Monday, October 12, 2009

McIntosh Love: Portland Apple Tasting!

You know what's a great idea? Going to the Portland Nursery's Annual Apple Tasting Festival!

Not such a smart move? Going to Paradox Cafe for brunch directly beforehand.

Sleeping in, meeting my friends Maeve and Jeff, drinking a mug of Stumptown and eating a 4-grain pancake for the first time in years and heading to an outdoor event just seemed like such a swell turn of events for my Saturday.
I had the #3 with vegan pancake, tofu and vegan sausage. The pancake was near divine with maple syrup and earth balance and SE Portland love, though I wasn't a fan of the sausage. I dug the bit of fennel, the grittiness and the switch to homemade sausages vs. Gardenburger or whatever they used to use, but I'd pass in the future. I ended up giving half of mine away.

Onwards to apples!!

This was my fourth Apple Tasting, and although I passed on tasting every single apple and pear variety available - there were over 60, I did take notes and came home with 4 pounds of tart, sweet apples and 4 pounds of Asian pears. It was exactly what I wanted, and I like to think I greatly impressed the woman who weighed my fruit with my equivalence.

My apple of choice? Always the McIntosh. The first apple I ever bothered to learn the name of when I was younger, besides the craptastic Red Delicious. That one is red. It's government sanctioned. That's about it.

The ideal McIntosh is creamy, crisp, slightly sweet and tangy. I have a fond memory of picking them in upstate New York as a young adolescent. Nearly 3 lbs of my 4 are all beautiful McIntosh, the others including Cox's Orange Pippin and Cortland. My pears were the 20th Century, juicy Olympic and Hosui.

I said, onwards to the tasting!
(and things I remember from our chat down the row)

First, you're faced with deciding which line. Maeve and I opted for the second.

I had my check lists, my descriptions, my mini pencil, toothpick and camera ready.

So. Fall.

Then you have teases like this.

Seriously, why did I eat a pancake before this?

Apple tasting is hard work.

I'm sick of apples, Maeve!

Maeve, aren't you sick of apples?!?

This one just looks boring...

Don't you wish we had a jar of peanut butter?

This is when I broke down crying tears of relief and happiness - McIntosh was in the house!

This is when Maeve and I were still debating over my love for McIntosh, and turned to the history of Granny Smith in America.

Pears! Pears! We made it to the end of the row!

This was either:
Isn't this a cute pear baby?
Do you think I could hit the scarecrow in the eye with this?

We were both stoked to get to our favorite pears.

We had made it so far.

An epic adventure, for sure.

The end. Please note I cut out about 20 minutes and 20 bad apple jokes from this post. I think I'm maturing, I also skipped on painting a mini pumpkin and glitter-i-zing it with children.

And what was the first thing I did with my loot? Don't be silly, I don't eat one as is.

Roasted Apple-Pear sauce,
lightly sweetened with agave nectar and a touch of cinnamon.

Pureed in the Vita-Mix I love dearly.

Psst, Portlanders - There's one more weekend left!


sgcorrie said...

How do they keep so many from browning? Lots of lemon juice? Looks beautiful!

Ms. T (of haiku tofu) said...

mmm that applesauce looks yum.

Sarah said...

tell me about this pear apple sauce!

and vita-mix = love

and "The first apple I ever bothered to learn the name of when I was younger, besides the craptastic Red Delicious." - this is exactly how i feel! macs are always my fav, and red delicious aren't delicious at all!

Anonymous said...

McIntosh apples are gross! Apples shouldn't be creamy! Wrong wrong wrong!

allicia said...

I get so mad at people when they ask if we have any Red Delicious. I just want to shake them and tell them there are so many better apple varieties than that!

I have so many apples in my fridge right now since I have unlimited access to free ones. I need to get on the ball and make some more apple things before I run out of room.

kittee said...

so glad there's another weekend of it, i want to check it out!


nora said...

i'm so jealous

Josiane said...

An apple and pear tasting? Yum, that's such a great idea! I wish we had something like this over here.
Your roasted apple-pear sauce sounds delicious! I've always made applesauce in a saucepan; it had never occured to me to make it with roasted apples before I saw another blogger mention this lately. I am *so* going to try it this year!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

An apple tasting sounds like so much fun!

K.E.N. said...

and all week long you can go buy the apples and pears for only 89 cents a pound!! (unless, you get fancy asian pears, then it's a whole 99/lb)

i sooo don't understand people who eat Red Delicious by choice. Gala is definitely my favorite with Honey Crisp in second. I didn't do the tasting b/c my bro-in-law didn't want to wait in line. Therefore a have a bag of apples that I don't know the names of...

You went to Paradox when I wasn't working? sad face!

The Voracious Vegan said...

That is awesome, I want to go to an apple tasting! Everything looks so fresh and delicious, you are very lucky.

Kuntrageous said...

you portlanders are so lucky! I would love to go to an apple tasting.
p.s. mcintosh apples *are* the best.

Kristin said...

Wow. That is amazing. Look at all those apple!

Erica said...

i still like Braeburns better. neener neener.

Kati said...

McIntosh always used to be my favorite, too, though I've recently become very partial to the russet varieties, especially Margil. So nutty! So creamy! Apple tasting is an art, for sure.

pixiepine said...

My good friend who lives in Troutdale told me about the apple tasting. The pictures look great!

imported store said...

Love the apples.

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