more interesting: reinette is a variety of apples, but it also means literally “little queen”. So: little queen or tramp?
I haven’t been able to trace the origin of the name, but it is likely that of the horticulturist who developped the variety, a Monsieur or Madame Clochard (school must have been fun for them). However, I would much rather believe that it is because this apple hides a heart of gold under plain clothes, or maybe because it has a longing aspiration to walk the earth from town to town, meet people, get in adventures — you know, like Jules in Pulp Fiction.
It is slightly more expensive than other varieties (around 3.80€ a kilo), but worth every cent in my book. You can also look for its equally tasty half-sister the Chantecler apple (a.k.a. Chantecler Belchard), a cross between Reinette Clochard and Golden Delicious that was developped in the fifties.
Little miss apple here is in full season right now (December to March), and I can’t seem to get enough. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, they say. Does three or four make him come back I wonder?