Thursday, August 23, 2007

Long live the Flavor King

Few food products live up to their names. But when it comes to the pluot variety known as “Flavor King,” it is richly deserved.

This is no prince of pluots, Flavor King rules. In case you’re not familiar with a pluot, it’s the stupid hybrid name for a plum and apricot. But when I eat it, you know what I think of? Plums. What’s even more confusing is there’s a hybrid of an apricot and plum, called an aprium. Really, was that necessary?

Anywho, I’m calling a plum a plum. In Hawaii, we never had the greatest plums because they were shipped in from the mainland unripened, so they were tart. I don’t think I knew anyone who could grow plums in their yards in Hawaii. Living in the Bay Area, summertime mostly meant peaches, strawberries, cherries and grapes. They were enough to fill my fruit appetite. Or so I thought.

Curious about the Flavor King when I saw it recently at the farmers’ market, I tried a sample the people at the stand had cut up for taste testing. It tasted so good, so different than any fruit I’ve had before, that I bought a bag home and have been treating myself to one every night.

What I love about the Flavor King is its subtle sweetness and beautiful color. First, the flavor. It’s sweet, that’s a given. But it’s a disservice to just say it’s sweet. It’s this ethereal sweetness that’s a little like rose water—fragrant and slightly sticky. Yes, it’s like perfume. I would bottle its juices and put some behind my ears if those dang ants would stop biting me.

As you can see in the photos above and below, the flesh of the Flavor King is amazing. It turns from a firm apricot orange (OK, so I guess it is part apricot) to this pinkish-red color that is quite beautiful on the plate. The more red the flesh, the more sweet and soft. You can still eat it firm when it’s more orange, but that would mean it’s less sweet and more firm, if that’s your preference. On the outside, it looks like any other red plums, with just a tad shade of purple.

So keep your eye out for the Flavor King when this variety is in season. It’s a regal treat.

(BTW, doesn’t the photo below look like the rooftop of the Sydney Opera House or Disney Concert Hall in LA? Huh. I think I have too much time on my hands.)


Anonymous said...

I got some of these from the farmer's market recently too. Beautiful and juicy! Pluots rock.

cb said...

Flavor King's one of my favorites, too. Nice description of the smell of the sweetness. It's amazing to taste the difference between "sugar" and flavor. The whole naming issue has become a big deal in stone fruit circles. Some people call them pluots, others plums and still others with the more generic plumcot. Beautiful photos.

Anonymous said...

I tasted the Flavor King when I visited my daughter in Novato last year and have been hounding her about getting some more since then. They are the best tasting pluots/plums I have ever had. Thanks for the nice words and photos of my favorite fruit!